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Five Reasons to Eat Protein

I have been receiving so many questions about protein! Adequate protein consumption is essential, and the guidance is to eat one gram of protein for every pound of your ideal weight. But "WHY?" Below are my top five reasons why to add all this protein to your diet: 

1. Increase and maintain muscle mass. Protein is the building block of your muscles. Consuming adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth. If you’re physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein. If you are trying to eat less calories, it is vital to maintain your protein intake so that you preserve muscle rather than your body breaking down the muscle tissue for energy.

2. Bone Health. Consuming protein helps maintain bone mass as you age so that you will have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. This is especially important for women, who are at high risk of osteoporosis. Eating plenty of protein and staying active is a good way to help prevent that from happening.

3. Speed your metabolism. Your body actually uses calories to digest and use the foods you eat. However, not all foods are the same; you expend the most energy by consuming protein because it requires more calories to digest, absorb, and store than fats or carbohydrates. 

4. Appetite suppression. The three macronutrients — fats, carbs, and protein — affect your body in different ways, and protein is the one that makes you feel most full. The ingestion of protein triggers specific hormonal responses in the body that curb your appetite and lead to reduced overeating, slowed gastric emptying and increased satiety, meaning that you will eat less, digest more slowly and feel full longer.  

5. Improve mood. What you eat does influence the way you feel. Greater consumption of protein (and fat) has been shown to lower levels of anxiety and depression and increase levels of happiness and well-being. This is in part because eating protein slows carbohydrate absorption and increases the release of noradreneline and dopamine, which are both hormones that make us feel good. 

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