Whether you have a goal to gain more muscle, lose fat, or a combination of the two, protein is a crucial macronutrient. You might have heard that protein is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin but why is that important to your fitness goals?
When you have a goal to build muscle, it is probably a little more obvious that you would want adequate protein in your diet to help your body repair and recover after strength training and build more lean mass, but it is also so important to a fat loss goal. Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient when you are trying to lose weight for the following reasons:
- MUSCLE PRESERVATION - When you are in a calorie deficit, prioritizing protein will help you preserve lean mass. Lean mass is more metabolically active, in other words, the more muscle your body has, the more calories you burn throughout the day.
- SATIETY - Protein can help you feel full longer which can help with your overall calorie intake. It can also slow the effect of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels when paired with a carbohydrate source which can also help with appetite control.
- BURNS MORE CALORIES - Food takes energy to digest (this is referred to as TEF or the Thermic Effect of Food) and compared to the other two macronutrients (fats and carbohydrates) protein actually has a higher TEF meaning you actually burn more calories when digesting protein.
Need help figuring out how much protein you should be eating for your fitness goals or looking for new ideas for adding more protein into your diet? We would love to help! Reach out to get connected to one of our nutrition coaches now!