Protein is a thermogenic food. Thermogenic foods may help increase metabolism and calorie burning by enhancing thermogenesis, a process in which the body burns calories to utilize the foods you have just eaten, converting those calories to heat. Your body mainly burns calories consumed through maintaining its regular metabolic functions and through physical activity; however, a small percentage, about 10 percent, of calories are burned through diet-induced thermogenesis (livestrong.com). Your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbs or fats. Protein helps to maintain muscle mass, which aids in fat burning.
Whey is a milk protein that has a high level of branched-chain amino acids. Whey is quick digesting because it bypasses the liver and gets to your muscles rapidly to start building muscle. Whey also contains peptides (small proteins) that increase blood flow to the muscles. This is why it is recommend to consume whey protein immediately after training. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body needs, and the more calories you will burn--even at rest.
Two recent studies from Purdue demonstrate the satisfying nature of lean protein. In one study, female participants who took in about 30% of their calories from lean protein felt more satisfied and maintained muscle mass better than another group that ate less protein (webmd.com). This may be due to a hormone known as peptide YY (PYY).
Protein intake is important for many reasons, notably when it comes to hair, skin and nails. They are made of structural proteins so adequate is important for providing the building blocks for growing strong hair and nails.
Improve Your Immune System
Protein is responsible for jump starting chemical reactions in the body, serves as a structural component of all cells and regulates the immune system. It is composed of the 20 amino acids your body needs for growth and repair, and some of these amino acids appear to be particularly important for immune functioning. The amino acids called glutamine and arginine are being considered as nutrition therapy in pre-surgery patients because of their ability to stimulate the immune system (whfoods.com).
According to webmd, adults are encouraged to get 10 to 35% of their daily calories from protein. That's about 46g for women, 56g for men. However, this is not the same for athletes. Most sports involve breaking down muscle and repairing it afterward. So the protein needs of active people are influenced by the length, frequency, and intensity of their workouts.
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