Brent Vaughan, MS, RD,
Director of Health Information Services, Health Sciences Advisory Board Member
Are you interested in maintaining a healthy weight? Getting the most out of your workout? Or, maybe you are simply interested in eating a healthier diet. If any of these scenarios apply to you, you’ve probably thought about the role of protein in your diet. Protein Product is the building block of muscle, as well as a key structural component of your skin and organ tissues. Proteins are made up of smaller compounds called amino acids. Your body makes some of these amino acids, but you must consume nearly half of them through your diet. In order to do that, you need to eat a mix of beans/legumes, whole grains, vegetables, nuts/seeds, dairy, eggs, and meats.
The more variety, the more balanced and complete your diet will be. If you are looking to maintain a healthy weight, you need to pay attention to the amount of protein you consume. It is easier for the body to convert proteins into energy than it is to convert fats into energy. Therefore, if you are eating less and/or working out more, your body may take from your protein stores before it dips into your fat stores. Eating adequate protein encourages the body to use the dietary protein before it takes from your protein stores, organs, and muscles.
If you work out regularly, train on a regular basis, or are looking to increase muscle mass, you will need to consume more protein to meet your body’s increased need. Without the extra protein in your diet, your body will not have what it needs to build extra muscle. The amount of protein you need depends on your age, workout routine, body size, and gender. You should work with a dietitian and trainer to optimize the amount of protein in your diet with your particular workout program.
As you can see, protein is an essential part of any diet, but it becomes more important for people looking to manage their weight. It’s often a big challenge for people to avoid easy-to-grab, high-fat, carbohydrate-loaded foods. A healthy diet takes effort and includes proteins from a variety of sources. Keep protein in mind as you modify your diet to meet your weight or workout goals and you will achieve greater success in both of these endeavors.