The Power of Protein
Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients, together with fats and carbohydrates. A key function of protein is repair and maintenance of body tissues including the muscles, organs, skin, hair and nails. It is also used for energy, the formation of some hormones, enzymes and antibodies, and the transportation and storage of molecules. Protein also increases thermogenesis and satiety.
When protein from food enters the digestive system it gets broken down into amino acids. These amino acids need to be replaced regularly as they are constantly being used up by the body.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
The British Nutrition Foundation recommends that adults eat 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight per day. This equates to 56g a day for men and 45g a day for women of average body weight. However, needs vary depending on body size and activity level. Strength training and endurance exercise may increase protein needs. Protein requirements also increase during periods of growth such as childhood, pregnancy and lactation, and when recovering from injury or surgery.
As with all things moderation is key; too much protein may increase the risk of liver and kidney problems, dehydration, fatigue, weight gain, constipation and loss of calcium in the urine.
The Benefits of Protein
Thermogenesis – protein leads to a higher thermogenesis than carbohydrates and fats – this means it raises the metabolic rate (1).
Muscle Maintenance – protein intake prevents the loss of fat free mass, including muscle, even during weight loss (1).
Appetite – protein increases appetite reducing hormones while decreasing appetite enhancing hormones, resulting in increased satiety and reduced food intake (1,2,3).
Weight Loss – trials of 6-12 months show that a high-protein diet provides weight-loss effects and can prevent weight regain after weight loss, without adverse effects on bone density or renal function in healthy adults (1).
Body Composition – clinical trials have found that consuming slightly more protein than the recommended dietary allowance may reduce fat mass while preserving fat-free mass, including muscle (1).
Cardiovascular Disease – short-term, high protein, weight loss diets have been shown to have beneficial effects on total cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels as well as increased weight loss in overweight and obese patients (4).
The Benefits of Whey Protein
A review of the literature on the effect of whey protein on weight and body composition including body fat, lean mass, fat free mass and waist circumference found that whey protein improved these body composition indicators. The best results may be expected when whey protein is combined with resistance training (5).
Whey protein also has notable antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help prevent oxidative stress which is linked to heart disease, cancer, strokes, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. Increasing your antioxidant status from a range of sources can help to reduce the oxidative damage and aid repair of body tissues (6).
Plant Protein vs Animal Protein
There is much debate about the relative benefits and harms of plant and animal proteins for humans and the planet.
There are many studies showing the benefits of eating a plant based diet on human and environmental health. A review into the effects of protein from plant sources found that plant proteins have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, appetite, cardiovascular health and muscular health and are more sustainable than animal based diets (7).
A study of over 3000 Chinese adults found that higher dietary intakes of protein, regardless of the ratio of animal-to-plant protein, is associated with greater skeletal muscle mass in adults with an average protein intake slightly above the recommended daily intake (8).
Dietary Sources of Protein
Whether it comes from animals or plants protein is super important for health. Dietary sources include eggs, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, beans, peas, lentils and quinoa.
Tom Oliver’s Protein Powders
For those with higher protein requirements or who need an easy source of protein on the go:
Tom Oliver’s Whey Protein Powders provide good quality protein enhanced with metabolism-boosting compounds such as green tea and L-carnitine. Green Tea has antioxidant properties that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation (9) and L-carnitine may have positive effects on body weight and BMI (10).
Tom Oliver’s Vegan Protein Powders also include L-carnitine, Green Tea Extract and Acai Berry.
Tom Oliver’s protein powders can be taken before or after exercise, or as a meal or snack replacement at any time of day.
- J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020 Jul 23. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss. Moon J et al.
- Physiol Behav 2020 Aug 5;113123. Effect of short- and long-term protein consumption on appetite and appetite-regulating gastrointestinal hormones, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Kohanmoo A et al.
- Am J Clin Nutr 2013 May;97(5):980-9. Contribution of gastroenteropancreatic appetite hormones to protein-induced satiety. Belza A et al.
- Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Oct;19(8):548-54. High protein diets decrease total and abdominal fat and improve CVD risk profile in overweight and obese men and women with elevated triacylglycerol. Clifton PM et al.
- Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2022 Aug;50:74-83. Effect of whey protein supplementation on weight and body composition indicators: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Sepandi M et al.
- Food and Chem Toxicol. Vol 142, Aug 2020. Whey protein boosts the antioxidant profile of rats by enhancing the activities of crucial antioxidant enzymes in a tissue-specific manner. Veskoukis AS et al.
- 2020 Jul 30;12(8):E2291. Exploring Health-Promoting Attributes of Plant Proteins as a Functional Ingredient for the Food Sector: A Systematic Review of Human Interventional Studies. Lonnie M et al.
- J Acad Nutr Diet. 2019 Sep;119(9):1501-1510. Amount Rather than Animal vs Plant Protein Intake Is Associated with Skeletal Muscle Mass in Community-Dwelling Middle-Aged and Older Chinese Adults: Results from the Guangzhou Nutrition and Health Study. Cui-Yu Li et al.
- Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Feb 11;22(4):1786. Oxidative Stress, Plant Natural Antioxidants, and Obesity. Perez-Torres I et al.
- Pharmacol Res. 2020 Jan;151:104554. Beneficial effects of l-carnitine supplementation for weight management in overweight and obese adults: An updated systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Askarpour M et al.
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