You do need to eat protein with every meal if you want to build muscles, lose weight or balance your hormones. Studies also show that for most people, eating more than 30 grams at one time provides no additional benefit for muscle development and the excess isn’t beneficial for most, except athletes. Considering a 3-ounce serving of salmon is about 25 grams of protein, 3-ounces of beef is approximately 29 grams of protein and a cup of cottage cheese is approximately 28 grams of protein, you can see how easily consuming more than 30 grams at one meal can be.
Protein keeps you feeling full.
When you consume adequate protein at a meal, you’ll feel fuller longer and quicker. There’s still a debate as to why that happens. Some think it’s because protein contains peptides, which cause the brain to create satiety hormones. Unlike simple carbs, like sugary treats, protein doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, making them spike then drop a few hours later, which causes you to be hungry. Feeling fuller longer means less potential for eating extra calories between meals. You’ll also maintain your energy levels when you eat smaller amounts of protein more frequently.
Protein is required to build everything from blood cells to hormones.
Hormones that play a role in all parts of your body require protein. They control your metabolism by stimulating your thyroid or help you sleep at night with melatonin. You need a continuous supply of protein, some protein approximately every five hours, since all these things are continuously being created.
Ideally, you should spread your protein intake throughout the day.
Most people eat little or no protein for breakfast, have a small amount at lunch and then feast on protein at supper. If you’re trying to get into shape and build muscle tissue, consuming protein throughout the day is important, particularly before working out and after your workout. It helps prevent loss of muscle mass and boosts recovery, so including it in your snacks is also important.
- Some studies show that consuming protein at bedtime may help muscle synthesis as you sleep. It can curb your appetite, which can help you sleep and give you energy in the morning. Think lighter foods like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt.
- Opt for protein from whole foods, such as eggs, dairy, quinoa, beans, meat and fish, rather than protein supplements. Make sure your snacks provide protein, too. Nut butter and whole wheat toast is a good option.
- Listen to your body and adjust your protein based on how it reacts to your dietary changes. If you find you have more energy or other beneficial results, keep that change. If not, tweak your dietary intake more until you do find the optimal pattern. No two people are exactly alike. Do what’s right for you.
- While protein powders can be used occasionally as a supplement, whole food is always best. If you do need to use a protein supplement, read the label carefully for added sugar. Find ones that are certified as pure. Some contain hidden heavy metals and chemical contamination.
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