Protein powers the body’s growth factory. From building and repairing bones, muscles, and cartilage to coordinating bodily functions, brain development and hormone production, protein is an essential nutrient for every person on the planet. Given its immense power, high-protein diets are growing in popularity. Below, we uncover the benefits behind going high-protein, how such a decision could help you and the best ways to get started.
What makes a diet high-protein?
Exactly how much protein is considered to be ‘high’ is down to the individual. Body shapes, sizes and metabolic rates vary hugely. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) therefore recommends individuals to consume around 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day.
A high-protein diet requires individuals to consume around double the amount of protein that is recommended by the DRI. This works out at 0.6-0.75 grams per pound of body weight (or 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram) ultimately making up 20-30% of an individual’s daily calorie intake.
Protein rich foods that make up such a diet include meat, fish, eggs, legumes, and soya. In an added benefit, these foods tend to be nutrient rich, making them excellent, healthy foods. However, there is a difference. While animal proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, plant proteins are incomplete, meaning they do not. Vegans adopting a high-protein diet therefore need to mix and match their plant proteins to ensure they are getting all the essential amino acids.
What are the benefits of high-protein diets?
With protein powering growth, it should come as no surprise that a high-protein diet is associated with increased muscle mass. When combined with resistance training, individuals can expect to see a notable increase in strength and change in body composition. This has been confirmed by numerous scientific studies.2
It isn’t just muscles that are strengthened on a high-protein diet. There’s also an increase in bone density, which not only accelerates recovery from breaks but also reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Indeed, one study even found increasing protein intake resulted in a 69% reduced risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women.3
Getting a higher ratio of calories from protein boosts metabolic rate by as much as 20-35% through increased thermogenesis.4 One study found that this boost was particularly impactful in young women, whose metabolic rate increased almost twice as much as it did in comparison to when they ate a high-carbohydrate diet.5
Choosing a high-protein diet isn’t just about getting stronger or hitting hypertrophy. Many people also opt for high-protein food and drink to lose weight. This is due to protein’s ability to reduce hunger by suppressing the hormone ghrelin, thus enhancing satiety, and increasing peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1 production.6,7,8 Though the diet itself doesn’t correlate directly to weight loss, it gives people more control over what they are eating and allows them to eat less, which then subsequently impacts weight loss.
Who typically eats high-protein diets?
Given the popular focus on protein’s ability to increase muscle mass, along with the wide use of supplements such as protein shakes, it is often believed that high-protein diets are exclusively for body builders or those seeking to bulk. Though this is often the case, high-protein diets are also used by a wide variety of people.
For both old and young, there are fantastic benefits to a high-protein diet, particularly given the impact on bone health, growth, metabolism, and recovery. Protein is an essential nutrient for every individual.
How to get started
A high-protein diet may not be for everyone. Before starting, consult with your doctor on whether increasing protein intake is right for you. If you come to the conclusion that it is, then we’ve got you. Our Healthy Nibbles protein snack boxes are not only high in protein – they’re also high in taste! Ranging from mini to super boxes and including sweet and savoury treats, we’ve got you covered whatever your aim is.