What is the big deal about protein? In the past, dieting and eating healthily has focused on eliminating fat from the diet, or avoiding carbs, but now the focus is squarely on protein – so why is protein the new poster child of healthy eating?
Much of it comes from studies on weight loss that have compared low and high protein diets. What the researchers have found is that while people will lose the same amount of weight overall whether they are on a low or high protein diet, the weight loss of those on a high protein diet will be almost 100% body fat. Those on a low protein diet will lose fat, but will also loss muscle, compromising their ability to keep the weight off long term. Why? Because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, 24/7.
Protein is not just for those who are attempting to lose weight, however, it is also essential for athletes of all types. Protein is the essential building block of muscles, and sufficient protein is vital if the effort you put into your workouts is to be repaid with improved performance.
This applies not just to strength athletes, but also to endurance athletes. Any form of hard training breaks the muscles down, and repairing and strengthening those muscles effectively after a tough workout is essential for recovery and progress.
There are various sources of protein supplements, including whey, casein, soy, and egg. Researchers have compared them in different ways, and they almost always find that whey comes out the best.
It has been shown to be the most effective form or protein for promoting weight loss, it dramatically increases protein synthesis (an essential part of muscle growth), improves muscle growth, and has the ability to prevent the muscle-wasting hormone cortisol from breaking down your muscles further after a workout. In addition, it promotes good heart health and supports the immune system.