10 reasons to include protein in your diet

Sunbears
4 min readDec 28, 2023

Today, we’re happy to introduce an insightful article written by our newest Sunbears teammate Amrita Kafley , in which she shares the importance of incorporating protein in our diets! Find out everything you need to know below!

Many of us might associate protein with jacked bodybuilders and weightlifters chugging protein shakes and supplements but in reality, protein is an essential nutrient for everyone! In fact, not consuming enough protein everyday could lead to some long term health issues since they are the building blocks of muscles, skin, hair, nails etc.

Proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids and have diverse functions in the body including cell signalling & repair, supporting growth & repair of tissues etc. Some proteins — called non-essential proteins are synthesised by our body, while others called essential proteins cannot be synthesised by our body and need to be obtained from our diet. Our dietary protein requirement changes according to our gender, age and body weight. It’s particularly important to consume enough protein during periods of rapid growth like early childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, old age and while performing strenuous exercise.

Let’s now look at the various reasons why protein is so essential for us:

  1. Reduces hunger — A high protein diet reduces our hunger and makes us feel fuller longer after our meal. This happens because protein reduces the release of hunger hormone, ghrelin and also increases the level of peptide YY, a hormone that makes us feel full.
  2. Reduces craving for sugar — Multiple studies and research over the years have shown that a protein rich diet has a direct impact in reducing sugar cravings. Not only does consuming protein make us feel satiated longer, it also releases dopamine. Dopamine — also known as the “Happy Hormone” rewards our reward centres and also makes us repeat the activity that gives us pleasure, like eating sugary snacks. Therefore, having optimal levels of dopamine in the body by consuming protein reduces our sugar cravings.
  3. Boosts metabolism and increases fat burning — Protein has a higher thermic effect than fats and simple carbohydrates making our body work harder to break it down. The extra calories required by the body to digest the protein helps boost the body’s metabolism.
  4. Helps us maintain weight loss and stay in shape — Since protein not only improves our metabolism but also reduces our hunger levels and craving for junk food, it ultimately leads to calorie restriction. People who eat an adequate amount of protein and are also able to exercise regularly can maintain a healthy weight and stay in shape.
  5. Good for digestion — Most enzymes, which are chemicals aiding in digestion, are made up of proteins. Eating a sufficient amount of protein ensures that we have enough enzymes to digest our food.
  6. Helps us stay fit as we age — One of the consequences as we age is that we slowly start losing our muscles. This is called sarcopenia and it is one of the major causes of frailty and reduced quality of life as we age. Apart from maintaining muscle mass, proteins are also responsible for regulating bone density, healthy immune system, metabolism and brain function. Therefore eating adequate amounts of protein along with staying physically active is one of the best ways to reduce age-related issues among older adults.
  7. Helps your body repair itself after injury — There have been numerous studies to prove that consuming extra protein after injury helps the body recover faster since protein is the building block of most tissues and organs.
  8. Lowers blood pressure — Multiple studies have shown that including adequate amounts of protein aids in reducing blood pressure, blood cholesterol as well as triglycerides levels.
  9. Good for bones — Eating a protein rich diet is essential to maintain bone mass better as we age and reduce our risk of osteoporosis and fractures. This is especially true for women entering menopause.
  10. Increase muscle mass and strength — Since muscle is made up of mostly proteins consuming adequate amounts while strength training ensures that we are able to maintain our muscle mass and maintain our strength. In fact, our dietary protein requirement goes up if we are engaging in regular exercise of any kind, not just lifting weights.

Reference List

  1. Increased Dietary Protein as a Dietary Strategy to Prevent and/or Treat Obesity [online] available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6179508/
  2. Benefits of Protein [online] available from https://www.webmd.com/diet/benefits-protein
  3. Why Protein Is More Important Than You May Think, And 5 Common Protein Myths [online] available from https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/why_protein_is_important
  4. Energy expenditure and protein requirements after traumatic injury [online] available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16998142/
  5. Protein in diet [online] available from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm#:~:text=You%20need%20protein%20in%20your,%2C%20teens%2C%20and%20pregnant%20women.
  6. Dietary protein and blood pressure: a systematic review [online] available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20711407/

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Sunbears

Driven by our passion for sports, we have made it our goal to contribute to the development of the sports world. // 私たちはスポーツへの情熱を胸に、スポーツ界の発展に貢献することを目標としています。