Why is Protein Fundamental?

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

How Will Protein Help You Attain The Gains?


We’ve all read the overly complex blogs detailing the health benefits of protein but I want to make this blog easy to understand. (Disclaimer though, this will be very nerdy in parts.) So I’m going to start right at the beginning and build your knowledge of the macro-nutrient, protein, from the ground up. 


So what actually is protein? 

Have you ever heard someone talking about their macros and wondered what they were talking about? Well ‘macros’ is just a shortened word for macro-nutrient for which there are three types: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Thus, protein is a macro-nutrient. These macro-nutrients are all energy sources and make up your daily calorie intake. Of course, fats are the highest in calorie content as these contain 8 calories per gram when compared to carbs and protein which only have 4 calories per gram. However, all three are needed as part of a healthy diet.1. But what separates protein from fats and carbs?




Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and are then used to supply energy to cells. Any extra glucose is stored in the liver. 


Fats are broken down into fatty acids to make hormones and the linings of cells. Any extra fats are stored in fat cells.


Protein is used to build muscle and to make other proteins that are essential for the body to function. This occurs after it is broken down into amino acids following consumption.2


Therefore, protein is required for someone like you who is either a gym-goer, a runner, into your workouts, jogging or sports and/or wants to build more muscle. But building muscle isn’t the only thing protein is capable of. 


What are the health benefits? 

While I’ve been researching into the background science, I have found four key benefits to protein:


It Can Increase Performance and Muscle Mass

Firstly, I must introduce you to the concept of whey protein. Whey Protein is commonly called protein powder and it’s the byproduct of casein preipitation during cheese manufacturing.3. Thus, it is a dairy-based protein (although there are vegan varieties available). Whey protein is also one of the highest-quality proteins given its amino acid content and its digestibility.4. Now, let’s investigate the benefits of consuming whey protein.

  Protein has the ability to increase your performance when exercising which will help you to attain your gains quicker than ever. For reference, The Cambridge Dictionary defines performance as, ‘how well a person, machine, etc. does a piece of work or an activity'5. In a study of 12 people doing a marathon, they got a group of people to take a supplement of whey protein. 

During this study the key findings were that:

  • Whey protein promoted a higher endurance capacity after just four weeks of supplementation. 

  • Whey helped to increase the muscle on the athletes. 

  • Whey was able to increase physiological protection. In non-scientific terms this means protecting the normal functioning of organs. 

And in another study which recorded those doing HIIT workouts, taking whey protein for just three weeks improved the maximum oxygen volume, critical velocity and the lean body mass of those taking part.6.

But that’s not all! As well as this first study in marathon runners and HIIT workouts, another study found that higher protein diets can promote gains in muscle mass, especially when paired with resistance training.7. 


This links in with performance as, if an athlete has an optimal amount of muscle mass, peak performance is more likely to be achieved. 

Therefore, MEANPROTEIN will help you attain your gains by providing a bag and/or sachets of whey protein in each box! Of course, the ‘Mass Protein Box’ includes a bigger bag of whey protein, so if you’re looking for some serious gains due to a potential increase in performance and muscle mass, then go for it and subscribe to the ‘Mass Protein Box’. But not to worry, the ‘Lean Protein Box’ also includes some whey, so if you’re just looking for some extra protein or something to fuel your adventures, check out this box! 




But that’s not the only benefit of protein. Let’s dive into how it’s able to maintain muscle mass while dieting.

It Maintains Muscle When Dieting

If you find yourself fasting (dieting) and do not want to lose the muscle you’ve builtin the process, you may require extra protein in your diet. In short, this is because if you cut out much of your protein while dieting, your body may use your muscle for energy, as well as your fat which wrecks gains and nobody wants that. 

So where’s the science?  Well it’s said that, ‘An adequate daily intake of the amino acid leucine, along with other amino acids isolaucine and valine...and daily intake of adequate amount of whey protein (average 20gld) are beneficial to maintaining fat-free mass during weight loss induces low-calorie diet’.8. Therefore, if you want to maintain gains, make sure you are getting a high amount of protein with the relevant carbs and fat needed in your diet. This should help you maintain muscle as your body will go towards fat stores for energy. 


Why not try out our ‘Lean Protein Box’ to help you along with your weight-loss journey?


It Increases the Rate of Recovery After Exercise

Remember our good friend whey protein? As well as it’s many other benefits, whey is able to promote muscle protein synthesis, more so than casein and soy.9. In human terms, it helps to repair muscles which are damaged during exercise due to its fast DNA repairing action. As an example, one study found that pre-sleep protein supplementation after resistance exercise may improve the perceived rate of recovery.10.

However, to explain from the start; when you work out you create small tears in your muscle fibre which is why you incur pain a few hours after exercise. It is the rebuilding process that grows your muscles as they return stronger than before due to the natural rebuilding process. For example, if you are a bricklayer, you will naturally need stronger muscles to work efficiently. But to begin with, you may not have had any muscle at all. However, every time you pick up bricks, your muscles will tear and rebuild stronger. If they rebuilt themselves at the same as before, you would always struggle and therefore, this is a very natural process of the body preparing for future impact. 

However, during my research I also found that animal-based proteins have a much higher rate of protein synthesis (the repairing of DNA) when compared to plant proteins. This could be due to the leucine content of plant protein which is 6-8% when whey has a 13.6%. Therefore, even though pea-protein will help you attain the gains without feeling exhausted later, if you can do so, it is best to remain with animal proteins such as whey protein for a much faster rate of recovery. 

Therefore, if you don’t want to hurt so much after a heavy weightlifting day or a nice summer evening run, try out a bar or a glass of whey from a MEANPROTEIN box to see if it helps!




It Decreases the Aging Process of Muscles (sarcopenia)

Sadly, as we age, muscle mass naturally decreases in a process called sarcopenia which starts within the 4th to 5th decade of life.11. This unfortunately effects 30% of people within this age group and muscle decreases at a rate of 1.5% per year, increasing to 3% per year post 60 years old. 

However, this can be helped with protein! It is recommended that older adults should get 1.1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But the type of protein also matters! Leucine is the key amino acid triggering the initiation of muscle protein synthesis (remember this from the last paragraph? It’s the repairing of DNA after tearing muscles). But how do you know which proteins contain this? It’s suggested that whey and pea-protein (plant based) are two of the higher-leucine proteins, providing 3 grams per 30 grams.


Therefore, as MEANPROTEIN sometimes provides KIND bars which are plant-based, as well as a guaranteed bag of whey per box, you’ll be sure to be getting the correct proteins containing leucine. But please also note that getting all the amino acids within a serving of protein is also fundamental to increase muscle protein synthesis. 



Summary Protein is an all round health benefit.

It is able to repair muscles at a fast rate, decrease the rate of ageing muscles, it maintains muscle mass while dieting and it can increase your performance and muscle mass! 

MEANPROTEIN provides two boxes;

  1. The Lean Protein Box which contains at least 250 grams of protein per box per month.

  2. The Mass Protein Box provides a minimum quantity of 500 grams of protein!

Therefore, you can pick between which you would prefer in order to try out whether you also get these many benefits...


THINK INSIDE THE BOX!

 

References

1. Kubala, Jillian (2018). ‘How to Count Macros: A StepByStep Guide’.Heathline.<https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-count-macros#macros>


2. Healthwise Staff (2019) ’Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats and Blood Sugar’.Alberta. <https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=uq1238abc&lang=en-ca#:~:text=Carbohydrates%20are%20used%20for%20energy,%2C%20muscle%2C%20and%20other%20proteins.>

3. Huang, W. -C.Et. Al.(2017) ’Whey Protein Improves Marathon – Induced Injury and Exercise Performance in Elite Track Runners,’International journal of medical science,14 (7), pp. 648-654.


4. Devries, M. C. and Philips, S. M. (2015) ’Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey,’Journal of Food Science(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) 80, P. A8. Accessed June 5, 2020).


5. 'The Cambridge Dictionary'. <https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/performance>


6. Devries, M. C. and Philips, S. M. (2015) ’Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey,’Journal of Food Science(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) 80, P. A8. Accessed June 5, 2020).


7. Devries, M. C. and Philips, S. M. (2015) ’Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey,’Journal of Food Science(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) 80, P. A8. Accessed June 5, 2020). 


8. Rondanelli, M.et al.(2020) ’Current opinion ondietary advice in order to preserve fat-free mass during a low-caloriediet’,Nutrition,72. 


9. Devries, M. C. and Philips, S. M. (2015) ’Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey,’Journal of Food Science(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) 80, P. A8. Accessed June 5, 2020).


10. Margaret, M.et. Al.(2018) ‘The Effect of Pre-Sleep Protein Supplementation After Resistance Exercise on Next Day Performance and Recovery: 2381 Board #217 June 1 11:00AM-12.30PM.’Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise,(5s suppl 1), p588.


11. Spano, M (2017) ‘Muscle Bound: Protein reigns when it comes to combating muscle loss with ageing’,Prepared Foods, 186 (7), pp. 51-55.



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