× HomeProtein testAboutFAQCookie PolicyTerms of usePrivacy Policy
× Authors & ContributorsFAQCookie PolicyTerms of usePrivacy Policy
Muscle

Strong is the new skinny

Over the past few years, attitudes to health have become more holistically oriented and the wish to be thin has been replaced by a desire to be strong

By staying strong, we can carry on doing everything we want – even as we get older. There are two main factors involved in maintaining our strength: being active and having a healthy diet… and this is where protein can make a real difference.

Protein kick-starts muscle growth

So what is it about protein that makes it so valuable for people looking to stay in shape?

When you exercise, small tears are formed in the muscles, which help the muscles grow bigger and stronger as you recover. But to recover, the muscles need a sufficient supply of protein from your diet.

If you don’t eat the right quality and amount of proteins, it’s simply impossible for your muscles to grow.

 

In fact, a large international expert panel stated in 2018 that dietary protein needs increase in response to resistance exercise to improve muscle growth and strength1. They recommended that basic protein needs should be doubled to help optimize training results[1].

 

Moreover, studies have demonstrated that whey protein supplements significantly enhance change in muscle strength and size in healthy adults during prolonged resistance exercise[2]. In other words, if you want to maximize the good work you do in the gym, a protein supplement, such as whey protein, is a great way to do so.

Cut out cravings and snack urges

Another great benefit of whey protein, and protein in general, is that it creates a feeling of satiety[3]. Feeling satiated is likely to reduce your cravings for snacks and quick sugar fixes. In fact, scientists have shown that a high-protein diet combined with a low carb intake can make you feel 14% less hungry than if you skip your protein and eat a moderate amount of carbohydrates.[4]

 

One thing to remember is that the body doesn’t store excess intake of protein and you need to ensure you’re eating enough protein during the day so your muscles can draw on the protein required when you recover after exercise. The daily needs for protein and essential amino acids vary with life-stage, health status and lifestyle. Daily protein needs range between 0.8 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight[5].You can take a quick test here, to see how much protein you need throughout your life.

Look for complete proteins

As mentioned, sufficient dietary protein is important to remain strong and get stronger when exercising. But not all proteins are of the same quality. One important factor is how well the body is able to digest the proteins to ensure optimal utilization. Secondly, it is also important that the dietary protein contains all the essential building blocks, called amino acids, which are used in the process of building and maintaining muscles in your body.

 

Proteins are available from many different foodstuffs. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are renowned as sources of high-quality proteins. These proteins are also called complete because they contain all the essential amino acids in well-balanced ratios that suit your body’s needs. Whey protein is an example of a complete protein containing a high content of all essential amino acids in the right proportions.

Additionally, whey proteins are easily digested by the body and have a high content of branched chain amino acids, which efficiently help in building muscle mass in relation to resistance exercise. 

 

Whey protein has grown in popularity in recent years because of its ability to efficiently deliver high levels of complete protein in a convenient form that fits in with a busy daily life.

 

This is just one of the many reasons why whey protein has found its way into the store cupboards of fitness enthusiasts of all ages.

It’s known as the simple way to maximize the benefits of a workout and a great ingredient to add to all kinds of dishes and meals for a valuable protein boost.

[1] International Protein Board 2018 – Consensus Statement on Protein Requirements for Development of Muscle Strength and Size.
https://www.internationalproteinboard.org/protein-matters/Proteinstrengthandmusclegrowth.htm

 

[2] Hulmi et al 2010 –  Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein.

 

[3] The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. Halton TL, Hu FB
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15466943

 

[4] Lobley GE, Johnstone AM, Fyfe C, Horgan GW, Holtrop
G, Bremner DM, Broom I, Schweiger L and Welch A, 2014. Glucose uptake by the
brain on chronic high-protein weight-loss diets with either moderate or low
amounts of carbohydrate. British Journal of Nutrition,111, 586–597 

 

[5] https://www.internationalproteinboard.org/protein-matters/protein-requirements.htm