In this short article I am going to present the reasons I believe protein is a very important element of any human diet plan. Having worked in the health and fitness sector for more than 15 years one of the things I commonly see is that people don’t get sufficient protein in their diet plan. This often leaves them weak, tired and sick and for a lot of of my clients overweight.
From an evolutionary point of view, as human beings, we evolved on a predominantly meat based diet (fish also). This covered all of our dietary protein needs and it was not until fairly recently that we switched to cultivating grains and other carbohydrate type foods. However, there was nonetheless more balance with human beings getting plenty of protein in the form of meat and fish and now eggs.
Today we eat far more processed and convenient type foods than ever before and consequently our high quality and quantity of protein consumption has dropped dramatically. We need good high quality protein every single day to provide the amino acids (protein building blocks) to run our physiology. From the hair and nails that we grow to the red blood cells that carry oxygen in our blood protein is vital. We also need it to build the bones of our skeleton and the muscles that help us move and exercise.
I am of the belief that the best way to do this is by regularly consuming red meat but I realise that some people, for what ever reasons, choose not to do this. Regardless of where you source your protein you need to get a plentiful and good quality supply each and every day to maintain good health.
From a weight reduction perspective you need the amino acids found in protein to build the power house, calorie hungry muscles in the gym that will help create a negative calorie balance and help you lose weight. Also protein in your diet plan, particularly from animal sources, causes your pancreas to secrete glucagon which switches on unwanted fat burning genes and off sets the effect of the hormone insulin which switch on fat storage genes.
Yet another critical factor about animal protein, particularly red meat, which most people don’t know is that its high in carnitine. Carnitine is an amino acid that takes energy and fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells to be burnt as fuel. This is vitally important on any weight reduction programme as this makes your metabolism ramp up again creating that negative calorie balance.
In conclusion, you can see from the information that I have presented here that good quality protein in your diet plan is vitally important for your health and even more so on any weight loss programme. Also due to the advantages that I have discussed I believe that meat and fish are the best sources of this protein due to evolutionary processes. In my experience with hundreds of hours training clients over my career people don’t get anywhere close to the required amount of dietary protein each and every day. I encourage you not to fall into this trap and include more protein in your diet.