Fitness magazines always feature an ad or article about increasing your protein intake to burn calories, lose weight and slim down. It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Eat more food to lose weight? It does sound paradoxical but it does work.
Protein does a body pretty good
After we eat protein, it is digested, absorbed by the body and broken down to amino acids. As we move throughout the day especially with exercise, skeletal muscles are also broken down. The muscles undergo cell turn-over, where muscle synthesis and breakdown are occurring simultaneously. Muscle synthesis will dominate in the presence of amino acids. As a result of protein consumption, muscle mass is maintained and muscles rebuild and become stronger.
It makes sense that active people eat more protein but how about those who are sedentary? In 2013, a study reported that sedentary patients have muscle cell turn-over and still require protein intake. If there is no protein intake and ultimately no amino acids available, muscle synthesis stops and muscle breakdown dominates. In turn, muscles atrophy and lose its strength. Muscle wasting can prolong hospitalization and recovery times for sedentary people especially elderly and critically-ill patients. Muscles are a source of amino acids for the body. The body will tap into the amino acids (found in the muscle) to produce pre-albumin, albumin and immunoglobulins to help fight off infections and heal from injuries.
Stronger muscles help you lose weight and slim your waist
The stronger the muscles, the better. They help you power through your daily activities including activities that are demanding on our bodies such as lifting heavy equipment, holding your baby for a long period or running up several flights of stairs without rest. Subsequently, you will burn more calories because muscles are working at a higher capacity. Burning more calories is the same as burning more energy which is crucial to losing weight. The energy that is not burned gets stored in the fat cells. Fat cells increase in size resulting in larger fat tissues and ultimately a bigger waistline.