There are many reasons beyond "need" to increase protein intake. It can help boost body composition and performance related results. Heres how;

  • Increased Thermic Effect of Feeding - While all macronutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) require metabolic processing for digestion, absorption, and storage or oxidation (burning off), the thermic effect of protein is significantly higher than that of carbs or fats. In fact, protein requires 25-30% of the energy it provides just for digestion etc while carbs only requires 6-8% and fat requires 2-3%. That means that eating protein is actually thermogenic and can lead to a higher metabolic rate. This means greater fat loss when dieting and less fat gain during hypercaloric diets.
  • Increased Glucagon - Protein consumption increases the concentrations of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon is responsible for antagonizing the effects of insulin in adipose tissue, leading to greater fat mobilization. It also decreases the amounts and activities of the enzymes responsible for making and storing fat in adipose and liver cells. Again this leads to greater fat loss during dieting and less fat gain during over feeding.
  • Increased IGF-1 - Protein and amino acid supplementation has been shown to increase the IGF-1 response to both exercise and feeding. Since IGF-1 is an anabolic hormone that's related to muscle growth, another advantage associated with consuming more protein is more muscle growth when overfeeding and/or muscle sparing when dieting.
  • Reduction in Cardiovascular Risk - Several studies have shown that increasing the percentage of protein in the diet (from 11% to 23%) while decreasing the percentage of carbs (from 63% to 48%) lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and triglyceride concentrations while increasing the level of HDL cholesterol concentrations (the good one)
  • Improved Weight-Loss Profile - Research from Layman and colleagues has demonstrated that reducing the carbohydrate ratio from 3.5-1 to 1.4-1 increases body fat loss, spares muscle mass, reduces triglyceride concentrations, improves satiety and improves blood glucose management
  • Increased Protein Turnover - by increasing protein production and protein breakdown, a high protein diet helps you get rid of the old muscle more quickly and build up new, more functional muscle to take its place.
  • Increased Provision of Auxiliary Nutrients - Although the benefits above have related specifically to protein and amino acids, it's important to recognise that we don't just eat protein and amino acids - we eat food. Therefore, high protein diets often provide auxiliary nutrients that could enhance performance and/or muscle growth. These nutrients include creatine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and conjugated linoleic acid (C.L.A). This illustrates the need to get most of your protein from food and not just supplements alone.

So, looking over those benefits, isnt it clear that an increase in protein intake would be advantageous for most people's training goals!

Then much protein would you need to take on for optimization rather than "need" ?

Based on many peoples experiences that level is around 1g per pound of lean body mass.

Protein is the most under-rated nutrient, or at least the one that is under consumed by most people. Make sure you get enough.

Talk to you soon