What is protein?
Protein is much more than the piece of chicken on your plate or scoop of powder in your shaker. As well as being an important macronutrient in the diet, protein is also involved in bodily structures, function and regulation of metabolic processes.
Protein makes up part of muscle tissue, internal organs, tendons, skin, hair & nails. It is necessary for growth and repair of body tissue. It is required to make enzymes, antibodies, neurotransmitters and hormones. It has a role in blood clotting, transporting oxygen around the body and maintaining optimal fluid balance. In a fasted stated, or when insufficient carbohydrates are present, protein can also be used an energy source.
In addition to all that, protein is also important for promoting satiety, meaning it can keep you feeling fuller for longer. This is important if you are trying to lose or manage your weight. You may have heard talk about the thermic effect of food, and how protein burns more calories than carbohydrates or fats. This will be covered in a separate article looking at the components of energy expenditure.