High-protein, low-carb diets are all the rage these days yet there’s a lot of misconceptions about why protein is so beneficial to lean muscle gain or weight loss programmes.

Whether you’re a body builder guzzling down protein shakes or a dieter relying on protein bars as meal replacements to lose unwanted weight, understanding why and how protein affects your body is crucial to how successful you’ll be in achieving your aims.


Protein & Weight Loss
Most nutritional experts will agree that calorie restriction is the most affective way to lose weight. However, along with weight loss, it is typically common to find an undesirable loss of muscle tissue when choosing this method due to a catabolic degradation of muscle proteins. In short, less protein equals less muscle and a metabolic slow down occurs, so once the diet has finished, a “rebound” often ensues when returning the “normal” food intake and the weight subsequently gets piled back on!

Consuming the correct amount and types of protein, especially when counting the calories, is vital to maintaining muscle protein synthesis whilst reducing body fat.

Protein is important to every cell in your body because it uses proteins to build and repair tissues. Your body also use proteins to make enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals and thus, protein is a highly important building block for bones muscle, cartilage, skin and blood health. Deprive the body if these vital nutrients and a degradation and breakdown of cell tissues occurs.

As with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a macronutrient, meaning the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals however, are micronutrients and thus are only needed in small quantities. But unlike fats or carbohydrates, the body cannot store proteins in the same way, and has no reserves to rely upon when needed. So consuming the correct level each day is crucial to ensure you do not overload on proteins and end up gaining weight.

So in short, consuming protein alone will not make you lose weight. The only fail safe way to lose unwanted excess pounds is to combine exercise with good sources of lean, slow-release proteins such a whey. By doing so, you’ll burn the unwanted fats in your body, whilst maintaining healthy lean muscle tissuesand will more than likely, be successful in reaching your target weight, not to mention avoid snacking and cravings during the day.


Protein & Muscle Gain
Unsurprisingly, the principles of muscle gain and protein consumption are basically the same as those that apply to weight loss. As protein is a building block for muscle tissue, the only difference is about ensuring your muscles have enough protein to cope with the extra exertions placed on them during and after intense weight training regimes.

So whilst those who are looking to lose weight need to maintain a carefully controlled level of protein intake along with cardiovascular exercise, those looking to build muscle mass need to ensure they consume enough protein to help muscles recover and grow as a result of intense weight lifting and resistance training as they will have burned a high level of calories and proteins during their workouts.