Why are some diets high in protein?
Protein has several functions in the body. Some of the beneficial functions of protein can be grouped into two categories: Diet related and body related.
Diet related functions of protein are vast however, I am going to discuss three in detail. Protein has been shown to increase satiety, meaning you stay fuller for longer by eating protein. By eating more protein people feel less inclined to eat food in general. This is the underlying assumption for high protein diets, the ingestion of protein counters the effects of eating less food. It is important to understand that this is separate than the effects protein has on metabolism. Protein increases metabolism, and decreases hunger. This sounds counter intuitive, so it is important to remember satiety is a feeling, while metabolism is a state. Metabolism is high or low regardless of how a person feels, the same cannot be said of satiety.
Metabolism increases in the body when protein is ingested because it leads to muscle mass increases. This makes sense because as the body becomes bigger it burns more fuel, thus it takes in more energy.
The last point I wanted to make about protein is that it does not change blood sugar levels. This is especially important for diabetics. Proteins are not broken down into sugars like carbohydrates, they are broken down into amino acids. These molecules have almost no effect on blood sugar levels. When eating a huge amount of protein it is possible that some insulin is needed however this is a small amount.
In conclusion protein effects diets in different ways. Proteins help build muscles which leads to an increase in metabolism, and it decreases people’s appetite. Both of these attributes are extremely important for dieters because they effect how much weight is lost. Another important aspect of protein is it’s minimal effects of blood sugar levels. This is especially important for diabetics.