I wrote this article for a few magazine publications back in 2012, with a view to supporting Health & Wellness in the run up to the London Olympics and beyond. I feel the crux of the article still resonates today, although the further I become absorbed into #macnutritionuni the more I could update and detail with empirical evidence based articles – but for now that over complicates things.
WHAT DOES THE WORD PROTEIN MEAN TO YOU?
Do think of the Akins diet? Red meat headlines about cancer? Bodybuilders? Too much will harm my kidneys? There is more protein in broccoli than steak?Protein is getting a really bad press and is totally misunderstood.
It should be a your best friend!
THE BIG ISSUE
How many women and men do you know who are happy with their bodies? Body weight has an enormous impact on the psyche and perception of self: how we look and feel about ourselves, how we perceive our ideal self, how we present ourselves to the world. Our sedentary, fast food culture has given rise to the obesity epidemic, due in large to the food we eat. We take in fewer calories than we did at the beginning of the century yet we still gain weight. The first line of defence in the battle of the bingo wings remains “THE DIET” – we have all been exposed to the fads and fashions of dieting: The Grape Diet, The Atkins Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Low Fat Diet, slimming pills, replacement drinks, fat burners to mention a few. But diets don’t work, at least not for long; food becomes the enemy as yet another diet fails. Anger, resentment, depression, low self-esteem and lack of confidence set in. The alternative is hours in the gym or pounding the streets to reduce the muffin top, tone the bum, anything to get the glossy mag “perfect body”. A healthy eating and exercise plan should not mean giving up on favourite foods, going on a near starvation diet or joining a gym. It means regularly making healthy eating choices, cutting down and replacing certain items in our diet with alternatives and exercising daily. What if a simple change in the amount and type of protein you ate could help you feel and look differently?
FEEL FULLER FOR LONGER
"Falling Asleep in the Afternoon? Forget Caffeine - it's Protein you need"
It is mid-afternoon and you’re struggling to stay awake at your desk. You need a boost – so it’s time to load up with caffeine,sugar or both, right? Well you’ll get a short term energy surge, but that will be followed by a crash – and sugary snacks will increase body fat, as if you didn’t know! It is commonly called the post lunch or post dinner dip, leading to the release of hungry hormones urging you to get a sugar fix. There’s a better answer: new research has found that consuming protein, switches on cells that stimulate the brain to reduce this urge to sugar snack. Not only that but is also encourages your body to burn its fat stores.
THE STUFF OF LIFE ITSELF
Protein comes from a Greek word meaning “of prime importance”. That says it all.
Protein is the building block of life and made up of amino acids, essential to life and fundamental to enabling you and me and all living things to exist. If you looked inside yourself you’d see that after water, it’s the most abundant component of our bodies.
"Prime Importance Repairs and develops healthy muscles and bones Creates Hormones - the messengers that control many bodily functions, growth and appetite Produces enzymes - which control lots of our bodies reactions like digestion Builds keratin and collagen to keep your skin younger for longer"
This amazing nutrient has clear benefits which help you to get more out of life. It provides the body with energy, but unlike carbohydrates and fat, protein also has a structural role making up tissues such as our muscles, bones and organs. This enables growth, development, maintenance, and allows us to mend our own bodies.
YOUNGER FOR LONGER
But that’s just the ‘now’ bit; there’s a long-term point too: most people’s muscle mass slowly declines from their 40s and 50s – or even from mid 30s for some – so maintaining a healthy body can really help you to keep active, to live an independent life. Even more importantly to us it also supports keratin (skin and hair) and collagen (elasticity and connective tissue), which keeps us looking younger for longer.
HOW DOES PROTEIN WORK IN OUR BODIES?
"Whey protein is not only great for weight loss but has also been shown to encourage healthy cholesterol levels, to support bone mineral density and to bolster the immune system". "With the added benefits of supporting healthy nails, skin and hair - it really is a girls best friend".
When we take in the protein we need, our bodies break it down into smaller molecules – those amino acids we mentioned, which then travel via our bloodstream to where they are needed. Think of your body as being an amino pool. Any exercise we do – from pushing a buggy to pushing the vacuum – involves your muscles. Nature decided that the best way to keep muscles in good condition is to cause little ruptures or tears to occur in your muscle fibres. Don’t worry – it’s supposed to happen! Your body cleverly recognises the need to repair these ruptures, so ‘dips into that pool’ for the amino acids to get your muscles back into shape for the next bout of chasing after the kids or the dog. Protein is absolutely vital to our lives and for anyone who aims to remain active to enjoy life, it’s worth taking… seriously. The issue is how much and the types of protein. That’s where the wonders of whey can help you.
INTRODUCING WHEY – Performance Food
Your body makes a deal with you – to look after you and to keep you healthy, part of that deal is that you look after it too. This deal involves good food with plenty of nutrients, a bit of activity and a little TLC! Protein wise it should be of the purest, highest quality. You need to ensure you still get the majority of your protein from whole food sources such as eggs, poultry, beef, and fish as they provide the essential amino acids, you can use Vegan and Vegetarian sources but that raises another question about balanced nutritional requirements (e.e. Quinoa – circa 8g per cup). (RDA of protein for women aged 19 to 70 is 46 grams) But not all proteins are equal: some don’t have enough of all the essential amino acids to satisfy your body’s needs. This is where Whey becomes interesting, it is a remarkable food which naturally contains lots of all 9 of the essential amino acids your body needs every day and 11 that are classed as non essential.
LITTLE MISS MUFFET
"The proteins found in human breast milk are around 60% whey. No wonder baby formula milks are now fortified with whey protein"
Remember little Miss Muffet who sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey? Well she wasn’t a 300lb Bodybuilder!! Whey is a natural liquid that is comes from milk during cheese making, not sure if spiders really like it though! It was a health tonic given to the poorly to support their recover. The benefits of whey have been known for centuries, Hippocrates prescribed whey to his patients in 400BC for its healing properties – it’s not the latest celebrity fad.
EQ IS THE BEST WHEY – SCRUMMY TASTE
EQ Proteins provide the highest quality protein, specifically the high satiety types which will curb appetite on a low calorie healthy eating plan. It will boost your metabolism to help drop fat and tastes scrummy. At home, at work, or on the move, whey is the perfect high quality protein source for a quick on the go mid- morning, mid-afternoon, and before night time snack. It is absolutely brilliant mixed with cold milk or cold water. And there’s a lot to be said for whizzing whey into a smoothie with fruit. The ways in which you use it are only blunted by your imagination – slip it in your porridge, add it to our baking or mix with yoghurt as a fast convenient healthy snack. EQ Protein fills you up, is delicious and healthy, and helps you cut out that sneaky mid- afternoon snacking – pass me my shaker ☺ We also have a Vegan protein range coming out shortly to cater for all tastes.