If becoming "leaner and meaner" is at the top of your summer "to do" list, you might want to consider increasing your protein intake. Many weight loss studies have shown that men and women who follow higher protein diets lose significantly more body weight (up to 53% more) than those who eat only modest amounts of protein. Eating a higher protein diet also helps with weight maintenance after you lose weight.
If you're hitting the gym regularly, it's important to get a sufficient amount of protein to ensure that your time and efforts will be productive there, too. Protein promotes muscular adaptation from exercise in several ways. The most important of these is the repair of exercise-induced damage to muscle fibers, which increases both muscular size and strength.
Proteins Constitute The Bulk Of Muscle Tissue.
Protein also plays a key role in supporting a stronger metabolism. Because the body has to work harder to utilize protein than fats or carbohydrates, it expends more energy (burns more calories) while digesting a high-protein meal. There are satiety benefits, too. Because protein is more filling, those who eat high-protein diets tend to eat less over the course of a day.
Remember: Because muscles undergo a constant cycle of breakdown and rebuilding, muscular growth requires the synthesis of enough protein. In general, consuming less than one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day can contribute to fatigue, delayed recovery, and a less-than-optimal body composition.
A Lack Of Protein Can Affect Your Mood Too
You need amino acids from protein to make key neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, that affect your mood. These include serotonin and dopamine. Not consuming enough can lead to mood disturbances such as depressive symptoms or anxiety. One study of adults experiencing depression found that more than a third of adults who followed a high-protein diet experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms of depression.
Could Your Health And Performance Benefit From Eating More Protein?
With the demands of budgeting time for busy work schedules, family life and exercise, many active men and women find it hard to get enough. Making a high-quality protein shake or supplementing your diet with essential amino acids can help to satisfy your body's protein needs. Making a batch of protein bars is another way to ensure that you have a quick and easy protein source around when you need it. Scroll down for a simple, 5-ingredient recipe.
Homemade Protein Bar Recipe
Why make your own protein bars when there’s at least two dozen different brands to choose from on the grocery store shelf? Finding a high-quality bar with minimal ingredients and a well-balanced mix of macronutrients at a reasonable price is like finding the needle in a haystack.
You don’t need to spend lots of money on expensive, pre-packaged bars when you can easily make your own with some simple, everyday ingredients (that you probably already have at home). This DIY recipe features just five ingredients and takes about five minutes to make. As an added bonus, these tasty, well-balanced, and hunger-satisfying bars don’t require any refrigeration so they can be packed for travel. In warmer months, however, they will store better in the refrigerator.
Line an 8 x 8 or 8 x 10 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the nut/seed butter with the sweetener until combined. Mix your wet and dry ingredients together to make a thick batter. The batter may be a bit sticky. Adjusting your mixture with a small amount of coconut flour can help. If the batter is too thick, add some additional sweetener or nut butter to create your preferred texture and taste.
Transfer the protein bar batter to the lined pan and press firmly in place. Using a silicone spatula makes this process easier. Refrigerate. Once firm, cut into bite-size squares or larger bars.
Melt the chocolate chips and pour over the squares or bars. Refrigerate until firm. It may be necessary to separate the squares/bars again using a sharp knife once the chocolate layer sets. Store in a glass, air-tight container. You can double the recipe and refrigerate or freeze a batch to keep them fresh longer.
Pure maple syrup and raw honey can be substituted for the monk fruit syrup. There are endless variations to try: add some vanilla, almond, or pistachio extract; mix in some chopped nuts or (unmelted) chocolate chips; swap hazelnut or almond flour for the coconut flour. The options are almost endless!