7 Reasons Why You Need Protein Even if You Don’t Work Out

If you’re a regular reader of The Hustle, you may have seen our earlier blog, where we talked about how much protein you really need to consume each day for optimal health. In that blog, nutritionist Jenn Gargiulo, RDN, CSSD, recommended active people should consume somewhere between .55 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day; that’s between 77 and 140 grams for a 140-pound woman and between 99 and 180 grams for a 180-pound man, leaning toward the higher end of the range if you’re activity level is particularly high.

That is significantly higher than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, which is just .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. That’s just 50 grams per day for a 140-pound woman and 65 grams for a 180-pound man. But according to a summary published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in June 2015, the general consensus among nutritionists is that a higher protein intake would benefit even the non-exercising population, from both a weight-management and metabolic health and aging perspective.

Protein is used by the body to support immunity, to produce hormones and enzymes, and to build bones, cartilage, muscles, skin, and blood. The summary study concluded the RDA should be increased to .54 grams per pound per day, which would equal 75 grams per day for our 140-pound woman and 97 grams for our 180-pound man; that is, these nutritionists uniformly believed the recommended daily protein intake for non-athletes should really be much closer to the low end of what nutritionists recommend for athletes than it should be to the official RDA.

Many non-athletes resist adding protein to their diet for fear that it will make them gain weight. But lean protein sources, like VitaHustle Vegan and Whey protein powders, with up to 25 grams of protein per serving and fewer than 150 calories, will actually do the opposite.

Here are seven reasons to increase the amount of lean protein in your diet, even if you don’t work out.

1. Eating Adequate protein can reduce appetite and hunger levels

Because protein consumption reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increases levels of peptide YY, a gut hormone that makes you feel full. This can also reduce cravings and the desire to have a late-night snack. Protein can also fire up dopamine receptors, which wards off depression that can also lead to cravings for high-sugar and high-fat foods.

Eating more protein can increase your metabolism and your ability to burn fat

Because protein has a 15-20 percent higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fats; that is, the body burns more calories during the process of digestions. In one 2015 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a high-protein group burned 260 calories more per day than a low-protein group, which is approximately equivalent to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise or half an hour of high-intensity exercise.

Protein consumption is necessary for healthy bones

Both for optimal bone growth in children and the maintenance of healthy bone as we age, which lowers the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Bone mineral density, which is indicative of bone strength, increases with dietary protein intake.

High protein diets can lower blood pressure

Boosting heart health and lowering the risk of strokes and kidney disease. A higher-protein diet encourages weight loss, which helps regulate blood pressure, and also lowers insulin levels, which prevents sodium retention and lowers blood pressure.

Protein consumption helps the body repair after injury

Which is important for athletes and non-athletes, as we all twist ankles, pull muscles, cut ourselves, require surgeries, etc. Protein is necessary for the repair and rebuilding of damaged tissue and can help control the inflammatory response.

Protein encourages healthy hair and nail growth

Especially when from sources that are high in the B vitamin biotin, such as meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.Biotin increases the production of the structural protein keratin, which forms our nails and hair.

Protein consumption can lead to healthier skin

Because protein is broken down by the body into the amino acids it needs to produce collagen, which is essentialfor skin elasticity and structure.

Lindsay Berra

Lindsay Berra

Sports Journalist - http://lindsayberra.com/

Lindsay Berra is a New Jersey-based freelance sports journalist who contributes regularly to the Sports Business Journal, Baseball America, ESPNW, Fast Company, Men’s Health, Bodybuilding.com and other outlets. At MLB.com and MLB Network from 2013 through 2018, she established herself as an authority on baseball fitness and injuries. As a senior writer for ESPN Magazine from 1999 through 2012, she covered primarily ice hockey, tennis, baseball and the Olympics. Lindsay graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she played varsity softball and men’s club ice hockey. She is a Level 1 CrossFit coach, triathlete, avid hiker and yogi.