Do you feel like you're not getting enough protein in your diet?
If so, you're probably right. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging found that most Americans do not consume enough protein. This can be a huge issue, as protein deficiency can lead to muscle loss, hair loss, fatigue, fluid retention, and hunger.
So, how do you make sure you're getting enough protein and staying healthy?
We suggest switching to a plant-based protein. What's so great about keeping your protein plant-based?
Check out this guide to discover the top reasons to switch to a plant-based protein diet.
One of the best reasons to switch to a plant-based protein diet is because it's easy on the stomach.
If you've ever felt bloated and uncomfortable after consuming a whey-based protein shake, then you may have some degree of lactose intolerance. Many people don't know this, but whey proteins actually derive from milk. And, considering that 65 percent of the population has some degree of intolerance to lactose, there's a good chance you'd benefit from staying away from dairy products.
The great thing about plant-based proteins is that they're free of any milk products, including lactose. Plant proteins also contain fiber and other digestive enzymes that help your stomach process food and move it along properly.
Although meat does provide your body with sufficient protein, excess consumption of meat can lead to all kinds of health issues. Health issues that are associated with excessive consumption of meat include:
By changing to a plant-based protein, you lower your risk of these potential health problems.
Many people worry that plant-based proteins don't provide your body with a "complete" source of protein. A complete protein is one that contains all of the amino acids that your body needs.
Although not every source of plant protein is complete in itself, the liver is capable of storing amino acids, so you don't need to worry about combining complementary proteins at each meal. By eating a variety of plant proteins such as soy foods, legumes, and grains, you can make sure your body is getting the proper amino acid balance.
And, if you feel like your body is missing essential amino acids, you can always supplement with a protein shake.
Another major benefit of plant-based proteins is that they tend to be safer than other sources of proteins. In fact, many whey protein brands have been called out for containing high levels of deadly metals such as lead, mercury, or arsenic.
Additionally, the dairy cows from which whey protein derives are fed genetically modified organisms, which contain high levels of heavy metals. Although manufacturers know that GMOs are not a healthy choice for cows, they prefer them due to their affordability.
Using GMOs not only puts the welfare of animals at risk, but it also puts your own welfare at risk. For example, certain types of cancers and blood vessel damage have been linked to arsenic consumption. Additionally, consumption of mercury can lead to brain cell damage and cadmium can damage your DNA.
Because plant-based proteins are made from things like hemp seeds and peas, those who consume them are at a lower risk of consuming these dangerous metals. If you can, try to find out from manufacturers if they perform checks on heavy metals on their protein powders.
Many people think that switching to plant-based proteins will slow down your muscle gains. However, it's actually the opposite.
It's important to understand that your body can only consume so much protein at once. So, even if you ingest 25 grams of whey protein, your body may only be able to absorb 20 grams of that protein. On the other hand, if you consume 25 grams of pea protein, your body is more likely to fully absorb all of it, therefore leading to better results.
In fact, one 12-week study found that a group of men who lift weights regularly and consumed 50 grams of pea protein each day gained the same amount of muscle as whey protein consumers.
When it comes to appetite and weight control, not all proteins are created equal.
While consuming enough protein can help you feel full and therefore lead to weight loss, excess protein is usually stored as fat. Therefore, this can lead to weight gain over time, especially if you're also consuming too many calories while increasing your protein intake.
Luckily, plant-based proteins can help make sure you don't gain weight. This is because studies have shown that plant-based proteins are better for correct brain functioning. This means that when consuming plant-based proteins, your brain is better able to signal to your body that you're full. This will help you say no to that extra serving at dinnertime and will ultimately prevent your weight from jumping around.
Last but not least, we can't forget to mention that plant-based protein sources aren't just good for your body, they're also good for the environment.
Meat production can take a heavy toll on fossil fuel supplies, land resources, and water resources. Not to mention, animals are often mistreated as manufacturers try to get as much out of them as possible. By switching to plant-based protein sources, you can rest easy knowing that you're doing what you can to protect the environment. In fact, studies show that plant-based proteins produce only one-tenth of the carbon emissions that meat-based proteins do.
Now that you understand the benefits of plant-based protein, it's time for you to make the switch. A good place to start is with the right plant-based protein powder.