Is More Protein The Answer To A Toned Body?

Protein seems to be the key ingredient in living the most optimal, healthy lifestyle. Everywhere you look, protein is being pushed as the ultimate way tone up, slim down and get healthier fast. Not to mention, loads of unhealthy foods are being pumped full of it (ice cream, crisps and cookies have now all had a protein-makeover). So is it really all that simple? Is eating your weight in protein really the answer to your 6-pack needs and ultra rockin' slim body? Sorry, no. Don't get us wrong, protein is essential for the building of muscle and an integral part of diet overall. Nutritionist Naomi Mead said: "Protein is a component of every cell in our body, and is a building block for our bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, nails and hair. It's also vital for muscle repair and recovery, hormone production, brain function and sleep. Eating enough protein also helps keep our blood sugar levels balanced by preventing insulin spikes (the same ones behind those 4pm energy slumps, mood swings, and intense sugar cravings), and supports healthy weight management. In addition, protein is extremely satiating, which means eating it keeps us fuller for longer." So basically, we need protein for A LOT of reasons, not just for toning up. In other words, you need protein - but that alone isn't going to make you toned. If you're an average person who eats fairly well but doesn't exercise much, you're likely already getting enough protein in your diet. (In case you were unsure, the recommended daily amount is 46g for women and 56g for men) The big exception to this are vegetarians and vegans, who do need to be more aware of where they're getting protein from, as the best and most common sources tend to be animal products. As for us workout-a-holics, our protein intake should increase just as our sweat sessions do. Working out creates tiny tears your muscle fibres and protein helps builds them back up again. Hence why the new accessibility protein powders, shakes and crisps seem so appealing. Post-gym, you can get a quick hit of muscle-supporting protein on the go,without all of the cooking hassle. The problem is, while these foods are full of protein, they're just as full of sugars, fillers, sweeteners and a bunch of other stuff your swore out of your diet. Try to opt for a 100% natural protein powder  to avoid added fillers, sugar and sweeteners. If the label has a list long of unfamiliar ingredients and chemical-sounding names, just put it back on the shelf. Vegan protein powders such as pea or hemp protein can also be a great way of boosting protein intake for vegans and vegetarians. Not in to protein powders? That's cool, try these natural sources: Lentils Cottage cheese Greek yogurt Meat Fish Shellfish Seeds Eggs Tofu Beans

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