My name is Danijela Unkovich and I am an Auckland based student studying towards a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Human Nutrition and Physiology. I’ve been interested in health and nutrition for the longest time, and find the science behind dietary choices and health fascinating! I’m also a massive foodie and love getting creative in the kitchen! I started my Instagram account (@healthyalways) over a year ago now and it’s a place where I combine my love of health and nutrition with my foodie side, through sharing healthy recipe ideas and meal inspiration to the Instagram community.
When it comes to protein, there might be a tendency to think of it as the gym-bound man’s route to bulky muscles via powders, shakes and bars –but there’s a whole world of benefit beyond that! Did you know increasing your daily protein intake can be a great strategy in managing your weight more effectively and keeping yourself healthy?
Protein is a wonderfully filling nutrient, that is slow to vacate your stomach, which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer and prevents that gnawing hole in your midriff between meal times (you know the feeling!). It also takes longer to be digested, metabolised and converted into useable forms of energy within the body (a process known as thermogenesis), meaning this simple food addition to your meals helps burn more calories compared to carbohydrates and fats!
Adding more weight to the argument (pun intended!), keeping up an adequate intake of protein during weight loss efforts helps ensure we lose fat whilst maintaining muscle mass. As muscle is a highly metabolic tissue, the more we have the more calories we burn, while active or at rest. Together, these effects help benefit anyone watching their waistline, while keeping you at peak health in the process!
Incorporating protein into each meal is highly beneficial for weight management –and there are a couple of extra tricks to maximise its potential. A great way to help regular your appetite from the get-go, is to ensure you make use of the filling effects of protein at breakfast! This can be as easy as including a few scoops of protein powder into your morning shake or bowl of oats. One of my favourite quick morning fixes, that’s tasty and nutritious is INCA Coconut Whey blended with a banana, a handful of frozen berries, ice and almond milk.
It’s also important to ensure an adequate protein supply after a muscle-building workout. Add a few scoops into a shake, along with some high-energy fruit such as bananas, to ensure your glycogen stores (the sugars stored in your body for quick energy) are being refuelled too!
The amount of protein we need on a daily basis will differ depending on gender, age, weight, state of health, activity levels, and health goals. For us ladies to reach the recommended dietary intake of protein it’s recommended we consume a minimum of 0.75g/kg of protein a day. However, these recommendations increase in special cases like pregnancy and breastfeeding, to 1.00g/kg day during the second and third trimesters.
Leidy, H. J., Bossingham, M. J., Mattes, R. D., & Campbell, W. W. (2009). Increased dietary protein at breakfast leads to an intial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. British Journal of Nutrition, 798-803.
Ministry of Health. (2003). Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Adults: A background paper. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
Ministry of Health. (2006 (revised 2008)). Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Pregrant and Breatfeeding Women: A background paper. Wellington: Ministry of Health
Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R. D., Wolfe, R. R., Astrup, A., & Westerterp-Plantega, M. (2008). Protein, weight management, and satiety. The American Journal of Clincial Nutrition, 1558-1561.