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How to Increase Protein Intake in 3 Ways

by Mara Welty July 03, 2023 6 min read

 How to Increase Protein Intake in 3 Ways

Protein is a vital component of our diets — and it’s critical to many bodily functions, helping to increase lean muscle, support bone health, facilitate healing and boost your metabolism. Protein may also help you lose weight naturally: Increasing your daily protein intake has been found to curb cravings and reduce hunger levels.

That said, you may be wondering how to increase protein intake. 

It’s actually quite easy. Many foods contain the essential proteins your body needs; however, proteins can also supplement pre-made smoothies and shakes to deliver a convenient way to support your overall health.

Importance of Protein in a Balanced Diet

Protein is an essential macronutrient that’s often called the building block of life. It’s composed of amino acids, which are vital for the synthesis of enzymes, hormones, antibodies and other molecules that perform essential functions of the body. 

Accordingly, when consumed, protein can help your body repair cells. It’s critical to your growth during developmental stages and helps facilitate the maintenance of body tissues. And it’s found throughout the body, including but not limited to your:

  • Muscles
  • Skin
  • Bones
  • Hair 

Furthermore, protein is essential for proper immune function. Antibodies, which are proteins, are key components of the immune system and help protect the body against diseases. Protein also plays a crucial role in the production of immune cells, such as white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off harmful pathogens. Insufficient protein intake can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses and impairing the body's ability to recover.   

Generally, the amount of protein your body needs will depend on your body composition. According to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), adults should consume seven grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. So, a 200-pound adult should eat around 70 grams of protein a day.

NAM also states that it’s adequate to calculate your optimal protein intake based on the amount of calories you eat each day — protein should comprise 10 percent to 35 percent of your daily calories. For example, if you eat 2,000 calories a day, your food intake should consist of 200 to 700 calories of protein. 

Very few healthy adults in the United States have a protein deficiency; however, the risk of developing one is higher in those who experience food insecurity. 

That said, a high-protein diet is believed to offer many health benefits. As touched on above, protein can help:

  • Reduce your appetite – Protein is incredibly filling, and you don’t have to eat a large amount to feel full. Why does this happen? When eaten, protein reduces levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which is known to increase feelings of hunger. It may also increase levels of another hormone, peptide YY, which contributes to feelings of fullness.
  • Increase your muscle mass – All athletes know that protein is the key to muscle growth. That’s because it’s the literal building block of your muscles. A high-protein diet is the best option for those who regularly participate in strength training, as well as those looking to reduce the risk of muscle loss. Protein may also help prevent age-related muscle deterioration. 
  • Support your bone health – Protein may benefit bone health, particularly as you age. In fact, high-protein diets may be especially beneficial to aging women, whose bones become more fragile and at risk of fractures with age. 
  • Mitigate late-night snacking – A study published found that increasing your protein intake to 25 percent of your daily calories may reduce cravings by 60 percent, particularly at night. More specifically, you’ll want to tack on a high-protein breakfast to prevent potentially harmful snacking later in the day. 
  • Facilitate fat-burning – Protein can play a significant role in facilitating fat-burning and promoting a leaner body composition. When you consume protein-rich foods, your body requires more energy to digest and metabolize them compared to carbohydrates and fats. This process is known as the thermic effect of food. The increased energy expenditure during protein digestion can boost your metabolism, leading to an elevated calorie burn throughout the day.
  • Weight loss support – Protein has several properties that can aid in body weight management. First, protein promotes feelings of fullness and satiety, helping to curb hunger and prevent overeating. Second, protein has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fats, which means your body expends more energy to digest and process it. This increased calorie burn can support weight loss efforts by creating a calorie deficit. Lastly, protein helps preserve lean muscle mass during weight loss, which is important for maintaining a higher metabolic rate and ensuring that the weight loss primarily comes from fat rather than muscle.
  • Repair injuries – Whether you’ve experienced a muscle strain, a ligament sprain, or a bone fracture, protein plays a vital role in the healing process. It provides the necessary amino acids that are building blocks for new tissue synthesis, aiding in the repair of damaged cells and tissues. Additionally, protein supports the production of collagen, which forms the structure of tendons, ligaments and skin, helping to strengthen and repair injured areas.

3 Ways to Increase Protein Intake

Wondering how to increase your daily protein intake? Fortunately, it’s relatively easy. Proteins are found in many natural food sources and supplements within the health and wellness space.

#1 Add High-Protein Foods Into Your Diet

When preparing your meals, include a variety of high-protein foods to experience the benefits of meal prepping. Animal-based protein sources include:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Turkey 
  • Beef 
  • Fish 
  • Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese

For those who are vegetarian or vegan, there are also numerous plant-based protein sources that you can introduce into your diet. These include:

  • Legumes, such as chickpeas and black beans
  • Soy products, such as tofu and edamame
  • Seitan
  • Quinoa
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Nuts, such as peanuts, almonds and cashews 

These protein sources are incredibly nutritious, too. Generally, the nutritional value of proteins is measured by how many amino acids they contain, which can include:

  • Essential amino acids, such as histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine
  • Non-essential amino acids, such as alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine and tyrosine

Arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, proline and tyrosine are also considered conditionally essential amino acids, which means that they may become essential in certain circumstances, like periods of illness or stress when the body is unable to create sufficient amounts of the amino acids.

Animal products have all the essential amino acids and are thus called a “complete protein” source. Soy products, quinoa and amaranth (a leafy green) are also considered complete protein sources. Plant proteins, however, do not contain each essential amino acid and are considered “incomplete proteins.”

As a vegan or vegetarian, you can ensure you receive all essential amino acids by eating a diverse diet filled with plant proteins, as well as grains.

#2 Incorporate Protein Supplements

Those who only eat plant proteins can also utilize protein supplements to conveniently increase their protein intake. Although, those who eat animal proteins can benefit from protein supplements, too.

Overall, they offer a quick and easy solution for individuals who may struggle to meet their protein requirements through whole food sources alone, and they can sometimes be used as a meal replacement. 

Generally, there are three types of protein supplements:

  • Whey protein powder – Whey protein powder comes from milk. As such, it can be considered a type of animal protein. While those with lactose intolerance may find it difficult to digest, it’s widely used for its potential benefits. Studies have shown that whey protein can help build muscle mass when paired with strength and resistance training.
  • Casein protein powder – This type of protein also comes from milk. However, it’s more easily digested. While not as effective as whey protein, casein protein is still considered an adequate choice if you’re looking to strengthen your muscles and increase lean muscle mass. 
  • Plant-based protein powder – Plant-based protein powders, such as pea protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein and mixed-plant protein (containing a blend of plant sources), are ideal for those with animal-free diets. These organic superfoods powders are high in fiber and essential nutrients.

#3 Prepare Your Meals Ahead of Time

Whether you opt for a high-protein meal made with whole foods or a nutrient- and protein-rich smoothie before work, meal prepping in advance can ensure that you check all the boxes when it comes to increasing your protein intake. You’ll want a well-rounded diet filled with:

  • Lean meats, fish, or plant-based proteins
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Healthy fats

INVIGOR8: Your High-Protein Grab-and-Go Meal Replacement 

You no longer need to wonder how to increase your protein intake — preparing high-protein whole foods and protein supplements is an effortless way to add protein to your diet and experience its benefits. 

At INVIGOR8, we offer All-In-One Superfood Shakes made with whey protein powder and a collection of clean and nutritious protein powder ingredients, including green veggie complex, essential fatty acid complex, digestive enzyme complex and more. Our nutrient-rich formula helps to control hunger, build lean muscle and support healthy weight loss, all while treating your tastebuds to delicious flavors like Triple Chocolate Brownie and French Vanilla.

Take your first sip today. 

Sources:

Healthline. 10 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat More Protein.

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Protein.

Healthline. 14 Easy Ways to Increase Your Protein Intake.

Better Health Channel. Protein.

Healthline. Best Protein Powder.

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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