Protein plays an incredible role in the human body. It stimulates more thermogenesis (heat production) than any other nutrient and is also the most filling nutrient. It provides the only building blocks your body uses to restore and repair itself. Specifically, your body uses protein to make and maintain your organs, muscles, skin, tissues, and your entire lean body mass. Protein is comprised of 22 amino acids. Nine of the amino acids are essential, which means they must be obtained from dietary sources because the body cannot manufacture them on its own.
A person suffering from protein deficiency can experience significant physical and emotional illness. Decreased libido, fatigue, confusion, irritability, as well as dry skin, brittle nails, and hair loss are all signs of a lack of protein in the diet.
Protein is absolutely necessary for building muscle and boosting the rate at which the body burns stored fat. In fact, the only way to build lean muscle mass is by eating sufficient quantities of protein. On the other hand, insufficient protein intake equals loss of muscle mass, a slowed metabolism, and an increase in the body's propensity to store fat. The more muscle mass
you have, the faster your metabolism becomes and the faster you burn fat.
One of the most important roles of protein is to stimulate the pancreas to produce the hormone glucagon, which unlocks stored fat so the body can begin burning excess fat for energy. It also acts as a wonderful source of ongoing, steady energy throughout the day. If you feel tired and sluggish you may not be consuming enough protein on a regular basis. Protein, like healthy fat, has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar and provides the body with the long-lasting, steady energy it needs. Sugar cravings are the body's way of looking for foods that provide it with quick,
easily metabolized energy.
In terms of weight loss, protein is extremely helpful for stabilizing our blood sugar and keeping our body in check with what it actually needs instead of bringing us to a binge state. It can help repair damaged muscles and in that same respect, help the muscle burn more fat. Some foods that contain a significant amount of protein include nuts, beans, legumes, meat, and eggs. The most important thing to consider when eating a protein-rich diet is to choose lean proteins and limit protein foods with significantly high "bad" fat content (i.e. saturated fats, trans fats, etc.).