You may have noticed that eating junk food leaves you feeling hungry, while healthier, carb- and protein-rich foods actually make you feel full. Why does eating or drinking protein fill you up so fast? It has to do with hormones, and it’s actually probably a good thing.
PROTEIN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL
In many ways, protein is the foundation of your existence. Not exaggerating, either. Proteins in your body are responsible for building and maintaining your cells, which form your tissues. They’re responsible for building and repairing your muscles. They also play a role in producing hormones, which is exactly why you fill up faster when you’re eating protein compared to other nutrients.
Hormones are the reason you start feeling full after you’ve eaten most of a decent-sized meal. Specifically, satiety hormones, activated by proteins, are released into the bloodstream so your body can tell you, “Hey man, no more chicken wings, all right? I’m good.”
Eating to the point of fullness isn’t bad. In fact, depending on your training goals, filling yourself up with protein might actually do you some good.
WHY FULLER IS BETTER
It’s pretty normal to finish an intense workout feeling ravenous. While reaching for a protein bar or mixing up a protein shake isn’t the only thing you can do to replenish your energy after exercising, there’s a pretty good reason why it works to your advantage.
The hungrier you are, the more likely you are to eat way more than you need to – that, or you end up chowing down on foods that are of little to no use to your body. When you finish a workout, the last thing you want to do is try to fill yourself up on empty calories, most of which won’t do you much good in the long-term.
If you eat or drink protein when you’re hungry though, and watch how much you have, you’ll end up getting just the right amount of quality nutrition your body needs without as much temptation to go overboard.
Why is this so awesome? It can help you lose weight, if that’s one of your goals. It can train you to pay more attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, which many people ignore without realizing it. You also get to eat good food, promote muscle growth and repair, and stock up on good energy all at the same time.
So what does this mean for you? Make protein the most important part of your post-workout meals and/or snacks. There’s plenty of time throughout the rest of the day to focus on your fat and carb intake. If you’re somebody who could eat half the food in the refrigerator after you get home from the gym, and you don’t like that, eat more protein. It has more benefits than you might think.