Protein for energy

Have we got you interested with the word energy in the title? Would you like the inside secret on eating for energy? We often hear about the power of protein to increase strength and mobility and keep you fuller for longer, assisting a healthy weight. But did you know there’s a link between protein and energy levels?

A taste of stamina

Protein is not directly related to an instant pick me up like an espresso coffee with caffeine.  In fact, it is a far better story than that.  You see protein is intricately involved in energy metabolism, particularly providing you with a  sustained energy release.  Research indicates that consuming protein levels at the high end of the spectrum may be beneficial in providing a sustained release of energy and enhanced feelings of vitality.  Now doesn’t that sound good?


Body fuel

So just how does protein provide body fuel?  Well, there are many levels to consider but some key factors are:

Insulin release – is stimulated by protein intake.  So spreading your protein intake throughout the day means that instead of experiencing highs and lows of blood glucose levels, your energy release is sustained. Even better is the evidence that dairy proteins, especially whey proteins, appear to have one of the strongest insulin responses. This positive whey protein response is thought to be through the high concentrations of branched chain amino acids (BCAA)  and also influenced by a faster speed of digestion.

Lower GI – or glycemic index occurs when protein foods are added to a meal with carbohydrates.  A meal with a lower GI will keep you feeling fuller for longer and also provide a more sustained release of blood glucose levels to keep you energised.

Protein-energy credit

So not only will protein help you feel more vital, it will actually assist you to get more out of your daily living and exercise.  Global consumer research by Fonterra Nutrition has revealed that 53% of healthy agers believe mobility, muscle strength and the ability to stay active have a higher impact on their physical health than cardiovascular health – despite 34% of respondents currently suffering from cardiovascular issues.

Science is now telling us that our bodies need regular intakes of protein throughout the day.  Think of your body as a parking meter that needs regular top-ups to stay switched on.  With full credit your meter happily ticks along for a few hours getting all the benefits protein can offer.  And it you want to stay in the zone it needs topping up again before the credit expires.


When was your last nutritious protein top up? Read more of our tips for getting your protein pep up in:


By Emma Stirling APD