Here’s Exactly What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Protein

You probably know that protein is kind of a big deal. Protein’s superstar power comes from its 20 different amino acids, which help you rev your metabolism, form and repair muscle, and grow healthy hair and nails. Your body naturally produces 11 amino acids and the other 9 are known as “essential amino acids.” Your body doesn’t make these, so that’s where your healthy meals come in!

You can get protein from a wide range of foods — from lean meat, seafood, and eggs to plant-based sources like quinoa, beans, hemp, and legumes…and of course your plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO Tone It Up Protein!

Every time you eat protein, you’re fueling and nourishing your beautiful body. Today we’re celebrating this powerhouse nutrient and sharing all the science-y details about its health benefits. 

The Perks Of Protein

Makes you feel satisfied

When your brain is telling you you need chocolate and pasta like right now, it’s most likely ghrelin (aka the “hunger hormone”) talking. Ghrelin is a hormone produced mainly in your stomach and small intestine. It circulates in your bloodstream and sends signals to your brain that stimulate appetite. Plus, ghrelin has been shown to promote fat storage. The good news: Studies find that adding protein to your meals can lower levels of this hormone. Protein also ups your levels of the hormone peptide YY, which boosts your satiety.

Repairs & forms lean muscle

As a TIU girl, you know to have your protein smoothie, bar, or muffins within 30 minutes of a workout. Here’s why: When you’re crushing a tough workout, like weight training or HIIT, your muscle fibers break down. Your body needs protein’s amino acids to synthesize new cells, which repair the damaged fibers and help form new, lean muscle. Research shows that post-workout protein can enhance gains in muscle strength and even your aerobic power!

Speeds up your metabolism

Protein requires more energy to digest, metabolize, and use compared to carbs and fat. This creates a thermic effect in your body. Translation: you burn calories just by digesting protein. This process can actually burn up to 30 percent of the calories you take in. Amazing, right?!

Plus, after forming lean muscle with the combination of workouts and Tone It Up vegan protein powder your body requires even more energy to maintain that muscle. This boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories while at rest.

Makes maintenance easier

Studies show that protein not only helps you lose weight and reach your fitness goals, but maintain your results too!

Gives you a beauty boost

Amino acids in protein, such as L-lysine, can promote hair growth and give you gorgeous, flowing locks. Protein also helps keep your skin fab and glowing! ✨

So how much protein should you have a day?

Aim for a protein intake of  .8 – 1.6 grams per kilograms bodyweight a day, depending on your activity level. For example, a 130-pound woman should have 47 – 95 grams protein per day. Read through your Tone It Up Nutrition Plan and check out our protein deals for more info on lean proteins and how to add them to your meals. While following the TIU guidelines and recipes, you’ll always have just what ya need! ;)

Get all these perks and more with your clean, gluten-free, non-GMO Tone It Up Protein powder and snacks!

Tone It Up protein powders, protein shakes, bites, and bars deliver clean, plant-based, gluten-free, vegan protein to fuel your fitness.




  1. Could you ladies do a post on what happens to your body on sugar?? It’s such a hard thing for me to wean myself off of but I know its not helping! I love these sorts of posts though!

      1. I third that. I am always looking for sugar detoxes, sugar free recipes, etc. but they don’t have anything on TIU

    1. Hello Hayley,here is one TIU girl that has the same problem like you. I am (was I hope) sugar addict. Until I just told myself try to stay away from sweets until weekend. That change from just seven days was so big that when sunday came I was like I will be pleased with one healthy cookie. Set yourself little goals when cutting on sugar,that is my advice. One week,two weeks,month…

      1. Thanks for this advice! It makes it more realistic and attainable for me since I have a bittersweet tooth =)

    2. Yes I agree- I’d love a post about sugar. And when I have a sugar craving I’ll just re-read TIU article! ;)

    3. You should watch the documentary “fed up”. It’s on Netflix and it will open your eyes to the negative effects of sugar on our bodies and the amount of sugar that is added to our foods. Don’t get me wrong – I still eat dark chocolate and drink wine, but I have definitely lowered my intake significantly.

      1. Watch the PBS documentary In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. A preview of the program is available on but to see the whole piece you have to sign up as a member of THIRTEEN. Watching this show will stop you from eating sugar cold turkey. We consume a 1000% more sugar PER DAY than 200 years ago. Seriously this program breaks down nutritional information in a very easy and entertaining way.

      2. thanks for this recommendation! will look into this! I am a sugar addict as well :/

    4. YES! Sugar is rough!! I crave it all the time and know it’s terrible but dang its so hard to kick!

  2. This is definitely a good recap of protein; thank you! I used to be a personal trainer and always had a hard time explaining this to clients.

    1. Hey Allison! If I’m reading it correctly based on the example, a 130-pound woman should have 47 – 95 grams protein per day. Isn’t that like 3oz of chicken breast and that would fulfill your daily protein intake? Or am I reading it incorrectly? :)

      1. I thought it was .8 per pound! A little confused here as many studies have even suggested 1 oz per pound of your weight. Everyone is different but I realized that when I upped my protein my muscles began to show more =)

  3. I’m glad you mentioned you can get too much protein. The World Health Organization suggests 5-8% of calories from protein a day, most people greatly exceed that. Interestingly, there are no reports of protein deficiency but new studies are coming out that show the strain put on the body from eating too much protein.

  4. Sometimes the nutrition facts are not listed next to the recipes (i.e. in the Look for Love meal plan and other editions). This can make it more difficult to count. Can the nutrition facts be put into future editions? I hate to have to enter the whole recipe into something like My Fitness Pal to find out–I’m too lazy! It would be great to know, not just for protein but for the other nutrients too!

    1. Yes!! I agree!! I counted for several days before it got too tedious and now having to trust the plan. While I get that trusting the plan is good, as it’s a GREAT nutrition plan, when we swap out meals I don’t know if I’m swapping for an “equal”.

  5. Should we have that Perfect Fit smoothie 30 minutes post-workout *in addition* to what’s on the schedule for the meal plan??

    1. Hey Hannah and Liza! It depends when you do your workout- if your next meal would be a M2 or M4 I have the PF Smoothie as that meal (instead of whatever is on the plan) but if my next meal is a bigger Meal I either make sure to have that M1, M3, or M5 within 30min or have something small like hummus and cucumbers to get some protein in while prepping that bigger meal. Hope that helps! Just make sure you get some sort of protein in within 30min!

  6. These posts are awesome! They are informative while being a quick read, which I can appreciate.
    I would also love more info on “Epoc” and the effects of sugar on the body.

  7. Thanks for the informative post! Question – due to my schedule, I can’t always work out in the AM, so end up working out after work. Can anyone recommend post-workout smoothie recipes that don’t involve fruit or milk (since we shouldn’t have these after M3)? Or should I just get my post-workout protein some other way?

    1. I always eat a protein bar or nuts after a late afternoon workout. I suppose most tiu m4 meals are great after a workout

  8. Agree with Hannahbeth’s question- I’ve wondered about that as well. Also, a sugarless challenge would be fun for the #tiuteam at some point!

  9. Can you girls give us facts like these every week…I actually love learning this information and you girls make it so simple to digest and understand…you can call it food for thought lol

  10. Thank you so much for this post! I love learning.

    The range of daily protein intake you mentioned is pretty large. Is this dependent on average daily activity or the intensity of the workout that day?

  11. Great post! :) And I agree with everyone asking for a post about sugar! I recently was told by my doctor to try to “avoid” sugars, but it’s very difficult to do! One of my great challenges is finding good protein bars with less sugar that are also dairy free. I would LOVE to try a sugar-less challenge with Tone It Up guidelines, it would be so much fun and informative.

  12. I always love posts like this! And can I just add can I be kat?! Booty, beautiful and gorgeous hair and her outfits sheesh! #fangirlmomentover

  13. What about a protein shake before a workout? My gym I go to is about a good 30 min drive away and I usually wake up hungry so I should be having protein before/after or can I do just before and afterwards go to my M2?

    Also, I work really late hours so is it okay to eat past the M5 (I work 15 hour days sometimes and do get hungry the later I work).

    1. Humapro makes a yummy protein that has a juice consistency. I drink it prior to and even during workouts. Just sip on it in place of plain water. Its perfect for when I need my protein but I’m not hungry and/or don’t want the fullness of my vegan protein. I get mine from Amazon. Strawberry kiwi!

  14. Did not know I could be eating TOO much protein! Definitely going to be more aware of this going forward and especially as I’m losing weight, I was always trying to get the highest protein number I could! Now I’m looking to get 50-100! Dang.

  15. Hey guys, don’t focus so much on the too much protein. If you are eating 3 meals..M1,M3,M5 and do the the smaller M2 and M4 there is no way you are ever going to eat too much protein. Hummus and celery is not comparable to 3 oz of chicken. And most bars are around 9-11 gm of protein unless you are eating body builder bars which are not TIU approved. I would focus more on when you are eating your higher starch food and the hidden sugars. Here is a good chart to see……………….
    Person, Situation & Goals Ideal Daily Protein Intake
    Average healthy sedentary adult (male or female) that does NOT work out or have any related goals. This is just what I consider to be a good minimum daily protein intake for general health/function. 0.5-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
    Average healthy adult (male or female) that IS doing some form of exercise regularly or IS trying to improve their body (lose fat, build muscle, etc.). This is the minimum I’d recommend in this case. 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
    Average healthy adult FEMALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance. 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
    Average healthy adult MALE whose primary goal is building muscle, getting “toned,” maintaining muscle while losing fat, increasing strength or improving performance. 1-1.5 grams of protein p

  16. Just watched Fed up on Netflix and it was a total eye opener. Michael Pollan is amazing.

  17. Can anyone tell me are we supposed to have the perfect fit smoothie after working out in addition to M2/4? Or is it a replacement for M2 or M4?

  18. How much protein per meal should we eat? my post work out meal for about an hour plus at the gym is 32 is that too much i currently weight 127, i’m trying to loose weight. 115-118 is my ideal weight. i’m 5’3″.

Leave a Reply