Think again. This important macronutrient does a lot more than just fuel your muscles — it’s essential for many aspects of your health.
A number of different functions in our body need protein, said Rosilene Ribeiro, a dietitian at the University of Sydney.
We do use it for building and maintaining muscle mass, but also for producing hormones, and even sometimes as a source of energy.
The main thing people don’t realise, said Sandra Iuliano, a nutritionist at the University of Melbourne, is that every part of us is made from protein.
“Our skin, our muscles, our hair, everything,” Dr Iuliano said. “So if we don’t have enough protein then those body organs aren’t going to work properly.”
Protein is made up of different amino acids, nine of which our bodies can’t make so we have to source them from food.