Protein, along with carbohydrates and fats, make up the major building blocks in a healthy diet that allow for proper body function. Without any one of these compounds, called macronutrients because the high amounts needed as compared to other nutrient, the body would quickly run into problems and show signs of malnutrition. Carbohydrates supply the blood with much needed sugar fuel, fats provide the body with the ability to gain weight as well as save energy for later use, and proteins help with muscle production as well as energy production. Proteins are readily found in meats, cheeses and other dairy products as well as certain vegetables. Protein is also an important source of the Amino Acid Phenylalanine which is important to alertness and other brain function. Without an adequate source of protein in your diet, muscle production would be impossible, and muscle breakdown and atrophy would begin. This is the reason that protein is so important to bodybuilders and those with muscular dystrophy, as atrophy of the muscles is exacerbated by a lack of protein, and additional protein can be utilized for increased muscle mass production.
Most people get enough protein in a balanced diet for good muscular health, and many get much more protein than they actually need. In Western culture meat is often considered the main, and largest course in a meal, and while providing the body with much needed protein, too much meat, especially red meats, can also bring along massive amounts of fat and if prepared in a restaurant, usually plenty of salt to go along with that. The extra fat and salt are retained by the body, and the excess protein is either stored as fat or exits the body as waste.
The more active a person is the more protein the body can utilize, and the more muscle can be built. Inactivity causes even the smallest amount of protein to go to waste or go to the waist. It is either converted to fat and will later be used as energy, or passed from the body. Smaller cuts of meat and the introduction of vegetable, fish, and soybean sources of protein can be a great way to maintain proper protein levels without overindulging. The other option is to increase exercise that also brings with it increased benefits in both the present and for the future. Protein rich fish is also high in Omega 3 fatty acids that promote heart health, which can give it a healthy edge over beef or poultry.