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    What's the Scoop on Protein?

    December 20, 2017

    What's the Scoop on Protein?

    Protein is crucial for healthy nutrition. If you have been in the gym, you may have heard the other weight lifters talking about the need for protein to build muscle and that's why you see them mix their protein powder shakes and down them after their workouts.

    But what exactly is protein? What does protein do? And what is a good source of protein? Let's take a look at some of these questions.

    What are proteins?

    Proteins are built up from amino acids, exactly 20 various amino acids. When you consume foods that contain proteins, your body breaks them up into amino acids since that is the way it can use them for various purposes.

    The amino acids are not only generated by protein catabolism, but also your body produces them. However, there are eight essential amino acids that your body cannot produce. Therefore, you need to consume foods that contain these amino acids.

    There are also 2 types of protein sources:

    • The complete protein sources have all of them in a proper amount, so they are the most beneficial ones. They are from animals such as meats, milk and other dairy products, eggs. However, soy and products made from it like tofu are also complete ones.
    • The partially complete sources contain all the essential amino acids, but they do not contain enough of one or more. Typically, the plant sources are in this foods group, but by combining them we can get a complete protein source.

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    Why is protein important?

    Protein is usually called the “building blocks of life”. That is true since it is a nutrient that is required to build the cells, but it also takes part in almost all body processes. The role of protein in the body is widespread:

    • It is required for genes and cells production and reproduction.
    • It is the building block of all the muscles of the body and the connective tissues such as the tendons.
    • Proteins are required for enzymes as well as hormones.
    • Proteins are needed for generating scar tissue to repair any body damage.
    • They are building blocks of antibodies that fight infections (bacteria, viruses).
    • It is also needed for the skeleton and bone buidling.

    It should also be mentioned that it helps to lose weight as well since it increases the metabolism of the body. Your body requires much energy to break it down into amino acids, and that leads to calorie burning.

    Foods that are high in protein

    Previously we were talking about the complete protein foods, and these are the various meats and diary, but that does not mean you should only consume those.

    Eating legumes and vegetables are vital as well since they are high in beneficial carbohydrates, vitaminsminerals and fiber. So, their health benefits are numerous

    Protein powder is popular these days, and there are superb products out there. However, that does not mean you can neglect the natural sources. Have powder as an extra and take in much of your daily dose from real food.

    From the presentation below you can learn food that are high in protein.


    A Word on Powders

    Admittedly whole food proteins from animal sources provide the highest quality of protein which we can consume.

    Foods such as poultry, meat, fish, eggs and milk should be components of a balanced and nutritionally optimal diet for those who exercise. 

    However, there are also issues with these sources.

    Firstly, not everyone eats meat or other animal products, which significantly reduces their chances of consuming a high-quality protein (unless they supplement their diet).

    Secondly, food is not always the most efficient, easiest or even preferred to get a dose of high-quality proteins. Often people may refrain from consuming protein, simply because they do not want to either cook or just eat a whole food. Sometimes people want a quick and simple solution to boost protein synthesis post workout and a supplement shake best fits the bill!

    Lastly, whole food sources do come with additional factors- namely the previously mentioned saturated fats and cholesterol. Therefore, when balancing a strict diet, ensuring the correct amount of protein (without elevating fat intake) people will often require their protein dose increased without the worry of extra fat and calories. 

    While nutritional guidelines suggest whole food sources of protein should be the predominant means of protein consumption, it is not always as cut and dried as the research may suggest and supplementation has its very worth place for individuals that are suited to the above.


    Last Word

    Most of us focus on the daily carbs and fat intake, but we pay less attention to protein. However, it is as important. If you want to be healthy, lose weight, build muscle. So, keep this important nutrient in mind while trying to stay fit and healthy.