Are you eating enough protein? It’s more about quality.


Everyone is saying you need to eat X amount of protein per day depending on your activities. But is it really all about the quantity?

The Protein plays a very important role for the human body as it is a functional and structural component in all the body’s cells.

For an average sedentary person around 50 grams of protein should be enough. But let’s pass this simple proposition.

Protein is made out of small molecules called amino acids.

There are 20 different amino acids, out of which 11 can be produced by the human body and the other 9 must be provided from food.

Protein Amino acids

Produced by Human Body (non-essential)Taken from food (essential)
AlanineHistidine
Aspartic acidIsoleucine
AsparagineLeucine
Glutamic acidLysine
SerineMethionine
ArginineThreonine
CysteineThyptophan
GlutamineValine
GlycinePhenylalanine
Proline
Tyrosine

As you probably guessed, doing resistance training requires a higher amount of protein intake. BUT eating only protein sources that do not ensure a complete amino acid profile will jeopardize the protein synthesis. Therefore, the muscle growth won’t be optimal.

This means you need to make sure that the protein you eat is providing enough quantities of the ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS.

This information is very important especially for people that are vegans, vegetarians or just do not eat animal products.

Different sources of protein vary widely in their chemical composition as well as in their nutritional value. The quality of a source of protein is an expression of its ability to provide the nitrogen and amino acid requirements for growth, maintenance, and repair. In practice, protein quality is principally determined by two factors: digestibility and the amino acid composition of the protein in question.Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (2005)
Protein that comes from animal sources such as chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, milk provide all 9 essential amino acids and that is why they are considered “complete proteins”.

Protein coming from vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds are usually deficient in one or more amino acid.

Individuals who restrict their diet to plant foods may be at risk of not getting adequate amounts of certain indispensable amino acids because the concentration of lysine, sulfur amino acids, and threonine are sometimes lower in plant food proteins than in animal food proteins. Plant proteins are generally less digestible than animal proteins; however, digestibility can be altered through processing and preparation. Therefore, consuming a varied diet ensures an adequate intake of protein for vegetarians.Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (2005)

See below the recommended essential amino acids intake for sedentary adults 19 years or older.

Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (2005)

For people doing resistance training these numbers can go up to 4 times more.

If you are curious to check whether you eat enough quality protein you can check out this website. It is a database which contains many details about the food we eat.

Conclusion:

Make sure you have a good supply of ALL amino acids coming from quality protein in your nutrition.

TIP: When choosing a protein supplement make sure it is has specified on the label the complete amino acids profile. Don’t buy otherwise, it can be a scam.

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