Protein! Not all are created equal!

By: Linda Steele- UTUSK Coach

Linda Steele

Anything that you can ingest, digest, has nutritional value and is NOT toxic to the human body is nutritionally beneficial. There are, however, better nutritional choices for accomplishing your desired goals.” Linda Steele

Here is where it gets complicated. Depending on who you argue with, a human nutritional protein is made up of 22 amino acids, 9 essential and 13 non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids you have to take in by way of food. Of the 9 essential, 3 of them are responsible for muscle growth and development. Those are isoleucine, lucine, and valine.
Non-essential amino acids can be naturally produced by the human body.

Protein builds our muscles, fuels our brains, keeps our skin and hair healthy, and keeps our organs running properly. It triggers neurotransmitters in the brain to improve our moods, lower our blood sugar, and even help us focus.

Whether or not you are sedentary, or an active athlete, protein is essential in the human body. The amount you should consume will vary, however. A good rule of thumb for an active person who works out regularly, is a 1 gram of protein to 1 lb of lean mass of protein per day. Most nutritional recommendations state that someone who is sedentary should still take in at LEAST .5 grams of protein to 1 lb of lean mass per day. After about age 21, we start to lose more muscle mass/lean mass, than we produce every year, so it is important that we salvage what we have.

A constant supply of protein must be supplied all day to preserve lean body mass. Because some amino acids, such as isoleucine, leucine, and valine can be used for energy, those amino acids may be depleted during exertion. If that happens you may have to restore them in order to have the proper proportions for muscle recovery, growth and development. This is why I suggest to my clients that they consume a protein source at every meal, starting with breakfast.

Not all protein is created equal…

A complete protein is a protein which contains all essential amino acids in the right ratio to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. The egg is the most complete protein food in nature. About 96% of the protein in an egg will be used as protein. In contrast, about 60–70% of the protein in milk, meat, or fish can be used as protein.

An incomplete protein is usually deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids we need to build cells. Often plant proteins are incomplete, but even high quality proteins may provide insufficient amino acids as far as the athlete is concerned.

Examples of incomplete proteins are beans or lentils. 
In order to get a complete protein if you are a non-meat eater is to understand complimentary proteins. When you ingest an incomplete protein, but compliment it with another source you can get all your essential amino acids from a meal. The classic example of this is rice and beans. The problem that you run into is this…someone on a weight loss program will have to take in a generous supply of rice to offset the deficiency. That will most definitely affect their weight loss.

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