Protein is of the utmost importance to any diet as it is used to build and repair muscle tissue. Athletes need more protein in their diets as opposed to non-ahtletes because they break down mucle tissue at a faster rate due to their intesnse workouts. If any athlete gets inadequate amounts of protein during training it may lead to protein degradation that exceeds the rate of protein synthesis. Ultimately this results in a loss of muscle tissue.

Proteins also play a large role in immune functioning as antibodies are proteins. Protein is also responsible for blood-clotting, hormone and enzyme production, vision as well as the production of connective tissue. Most diets only provide protein as 15% of our daily food intake. We should be taking in close to 30/40% protein in our diets. Protein is a nutritient that also prvodies us with useful energy that helps us to burn calories and promote weight loss.

What are amino acids?

Essential amind acids (AAs) are derived from protein. They are referred to as the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different types of AAs. The body can synthesise 11 from what we eat but the remaining eight must be supplied through diet. All nine essneitla AAs must be present in the body for protein synthesis to occur.

What is complete and incomplete protein?

It is important for an athlete to consume the right proteins so that all 20 AAs can work together to form protein. The main concern is to consume the nine AAs that the body cannot synthesise. Foods that combine the nine essential AAs are called complete proteins. Food that does not contain the nine essential AAs are called incomplete proteins.

What biological value does protein hold?

The ‘biological value’ (BV) of protein describes how well the boy tissue can be create from food protein. The BV of food depends on how closely its amino acid pattern reflects the amind acid patter in the body tissue. The better the match the more entirely food proteins turn into body proteins. This explains why AAs derive from anmal extracts and have a higher BV alue than AAs which are derived from platn extracts. Humans and animal s have similar AA compositions while AA composition in plants differ greatly from an animal to a human.

What is the recommended protein intake?

Athletes and body builders are known to consume huge amounts of protein in every forms. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) suggest a maximum protein intake of between 0.8 and 1.8 grams per kilo of body weight each day. Not all athletes or bodybuilders need the same amount of protein. One must always take into account size, gender and the type of training.

The negatives to consuming excess protein is that this can place increased stress on the kidneys. The urea, which is the body’s waste product, results from the breakdown of AAs.the more protein we eat the more our bodies need to get rid of nitroget as urea. All of this leads to very concentrated urin which may lead to kidney stones. Too much protein may also result in calcium loss. Too little calcium may increase blood pressure and the risk for osteoporosis. Excess protein may also mean excess calories as when consuming excess protein it can be stored as fat.

For most individuals, a varied as well as healthy diet will provide sufficient amounts of protein. Increasing protein intake may not necessarily mean consuming more steak. There are other choices which can help you ensure a healthy protein intake.

Here are a number of suggestions:

  • Eat a range of protein foods selecting from categories such as fish, meat, soy, beans, tofu, nuts as well as seeds.
  • Select low-fat meat, poultry, and dairy products. Trim the fat from the meat and opt for smaller portions. Avoid processed meats because they have added sodium.
  • Use cooking methods which do not add extra fat, such as grilling.
  • Scrutinise the ingredients in protein bars as they can also have excessive levels of sugar.
  • Choose healthier versions of your usual favorites, for example, wholemeal as opposed to white bread as well as unsweetened peanut butter.
  • Try out plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils in addition to soy products.
  • Select nutrient-rich foods which provide other benefits, such as fibre.

If you are confused or unsure about any nutritional aspects of your diet it is advised to consult an trained nutritionist or an exercise specialist to help you with any confusion that you may have.

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