Most people are well aware of carbohydrates and fats.. The situation is different with the third essential nutrient.: protein. There are myths and fabrications here. Is it easier to lose weight with protein and when too much protein is bad for the body?
We wouldn't survive completely without protein., since protein, along with carbohydrates and fats, is one of the body's essential nutrients. Protein is essential for our bodies to produce about 20 various amino acids. Besides, the body cannot produce eight essential amino acids, so they have to be taken with food: leucine, tryptophan, threonine, methionine, valine, isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine.
The function of protein in the body
Amino acids perform many different tasks:
- They are the building blocks of every skin cell, hair and nails, bones, cartilages, connective tissue and such organs, like a brain.
- Transport fat and oxygen.
- Form nitrogenous compounds, such as hormones, insulin and enzymes.
- Involved in the synthesis of histamine and serotonin.
- Are part of the immune system (eg, antibodies).
- Important for building muscle.
Last but not least, protein is an energy supplier with four kilocalories per gram..
- Compared to fat, with a calorie content of about nine kilocalories per gram, protein provides less energy, but has a greater absorption effect, than fats and carbohydrates, – explains Christina Holzapfel, scientist at the Institute of Food Medicine at the Clinic Recht der Isar at the Technical University of Munich .
Signs of protein deficiency in the body
Very low protein intake is associated with significant developmental and growth disorders, such as muscle weakness. However, we rarely run the risk of experiencing a protein deficiency., this problem is more relevant in poor regions of the planet.
How much protein should you eat every day
According to the German Society for Nutrition (DGE), standard values of required protein for people under the age of 65 years are 0,8 g per kilogram of body weight.
Example: Man, growing 1,80 meters and weighing 80 kilograms, must consume 80*0,8 = 64 g protein per day.
If you look at the nutrient ratio, ground rule: 15 percent of daily calories should be covered by protein, – offers a nutritionist.
For adults aged 65 years and older recommended intake 1,0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The same amount of protein is recommended for children. However, there are exceptions: people, obese, it is forbidden to determine the need for proteins based on their current weight, need to calculate the need for proteins, based on normal weight for their height. Opposite, people, underweight, should consume more protein.
Foods high in protein
Food, especially rich in protein, this is meat, fish, dairy products and eggs. But also beans, such as peas, lentils and soy, and also cereals also contain a lot of protein.
Protein content in some foods
- Hard cheese, like Emmentaler (100 gram): 30 grams of protein
- Beef (100 gram): about 21 g protein
- Bird (100 gram): about 20 grams of protein
- Salmon (100 gram): about 20 grams of protein
- 1 egg: about 13 grams of protein
- Milk (100 milliliters): 3 grams of protein
- Soy, tofu (100 gram): 34 grams of protein
- Almonds (100 gram): 24 grams of protein
- Lentils (100 gram): 23 grams of protein
- Lupine flour (100 gram): about 18 grams of protein
What proteins are best to consume, animal or vegetable?
Not all proteins are the same. The body can use protein from animal products and soy better than other protein sources. Hence, bioavailability of proteins from animal foods is better. They also provide a full spectrum of essential amino acids. From this point of view, animal protein will be better, than vegetable.
However, in addition to proteins, meat, high-fat dairy products and eggs also contain unfavorable fats, such as cholesterol.
Hence, proteins must be ingested from food as an animal, and vegetable origin, – explains Christina Holzapfel.
Plant protein is good for diabetes, fatty liver and heart attacks
Studies show, what diet, containing mainly vegetable protein, associated with many health benefits: it lowers the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Besides, reduction of belly fat, and it has a positive effect on fatty liver (gepatos fat).
How to do without animal protein: advice for vegans
Vegans prefer to eat healthy and wholesome food., but without animal proteins. Is it possible? If you want to fully cover your protein needs with plant-based foods, need to purposefully combine grains and legumes, then you will get all the necessary proteins. For Example, you can combine lentils with rice or peas with bread.
Grains are low in lysine, threonine and tryptophan, but a lot of methionine. Legumes are low in methionine, but lots of threonine and tryptophan. Therefore, the combination of different types of plant foods provides the body with different amino acids..
Ecological aspect of plant protein vs. animal protein
The fact is, that people in industrialized countries consume too much animal food and, thus, indirectly damage the environment, and deplete valuable resources, which will ultimately affect us, people.
Just one example: An enormous amount of agricultural land is needed to grow livestock feed. It takes five times as many kilograms of vegetable protein to produce one kilogram of animal protein..
In order to provide enough protein for the growing world population in the future, the need for proteins should be covered by vegetable protein, not animal products.
New, unusual sources of protein, environmentally friendly alternatives
There are new approaches to different coverage of protein needs.
Innovative Approaches Are Protein Sources, such as insects or algae, which are also sold as superfoods, says nutritionist Holzapfel.
Although the dish with grasshoppers is definitely not for everyone now, seaweed, for example spirulina, have a neutral taste and can therefore be used in a variety of ways.
Lupine is also used as a meat substitute, and milk can be made from it, yoghurts and desserts.
Lupine seeds contain many high quality vegetable proteins and are low in fat and carbohydrates, – nutritionist emphasizes.
Legumes are also very high in fiber..
Protein blend for weight loss, especially if you are obese
Talking about plant protein, many also mean various protein blends for weight loss. They are made up of whey., soy or other vegetable proteins, as well as lupine. It's common knowledge, that protein provides fewer calories, than fat, but more satisfying.
As directed, a protein blend diet can be used for weight loss, if you are overweight, Christina Holzapfel says.
Such a protein diet can be carried out under the supervision of a doctor for up to three months..
The day in this case is consumed from 800 to 1200 kilocalories. This usually results in good weight loss. 0,5-2,0 kilograms per week. Order, who doesn't need to lose weight so fast, better to choose a meal replacement strategy: one or two main meals a day are canceled, instead, a protein drink is prescribed.
However, reduced body weight can only be maintained if, if dietary formulas are used as part of a long-term lifestyle change and following an energy-adapted diet after the formula diet.
Protein for athletes
But there are also slim, sports people, eating protein foods, like protein bars. In particular, amateur athletes hope to build more muscle this way. In any case, a protein-rich diet is important for athletes. But training is also very important for building muscle.. Muscles don't grow without tension., regardless of Togo, how much protein is consumed.
Otherwise, the situation with professional athletes. They need protein. That is why during training they eat heavily., eating carbohydrates and proteins.
Too much protein can be dangerous for the body
But there are also extremes., eg, known case, when a 25-year-old female bodybuilder died of a protein overdose. She consumed protein supplements, getting ready for the competition, but didn't know, that she has a rare genetic metabolic disorder. This defect in the urea cycle prevented her body from properly processing large amounts of protein.. Ammonia formed, poisoned her body.
However, this is indeed a rare exception., extreme case. Most people don't have to worry about the harm of too much protein., if they eat a balanced diet. Only those, who already has significant kidney dysfunction, may feel a greater burden on the kidneys due to the high amount of protein. However, before 1,5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, usually, not a problem for healthy people.