The importance of protein has certainly been a key talking point for some time, in terms of what exactly our bodies require, and what types? There are so many different views and just like any other nutrient there are inconsistencies with exactly how much a person or athlete requires to create the perfect anabolic environment and maximise connective tissue repair.
Protein is most definitely looked upon as a king pin of strength, power, speed, performance, muscle mass and repair. However, the question still remains about how much should be consumed.
The role of protein and its positive effects are endless. Protein can make up 20% of a person’s body weight however this is different from one person to another, depending on genetic make-up. Key components within the body such as muscle tissue, nails, skin, vital organs, tendons and ligaments utilise proteins as a means to stay actively healthily and strong.
When it comes to building Muscle, Protein is the primary building block for connective tissue repair, overall strength and positive size or shape of the muscle. Protein has a direct link on positive hormonal balance and the regulation of insulin, adrenaline and CNS/ neurotransmitters, and it also makes up almost all of the body’s enzymes.
Protein also comes into play with fluid content being held within the muscle cell, shuttling nutrients in and out of cells and carrying oxygen for blood regulation and hydration.
So, I’m sure you will agree that protein is vital in so many ways – but not all protein are made equal, just because a food contains it, it doesn’t mean it hold’s the full value of the proteins required to satisfy all needs of the body. Choosing the correct type of protein/foods is key to optimising the full benefits taking place within the body and cells. Eating foods which contain the right amino acid profiles will help allow a full building and a repair process to take place. Food’s which contain all the essential amino acids are the food types you should be looking at, when it comes to meal time
There are 20 amino acids which aid the building block of protein. When you eat protein it gets digested and split into small (molecular) units, these 20 amino acids can collect in different ways and can form hundreds of protein profiles in the body. These molecular units, once split, form single amino acids and dipeptides (combined amino acids linked together).
Out of the 20 amino acids, 12 can be made in the body from other amino acids, carbs and nitrogen. These 12 amino acids are called none essential amino acids (NEAA’s) the other 8 are known as essential amino acids (EAA’s). These 8 essential amino acids must come from your diet/foods/supplements in order to deliver the a complete amino acid profile which in turn will help create that anabolic environment within the cells for repair.
How much protein should one eat in order to create the perfect repair environment? This is still something that has no clear cut findings in my book. The recommended intake for a normal inactive person is 0.75g / kg of body weight, however someone who’s carrying out some form of exercise will certainly require more than the suggested amount. From my experience with the vast listing of athletes I work with, a set figure of 1.25-1.5g per lb of body weight has proven very successful. However these figures are based around an Athlete who is trying to gain Maximum strength, Power and Muscle size, an Athlete who is performing long distant running for example will require less, I would suggest 0.75-1g per lbs of body weight.
The reality is that your body is never going to be able to digest all the protein you consume in a day. This is very dependent on a number of factors, but your digestive track is the gateway to all nutrients, so if you’re really trying to tap into those proteins you eat on a daily basis I suggest you use a variety of protein types from eggs, cottage cheese, fish, chicken, turkey, beef, nuts and protein powders – to name a few. Making sure your diet has good fibres and carbs, and also aiding your body with a good digestive enzyme will certainly help with a fuller digestion of those quality proteins you consume. Remember you can eat the perfect protein profiles with a great amino acid index, but if your digestive track isn’t firing like it should, then you’re not going to see the real benefits of the protein you eat.
Below is a listing of some good protein sauces you should consider when preparing your meals;
Low fat yogurt
Low fat milk
Low fat cottage cheese
Natural peanut butter
Red Kidney beans
Quality protein powders
I suggest you base your protein options around 3-4 different food sauces a day, this way your amino acid profiles will contain more balance and in return help keep your digestive track and nitrogen values high and level.
Example diet below;
Once you wake up drink 400-500ml of water and take a good digestive enzyme
10-15 minutes later meal 1
Meal 1. 1 whole egg, 5-6 egg whites, 75g dry weight oats, 50g banana, 50g pineapple.
Meal 2. 150g White fish, 75g dry weight brown rice, 80-100g broccoli
Meal 3. 140g Chicken, 200g Sweet Potato, 80-100g green beans
Meal 4. 50g dry weight oats, 75g banana, 30g protein from a good multi blend protein powder
10-15 Mins before Meal 5, 1 serving of digestive enzymes
Meal 5. 130-140g Lean Beef, 50g dry weight rice, 80-100g broccoli
Meal 6. 125g Low fat cottage cheese, 1 table spoon Natural peanut butter
Water to be 4-5 Litres a day
This example diet above has been based around a person who holds a lean Muscle Mass of 150-170lbs
I haven’t included any extra supplements like EFA’a, multi vitamins, calcium, BCAA for example.
I hope this has helped a little towards your needs for proteins and the importance of them.