There are 3...Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. We need each one of them to live a happy healthy life. In addition, we need a smaller amount of micronutrients, but that to come later.
What do enzymes, muscle cells, DNA, signaling pathways, and cellular structure have in common?
Besides being the literal building blocks of each of your cells (and therefore you); it is involved in most, if not all, cellular processes as well. To put it lightly, protein is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
- Protein is a chain of small amino acids, usually more than 20 amino acids long.
- Protein broken down by Pepsin in the stomach, Trypsin and Chymotrypsin in the small intestine.
- Once broken down to the di-/tri-peptide level, the body can absorb it.
- 20 Non-essential amino acids (the body can make these)
- 9 Essential amino acids (you need to get these into your body) - Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine
- Complete Proteins - Contain an amino acid profile similar to that needed by the body (meat, eggs, dairy, soybeans, blue green algae, hempseed, buckwheat, quinoa)
- Incomplete Proteins - Plant proteins tend to be incomplete but when combined with other sources can be a complete source. For example, Beans AND Whole grains, Nuts AND Whole grains, or Beans AND Seeds or Nuts
How much do we need?
I've heard a few answers to this question: The most scientific version I've gotten is 0.8g/kg of body weight per day for maintenance. 1.2g/kg of bodyweight per day to stimulate growth.
Example for me:
I weigh 187lbs. This is about 85kg. 85 x (0.8-1.2) = 68-102g of protein per day for me depending on what I am going for.
Instead of going into what happens when you overeat protein, just know that you can. Liver problems come to mind especially. Drink your water!
Using protein to your advantage:
- If you are one to eat breakfast, try stimulating your metabolism with protein in the morning. It can act as a jumpstart to your system.
- Similarly, use protein to keep you in a fat burning zone - just make sure whatever you are eating it with wouldn't be spiking your insulin levels and you should be good.
- Diversify your protein (especially for vegan/vegetarian). This will help to make sure you are getting all sorts of good carbohydrates and fats that you might not find in just one source
Will post soon about the difference between Whey, Casein, etc, but wanted to cut this post off. Thanks for reading!