The word “Protein” comes from the Greek work “Protos” which means “Of primary importance”. Protein is the main component of the human body, if you were to compare your body to a building, protein would be the raw material. Like fats and carbohydrates, proteins are made up of oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon. The real difference between protein and the other two macronutrients is the presence of nitrogen. Scientists use nitrogen tests to compare the body’s use of protein by comparing the amount of nitrogen consumed with the amount excreted through urine, feces, and sweat.
Your body is a very complex machine that constantly changes, evolves and adapts to the circumstances you go through. In fact, physicists have shown that your body changes or replaces 98% of its atoms in 1 year, that means that molecularly speaking, you are not the same person you were a year ago, you might feel that you have not. t has changed, but your cells, tissues, and organs are made up of entirely new atoms.
Protein plays a crucial role in these processes, as it is what your body uses to replace the damaged or dead cells it contains. Where does all that protein come from? The answer is from the food you eat, hence the saying “You are what you eat”, and that is not an exaggeration either.
The smallest protein units are called amino acids; They are the “building blocks” that make up the protein building blocks.
Proteins are made up of multiple amino acids linked together. There are 20 essential amino acids necessary for the human body to grow. From these 20 basic amino acids, tens of thousands of different protein building blocks can be formed. Just like bricks are used to create different building structures (walls, roads, chimneys, ovens, etc.), amino acids are used to create proteins designed for different purposes within the human body.
Amino acids can be broken down into essential and non-essential amino acids. The human body is capable of manufacturing 11 of the 20 amino acids; These are called “Non-essential”. The remaining 9 amino acids are called “essential”, since the body needs to receive them through food.
The list of “essential” and “non-essential” amino acids includes:
Essential amino acids (essential):
Non-essential (expendable) amino acids:
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When you eat food, the body uses the amino acids they contain to manufacture the proteins necessary for its different metabolic processes, when one or more of the non-essential amino acids are missing, however, the body has to manufacture them within the liver.
To prevent the body from breaking down its own protein, you must provide it with food that contains all 20 amino acids. These food sources are called “complete proteins.” Most of these proteins come from animal sources, such as meat, milk, and eggs.
Vegetables, legumes and cereals are considered “incomplete proteins” because they are missing or have more amino acids. For example, beans are very high in protein, but they lack the essential amino acid methionine. One way to overcome this is by combining “incomplete protein” sources with each other to make one “complete protein” source. Rice and Beans is an excellent example of this.
Proteins cannot be stored for later use, unlike carbohydrates. This makes consuming at least one complete protein source with each meal of the utmost importance to avoid a negative nitrogen balance or breakdown of muscle tissue.
As with the other two macronutrients, there are better sources of protein than others. A basic guideline to follow is to make your protein source as lean as possible.
o Chicken breasts
o Turkey breasts
o Lean cuts of red meat
o Low-fat / fat-free dairy products such as milk, yogurt, or cheese
o Fish and other seafood.
All of these sources will provide you with all the essential amino acids your body requires without the saturated fat associated with other animal protein sources.
As for combining “incomplete proteins” to make “complete proteins”, there are some simple guidelines to follow:
o Combine Vegetables with Grains
o Combine nuts with cereals or vegetables
o Combine any animal protein with any incomplete protein
The question of how much protein a person who wants to gain muscle should take is a subject of much debate. Some believe that a high protein / low carbohydrate diet with more than 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight is the way to go, others argue instead that much less protein is needed and that 50-60 grams per day is enough. everything a healthy human adult needs.
However, for the purpose of gaining muscle mass, the most accepted guideline for active men is to ingest at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
A better approach to calculate total protein intake is to use macronutrient ratios. This means that you determine your total daily caloric needs and divide the calories from the three main macronutrients into percentages.
So for example a 190 pound man needs 3000 calories to maintain his weight, he wants to add muscle mass so he eats an additional 500 calories, this brings the total to 3500 calories per day. Of those 3,500 calories, 30% will come from protein, 50% from carbohydrates, and 20% from healthy fats.
Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and fat contains 9 calories per gram. So if we do the math, we get:
3500×0.3 = 1050-1050 calories from protein
3500×0.5 = 1750-1750 carbohydrate calories
3500×0.2 = 700 – 700 calories from healthy fats
1050 + 1750 + 700 = 3500 – Grand total of 3500 calories per day
If you want to know how many grams of each macronutrient you need per day, simply divide your total calories from protein or carbohydrates by 4 or fat by 9.
1050/4 = 265.5 – 265.5 grams of protein
1750/4 = 435.5 – 435.5 grams of carbohydrates
700/0 = 77.7 – 77.7 grams of fat
By using these simple formulas, we not only know how many calories you need from each macronutrient, but also the number of grams.
To summarize the article, I would like to summarize the following points:
o Proteins are the essential building materials used to rebuild all tissues in the human body.
o The protein building blocks necessary for human growth are made of 20 amino acids, which can be arranged in tens of thousands of ways to make the proteins needed in the body.
o Animal protein sources are an excellent example of “complete proteins” that contain all 20 amino acids.
o Vegetables, legumes, and nuts are all “incomplete proteins” because they lack one or more essential amino acids.
o It is essential to provide the body with complete protein sources to avoid a negative nitrogen balance and the breakdown of muscle tissue.
o The most widely accepted guideline for recommended daily protein intake is 1 gram per 1 pound of body weight for men.
I hope that by reading this article you will gain the basic knowledge about what protein is and why it plays such an important role in your body.
With this in mind, always remember to train heavy, eat big, and rest to grow.