THE ABC’S OF PROTEIN
Our bodies are built on protein, literally. Protein is composed of amino acids, and this forms the building blocks for virtually every part of our body. And since muscles are made of protein, we need to consume good amount of protein to build muscle. Also, along with it, muscle recovery and cell regeneration are other goals to achieve with help of proteins.
Protein can be divided into 2 types depending on number of amino acids present in it.
- Complete protein: Protein that includes all 9 essential amino acids is called as complete protein. It has very high biological value and much faster and better absorption.
- Incomplete protein: Protein which miss 2 or more essential amino acids in the molecule is called as incomplete protein. Biological value of this protein is lower as compared to complete protein.
Now let’s take a closer look at protein, what its made of, and what to look for in selecting best source of protein for your body.
Amino Acids: Amino acids are molecules which combine to build protein. Of 20 amino acids, 9 are essential- which means they cannot be produced by body and need to consume through food. Remaining 11 amino acids are non-essential as body can produce them but they still play an important role in muscle building and recovery.
BCAA: Branched Chain Amino Acids belong to group of essential amino acids as they cannot be produced by body and need to obtain through diet and supplements., Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are the 3 Branched Chain Amino acids. They are helpful in muscle building and essential for decreased muscle soreness and fatigue during workout.
Dietary Sources of Protein:
Protein is a very important macro nutrient required for various bodily functions like cell and tissue repair, hormone functions, boost immunity and muscle building and recovery. It is very important that every person consume a particular amount of protein on daily basis. Including variety of proteins, means including spectrum of amino acids in diet. By varying types of protein included in diet on daily basis means varying the number of amino acids consumed.
Protein supplements makes a very good option that helps to cover the basic protein requirement of the day. Adding just 1 scoop g whey protein can help in adding 20-24 grams of protein in a day.
Lets study the different types of Protein supplements available in market.
Different types of Protein Supplements:
- Whey Protein:
Whey protein is derived from milk. When milk is coagulated during cheese making process, liquid whey is separated from casein. This liquid whey is filtered and processed to form powder whey. Whey proteins are quick and easily digestible as they have all essential amino acids including Branched chain amino acids and other micro fractions. Whey protein is quickly digested and thus amino acids are delivered quickly to muscles in order to help start the muscle building process.
- Casein protein:
About 80% of the protein in milk is ‘Casein’. Casein is a complete protein providing all essential amino acids required by the human body. Casein when consumed binds with stomach acid in stomach to form clump, which take longer time to digest and empty from stomach compared to other proteins that do not clump thus Often referred to as slow acting protein as it is absorbed and digested slowly than other proteins like Whey, they are especially useful when taken at bedtime or in between meals, so that amino acids can be delivered to the muscles over a longer period. Casein’s reduced rate of digestion steadily supplies all essential amino acids to damaged muscle tissue for an extended time period, providing complete recovery. Slow digestion also contributes to satiety, helping you feel full for longer and curb unhealthy food cravings.
- Egg Protein:
Egg is a complete protein as it contains all essential amino acids required by your body for the protein synthesis. Egg protein has the highest biological value of all the animal sources, showing that your body can consume more of the amino acids provided by egg. Additionally, eggs are dairy free and an alternate to whey, casein and whole milk proteins for those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.
- Soy Protein:
Soy protein is only naturally occurring plant-based source of complete protein. This means that it provides all essential amino acids and still vegetarian or vegan. Soy is a perfect alternative for people who are looking for lactose free veg protein options.
- Plant Protein:
Plant proteins are available from different plant sources. As one or more essential amino acids are missing, it is considered as incomplete protein. Plant protein provides an additional alternative source of non-dairy protein supplementation and may include additional beneficial components that naturally occur in plant. Plant sources include brown rice, pea, hemp, flax and chia seeds, quinoa and many more.
Amount of Protein per day:
Dietary protein is required by every individual irrespective of activity level. The basic requirement of protein per day remains same for every person. Protein requirement changes as per the lifestyle person is following. Generally, the more active a person becomes, more protein may be required. Protein requirements are different for sedentary, moderately active, Gym goers, athletes, and sports persons. Generally, Healthy adults should aim to get 0.8 – 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight each day regardless of male or female. Whereas a person going to gym or participating in sports or athletic endeavours may want to increase protein intake to upwards of 1.2 – 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This protein intake should be divided throughout the day among various meals and in between snacks.
Its also important to keep balance of all macro nutrients including carbs and dietary fats. Excess of any macro nutrient will make no good to body so balance, moderation and variety should always be kept in mind.
Meet your daily protein goals with following 3 tips.
- Spread out protein between meals: Body can absorb maximum 25-30 grams of protein at one time. So instead of consuming excess protein in on meal divide it throughout the day in each meal and in between snacks for better absorption. Just take total amount needed in a day and divide into total number of meals and snacks you eat daily. Whey protein is a good high protein option as its easy to absorb and can be taken as post workout and in between meals.
- Eat protein after exercise: Post exercise the protein requirement is high as there is wear and tear of muscles, so addition of protein post workout will help in faster muscle recovery and growth.
- Pair protein with carbs: Protein when combines with carbs give excellent results as protein help in muscle building and recovery and carbs provides instant source of energy. Carbs also help in overall recovery and long term energy for overall performance throughout the day.