Protein: What is it good for, and how much protein should you eat?
Protein is one of the crucial nutritional issues if you want to transform your body. If you’re wondering what protein is, why it’s essential, and how much you need, read this article.
What will you learn about protein?
- What is protein?
- Why are proteins important?
- How much protein do you need per day?
- What are the best sources of protein?
- This is how you optimize your protein intake
- Can You Eat Too Much Protein?
- How do you recognize good protein powder?
What does protein do in your body?
Protein is your body’s main building block. It would be best if you had it for your skin, hair, bones, and immune system to build and regenerate muscles. If missing, you risk muscle breakdown, and these processes no longer work optimally.
Protein intake is crucial when losing weight if you want to stay slim in the long term.
It suppresses appetite, fills you up, and protects you from muscle breakdown.
If fat is missing from your food, your body will attack the fat deposits – no big deal.
If there are no carbohydrates, your body switches from glucose to protein metabolism and synthesizes protein glycogen.
So it all comes down to protein in your diet. If they are missing in the metabolism, muscles are broken down.
Q&A: Is egg white and protein the same?
Yes, the terms are used interchangeably:
Proteins are proteins.
Protein is the technical term, while egg white is used more colloquially today.
What is protein?
Our athletes mainly eat vegetables, protein products, fat, fruit, and a few carbohydrates. What happens: The athletes no longer have tired phases, especially in everyday life. BRIAN MACKENZIE, PERFORMANCE COACH
Proteins are organic molecules made up of amino acids – the building blocks of life.
Amino acids are linked together by chemical bonds and folded in various ways. This creates 3D structures that are essential for the function of your body.
STRUCTURE OF PROTEINS: A MOLECULE CONSISTS OF A THREE-DIMENSIONAL ARRANGEMENT OF AMINO ACIDS.
You can learn more about the structure of proteins in the encyclopedia of biochemistry.
Your body is made up of up to 20% protein.
Depending on age and training level, the proportion varies somewhat. The rest comprises water (60-80%), fats (at least 5%), and micronutrients.
The proteins in your body are made up of 20 different amino acids.
Your body can produce eleven of them itself ( non-essential amino acids). You must get the other nine through food ( essential amino acids).
Some amino acids are semi-essential because your body cannot always meet its needs from its production – for example, in stressful situations.
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS SEMI-ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS NON-ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS • Histidine • Arginine • Alanine • Isoleucine (BCAA) • Cysteine • Asparagine • Leucine (BCAA) • Glutamine • Aspartic acid • Lysine • Tyrosine • Glutamic acid • Methionine • Proline • Phenylalanine • Serine • Threonine • Tryptophan • Valine (BCAA)
Since your body cannot assemble the essential amino acids from other protein structures, you must regularly supply them in fish, eggs, meat, milk, legumes, or other high-quality protein sources.
Why are proteins important?
During digestion, your body breaks down the protein you eat into individual amino acids, contributing to the amino acid pool in the plasma.
The amino acid pool is a protein storage reserve that circulates in the blood.
Your cells use it when they need building materials like amino acids and proteins. Your body is doing its best to keep this pool full.
You can think of it as a protein buffet for your cells.
Your body needs proteins and amino acids to make vital molecules like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, muscle cells, or antibodies.
Your body cannot function without sufficient protein intake.
At least not in the way he could. More like a poorly maintained machine.
Proteins help replace defective cells, transport various substances throughout your body, and aid in growth and repair.
Why does protein help you lose weight?
Protein-containing foods are among the most effective fillers of all.
If you don’t eat enough protein, your body signals hunger.
And so until he has enough protein up his sleeve again.
Those who eat a low-protein diet and listen to their hunger pangs often take in more calories than necessary.
Incidentally, in science, this mechanism is called the protein leverage effect.
Fat loss usually only works in the long term if you eat enough protein.
Your body’s hormone response also plays a role.
Eating protein can also increase levels of the hormone glucagon, which in turn helps with body fat control.
Your body releases glucagon when blood sugar levels drop. Your liver responds by releasing energy in the form of glycogen.
Glucagon can also help scavenge fatty acids from adipose tissue for energy.
That way, your fat stores can make themselves useful instead of just hanging lazily in your core.
Why are proteins called proteins?
The term “protein” is based on the Greek “proteins,” which translated means “the first” or “the most important.“
The term “protein” first appeared in scientific literature around 1700. Little was known about the physics and chemistry of proteins until the late 19th century.
In the Engish-speaking world, the term “protein” was taken over from the Greek dictionary.
It originated from the clear part of the hen’s egg, which, apart from water, mainly has protein structures.
Over time, internationally, “protein” became more and more accepted as a technical term.
How much protein do you need per day?
How much protein you need per day depends on several factors. One of the most important is your activity level.
The more active you are, the more protein you need.
The general recommendation is 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight or 1 gram from age 65. It applies to healthy, untrained adults. A person weighing 70 kg would therefore need to eat 56 g of protein daily.
The purpose of this general recommendation is to prevent a protein deficiency.
With this amount, you are not necessarily optimally supplied. Especially not as an athlete who trains regularly.
Anyone who trains intensively needs about 1.4-2.0 g of protein per kg of body weight as a building material.
Our 70 kg person would therefore need 98-140 g of protein daily.
With this amount, you provide enough building materials for protein synthesis (i.e., assembling new proteins from individual building blocks). The 1.4 to 2.0 grams per kilo per day mentioned are most likely sufficient for this alone.
However, the story does not end here.
In addition to avoiding a deficiency and ensuring protein synthesis, you may need more protein for a powerful immune system, a functioning metabolism, sustained satiety, performance, and a slim line. In other words:
Little protein is enough to survive. You need a lot more if you want to look good naked and have power.
The human body can only store a very limited amount of protein. Take a look at the graphic below. There you can see how the filling level of the body’s protein stores changes over a day.
Interestingly, the upper limit does not change. Only the protein availability varies. It increases when we eat and decreases when we fast.
PROTEIN AVAILABILITY THROUGHOUT THE DAY
The bottom line is that eating a 2kg steak every other day and getting rid of the protein issue doesn’t work. Your body needs protein regularly to replenish its stores.
Eating protein with every meal is best by dividing your daily requirement by the number of meals you have.
A recent meta-study shows that some strength athletes require at least 2.2 g/kg body weight. A high requirement of 2.1–2.5 g/kg has also been found in endurance athletes.
Since high protein consumption does not entail any health disadvantages for healthy people, the following rule of thumb makes sense – and also reflects our practical experience in coaching:
- Sedentary adults: 1.2–1.8 g protein per kg body weight.
- Strength/endurance athletes: > 2 g protein per kg.
- Additional fat loss: > 2.5 g protein per kg body weight.
Here’s another thought if you want to build muscle:
Studies show that while over 2.4g/kg does not provide any muscle-building benefits, a very high intake of 3.3g/kg can minimize the fat gain associated with muscle building.
However, 3.3 g/kg is a very large amount of protein; it doesn’t have to be that much.
A high-protein diet will help you look good in a swimsuit.
It helps you get and stay leaner and more muscular. In addition, it strengthens your immune system and your performance as an athlete and keeps you full – which is extremely helpful when losing weight or staying slim.
What are the best sources of protein?
With protein, not only the quantity plays a role, but also the quality.
The biological value reflects the quality of a protein source.
Easy to remember:
- Chicken eggs have a biological value of 100, which means 100% are converted in the body.
- A steak, on the other hand, only has a value of 83%,
- Kidney beans 73%.
Your body can more easily make body cells from animal protein than from plant proteins.
As a rule, animal protein sources have a higher biological value.
By combining different foods, however, a biological value of over 100 can also be achieved. For example, milk and wheat flour together have a value of 125.
However, this combo also contains more carbohydrates and calories than the total amount of protein.
The most efficient is a high-quality, low-carb protein powder.
There are now excellent vegan protein powders. You can find a list of 139 protein foods, and products that I use myself, and also recommend.
And, of course, it also works without powder.
But which foods contain the most protein?
Here is a comprehensive table of 139 protein foods.
In the tables, you can also find out which vegetables contain a lot of protein.
As a vegan, you must be careful to take in enough of the limiting amino acid leucine. Either by simply eating more or supplementing.
How do you optimize your protein intake?
What you measure, you can manage. This also applies to your protein intake.
It is best to track your diet for a while.
With long lists of nutrients and calculators, what used to be quite cumbersome is now relatively easy with a good nutrition app.
With a bit of practice and a good app, 2-3 minutes daily is enough.
The advantage is that you not only get an overview of your daily protein intake but also learn a lot about the nutrient content of food.
There are now several good apps for all systems. I use Yazio Pro.
How do you recognize a good protein powder?
There are countless brands and products out there, many of which are of dubious quality. What makes a good protein powder?
- Optimal composition of amino acids
- Free from banned substances
- High biological value
- Good taste
Can You Eat Too Much Protein?
If you eat more protein, your body can convert the excess protein into sugar or fat. However, this does not happen nearly as efficiently as with carbohydrates or fat.
The thermic effect of protein is much higher than that of carbohydrates and fat.
This refers to the number of calories needed to digest, absorb, transport, and store the calories contained in a food.
30% of protein calories are lost in these digestion and conversion processes.
With carbohydrates, it is only 8%, and with fat, only 3% of the calories contained.
It is, therefore, comparatively difficult to put on fat with pure protein.
You may have heard the thesis that protein damages the kidneys. That’s a myth. Those who meet their protein requirements and are healthy do not take any health risks – quite the opposite.
If you are healthy, you do not need to be afraid of higher amounts of protein:
In studies, even very high amounts of protein, up to 2.8 g/kg, had no negative effects on kidney function.
9 reasons why protein is good for you
- Protein gives life energy – not only through more muscles.
- Protein provides the inner drive.
- Protein produces happiness hormones.
- Protein stimulates the immune system and our defenses.
- Protein opens the blood vessels, increases blood flow, and makes you awake and potent.
- Protein accelerates regeneration. After the effort, we can achieve extraordinary things much more quickly.
- Protein makes you slim. Stimulates fat burning via two hormones.
- Protein helps against osteoarthritis and osteoarthritis pain. It builds bone, and it builds muscle.
- protein dehydrated.
The second part about protein: 139 protein foods that will help you lose weight and build muscle
You now know all the important basics about protein. Let’s get to the heart of the matter again:
- To keep muscle protein synthesis going, you need about 1.4-2.0 g/kg of protein per day.
- Nevertheless, it can be helpful to consume more protein (over 2.0 g/kg body weight) so that you stay full and satisfied longer after eating, maintain a slim and athletic figure in the long term, and have a well-functioning immune system.
- For best results, you should rely on high-quality protein sources (vegans can pay attention to leucine), which you consume regularly.
- A good food diary app like this will help you with the implementation.
Of course, the topic does not end with this article. Under the keyword protein, you will find many more tips, recipes, and background information on the subject of protein.
The second part about protein: 139 protein foods that will help you lose weight and build muscle