Proteins in food

Proteins are an indispensable food product for life. Animal and vegetable proteins in the gastrointestinal tract undergo hydrolysis, turning into amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscles and other tissues.

The main source of protein is food of animal origin: meat, eggs, cottage cheese and other dairy products, poultry, fish and other seafood. If we talk about plant sources of protein, then they primarily include cereals and legumes, but we must bear in mind that plant proteins are less absorbed and have less biological value.

Read the main article: Protein dishes (recipes) and Protein products

Proteins contain both interchangeable and essential amino acids for humans. All of them are absolutely essential for life. The word “replaceable” means that a number of amino acids, if they do not enter the body from the outside, can be synthesized by them. This is their difference from the irreplaceable.

Read the main article: List of Amino Acids

The daily requirement of an adult for protein is up to 1.5 g per kilogram of normal (ideal) weight, or an average of 90-100 gr, approximately 80% of them should be obtained with animal products, and 20% with vegetable products. In bodybuilding, the need for protein is much higher (on average, it is about 300 g per day), while the optimal daily dosage is calculated for each athlete. It is ideal for an athlete to get 50% protein from food sources, and the other 50% from sports nutrition, which is free of ballast substances, does not contain fats and carbohydrates. From a financial point of view, protein in the form of additives is equivalent in value to protein products. 

Read the main article: Calculating Daily Protein Requirements

The basic rule when choosing protein foods is as follows: a high coefficient of protein absorption and a higher protein content per unit of calories. Choose foods high in protein and low in fat.

Heat-treated proteins are better absorbed, as they become more accessible to gastrointestinal enzymes. However, heat treatment can reduce the biological value of the protein due to the destruction of certain amino acids.

Read also: Diet for muscle gain

Top Protein Products

Protein sources – MeatCaloriesProteinFatsCarbohydrates
Chicken breast9921.51.50
Turkey (breast)8419.20.70
Protein sources – BeanCaloriesProteinFatsCarbohydrates
Red beans32322.31.754.5
White beans39025.11.569.1
Red lentils32524.21.753.3
Mash or (Mung bean)31223.52.050.0
Protein sources – Fish & SeafoodCaloriesProteinFatsCarbohydrates
Protein sources – Egg & Dairy productsCaloriesProteinFatsCarbohydrates
Egg white (kilocalories per serving of 33g egg white)17.03.600.24
Low fat yogurt29.
Cheese (17% fat cheese)27029.017.00
Milk (0.5%)
Cottage cheese (0.5%)9018.00.53.3
Protein sources – NutsCaloriesProteinFatsCarbohydrates
Pine nut67311.661.019.3
Protein sources – CerealsCaloriesProteinFatsCarbohydrates
Wild rice34714.00.572.0
Red rice3377.52.271.8

Protein quality

When consuming protein, you need to pay attention not only to the quantity, but also to the type or composition of dietary protein. Any protein consists of various amino acids, the number of individual proteins also varies. The closer the amino acid of a food protein is to the amino acid of an organism’s protein, the better it is absorbed and, accordingly, the higher its biological value. 

The biological value of protein

By the biological value of a protein (or protein-containing food) is meant the fraction of nitrogen retention in the body of all absorbed nitrogen. The measurement of the biological value of a protein is based on the fact that the nitrogen retention in the body is higher with an adequate content of essential amino acids in the dietary protein, sufficient to support the growth of the body.

Balanced Amino Acid Composition

To build the vast majority of proteins in the human body, all 20 amino acids are required, and in certain proportions. Moreover, it is important not so much a sufficient amount of each of the essential amino acids as their ratio, as close as possible to that in the proteins of the human body. Imbalance in the amino acid composition of dietary protein leads to a disruption in the synthesis of intrinsic proteins, shifting the dynamic balance of protein anabolism and catabolism towards the predominance of the breakdown of the body’s own proteins, including enzyme proteins. The lack of one or another irreplaceable amino acid limits the use of other amino acids in the process of protein biosynthesis. A significant excess leads to the formation of highly toxic metabolic products unused for the synthesis of amino acids.

The availability of amino acids

The availability of individual amino acids may be reduced if digestive enzyme inhibitors (present, for example, in legumes) are present in food proteins or when proteins and amino acids are thermally damaged during cooking.

Protein digestibility

The degree of protein digestibility (digestibility) reflects its breakdown in the gastrointestinal tract and the subsequent absorption of amino acids. According to the rate of digestion by digestive enzymes, food proteins can be arranged in the following sequence:

  • Egg and dairy proteins;
  • Meat and fish proteins;
  • Vegetable proteins.

Net Protein Utilization

This indicator of the quality of food protein characterizes not only the degree of nitrogen retention, but also the amount of digested protein. Net protein utilization also characterizes the degree of nitrogen retention in the body, but adjusted for protein digestibility in the gastrointestinal tract.

Protein efficiency coefficient

The indicator of the protein efficiency coefficient is based on the assumption that the body weight gain of growing animals is proportional to the amount of protein consumed. The protein efficiency coefficient can be increased by combining products whose proteins complement each other well.

Protein assimilation rate

Currently, the quality of dietary proteins is evaluated by the coefficient of their assimilation. It takes into account the amino acid composition (chemical value) and the completeness of digestion (biological value) of proteins. Foods with an assimilation rate of 1.0 are the most complete sources of protein. Assessment of the quality of proteins of various products according to the World Health Organization is given in the table.

Product NamesThe amount of protein, grThe amount of fat, grThe amount of carbohydrates, grNet recycling (NPU),%Digestibility,%Performance ratio (PER)Biological Value (BV)Absorption Rate (PDCAAS)
Egg powder45.037.37.1951003.81001.0
Milk, kefir2.83.03.680942.8881.0
Cottage cheese16.75.070982.9841.0
Pork (non-greasy)16.427.868982.3740.63
Fish (Pink Salmon)21.07.880952.5760.90
Poultry meat (Chicken)20.88.870992.5790.92

The biological value of the protein complex is higher than the value of its individual components. To enhance biological value, the following combinations are recommended:

  • potatoes + eggs;
  • wheat + eggs;
  • corn + eggs;
  • beans + eggs;
  • rye + milk;
  • millet + soy.

Try to combine vegetable proteins with animals (meat, milk, eggs).

Good research before moving to the buy supplements department in Balkapharm Online Store ensures that you don’t tend to the wrong steroid. Gender, age and other environmental factors are effective in manifesting side effects.

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