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Protein and Amino
needed by the body for the repair and healing of tissues. Amino acids are molecules that form protein when joined together.
These amino acids are classified as either essential or nonessential. As the name implies essential amino acids (histidine,
isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine) need to be consumed through
the diet because the body cannot voluntarily produce them. Nonessential amino acids (alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic
acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tryosine) can be produced by the body and are
therefore not needed through dietary means.
Animal protein is considered complete protein because foods such as meat, fish,
poultry, and diary products contain all the necessary amino acids. A diet rich in complete proteins helps maintain a positive
nitrogen balance (amino means nitrogen-containing). Positive nitrogen balance occurs when the body has enough amino acids
to repair bodily tissues such as skin and damaged muscle. A negative nitrogen balance occurs when there is
insufficient dietary protein. One can surmise the havoc a negative nitrogen balance can have on the progress of an individual
implementing an exercise program. Simply put without adequate amounts of protein you will not get bigger or stronger.
How Much Do I Need?
The RDA requirement for protein is 0.8g/kg/day for individuals over the age of 18yrs. The problem
is these numbers are irrespective of any physical activity for the individual. Current research suggests endurance resistance
athletes should consume 1.2- 1.4g/kg/day and resistance trained individuals may need as much as 1.6 to 1.7g/kg/day (American
College of Sports Medicine, ACSM).Studies suggest that protein may account for as much as 15% of energy used during endurance
activity. The resistance trained individual needs the added protein for muscle tissue repair and to maintain a hypertrophic
(ability for muscle growth) stimulus. Again, protein is the only substrate in the body that is used for growth and repair
of tissue. Try to consume 20-40 grams of protein with each of your 5-6 smaller meals through out the day.
too much protein harmful to my health?
There is very little evidence
to suggest diets rich in protein cause any harmful effects to the human body. In a study examining bodybuilders with protein
intakes of 1.8g/kg/day vs. well trained athletes with moderate protein intakes less than 1.0g/kg/day revealed no significant
differences in kidney function between the groups. One of the myths surrounding high protein intakes is that it causes
increased calcium excretion. New studies suggest that an increase in protein may potentially improve bone mass in the elderly.
When consuming food there is an increase in metabolic
activity (burning calories), that is used for the transfer and digestion of the food itself. This cost effect process is called
the thermic effect of food (TEF). The three macronutrients carbohydrates, proteins and fats get metabolized differently,
making the metabolic cost different. The TEF when digesting carbohydrates is 10% whereas the cost of fat is 3%. Protein is
the greatest at a whopping 25 %( Sports Nutrition, a Practical Manual for Professionals, 4th edition). Good reasons
to think of the protein shake as an ideal snack.
The Protein Shake:
Low in calories and high in protein these quick and easy to make drinks will satisfy the appetite,
and help rebuild those damaged muscle fibers. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn and the higher your metabolism
will be. Studies show that protein shakes consisting of whey are the best choice due to its high biological value (Pellett,
PL and Young, VR. Nutritional evaluation of protein foods. United Nations University, 1980).In a nut shell the biological
value is the measure of how much of the digested protein is actually used in the protein synthesis process. More whey, equals
more protein synthesis, equals more fat burning, equals a slimmer you.
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