Why the proteins are usable in diet?

Elvis Elvis

Protein in diet is an essential component that however had little attention until recently. Fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and supplements are most talked aboutin the diet. This is changing. Lately more interest in dietary protein is recognized.

If water part is taken away then 75 percent of the body weight is protein.

Protein is the main component of :

  • muscles
  • organs
  • glands

 Why the proteins are usable in diet?

Protein is found in the bone, skin, hair and virtually every body part or tissue.

Lack of protein can cause

  • growth failure
  • loss of muscle mass
  • decreased immunity
  • weakening of heart
  • weakening of respiratory system

Types of proteins (amino acids) :

  1. Essential amino acids
  2. Non-essential amino acids

Our body requires 20 different types of amino acids for the synthesis of proteins. The body is capable of making 13 of these required amino acids. These are known as non-essential amino acids since the body can make them and does not need to get them from the diet. Other 9 amino acids are essential amino acids and need to be supplied in the diet.

If the food protein supplies enough of the essential amino acids, it is called a complete protein. If it does not supply all the essential amino acids, it is called incomplete protein.

Sources of complete protein :

  • all meat and other animal products
  • poultry
  • fish
  • eggs

Sources of incomplete protein :

  • grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables

Important thing is that plant proteins can be combined to include all of the essential amino acids and thus the combination can become a complete protein source.

Examples of combined, complete proteins :

  1. rice and beans
  2. corn and beans

People who do not eat meat, fish, poultry or eggs can consume variety of plant proteins and dairy products.

In the developed countries, getting the minimum daily requirement of protein is not a problem. Cereal with milk for breakfast, a peanut butter jelly sandwich for lunch and a piece of fish with side serving of beans would provide enough protein. The problem in today’s eating style is too much protein.

Too much protein

Eating lots of protein, such as the amounts recommended in the so called low-carb or no-carb diets can lead to a health problem. A diet high in meat could lead to high cholesterol or other diseases such as gout. High protein diet may put a strain on the kidneys, by excreting waste product at the end of protein metabolism.

Consuming lots of protein uses up plenty of calcium from the body. In the process of digesting proteins, lots of acids are released. The body usually neutralizes these acids with calcium and other buffering agents in the blood. Some of the calcium gets extracted from the bones. Thus taking high protein diet for a prolong period of time should be supplemented with calcium to preserve bone health.

There is connection between proteins and health in relation to allergies. Overreaction of the immune system to proteins in food and the environment may be responsible for allergies.

It is important to see what comes along with protein in your food choices. Pay attention to how much of the saturated fat comes along with your protein selection. If you consume meat, choose lean portions. Fish or poultry would be other healthy alternatives. Vegetable sources of proteins such as beans, nuts and whole grains is even better options.

Protein and weight control

High protein, low-carbohydrate diets may work more quickly for weight reduction as compared to low-fat diets, at least in the first six months or so. After that weight loss is equal with either diet. The weight loss is quicker with the high protein diet because it slows the gastric emptying. This prolongs the feeling of fullness and reduces frequent eating. Also protein has gentle steady effect on blood sugar level thus preventing the quick, steep rise and fall in blood sugar level the type that occurs after carbohydrate diet like white bread or baked potato.

In spite of the advantages of high protein diet in weight control, one should not avoid fruits, vegetables and whole grains and thus missing out the healthful fiber, vitamin, minerals and phytonutrients.

Vegetarian diet and protein :

Many people have false fear of getting weak or tired or less well developed if they do not get protein from animal sources such as meat or poultry. They need to know that there are abundant sources of protein in vegetarian diet such as soy protein, nuts, beans and lentils. When consumed in variety of forms, they provide complete protein with all the essential amino acids that we need.

The bottom line :

  • Eat a variety of foods that will ensure all the amino acids you need.
  • Watch what comes along with protein food. Low fat version is healthier choices. If you eat meat go for the leanest cuts. In dairy products skim or low fat are good choices. Beans, soy, nuts and whole grains offer protein without much saturated fat and with plenty of fiberand nutrients.
  • Less highly processed carbohydrates and increasing protein improves triglycerides and HDLthus reducing heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases.

    Soy based foods when taken in moderation and other beans and nuts are excellent alternative to red meat.