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Beginners Guide to Protein

Protein is vital for growth and repair of human tissue. It also provides us with many of the amino acids we require.As such we need it in large quantities throughout our lives. Here we give you the lowdown onprotein.

Good sources of protein

What is protein?

Protein is an essential element in nutrition and provides 4 calories per gram in energy. Protein can be found in the following foods (highest amount first):

  • meats
  • cereals
  • milk
  • fish
  • vegetables
  • potatoes
  • eggs

Around 10 to 15% of our nutrient intake should come from protein. To maintain bodyweight we need it in the following amounts:

To Maintain Body Weight
Weight (lb) Protein (g)

Amino acids from protein

As we eat protein the body breaks it down and amino acids are absorbedin the gut. There are 20 amino acids and they carry out numerous functions within the body.Of the amino acids there are8 essential amino acids, they are named essential as the body can't make them.They can only be obtained from the protein we eat in our diet. There names are:

  • isoleucine
  • leucine
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalaine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine

Then there are the remaining 12 amino acids. These are called non-essential amino acids. They are called non-essential as the body can make them. Adequate nutrition is still required to help the body make them inoptimum amounts. The non-essential amino acids are as follows:

  • alanine
  • arginine
  • asparagine
  • aspartic acid
  • cystine
  • glutamic acid
  • glycine
  • histidine
  • proline
  • serine
  • taurine
  • tyrosine

Protein in fitness

During fitness muscles must be broken down in order tobe repaired and rebuilt stronger for the next time they're used. Protein plays its role during this phase as it aids the breakdown and repair of muscle.So protein duringa fitness regimen is vital. Side effects of a lack of protein include muscle soreness and excessive fatigue leading to longer recovery times and lack of strength.

Those doing bodybuilding, sprinting and other high intensity sports are the most in need. People involved in these sports will needa higher supply of protein. Whey proteins are the best for this purpose and can be purchased from most sports and nutrition stores. Some are sold with a variety of amino acids already included. They are prepared as powdersto be mixed with water or milk and come in a variety of flavors.

Protein overall

Supplementation for the sedentary to semi-active person is not required as the average diet will provide enough protein. This is the case as long as meat is incorporated in at least one meal of the day.

Both active people and vegetarian or vegans will need to make sure of an adequate supply. People in these groupsmay need supplementation. This is especially required for sports people in a hard phase of training or competition.

Recommended Daily Allowances

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