Protein, what you need to know.
Protein, protein, protein. This macronutrient has probably been debated the most over the last few years. What’s too much? What’s too little? Complete or incomplete protein? Plant sources or meat sources?
Unfortunately, there is no straight answer, but what we aim to do at OPEX Bristol is give you the basic information to help you navigate this minefield.
What is protein?
Protein is a structure made of amino acids; these structures can differ in complexity and amino acid content.
It’s the amino acids we really want. These amino acids are used for synthesising; muscle proteins, skeletal and connective tissue, neurotransmitters, enzymes, immune system chemicals and transport proteins. In short… we need amino acids not only to survive but to thrive.
We have the ability to make 12 amino acids in our bodies, which makes these non-essential amino acids. However there are 8 amino acids we can produce in the body, which are vital for a healthy body, these are essential amino acids.
Beyond basic bodily function, protein helps improve satiety, energy and body composition.
How much protein do I need?
This completely depends on the individual and can vary from 1.2g – 2.2g per Kg of body mass. Your required amount will depend on your total lean mass, your activity level, your goals, your ability to digest proteins and your overall health.
If you have a westernised diet, it is unlikely you will be protein deficient. However not being deficient does not mean optimum health and fitness.
It’s probably a good place to start just having a quality source of protein with each meal.
Organic meats such as beef, pork and wild game
Organic poultry such as chicken, turkey, and duck
Line caught fish and other non-factory farmed seafood
Beans and legumes
Tempeh or tofu
We always aim to meet our needs from a whole food diet. But in some cases, supplementation with whey protein or essential amino acids (EAA) may be advantageous.
People who may struggle to get enough protein:
• People who are busy and find it hard to make good protein choices
• They may be athletes training intensely and/or on the road between events
• They may be ill or unable to prepare whole food meals