Protein is made up of compounds known as amino acids, there are 20 different types of amino acids, 12 of these are called the non-essential or secondary amino acids because if they are in short supply our human bodies can make them.
The other 8 are the essential or primary amino acids, we cannot make these, these need to be provided by our diets.
If there is an essential amino acid missing, the required protein cannot be made until the amino acid is available.
If a non-essential amino acid is missing, protein will combine with other proteins to make what is required, if necessary cannibalising its own tissue to meet its requirements in a process know as catabolism.
Most people are aware that protein is essential for the growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues.
This is because protein is part of every living cell, some tissues like the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, hair and the core of the teeth are predominantly made of protein.
Protein is vital for many functions in the human body, Protein is used sparingly in energy production, the preferred energy source is Carbohydrates.
Sources of Complete Protein include
Complete sources of protein include meat, and animal sources.
Vegetarian and Vegan diets can obtain adequate levels of dietary protein with a carefully planned diet.
Most plant based protein's have an incomplete amino acid profile ; this means that one or two essential amino acids will be missing.
Plant protein's lack a full amino acid profile, to overcome this issue a combine of plant sources nuts, seeds and beans can be combined to easily solve this problem.
Protein Per gram
How Can Vegetarian Diets Meet their protein needs?
Many vegetarians choose not to eat meat or fish; however, this will leave many sources of complete protein, Such as milk, eggs, Quorn and tofu.
In essence, combinations of incomplete protein such as cereals, legumes and nuts must be eaten.
The essential amino acids missing from one incomplete source will hopefully be present in another source, together they will supply all 8 essential amino acid needs.
Rice and Peas
Baked beans on toast
Peanut butter sandwich
Diets based solely on fruit and vegetable will quickly lead to protein deficiency.
Protein Daily Intake
Dietary protein needs on a daily basis vary depending on activity levels.
An Inactive Persons recommended protein intake is 0.8g per kg of body weight.
A 60kg individual would require 60x08g= 48g per day
A 74kg individual would require 74x0.8g=60g per day
This is Equivalent to approximately 15% of Total Calories
Endurance Athlete Needs 1.2- 1.4grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
Strength Athlete/ Power Athlete needs 1.4- 1.8grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
Health Risks of a low Protein Diet
Inadequate growth and repair of body tissues, hair, nails, skin, muscles and organs.
Enzyme production will be effected.
Hormone production will be affected.
Antibody production will be affected this will reduce the function of the immune system.
Energy intake maybe compromised, a diet low in protein is also likely to be low in overall calories consumed.
Health Risks of a high protein diet.
There are no health benefits in consuming more protein than we need, in fact we may be putting our bodies at risk.
The kidneys excrete excess protein and amino acids not used by the body, this places extra stress on these internal organs, which could lead to kidney damage.
When amino groups are removed from amino acids at a faster rate than their conversion to excretory products such as urea, this leads to the build-up of ammonia in the blood.
Excess Protein can lead to fat gains.