If you’re into health and fitness you’ll be aware that protein is a hot topic, as are amino acids. But what’s all the fuss about and what the heck are amino acids?
WHAT ARE AMINO ACIDS?
To understand protein you first need to understand amino acids; the compounds that make up protein.
Our bodies need 20 different amino acids to carry out daily functions such as the synthesis of proteins, enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, metabolic pathways, mental stabilization, and pretty much every function within the body.
Out of the 20 amino acids, our bodies can only make 11 of them by itself so 9 of them must be obtained through diet. These 9 amino acids are referred to as ‘essential amino acids’ and they are:
Whilst animal-based protein sources tend to offer a complete range of these amino acids, plant-based proteins are usually deficient in one or more of the amino acids meaning it is an incomplete protein. This is why it is important to eat a varied diet with different protein sources such as quinoa, brown rice, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds.
These amino acids help sustain energy levels, promote fat loss, muscle gain and reduce recovery time.
WHY DO WE NEED PROTEIN?
You NEED protein for almost every process in the body!
- rebuilding muscles
- rebuilding tissues
- hormone production
- a strong immune system
- healthy hair, skin and nails
- transportation of nutrients throughout the body
- a million more things…
✨TIP: Eating the best quality and most bioavailable forms will ensure your bodies receives and absorbs more of the protein.
There is no one size fits all
The amount of protein your body requires depends on your age, gender and lifestyle.
🙋♂️Men require more protein (55g per day) than women (45g per day)
👴Older people need more protein due to age related loss of muscle mass and strength, known as sarcopenia
🏃🏿♂️More active people tend to need more calories and thus more protein (although eating more than 50% the recommended amount is no advised)
The NHS recommend 50g of protein a day for the average adult i.e. moderately active 18-40 year old with no health issues.
More protein does not = more gains
If you consume more protein than your body need you will not grow more muscle or get leaner you will simply pee out the excess protein.
You don’t need to eat every 2 hours
You are not ‘The Rock’ so you don’t need to be eating eggs and meat every couple of hours. The best way to eat is intuitively by listening to your body; If you are hungry, eat.
Meat & whey protein are not superior
Animal based products like meat and dairy are harder for our bodies to breakdown, digest and utilise energy from.
Moreover, animal products are far less sustainable and right now we need to do everything we can to help save our planet for future generations.
Whey vs Plant-based
Vegan proteins have come a long way from the days of being bland, chalky, and powdery. Now you can get your hands on an array of silky smooth, blendable plant-based protein mixes from pea and rice to pumpkin and sacha inchi.
Here’s why you should say “no whey !” to whey and switch to plant-based protein:
- Plant proteins are more easily digested
- Vegan protein is better for the environment
- Gram for gram the protein amount is pretty much the same 15g-30g per serve depending on the brand
- Plants are highly nutritious containing fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals
What’s your favourite source of protein? Comment below. 👇