Sunday, November 6, 2016

Understanding Proteins and Nutrition

As a personal trainer, I work with people on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they are so poorly educated on their nutrition that many do not even know what constitutes as a protein. Proteins, which are large molecules also known as polypeptides, are constructed of repeating elements of amino acids. A variety of proteins are formed when peptide bonds link together amino acids. They are extremely crucial to the diet. This is because they are responsible for muscle growth and repair.
Proteins can be divided into two main categories. These are simple proteins and conjugated proteins. Simple proteins are composed of only amino acids. They include “serum albumin from blood, lactalbumin from milk, ovalbumin from egg, myosin from muscle, collagen from connective tissue, and keratin form hair.”1 Conjugated proteins are composed of amino acids and non-protein molecules that help serve as a structural component. They include “nucleic acid from chromosomes, glycoproteins from blood, lipoprotein from cell membranes, chromoprotein from blood, metaloprotein from blood, and phosphoproteins from casein.”1
Sometimes, amino acids are used for energy. When this occurs, they cannot be used to build or repair muscle tissue. Amino acids are used for energy during starvation. Unfortunately, this means that your muscles will begin to breakdown. Your body will also start releasing amino acids to be used as energy from the muscles. This is why it is extremely important to maintain a healthy and properly balanced diet. Some beneficial low- fat proteins individuals can add to their diet include most fish, shrimp, lean red meats, skinned poultry and some low fat dairy products. “The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day.”2
Individuals need to understand how important protein is to their diet. They must have the proper balance of macronutrients to ensure their body functions correctly. By consuming protein daily, the body can work to repair, rebuild and maintenance cells and muscle tissue.

1Gastelu, D. (2000). Proteins and amino acids. Sports Nutrition.
2Nutrition Source. (n.d.). Protein. Harvard School of Public Health.

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