Basics Of Nutrition Part 2 Of 6: Protein!

Do you ever wonder why we need protein?

Do you ever wonder why we need protein? Some of you might say to build muscles. Before we talk about protein, and the bodybuilder, lets talk about the everyday functions of protein first. First off, a protein is described as a food component made of amino acids. Proteins contain the form of nitrogen used by the human body. Protein yields on an average of 4 kcal per gram. Notice they are the same as carbohydrates. Say you eat 20g of protein, or 20g of carbohydrates. They both will yield 80 kcal. 4 x 20= 80. The function of protein in our body is as follows; blood clotting, fluid balance, visual process, hormone and enzyme production, and cell repair. As I mentioned up above, proteins are made up of amino acids. Amino acids are formed by carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.

The key part of an amino acid is nitrogen. Notice up above I stated that proteins contain the form of nitrogen used by the human body. Our bodies need to use 20 different types of amino acids to function. 11 of them are nonessential. This means they can be synthesized by the body in sufficient amounts. The other 9 amino acids are what we call essential. This means that we have to get them from food. Some protein powders on the market list the amino acids on the back of the container in mg, or g, and some don't. Some even break it down into nonessential, and essential. Here is what it may look like.

  • L-Histidine
  • L-Isoleucine (BCAA)
  • L-Leucine (BCAA)
  • L-Lysine
  • L-Methionine
  • L-Phenylalanine
  • L-Threonine
  • L-Tryptophan
  • L-Valine (BCAA)
  • L-Alanine
  • L-Arginine
  • L-Asparagine
  • L-Aspartic Acid
  • L-Cysteine*
  • L-(Cystine)
  • L-Glutamic Acid
  • L-Glutamine
  • L-Glycine
  • L-Proline
  • L-Serine
  • L-Tyrosine*

The amino acids that have * beside them are also classed as semi essential. This means that they must be made from essential amino acids if insufficient amounts are eaten. Because two cysteine molecules can bind to form a new amino acid called cystine, the number of nonessential aminos is sometimes listed as 12.

Now that we have that out of the way, I am going to talk about how much protein we need to consume each day. So, how much protein do we need to eat each day? Well, for the everyday person, the RDA requires .8g per kg of bodyweight. So if you weigh 175lbs, you would need 175/2.2= 80kg (your bodyweight) x .8= 64g of protein. Wait, what about a bodybuilder? Numerous resources say that 1.2-1.6g of protein per kg of bodyweight is enough. I have talked to many people about this, including Doctors, Registered dieticians, and so forth. Most of them go with 2g per kg of bodyweight. This seems to be more like it for a bodybuilder. So, if you weigh 175/2.2= 80kg x 2= 160g of protein. That is 96g more protein then what is recommended for an everyday person. Why would you need any more then that? If 64g are being used for everyday functions, the other 96g will be used for muscle repair, and growth. On the contrary to what people believe, the 1-1.5g per lb of bodyweight is not necessary. The 1g would be MAX, and that is already 15g more. Say you eat 1.5g of protein per lb of body weight. That's 262.5g of protein.

Subtract that from 64g for everyday functions, and the 96g used for muscle repair, and growth. What do you get? You get an extra 102.5g of protein. Now ask yourself this; what is going to happen to that extra protein? By eating more protein, it does not guarantee a positive protein balance. Building extra tissue requires the right hormonal condition as well. Weight lifting also enhances positive balance. Another thing I would like to mention is that recent research shows that it is carbohydrates that actually enhances the anabolic, or condition in which new molecules are synthesized. Basically we mean growth. I know some of you will disagree with me on the protein issue, but I challenge you to ask any registered dietician or licensed dietician with a PhD, and ask them this question. I guarantee they will say anywhere from 1.2-2g of protein per kg of body weight is enough.

Try and find one that says 1.5g per lb of bodyweight is what you really need. More than likely, 99% will say that 1.5g is not necessary. If you find one that says you do need 1.5g per lb of bodyweight, have them e-mail me, and tell me why, and how all of the extra protein will be used.

The final thing I would like to discuss is denaturation of proteins. A treatment with acid, alkaline substance, heat, or agitation can severely alter a protein's structure, leaving it denatured. Remember, we dismantle the proteins we get from food, and use the amino acids to assemble proteins we need. I would like to share with you an item that contains a good amino acid profile. You might have not heard of this substance, but it is Bee pollen. Here is the chemical analysis of bee pollen. Next time you are looking for a good source of amino acids, and other nutrients, you might consider bee pollen. 1oz= 2tbsp.

Guaranteed analysis: 7.1 grams per ounce (RDA)(12 grams) Standard chemical analysis identifies only 18 of the 22 amino acids present in pollen.

Amino Acids: MGs per ounce

Cystine 36.855

Lysine 366.360

Histidine 138.590

Arginine 292.520

Aspartic 542.440

Threonine 236.856

Serine 289.680

Glutamic 585.040

Proline 505.520

Clycine 267.520

Alanine 309.560

Valine 280.592

Methionnine 94.004

Isoleucine 230.040

Leucine 377.720

Tyrosine 139.440

Phenylalanine 236.850

Tryptophan 49.700

Minerals: MGs per ounce

calcium 42.383

Iron 2.118

Potassium 158.675

Phosphorus 121.706

Sodium 2.693

Iodine (in MCGs) 6.237

Magnesium 27.675

Zinc 1.460

Copper .221

Boron .604

Barium .136

Chromium ( less than) .010

Manganese 1.395

Strontium .094

Miscellaneous: Grams per ounce

Carbohydrates 5.15

Fiber 1.02

Reducing sugars 8.25

Ash .65

Calories per ounce .90

Vitamins: Grams per ounce

A-232.470 I.U.*

Alpha carotene .031

Beta carotene .122

B1 (thiamine) .198

B2 (Riboflavin) .459

B3 (Niacin) 2.551

B6 (Pyridoxine) .119

B12 (Cyanocobalamin) .00002

Biotin .002

Folic Acid .201

Pantothenic Acid .198

C- (Ascorbic Acid)1.304

D- 9 I.U.*

D- 2.194 I.U.*

* International Units

Rutin - Abundant.( not measured in analysis) of great importance in capillary strength.

Enzymes: Active enzymes are needed to digest and assimilate nutrients.

Chemical analysis only measures 3 of the many present in bee pollen.

Enzyme units per gram:

Amylase (USP units) 2.550
(needed to break down starch)

Protease (USP Units) 64.400
(needed to split proteins)

Lipase (mm units) .085
(needed to emulsify fats)

Fatty Acids 2.807 grams/oz.

Essential fatty acids, with carbohydrates and sugars, supply our energy requirements.

Cholesterol: 0 percent

Bee pollen contains a higher content (11) of the healthful unsaturated fatty acids as opposed to saturated (9).

Note* Bee Pollen also contains elements science is not yet able to isolate and identify. Some authorities believe it is precisely these elements, often called the *magic* of the bee, which makes Bee pollen so effective.

Good luck, and stay tuned for part 3 of the basics of nutrition where I will cover fat.

Check out part three.