Proteins are more popular than ever before. On more and more food packaging we find labels such as: "now with more protein", "high protein", "protein bread" or "plus protein". But what's the hype and what are good and sustainable sources of protein?
Why protein at all?
Proteins are essential for the metabolism and therefore especially popular in weight training. Proteins are mainly needed for the maintenance / as well as new formation of cells. Among other things, to build muscles, bones and connective tissue and to keep them in good shape. In addition, there are many other functions for which proteins are necessary:
- for the regeneration of your body
- to maintain our hormonal balance
- for an intact immune system
- to obtain energy from individual nutrients
- or for the formation of blood platelets and enzymes.
For this to work well, not only the right amount is important, but above all the mix of high-quality and different proteins that your body can utilize well. Here it should be noted right away that a balanced diet is rich in high-quality proteins and can cover the need for proteins well. Supplements, however, should only be used as the name suggests: to supplement an otherwise well balanced diet.
Protein is not equal to protein
As you have already learned from the blog post "Healthy and sustainable - does it fit together?", the ingested protein can only be used well if the right building blocks are available. The protein that we take in through food consists of different building blocks - the amino acids. The most important amino acids, which the body cannot form itself, include:
- Histidine (in cereals especially whole grains).
- Isoleucine (in legumes)
- Leucine (in legumes)
- Lysine (increased in legumes)
- Methionine (increased in cereals)
- Phenylalanine (increased in cereals)
- Threonine (in legumes and potatoes)
- Tryptophan (in legumes and nuts)
- Valine (in legumes)
Ingested proteins are broken down into the individual amino acids in the body and reassembled into the body's own proteins. The reassembled proteins are then reused, for example, for growth and development, for a wide variety of metabolic processes and for many other bodily functions.
The amino acid tryptophan, for example, is involved in building serotonin, which is often referred to as the happiness hormone. And the amino acid lysine is integrated in the cross-linking of collogenic fibrils, which helps to make our muscles stronger.
When you eat food, the proteins it contains are broken down into their individual building blocks. You can imagine this as a Lego tower that is disassembled. From the tower you want to build something else, e.g. several cars for which you need certain colors and shapes. If only one of these shapes is missing for your project, you cannot assemble your new project and would have to dismantle a second Lego tower containing this shape. The better you can assemble the cars from the two dismantled towers, the better the build quality. In terms of food proteins, we are talking about biological value or bioavailability, which indicates how well a food protein can be utilized by the body.
Only meat builds muscle!?
No. The bioavailability of meat is usually greater than that of plant-based protein sources, but cleverly combined (as shown in the Lego Tower example) you can increase the bioavailability and optimally feed your protein balance. You can achieve this by combining grains and legumes, for example, by combining whole grain bread with hummus or lentil dal with basmati rice. Cereals are a rich source of methionine, but low in lysine, threonine and tryptophan. Legumes, on the other hand, are not very rich in methionine, but are rich in threonine and tryptophan. Therefore, with plant-based protein sources, the combination is important.
In order not to get confused with all the info, the whole thing briefly summarized for you:
The bioavailability indicates how well a dietary protein can be utilized by the body
plant-based proteins cleverly combined increase the usability for your body
Supplements through protein powder and protein supplements should rather be second choice - with a balanced diet you can cover your protein needs well
You should also consider this!
Only the right protein intake alone will not make you fit. As research shows, in addition to optimal protein intake, you also need the other micronutrients and regular training to achieve structural and metabolic adaptations.
Whether training, nutritional optimization or body analysis, we help you!
Your inicio team
-Fox, Tom (2006): Hintergrundwissen Ernährung, Proteine machen Muskeln munter. Physiopraxis 3/06. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/pdf/10.1055/s-0032-1307951.pdf
-König, Daniel Prof. Doc. Et. Al. (2020): Proteinzufuhr im Sport, Proteinzufuhr im Sport Position der Arbeitsgruppe Sporternährung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ernährung e. V. (DGE). Ernährungsumschau international 07/2020
-L. C.Junqueira J. Carneiro (1991): Histologie, Zytologie, Histologie und mikroskopische Anatomie des Menschen Seite 167