FUNCTIONS OF PROTEINS:
When you eat a protein food it is digested and broken down into the amino acid components. The amino acids are then reconstructed into various proteins. Some proteins function as enzymes, hormones, antibodies, precursors, clotting chemicals and structural components of the body. Protein is a primary constituent of most cell structures, especially muscle. The various protein syntheses are stimulated by human growth hormone thyroxine, and insulin, which are hormones in the body.
In simple terms, your body can’t directly use the protein from the source you have eaten. That protein must be digested and then reassemble into the proteins for the body by sequential placement of amino acids. For example, Insulin itself is a 51-chain structure of amino acids assembled in a specific sequence.
A certain amount of protein breakdown occurs in the body everyday. This is a process called catabolism. Your body may use red blood cells, or muscle to obtain amino acids to form new proteins. This is important to remember during a calorie or protein restriction. No matter what, your body needs a specific amount of protein per day. If you do not supply it through the foods you eat it will be taken from other places. To reiterate this by using the example with insulin, when your body begins to make insulin, if any of the essential amino acids are missing it must steal from other places, and muscle is expendable.
How does this happen? Lets say you begin to follow a diet you think is healthy. This diet may consist of a lot of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. All to often a vegetarian type diet is what many people feel they must follow for weight loss because of the lower calorie foods and sense that they can eat as much as they want. The problem with this is they tend to restrict high quality protein foods such as eggs, poultry, fish, and dairy products and not supply enough of the essential amino acids that the body needs, so it steals from muscle tissue to create more important structural proteins.
The amount of protein that is needed each day is different for everybody. This amount varies due to body weight, body fat composition, age, and most importantly type and duration of activity or exercise level. The general guideline for individuals is
.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight Therefore an individual weighing 150lbs would need 55 grams of protein each day.
150lbs / 2.2 x .8 = 55grams.
With the above-recommended guideline, many bodybuilders and athletes are now saying, “That's Wrong"! No, you do need more than the recommended guidelines. Unfortunately, this issue is a major debate between athletic individuals such as bodybuilders and endurance athletes, and healthcare professionals. It is also controversial topic between the different governing organizations of health and fitness.
What are your thoughts on this debate?
Mark T. Cuatt