Protein is one of the most important nutrients for the human body, as it is used to produce new muscle fiber. If you are an active person, you’ll find that increasing your protein intake will help your muscles to grow and increase your capacity for energy storage.
But do you know how your body handles the protein you eat?
Digestion of Protein – How Your Body Processes Protein
When you eat protein, it is digested in the stomach and absorbed via the intestines. That protein is sent directly to the liver, where it is broken down. The nitrogen is stripped from the base amino acids, and the amino acids are sent to the muscles and float through the bloodstream.
If there are all nine of the essential amino acids present, your body synthesizes proteins that are used to build new muscle fibers. Any excess protein that cannot be used by the body is deaminated and turned into either glucose or fat for energy and storage.
The adult human body needs about .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or .36 grams per pound. Children and teenagers need a bit more, as do athletes and those with very active lifestyles.
Does the Protein Source Matter?
There are two reasons the source of the protein matters:
- Not all sources contain all nine essential amino acids. There are many sources of proteins that only contain SOME of the amino acids needed to build muscle fibers. Complete protein sources include beef, poultry, eggs, fish, dairy, and legumes.
- Some protein is very high in fat. Think red meat and pork, and you can see how dangerous some proteins can be when consumed in excess. All that saturated fat can lead to serious heart problems, which is why you need to look for low-fat or “lean” proteins.
Protein vs Protein Supplements
You’ll find that protein supplements are EVERYWHERE, and just about every bodybuilder on the planet consumes protein powder in pretty high quantities. But why is that? Is protein powder better than regular protein?
The thing that makes top quality protein powders so popular is the fact that it’s convenient. You can get A LOT of protein just in a single scoop of the powder, but you’d have to eat a lot more regular protein in order to get the same quantity. You’d also end up consuming a lot more fat if you ate regular protein, as many protein sources are very high in fat.
The Digestion of Protein Supplements Is Easier For Your Body To Process
Another thing that makes supplements a good choice is the fact that they’re easy for your body to digest. If you eat a big steak, it can be a bit hard on your digestive system. The same amount of protein from a protein shake will be much easier for your body to process.
That doesn’t mean that supplements should replace your regular protein–on the contrary. They are designed to “supplement” your regular protein intake, so adding a protein shake on top of your high protein meals is the key to a healthy you!
Not All Proteins Are Alike: Protein Concentrate vs Protein Isolate
Protein concentrate is what you get when you remove the water and casein from the whey left over after making cheese. It’s one of the most efficient types of protein, and it’s very easy for your body to digest and put into action.
Protein isolate, on the other hand, has a higher concentration of protein but it’s also more processed which makes it more difficult for our digestive systems to recognize. It’s not an awful thing, but we at Well Wisdom believe in the benefits of protein concentrate.