The importance of amino acids.
We live in a society where the diet of protein for weight loss, bodybuilding and health is highly traded and abundant. Eating meat, fish and plant foods can easily meet your daily needs. Many active adults and athletes believe that more is better and is further supplemented by drinking protein shakes and eating nutrients.
With protein everywhere and in almost everything, it’s hard to believe that protein deficiency will be a problem.
In fact, there is still a false prevailing notion that getting enough protein is difficult, according to David. L. Katz, Ph.D., MPH, FACPM, FACP, founder and director of the True Health Initiative.
Maybe it’s just a matter of understanding the meaning of protein deficiency.
What is protein deficiency?
True protein deficiencies do not actually exist in the United States and other developed countries, says Dr. Katz. It exists in underdeveloped countries, especially in Africa and Asia.
Protein deficiency is also known as protein energy malnutrition (PEM). When PEM is mainly due to protein malnutrition, it is called kwashiorkor. When a significant protein deficiency is combined with a pronounced caloric restriction, it is called maraschik kwashiorkor, the most extreme form of malnutrition. One of the adverse effects of kwashiorkor is swelling or accumulation of fluid in the tissues. The bloated abdomen observed by severely malnourished children in starving countries is characteristic of kwashiorkor.
There are rare cases of true protein deficiency in the United States. Hospitalized patients who are seriously ill make up the majority. A very small percentage of older people and those who follow extremely restrictive diets do not realize that they are causing severe nutritional deficiencies.
Because America is far from starving, a real protein deficiency is almost impossible.
However, not getting enough protein in your diet can become a problem over time. When protein deficiency is minor, it can begin to have a negative impact on your health. Therefore, adequate protein intake is essential for maintaining proper body function. To take it one step further, it is important to understand the role of protein and take personal responsibility for adequate intake.
Understanding Proteins and Amino acids
Protein is a macronutrient that acts in every cell of your body. It is necessary for the development of muscles and regulation of body tissues and organs. It is made up of a chain of amino acids considered to be the building blocks of protein. There are a total of 20 amino acids made up of nine essential amino acids and 11 non-essential amino acids.
According to Carolyn Passerrelo, MS, RDN, LDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there are nine essential amino acids that we need to consume to meet protein requirements because we can’t make them in the body. Protein in muscle and body tissue is in constant circulation, which is why protein is required daily to maintain a balanced state in the body.
Low dietary Protein and Requirements
According to a study published in the Analogues of the New York Academy of Sciences, approximately one billion people worldwide are deficient in protein.
That means we consume less protein than your body needs, according to nutrition experts Carolyn Passerrelo. Because your body needs enough protein, not enough consumption, this can lead to poor health.
It is recommended that approximately 10-20% of your total calories come from protein or about 0.8-1g of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds and needs 1,800 calories a day will consume 55-68 grams of protein per day to meet the 15% daily protein requirement, Passerrelo said.
Symptoms of Protein deficiency
Protein deficiency can occur when you do not eat enough protein to maintain normal body function.
Approximately one-third of adults over the age of 50 do not meet the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein intake according to the study. People who follow a restrictive diet may also be at risk of protein deficiency. Some athletes in sports competitions, such as boxing, wrestling and bodybuilding, may use self-improvement methods to allow themselves to be deprived of nutrients.
When protein is lacking in your diet, especially for long periods of time, it can lead to insufficiency and potentially lead to side effects. Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN, shows that inadequate protein can lead to the following:
– Muscle loss – protein is essential for muscle growth, strength and repair. Insufficient protein in your diet reduces lean body mass, muscle strength and function. Not consuming enough protein can also cause muscle spasms, weakness and pain. Your body will absorb protein from muscle tissue and use it as energy to maintain other important functions of the body when protein is low. This eventually leads to loss of muscle mass or atrophy as a direct result of chronic low dietary protein.
– Poor wound healing – Wound healing depends on good nutrition, including protein intake. Protein deficiency has been shown to contribute to low levels of wound healing and to reduce collagen formation, according to research. Without enough protein, the wound healing process is considered significantly compromised.
– Infections – Your immune system works best with proper protein intake. Protein deficiency has been shown to damage the immune system. Without a healthy immune system, the risk of infection increases and the ability to overcome the infection is reduced.
How can I include more Protein?
In order to maintain a healthy body, the necessary protein intake is essential. This does not mean that more is better, nor does it mean that eating extra protein can only build muscle, not body fat, according to Dr. Katz.
What is recommended is to eat enough protein to support the cells, structure and function of your body. This requirement will be different for each person.
There are cases where low dietary protein can be a concern. This is especially true for some older people and those who limit their diet too much. In these cases, protein intake is easily increased and becomes a simple process.
Protein is included in a wide variety of animal and plant foods. The choice of dietary sources of protein is also recommended for optimal health and fitness. Nutrition expert Carolyn Passerrelo recommends the following:
. The goal is to have about 20 grams of food and snacks to have about 10 grams of protein (3 ounces of cooked chicken breast has about 21 grams of protein).
. Eat higher protein grains like quinoa.
. Choose chopped beans instead of wheat based.
Can I get enough Protein by Eating a Plant-based Diet?
Plant nutrition is a popular trend. Several studies show that plant-based diets provide numerous health benefits. One of the most common myths about vegetarian or plant-based diets is that you can’t get enough protein in your diet. Another myth is that you have to pair plant proteins to get all the amino acids to make a complete protein. Current research shows that you can get enough protein when you eat a variety of plant foods throughout the day and combining them is not necessary.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), a plant-based or vegetarian diet can be healthy and adequate for all individuals, including athletes. The following is a great list of plant sources of protein to include in your diet:
. Black beans
. Pumpkin seeds
Other Protein Selection tips
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), protein intake depends on age, gender and level of physical activity. They also show that most Americans eat enough protein, but need to make weaker and more varied selections of these foods.
The following USDA protein selection tips will help you:
. Choose meat or low-fat meat and poultry.
. Choose seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon, trout, sardines and anchovies.
. Avoid fresh chicken, turkey and pork, which are fortified with salt-containing solution.
. Choose unalloyed nuts and seeds to keep your sodium intake low.
(A total of 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup of boiled beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered 1 ounce equivalent of the Protein Foods Group)
The word from
True protein deficiency is rare in the United States, but it also exists at insignificant levels for some. Protein is essential for all cells and body tissue, and in deficiency can disrupt body function. Adding protein to your diet is a simple process and is accomplished by including a wide variety of foods of plant or animal origin. The recommended protein requirements vary from person to person, depending on age, gender and physical activity. Getting enough protein can be achieved by eating a vegetarian diet or a diet that includes both plant and animal protein sources.