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What are Proteins used for

Note: this post has been updated in December 2020.

Proteins – Necessary for life

What are proteins? We get most of our protein from foods. Protein from foods are the major source of energy after carbohydrate and fat. Protein is necessary for bodybuilding, growth, defense mechanism (as antibodies), nutrient digestion, metabolism and renewal of tissue. Protein also has a significant role in making cell structure, synthesis of enzymes, nucleic acid, blood proteins and hormones of protein nature.

The government recommends a daily intake of protein is 10-15 percent of the total calories. However, most individuals get far too much protein.  On the plant-based diets, it is recommended that you do not exceed 10 percent of protein daily.

Plant-Based meat alternatives for protein

Erin Pearson, a blogger at Seriously Smoked, a website that specializes in grilling, smoking and BBQ has written an article on plant-based meat which fits well into the discussion on protein.

Plant based meats are all the rage now, with seemingly every restaurant offering either the Beyond or Impossible burger. There has been a lot of discussion about how the two of them stack up against the real thing. Erin wanted to see how they compared to beef burgers when it came to taste, health and environmental impact (as well as a variety of other categories including protein) Erin’s article The Complete Guide to Plant-Based Meats & Meat

Did you know Protein Deficiency is Rare

How many individuals do you know of that have been diagnosed  with a protein deficiency? You may be surprised to hear, but protein deficiency is virtually nonexistent in the United States and other industrialized countries. Most American adults eat substantially more than the recommended amount , averaging over 100 grams of protein per day.

Yet the question I get most of the time when discussing plant-based diets is How Do You Get Your Protein? The question always seems to be individuals who are concerned that on a plant-based diet they will not get enough protein. Nothing could be further from the truth, Take a look at Talking about Protein for more discussion on what are proteins foods.

What are Amino acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Twenty amino acids are required for the synthesis of all human protein required for the body. Among 20 amino acids, eight amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, valine, threonine, methionine and tryptophan) are known as essential amino acids which cannot be synthesized by the body and should be obtained from your food. What are proteins in foods? Some examples of protein foods: soybean, cereals, lentils, peas greens, etc.

What are  the proteins foods?

What are proteins

What Is Protein, Really?

Protein is something you need to eat almost every day. Why? Because your body doesn’t store it the way it stores fats and carbs — the other two main “macronutrients” in food.

OK, but what is protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient for the building, maintenance, and repair of almost all the tissues in your body, including your bones, muscles, blood, hair, nails, and organs.

Protein also gives your body energy, although that’s not its main role. In addition, protein helps keep your immune system strong (because your immune system is made up of proteins), and eating protein can help keep you feeling full longer – via Plant-Based Protein: Here’s What You Need to Know

How Much Protein Do You Need?

In the U.S., the official recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. That means, at 150 pounds, you’d need about 54 grams of protein per day to meet this target.

If you’re an athlete who is trying to build muscle, if you’re pregnant or lactating, or if you’re under exceptional emotional stress, the recommendation is to get at least 0.45 grams of protein daily per pound of body weight (which means, at 150 pounds, you’d need about 67.5 grams of protein daily).

New research is finding that older adults tend not to absorb protein as efficiently, so seniors may need more of it.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that anyone over age 65 should get between 0.44 and 0.52 grams of daily protein per pound of body weight. (This means a senior who weighs 150 pounds might need between 66-78 grams of protein per day.)

Here’s a chart that can help you assess what your protein needs might be. It was developed by New York Times bestselling author and Food Revolution Summit speaker, Kris Carr:

Your Daily Protein Needs*

1. Find your “P” value.
Kids ages 4 to 13 = 0.43
Adolescents ages 14 to 18 = 0.39
Adults ages 19 to 64 (moderately active) = 0.36
Seniors ages 65+ and special needs = 0.44 to 0.522.

2. To calculate your needs, multiply your lean body weight (in pounds) by your “P” value to find out how many grams are recommended for you each day. (If you are significantly overweight, you may adjust the formula down to base it on what you might consider a healthy body weight.)

*=Based on the available research, these suggestions are intended for general health, disease prevention, and longevity. But for specific contexts, such as power athletes and weightlifters, there is also research showing that higher protein intakes may be advisable in some instances. Also, we are each biochemically and metabolically unique, so listen to your body, use your own best judgment and, wherever applicable, consult with your healthcare professional for guidance.   – via Plant-Based Protein: Here’s What You Need to Know

What does science show about protein

The science confirms that a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods can help you live to the fullest and still get adequate protein. In fact, a growing number of physicians advocate a completely plant-based diet for many of their patients who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  Check out these great sources:

Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E (Idiot’s Guides),

Nutrition Facts: The Truth About Food

The Forks Over Knives Plan -  a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.

A Trusted resource to join

The Food Revolution Network is committed to healthy, ethical, and sustainable food for all. Guided by John and Ocean Robbins, with more than 500,000 members and with the collaboration of many of the top food revolutionary leaders of our times, The Food Revolution Network aims to empower individuals, build community, and transform food systems to support healthy people and a healthy planet.

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