• Izzy Grussgott

What is Protein?

Protein - everyone needs to have it, but what even is it? For a period of time, I would go to Whole Foods with my dad every week, and we would spend 15 minutes deciding which granola bars to buy. One by one, I would look at how much protein was in each granola bar. Isn't that weird, always looking for protein without even knowing what it was? As a result, I began to reasearch protein and what it does for you.


What is it?

Protein helps build and repair body tissues. It makes up enzymes, hormones, and immune molecules. The body breaks down protein into amino acids, and it uses the ones it needs for important functions. Nine of these amino acids are essential since the body cannot make them on its own. Even though the non-essential amino acids are still important for your body's functioning, the essential amino acids are what you definitely have to be consuming.


Kinds of Protein

There are two kinds of proteins: complete proteins and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins are considered "high quality". They contain all essential amino acids and are found in animal products, soy, and quinoa. Incomplete and classified as "low quality". They are missing one or more essential amino acids and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables.


Amount of Protein Needed

It is recommended for adults to have 50 grams for a 2000 calories daily diet. The amount of protein you should consume varies based on males, females, and children. There is also a formula to calculate specific protein needs for an athlete (Between 1.2-1.7 [depending on how active you are] * your weight) and for a non-athlete (0.8 grams * your weight). Despite the formulas and recommendations, you are the only one who can determine how much protein you can/should have. These are for the average person and does not take account that your needs may be different from everyone else's.


Protein Myths

1. The more protein, the better you will function

Like I just stated, your protein needs depend on you. Some people function better by incorporating a lot of protein in their diet. Others react poorly to having over a certain amount of protein.

2. It is good for muscle growth to have extra protein

As long as you have all the essential amino acids, you do not have to consume more protein. If you are working out to build muscle and eating the right diet, there's no real need to take in much excess protein.

3. Vegetarians don't have enough protein

There are so many other ways to consume protein. You can consume complete proteins from soy and quinoa and incomplete proteins from grains, legumes, and veggies.


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