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What Is Protein??

Updated on January 2, 2013


You probably know how important protein is to your body, mostly in terms of keeping your muscles strong and healthy. Protein is needed by every cell in your body and is the essential building blocks for maintenance, repair and growth.

The proteins you eat are used to make literally thousands of proteins in your body each with its own specialized function.

Protein of course helps build and repair muscle tissue when it has been damaged from exercise or simply through everyday activities and wear and tear, but protein is also an important component if your skin, hair, fingernails, bones, blood and cartilage.

Good sources of protein come from chicken, fish, turkey, lean red meat, pork, and eggs. Or if your a vegetarian you would find your protein in the form of nuts, beans, seeds and pulses.

The Role Of Protein In The Body

Proteins are more versatile than fats or carbohydrate and has a large range of diverse functions within the body. They can be classed into structural and functional proteins, structural include the muscle, bone and nails, and the functional include the enzymes and hormones.

Essential For:

  • Synthesis of cellular components (and DNA)
  • The structure of hair, nails, skin, tendons and ligaments (structural proteins)
  • Some hormones are proteins
  • Blood plasma (clotting agents)
  • Production of haemaglobin (oxygen transport)
  • Activates certain vitamin actions
  • Antibodies produced by white blood cells to fight infection
  • Production of actin and myosin (muscle contraction)

Protein can also be used as an energy source providing it with 4kcal/g - however, due to the wide range of roles protein has in the body, it is not a major energy source in normal circumstances.

Recommendations for intake

The typical western diet provides a good deal more protein than most people require. Contrary to popular belief, to much protein can be a health and performance problem. The food standards agency recommends that people in the UK reduce their animal protein consumption If excess protein is consumed it cannot be stored, it is broken down and part of it is excreted by the kidneys, the other is then converted to be stored as fat. The body can only use 20-35g of protein and any one time.

Recommendations for dietary intake for the sedentary person are 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight per day.

Requirements for strength and endurance athletes are higher - 1.2 to 2g of protein per kg of body weight per day should be sufficient.

What is Whey?

Whey protein is commonly used world wide by many athletes, body builders and people leading active healthy lifestyles. Most supplement companies will often add additional essential and non essential amino acids (also known as BCAA's) to the whey protein.

Whey protein is the by-product of the manufacturing of cheese. Milk is pasteurised, by heating to above 72 degrees prior to cheese manufacture.

In order to maintain a ones general health and body type i would advise that within your daily intake of carbs, protein and healthy fats it should be 40/40/20. So if you are consuming 2500 calories per day, 40% of them should be made up of protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% healthy fats.


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