You should consume a diet rich in QUALITY protein, says your trainer. This is advice you’ve probably heard a dozen times. You’re probably asking why it has to be quality protein. What does that even mean? Does it mean more of the expensive stuff? Not necessarily my friend.
When we’re talking about protein quality, we’re referring to the ability of your protein source to meet your body’s requirements for the essential amino acids your body is unable to produce. The better the source of protein scores, the better it meets the bodies needs.
Attributes of QUALITY protein:
A. Quality protein can be characterised by the ratio of essential amino acids to the amount of essential amino acids your body requires. The more essential amino acids your protein source contains, the more useful it is and the higher quality it is.
B. Quality protein can also be referred to as “complete” protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids listed above. For more information on complete proteins click here.
Now let’s look at the importance of quality dietary protein to your health.
- 1. Quality protein makes you feel full. If you feel full, you’ll stop eating and no longer crave more food. The “full” feeling comes from your satiety centre in your brain once you have eaten enough. Compared to carbohydrates, protein possesses more staying power to curb your hunger and your body’s need to eat additional, unnecessary calories.
- 2. Quality protein may help prevent the development of chronic diseases. You see, having enough quality protein in your diet supports muscle building. Our muscles act as amino acid reserves for the body to make new proteins for key organs and tissues. These amino acid stores are especially important when it comes to the bodies response to stress or an immune burden. Therefore adequate quality protein improves muscle mass and strength which contributes to the improvement of your overall health.
- 3. If you’re on a diet, quality protein allows you to lose more weight without losing protein from your hard earned muscles. In fact when it comes to weight loss among adult women, exercise and adequate dietary protein have a synergistic effect.Quality dietary protein puts you in a positive nitrogen balance (muscle building state). So having enough quality protein in your diet is just as important if you’re training intensively
- 4. The more quality protein you eat, the less abdominal fat you have. This may be the most appealing benefit you can get from eating quality protein. Studies have consistently found that dietary protein intake is inversely related to obesity of your abdominal cavity (visceral fat).Your waist circumference (aka your ballooning (?) belt size) is a marker for visceral fat. The bigger your belt size, the greater are your chances of developing a stroke, heart attack and diabetes mellitus. Visceral fat (also called central abdominal fat) is a mighty strong predictor of mortality and morbidity.
- 5. Quality protein throughout the day. Studies have found that eating more than 30 g of quality protein in a single serve does not significantly increase muscle synthesis. So to get the most out of your protein intake, spread it out throughout the day.As a general guideline: Adult men should eat at least 0.84 g per kg of body weight a day.Adult women should have at least 0.75 g per kg of body weight a day.Of course protein requirements can vary with age and levels of physical activity so this is simply a guide.
Hopefully this article has given you an idea what quality protein means and how much you might need with each meal to keep your body healthy. Remember quality over quantity is the key when it comes to the protein in your diet. For some good sources of quality animal and plant protein click here.