Guest Author: Edward Restivo.
As a Certified Personal Trainer, Ed has a wealth of knowledge and experience training people of all ages. As part of our commitment to you to share the importance of good health and nutrition, we wanted to share an article from Ed explaining what we need to know about protein. Please join me in welcoming Ed. Read more about Ed below.
Protein for Optimal Performance
We all know that protein is essential to life, but did you know that there are different types of proteins? Do you know how much you really need vs. how much you think you need? And did you know that some proteins promote estrogen hormones while some promote testosterone hormones. Yes, it’s true. Some digest slowly and are good to consume at night while some are fast-acting and best consumed right after your strength exercising routine.
It’s very important to know that Proteins are macronutrients that support the growth and care of the tissues in your body.
Amino acids are the plain and simple building blocks of proteins and are classified as essential or non-essential. Essential amino acids are obtained from protein-plentiful foods such as meat, beans and poultry, while non-essential ones are created naturally in your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should get 10 percent to 25 percent of your daily calorie needs from proteins, especially while putting a high amount of stress on the body – ie, exercising.
8 Types of Protein
Hormones are protein-based chemicals secreted by the cells of the endocrine glands. Usually transported through the blood, hormones act as chemical messengers that send signals from one cell to another. Each hormone affects certain cells in your body, known as target cells. Such cells have specific receptors on which the hormone attaches itself to send the signals. An example of a hormonal protein is insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas to regulate the levels of blood sugar in your body.
Enzymatic proteins accelerate metabolic processes in your cells, including liver functions, stomach digestion, blood clotting and converting glycogen to glucose. An example is digestive enzymes that break down food into simpler forms that your body can easily absorb.
Also known as fibrous proteins, structural proteins are necessary components of your body. They include collagen, keratin and elastin. Collagen forms the connective framework of your muscles, bones, tendons, skin and cartilage. Keratin is the main structural component in hair, nails, teeth and skin
Antibodies, or immunoglobulin, are a core part of your immune system, keeping diseases at bay. Antibodies are formed in the white blood cells and attack bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms, rendering them inactive.
Storage proteins mainly store mineral ions such as potassium in your body. Iron, for example, is an ion required for the formation of hemoglobin, the main structural component of red blood cells. Ferritin — a storage protein — regulates and guards against the adverse effects of excess iron in your body. Ovalbumin and casein are storage proteins found in breast milk and egg whites, respectively, that play a huge role in embryonic development.
Transport proteins carry vital materials to the cells. Hemoglobin, for example as, carries oxygen to body tissues from the lungs. Serum albumin carries fats in your bloodstream, while myoglobin absorbs oxygen from hemoglobin and then releases it to the muscles. Calbindin is another transport protein that facilitates the absorption of calcium from the intestinal walls.
Located on the outer part of the cells, receptor proteins control the substances that enter and leave the cells, including water and nutrients. Some receptors activate enzymes, while others stimulate endocrine glands to secrete epinephrine and insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
Also known as motor proteins, contractile proteins regulate the strength and speed of heart and muscle contractions. These proteins are actin and myosin. Contractile proteins can cause heart complications if they produce severe contractions.
Which Type is Best?
So, now that you know the different type of proteins and what they do for your body, how do you know which type is best for you? Well, here’s where you need to do a little homework.
• do your research – search for your specifics:
» what is the right protein for you if you are a 40-year-old female 150 lbs. (68.0389 kg) 30% BMI (body mass index) who is 5’4” and does beginner to intermediate workouts in the morning.
» what is the right protein for you if you are a 40-year-old male 210 lbs. (99.7903 kg) 30% BMI (body mass index) who is 5’8” and does intermediate to advanced workouts at night.
* Read ‘Benefits of Even Moderate Weight Loss‘ – for information about calculating your BMI.
So you see, the right type of protein you need is based on your body. There is no exact formula for selecting the right type of protein for you to ingest – but you can do some research or speak with a nutritionist. The standard rule of thumb, as I mentioned above, is to get 10 percent to 25 percent of your daily calorie needs from proteins, but this is just a guideline and doesn’t address the type of protein.
Let me give you a quick for instance – there’s soy protein, egg white protein, whey concentrate protein, whey isolate protein, straight whey protein, casein protein, and pea protein – how would you know which one is best for your needs without additional information that’s specific to you?
What about Protein Powders? And What are They?
There are many types of protein powders, made from a variety of sources… [this HealthLine] article lists 7 of the most popular types of protein powder.
Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas.
There are three common forms:
Concentrates: These are produced by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. They typically contain about 60–80% protein, with the remaining 20–30% of calories from fat and carbs.
Isolates: These go through another filtering step that removes additional fat and carbs, further concentrating the protein. Protein isolate powders contain about 90–95% protein.
Protein hydrolysates: These are produced by further heating with acid or enzymes, which breaks the bonds between amino acids. This allows your body to absorb them more quickly, and your muscles to take them up more easily. Hydrolysates seem to raise insulin levels more than other forms, at least in the case of whey protein. This can enhance the muscle growth response to exercise (1).
Do You Need More Protein?
WebMD lists several instances during your lifetime when you may require more protein.
- starting a workout program
- increasing your workouts
- recovering from an injury
- if you are vegan
“All of those are valid reasons for trying to get more protein into your diet, and protein powders are one way to do that,” says Lewin.
But there’s a big caveat, Lewin adds: it doesn’t take that much protein to achieve those goals. Most Americans already get about 15% of their daily calories in protein. To build a pound of muscle, Lewin explains, the body needs between 10 and 14 additional grams of protein per day.
“That’s not really that much. Some of these powders have 80 grams of protein per serving. You don’t need that. All your body is going to do is break it down for energy. And too much protein can be hard on your kidneys and your liver.”
So how can you tell if you’re already getting enough protein? Do the math.
- The average adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
- Those taking part in recreational athletics need 1.1 to 1.4 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
- Competitive athletes need 1.2 to 1.4 grams, and those involved in ultra-endurance sports may need up to 2.0 g per kilogram of weight.
- Athletes building muscle mass need 1.5 to 2.0 grams per kilogram per day.
Please note that this article is our opinion and our advice is to consult with your Doctor or nutritionist prior to making changes to your diet. The important thing is to understand the role that protein plays in achieving good nutrition and what it means to your health.
PS. Here are some quick Protein options (don’t overdo it) you can find on our affiliate, Amazon (check out Prime for free shipping). But be sure to check nutrition labels – Amazon reviews may be helpful also as these products vary in quality. I like the Oh Yeah bars (my favorite), Zone and Pure Protein are good too. I’ve also tried the oatmeal raisin cookies – they have almost a coconut taste – not bad, just different from what I expected. See the recipe books too for recipes for making your own protein snacks too. And yes, I plan on trying the Snickers too!
More nutrition articles you may like:
Amazon has lots of delivery options, and be sure to check out their customer reviews and ratings.
About Edward Restivo…
Hi, I’m Edward Restivo, this is my writing debut and I’m excited about sharing my knowledge. I’ve been in the health and fitness field since I was a kid, always interested in sports and played almost every sport that my high school offered. In college, I continued my interest in physical fitness and moved on to body building. After learning the “street” way of bodybuilding by watching professionals, I began to talk with them to learn their tips, tricks and even their secrets on optimal ways to work out. The more I learned, the more I was surprised to realize that some of this information wasn’t on the main stream market and certainly nothing that could be found by browsing the internet. That piqued my interest even more.
So, while attending Johnson and Whales and working on my Culinary Arts and Bachelor Degree (taking care of my mental health), but I wanted more physical activity, so I began to train with my new friends, those professional body builders I mentioned earlier. Upon graduating school and learning all I could for my working career, I felt an urge to go back to school to learn more about the physical aspect of life. It was then that I became a Certified International Personal Trainer at Hofstra University (Long Island, NY).
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it contains some new information to help you stay healthy. Thank you for reading!