Every girl and woman who was dieting at least once in life was taught that such nutrients as carbohydrates were evil and proteins were the blessing for their body. Myths like “carbohydrates make you fat” and “proteins will make you leaner” were spreading with the speed of the universe. Both quotes are not true. The formula for losing and gaining weight is as simple as 2×2=4. Calories surplus makes you gain weight, calories deficit makes you leaner. But your body quality depends on WHAT you eat. For this, you need to have a balance between carbs, fats, and proteins. Carbohydrates story you can read in my previous article here, but let´s find out what the protein is?
Protein is a nutrient that the human body needs for growth and maintenance. It provides the body with approximately 10 to 15% of its dietary energy and it is the second most rich compound in the body, following water. A large proportion of this will be muscle (43% on average) with the large amount being present in the skin (15%) and blood (16%).
Every cell in the human body contains proteins. They are the main catalysts in chemical reactions in the body, by acting as enzymes. Proteins maintain fluid and electrolyte balance, act as hormones, antibodies, help your body maintain acid-base balance, grow and repair body tissues, provide energy.
“There are 4 calories in a gram of protein”
Proteins are vital for growth and development during childhood and pregnancy, they definitely should be a part of your everyday diet.
All macronutrients are digested in the intestine, where they are broken down into their basic units. Proteins are broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are classified into essential, non-essential and conditional. In total there are 21 amino acids.
Essential amino acids
These amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be supplied by food. If you eat too little one of the 9 essential amino acids, as a result, you can get a degradation of the body´s proteins, muscles and tissues lost. This is why you need to eat enough protein if you are dieting and working out.
The nine essential amino acids are:
Non-essential amino acids
They are made by the body from 9 essential amino acids. They include:
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
Conditional amino acids
These kind of amino acids are usually non-essential, except in times of illness and stress. They include:
In children, arginine, histidine, cysteine, glycine, tyrosine, glutamine, and proline are also considered to be essential amino acids . There may also be certain disease states during adult life when a particular amino acid becomes conditionally essential.
Risks of eating too much protein
Some studies have shown that low-carbohydrate protein-rich diets are associated with a slightly higher initial weight loss compared to widely recommended low-fat diet programs. In fact, it is a very short-term result. When you start to eat more carbs and fats again, your scales will show some increased numbers. Yes, proteins don´t make the body to keep excess water, as carbohydrates do, but they also don´t give as much energy as carbohydrates. In spite of both have 4clas per 1 g, carbohydrates will make you more energized, cheerful and stronger. But consuming high amounts of any nutrient for a long period of time typically comes with risks, as can be the case with protein.
Gaining body weight
Excess protein consumed is usually stored as fat, while the surplus of amino acids is excreted. This can lead to weight gain over time, especially if you consume too many calories while trying to increase your protein intake.
Eating large amounts of protein can lead to bad breath, especially if you restrict your carbohydrate and fat intake. This could be in part because your body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis, which produces chemicals that give off an unpleasant smell.
High-protein diets that restrict carbohydrates and fats are typically low in fiber. Increasing your water and fiber intake can help prevent constipation. Tracking your bowel movements may be helpful.
Diets that are high in protein and meat may cause calcium loss. This is sometimes associated with osteoporosis and poor bone health.
Because of the excess nitrogen found in the amino acids kidneys have to work harder to get rid of the extra nitrogen and waste products of protein metabolism.
“Recommended daily intake of proteins for adult people is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight. If you exercise primarily with weights or bodyweight for more than one hour most days of the week, you may do well eating up to 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kg of body weight each day.”
- lean meat, poultry, and fish
- dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
- seeds and nuts
- beans and legumes (lentils and chickpeas)
- soy products like tofu
- some grain and cereal-based products
There are no bad and good nutrients. There are wrong amounts of food. Either carbs, fats or proteins are vital for our body, for our physical and mental health. Don´t make preferences and don´t exclude foods, because you are just scared of them. All of them have their pros and cons. They provide you with power, energy, beauty, and health. Educate yourself, get a better mind and self-esteem. ❤️