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Protein Explained

To learn more about protein click on any of the following questions.

Q: Why would I need protein?

Protein is an important nutrient needed by everyone on a daily basis. It is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids, which are the "building blocks" for healthy bodies. Protein has a number of different roles in the body including the following:

  1. Building and repairing muscles and bones
  2. Repairing body cells
  3. Providing a source of energy
  4. Control of many of the important processes in the body related to metabolism

Further, athletes and individuals who follow a regular exercise or gym regime require more protein in their diet, often as much as twice the recommended daily allowance.

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Q: How are essential and non-essential amino acids different?

When the proteins that we consume in our food are broken down through digestion into individual amino acids, these amino acids are then absorbed and reform in order to create new proteins that are then used by the body.

The 22 types of amino acid are divided into two groups: essential and non-essential amino acids.

There are 14 non-essential amino acids. They are termed non-essential as they can be manufactured by the body and do not have to be derived from food.

The body, on the other hand, cannot produce the remaining 8 essential amino acids itself, and therefore they must be derived from the food that we eat.

Protein sources that contain all of the essential amino acids are called complete proteins.

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Q: Complete and incomplete proteins?

There are some foods that contain all of the 8 essential amino acids required to form the new proteins together with the non-essential amino acids. These foods are called "complete" proteins and tend to come from animal sources of protein such as meat, dairy products, eggs, fish, shellfish and poultry. All Pure Nutrition protein powders are complete proteins.

The proteins that are termed "incomplete" proteins are usually lacking in one or more of the essential amino acids. They are generally found in vegetable products like fruits, vegetables, pulses, grains and nuts.

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Q: How much protein does a person need each day?

Protein needs vary from person to person depending upon age, weight, sex, activity level and overall health.

Athletes and individuals who follow a regular exercise or gym routine often require more protein than the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA. To help estimate your individual protein needs, a rough guideline has been outlined below.

Activity Level Grams of Protein Per Kg of Body Weight Per Day
 Current RDA for Inactive Adult 0.88
 Recreational Adult Exerciser 1.1 - 1.65
 Adult Competitive Athlete 1.32 - 1.98
 Growing Teenage Athlete 1.76 - 1.98
 Adult Building Muscle Mass 1.54 - 1.98
 Athlete, Restricting Calories 1.76 - 1.98
 Maximum Usable Amount for Adults 1.98
Protein needs vary from person to person so you might need to adjust these figures to cater for your unique situation.

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Q: How do different proteins compare to each other?

Protein foods are not equal and can vary in a number of ways including the following:

  1. Number and quantity of essential amino acids
  2. Digestion and absorption rates
  3. Fat content
  4. Taste
  5. Purity

Below is a table listing various protein sources and their protein quality scores. As you will see, all of the commonly used protein quality-scoring methods show whey protein to be an excellent, high quality source of protein.

Protein Type  Protein Digestibility (PDCAAS)   Biological Value (BV)   Grams protein per 100g   Complete Protein? 
 Pure Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate 1.00 100 93 YES
 Pure Nutrition Whey Protein Concentrate 1.00 100 80 YES
 Pure Nutrition Calcium Casienate 1.00 80 96.4 YES
 Pure Nutrition Soy Protein Isolate 1.00 74 87.1 YES
 Whole Egg 1.00 88 12.6 YES
 Cow's Skim Milk 1.00 90 3.35 YES
 Chicken Breast 1.00 79 16 YES
 Tuna 1.00 70 23.6 YES
 Beef Protein 0.92 80 30.37 YES
 Peanuts 0.52 43 20 NO
 Wheat Gluten 0.25 54 55 NO

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The information above is not medical advice, and it is advised that before you make any changes to your diet that you consult with a physician.

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