What is protein?
Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 04:09 PM Sunwarrior
What is protein? Do I really need it? How much? What does a monkey look like if he doesn???t get enough protein? These questions will all be answered in a fun new video for all our Sunwarriors out there. What is Protein is a fairly short (4:49) whiteboard animation featuring protein and what sets Sunwarrior apart from the rest. Watch mesmerizing hand-drawn characters come to life before your eyes. We???re excited to share it.
Protein is the most abundant molecule, apart from water, in the body. We always think of muscle when we talk of protein and amino acids, but these essential building blocks are used in every cell throughout the body.
Protein facilitates digestion and the absorption of nutrients. It helps carry these nutrients into cells. It removes waste and toxins. Protein combines with vitamins and minerals to move oxygen from the lungs to the cells that desperately need it to survive and to allow proteins to act as antioxidants, cleaning up free radicals that do cellular damage and contribute to aging. Protein aids the immune system in recognizing and removing threats to our health and wellness. Protein even goes into hormones our bodies use to balance and regulate hundreds of systems and functions, from blood sugar to emotions.
Protein can be this extremely versatile molecule thanks to what goes into it and how it is made. The body synthesizes proteins from amino acids, forming them into long chains. Some of these amino acids can be made by the body and some must come from diet. These chains can then twist and fold into unique shapes with practically endless possibilities in the chain combinations, the twists, the folds, and also in function. The bonds in these chains make protein very strong and elastic, like a spring, perfect for muscles and enzymes that need to move, shift, and react.
Proteins do have a weakness though. Their kryptonite: heat. Heat breaks the bonds that hold the twists and folds together, destroying any abilities that protein might have once had. Many of the enzymes we eat in food help break down other proteins during digestion and also make many vitamins and minerals easier to absorb, but cooking removes these benefits. Heat can also create cross bonding between proteins where denatured chains randomly link to other chains. These cross bound proteins are harder to digest and put to use, so many of the amino acids are lost to the body and discarded as waste.
There are other problems with the protein we eat. Since the body doesn???t store amino acids, we do need a daily supply, but too much can be harmful. Excessive protein bogs down digestion, can supply way more calories than we need, and do harm to the liver and kidneys. Too little is also a problem, making us weak and more susceptible to disease and illness.
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on September 21, 2012
at 11:03 PM
"Excessive protein bogs down digestion, can supply way more calories than we need, and do harm to the liver and kidneys."
Only if you have previous liver and kidney disease....as to the a "way more calories than we need", well that's complete bunk. Protein is the king of satiation. The bogging down of digestion is also obvious BS. No part of this sentence is verifiable by any of todays studies.
on September 21, 2012
at 09:10 PM
Sounds a bit like vegetarian propaganda. All of the usual plant protein is better then animal protein stuff is implied, and all the usual "that not really true arguments" fit in here.
It starts with saying all energy comes from the sun, and it filtered through plants. True. But then to say that plant protein is closer to the source because of that? No logical connection. Protein is a substance, not an energy.
Most protein supplements are designed to be easy to digest, and for proteins that means easy to break into the individual amino acids. Once it is broken down to that level the only difference between plant and animal protein is the ratios. We are animals, our ratios are the same as other animals, not plants. They do say that their protein is complete, who knows what ratios.
It would most likely not have the insuligenic response that whey protein has. For some this could be good, for others, like those that want extra insulin after a workout to drive protein and sugar into the muscles, this might not be good.
I like to get most of my protein from meat. I will use whey or drink lots of milk when I am lifting heavy and want to strengthen fast.
on September 22, 2012
at 10:42 PM
Coming from the men's health big book of exercise:
"Myth #1: High Protein Intake is Harmful to your Kidneys.
The Origin: Back in 1983, researchers first discovered that eating more protein increased yoru glomerular filtration rate or GFR. Think of GFR as the amount of blood your kidneys are filtering per minute. From this finding, many scientist made a leap that a higher GFR places your kidneys under greater stress.
What Science really shows: Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost GFR, it didn't have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. In fact, there's zero published research showing that downing hefty amounts of protein - specifically, up to 1.27 grams per pound of body weight a day -- damages healthy kidneys." (page 452)
Campbell, Adam. "Chapter 15: The Big Chapter of Nutritional Secrets." The Men's Health Big Book of Exercise: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You! Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2009. N. pag. Print.
on September 22, 2012
at 02:14 AM
Before reading my response, I've heard this guy discuss this before. I think he has some good information, but I disagree with him here. Then again, look at the agenda. He is selling a VEGAN protein supplement. So while he may be against protein in-general, a lot of this, as mentioned by someone earlier, is eerily similar to vegan propaganda.
"Excessive protein bogs down digestion."
Protein is very self-limiting. Over-consumption of protein, at least if the fat that accompanies it isn't also grossly over-consumed, isn't going to cause problems. The issues one might see is going to be with Hydrochloric Acid converting the protein to the enzymes that then get used by the body. Given the thermogenic effect of protein and the energy required to constantly undertake this process, I'd challenge anyone to cause metabolic issues by eating chicken breast, egg whites, tuna, lean cuts of red meat, shrimp, any meat without much fat. You can't. The body really isn't capable. It will actually adapt to be very efficient at doing this, making it even more difficult as time goes on. One will likely be very uncomfortable in this prolonged state and will eventually poison themselves. This is NOT due to excess protein, but the lack of other nutrients to go with it. In short, you will experience other acute problems far before you will get fat or cause metabolic damage.
To test this, in-theory, you could consume the fattiest cuts of meat and because of the presence of fat, the onset of the digestive problems may be delayed or not show up at all. However, the overabundance of the protein itself wouldn't be the cause, it would be not having enough fat with them. Assuming many in the Paleo community are consuming a lot of veggies, starchy carbs and fat, and not shying away from consuming at least some meat sources with their natural fats, they are almost 100% safe.
"Excessive protein...can supply way more calories than we need."
As I addressed above, the ONLY agenda to stating this is to somehow link this to calories being meaningful in protein metabolism, which they largely are NOT. Even so, the over-abundance it would take to make it a relevant argument is more than is feasible. One would have to intentionally and over a long time frame go against natural tendencies to make this apply.
on September 22, 2012
at 01:41 AM
"Heat breaks the bonds that hold the twists and folds together, destroying any abilities that protein might have once had."
Yes. You know what else does this, though? DIGESTION. That's what digestion is - breaking apart the bonds so we can separate the amino acids and use them in the way the body needs, for whatever it needs them for -- neurotransmitters (from tyrosine, phenylalanine, tryptophan), non-steroid hormones (like insulin), bones, muscles, skin, nails, detox processes in the liver, etc.
I have no idea what they mean by "destroying any abiilities..."
Maybe they're trying to say that raw protein is easier to digest? Honestly, I sort of agree, but even so, I do not eat raw meat. (Aside from sashimi and maybe rare steak, but the steak is still seared on the outside.) This is why some people swear by eating at least something raw with every meal, whether it's a salad to start, some raw veg, or fermented veg, which we can think of as "super raw," since something like sauerkraut is not only raw with its own enzymes intact, but is actually more biologically active (for lack of a better term) b/c of all the probiotics. I am not a raw foodist, but this book really opened my eyes to a few things about digestion, and how eating at least some raw foods regularly can ease digestion. (Basically, the enzymes in the food itself help to break it down in the upper portion of the stomach, before it even gets mixed thoroughly with stomach acid.)
"Heat can also create cross bonding between proteins where denatured chains randomly link to other chains. These cross bound proteins are harder to digest and put to use, so many of the amino acids are lost to the body and discarded as waste."
Sounds like they're talking about glycation here. Think about the browning of meat in a roasting pan -- that's the Maillard reaction, which is this joining of proteins and sugars when exposed to heat. (Sometimes called "caramelization" in cooking, but this is wrong. Caramelization applies only to sweet foods/sugars.) It's not that big a deal, except if you eat a ton of browned things. Like another poster said, the best way to limit this is to cook things low and slow...think braising or slow cooker rather than grilling or frying and roasting. (The fear is that this glycation results in AGEs - advanced glycation end products...which we can ingest from foods, but they are also produced inside our bodies normally, but are especially rampant in people whose blood sugar is sky high on a regular basis...basically the sugar in the bloodstream binds to all kinds of cells and structures and makes them not work so well no' mo'!)
I could be wrong, but as far as I understand it, this is a different thing from what happens when we "blacken" or char foods, like on a grill/BBQ. Unfortunately, there seems to be some evidence that that is harmful...forms carcinogenic substances. Again, not a big deal if you don't eat blackened chicken/fish all the time. The poison is in the dose. After all, back in the day (the Paleolithic day, that is, cooking over an open fire was probably the primary method...don't think anthropologists have unearthed any 11,000-yr old crockpots.) ;-)
ENJOY YOUR PROTEIN; just don't go crazy on it to the exclusion of other macronutrients.
on September 21, 2012
at 08:54 PM
which part are you concerned with?
The heat? yes, so don't over cook your meat. Cook it Slow and Low!!! Eat grass-fed organic meat from a reputable farm and eat it medium-rare.
Or the excessive part? Yes, anything in excess can be a problem and too little can be a problem. So eat enough protein every day.
on September 21, 2012
at 10:28 PM
"There are other problems with the protein we eat. Since the body doesn’t store amino acids, "
Ummm....well...that isn't true. We have skin, hair, bones, muscles, organs which are all proteins though I suppose muscle is the only one routinely broken down for amino acids.
Though in general we do store fat and carbohydrate more directly and more efficiently.