Should I be wary of protein? I can’t count the number of times my new (and less new) customers ask me this question. Many continue to believe that consuming it daily is something that bodybuilders do. However, their consumption in a balanced way has many advantages. My article today aims to help you understand what proteins are and what they can do for the body. So make yourself comfortable, I tell you everything in the following:
What is protein?
Protein is one of the three main macronutrients (the others being carbohydrates and fats). Macronutrients are the chemical compounds that humans ingest the most and that provide us with most of our energy.
More specifically, proteins consist of a chain of molecules (amino acids) which constitutes the basis of all living things (viruses, bacteria, plants, function of the human body, etc.). They therefore play a major role for the organism on the structural level by building and repairing tissues (muscle, skin, capillary …) but also in many physiological processes such as the immune response, digestion or even the transport of oxygen in the body. But are all proteins equal?
No ! There are 2 main categories of proteins:
- Animal protein from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, quinoa, and soy.
- Vegetable proteins from plants, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, whole grains and grains.
Overall, animal proteins are richer in essential amino acids (explained below). So to ensure a balanced diet of amino acids from vegetable proteins, it is essential to combine different plant foods: cereals (wheat, corn, rice) with legume seeds (lentils, beans, peas, etc.).
Why should we consume enough?
Of the amino acids used to make proteins, only half can be made by the human body. The others are said to be essential because we are unable to synthesize them. They must therefore be supplied by food. In addition, a deficiency in essential amino acids can have serious health consequences.