Nutrition Handbook: Part 9 - Proteins are Fundamental Structural Components

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: August 18, 2022 00:51

Protein Food Sources 

Proteins are nutrients that are the structural components which are the fundamental parts of cells. such as the cytoplasm, protoplasm, and cell nucleus. Protein is found everywhere within the human body and includes skeletal muscle, organs, blood, bones, and lymph. Other types of proteins that have functions are DNA and RNA, enzymes, and hormones. Protein has 4.5 calories of energy per gram.

Proteins are Constructed from Amino Acids

Amino acids are the basic structures that are united by peptide bonds to other amino acids in the formation of the plethora of various proteins available to the human body.

Nine amino acids cannot be manufactured by the human body and are therefore essential to be included in the diet for bodily maintenance.

The 12 Amino Acids

Amino Acid Combinations Form Proteins 

The combination of the 12 amino acids forms the various types of protein used in the structure of tissues, along with enzymes used for bodily functions.

  • Arginine
  • Histidine*
  • Isoleucine*
  • Leucine*
  • Lysine*
  • Methionine*
  • Phenylalanine*
  • Taurine
  • Threonine*
  • Tryptophan*
  • Tyrosine
  • Valine*

[*] These 'essential' amino acids must be eaten in the diet and obtained from food to avoid bodily dysfunction.

Proteins are Part of a Complete Meal or Snack

Every complete meal or snack should have a portion of a protein food. Proteins are best consumed at even intervals throughout the day, about every 4-6 hours. Choose sources of complete proteins as often as possible, which means that the protein contains the essential amino acids, because essential amino acids cannot be manufactured by the human body.

Protein Digestion

Digestion of protein breaks the peptide bonds between amino acids forming polypeptide chains and individual amino acids. Consuming protein requires the minerals sodium and chloride, eaten as salt, which is used to produce digestive juices in the stomach, such as hydrochloric acid.

Recommended Minimum Consumption of Proteins

Minimum protein consumption depends on height and activity level.

Feet' Inches" or Centimeters (cm)
~ protein per day

Up to 5' 0" or 150 cm
~75 grams

5' 1" - 5' 5" or 155 cm - 165cm
~85 grams

5' 6 - 5' 10" or 167.5 cm - 177 cm
~95 grams

5' 11" - 6' 3" or 180 cm - 190 cm
~105 grams

6' 4" + or 195 cm +
~115 grams

Activity: Add up to an additional ~25 grams of protein per day for every 30 minutes of increased performance during physical activity.

Underconsumption of Protein

Less than the minimum suggestion of a protein per day is is not recommended as this will cause deficiency in available amino acids for hormonal, enzyme, DNA and RNA replication, and maintaining normal blood pressure.

Long term underconsumption of protein, and especially the essential amino acids, will catabolize skeletal muscle tissue to make-up for insufficient amounts of protein, and thereby cause weakness, poor tissue generation and regeneration, including hair, skin, and nails. Additionally, protein catabolism will overburden the liver and kidneys from the increased amount of amine groups in blood circulation that must be filtered out of the body as urea.

Overconsumption of Protein

Continuous overconsumption of protein while consuming complete meals can be difficult, but consumption of protein over twice the recommended minimum can overburden the digestive and eliminative organs and produce weakness and lethargy.

Nutrition Handbook

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