Friday, May 22, 2009

The Truth About Protein

Protein comes from the Greek word "proteios", meaning "of prime importance".  Proteins, like carbs and fats, contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen;  however, proteins also contain nitrogen. Some proteins also contain sulphur, phosphorus and iron.  Plants can manufacture proteins by combining the nitrogen from the soils with carbon dioxide and water.  Legumes, such as beans, can take nitrogen directly from the air and, with the aid of symbiotic bacteria, make protein. Man must get his protein from his diet.

Another difference is that proteins are combinations of 24 different amino acids.

Classifications of Protein
• Complete - foods which contain all the essential amino acids in significant amounts and in the proportions to maintain life and support growth when used as the sole source of protein food.
• Partially incomplete - those which contain amounts of the essential amino acids to support lie but not maintain growth.
• Incomplete - those which will not support growth.

Function of Protein
• Growth and maintenance
• Enzymes
• Hormones
• Antibodies
• Fluid and electrolyte balance
• Acid/base balance
• Energy

Digestion of Protein
• Proteins must be broken down into amino acids to be absorbed.
• Digestion of amino acids is slow (12 hours to get benefit of protein mail with proper food combining).
• Mechanisms of protein digestion are the 
- mouth - small bites
- stomach - hydrochloric acid (HCl - see previous post) converts the inactive enzyme pepsinogen into pepsin, which breaks down protein into polypeptides)
- small intestine - pancreatic enzymes and intestinal secretions break down polypeptides into amino acids for assimilation by the body.  Absorbtion takes place here.

Sources of Protein
1. Animal sources - meat, fish, eggs, cheese
2. Plant sources - beans, lentils, nuts

Signs of possible Protein deficiency
• excess moisture (edema, eyes, mucous)
• depression
• wired
• unrestful sleep
• feels hungry/eats without listening to body
• difficult to lose weight
• Immune system problems
• Hormone imbalances


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