What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Protein

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What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Protein
What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Protein

Video: What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Protein

Video: What Happens To Your Body When You Consume Protein
Video: Does Protein Powder Work? (Spoiler: YES, but there's a catch) 2023, March
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The coming decade promises to be a triumph of fitness culture, a conscious and balanced lifestyle, as well as new breakthroughs in anti-aging that will allow a person to enjoy a beautiful and healthy body for much longer than before. At the same time, developments related to the consumption of substances important for the human body, including protein (aka protein), will begin to play an increasingly important role. At the same time, few of us fully understand why and because of what exactly this nutrient has become a panacea for healthy lifestyle culture in recent years. Together with Natalya Grigorieva, an anti-age medicine specialist, nutritionist and general director of the Premium Aesthetics clinic, we decided to understand all the nuances of protein consumption and its (not the simplest) relationship with our body.

What is protein, what is it and why is it important?

Protein is primarily a building material for the cells of the human body, including skin fibers - collagen and elastin. With a lack of proteins, it loses its elasticity and firmness. Proteins also build muscle fibers, which play an important role in maintaining optimal metabolic rate and normal weight. Proteins are the main building block of all hormones and enzymes that regulate metabolic processes in the body. Proteins are also made up of immune cells, which are responsible for the protection of our body. It is also important to know that fibrous proteins - meat and poultry - help to remove excess water and prevent swelling.

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Proteins are found in both plant and animal foods. Animal proteins include any type of meat, poultry, slaves, dairy products and eggs. Proteins from dairy products and eggs are absorbed much faster. The main source of plant proteins is legumes, including soybeans, as well as cereals. The diet should contain about 55% animal protein.

Animal and vegetable proteins differ primarily in their amino acid composition. So, for example, proteins of animal origin are complete in their composition. They contain a full range of essential amino acids that our body needs. Of plant proteins, only soy can be considered complete.

Body and protein: how does it work?

More often than not, we imagine it this way: a piece of turkey eaten at lunch is digested in the stomach, after which the resulting protein is safely sent to the biceps. However, in reality, everything is somewhat more complicated.

Thus, dietary protein is broken down and reassembled into a variety of proteins that are normally present in the human body. It does not matter what kind of protein you eat - animal or vegetable, complete or inferior: the main and only task that is set for the body is to break it down into various amino acids, the building blocks of any protein.

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The breakdown of protein requires much more time and energy from the body than the breakdown of the same carbohydrates, but less than is spent on breaking down fats. It all starts in the oral cavity - the first, mechanical, stage of digestion. The semi-digested protein then travels to the stomach where it is mixed with gastric juice, which contains acids and enzymes that break down food particles.

The next stage of digestion takes place in the small intestine, where protein is broken down to the end using special enzymes and acids produced by the pancreas. And only at this stage are amino acids ready for full use by the body.

How exactly does the body use protein?

After complete cleavage of the protein molecule, amino acids enter the liver. In this part of the body, they form the types of protein that your body needs most at the moment. It replaces damaged tissue parts and dead cells with new ones practically without interruption, therefore it constantly requires a sufficient amount of the main building material - protein. For example, some proteins in our body form so-called antibodies - particles that fight viruses and bacteria that constantly attack the human body. Other proteins contribute to the synthesis of DNA molecules, other chemical reactions, the transport of molecules, etc.

There is a conventional wisdom that eating more protein can help you lose weight faster. Many diets are based on the fact that they increase the amount of protein by reducing the percentage of carbohydrates. In this case, proteins are consumed for energy needs, but in the process of their decomposition, many acidic by-products are formed. This can cause the pH balance of the internal environment to shift towards increased acidity, and this, in turn, affects the rate of all metabolic processes, including the breakdown of fat (see also: "Metabolic syndrome, or why you gain weight").

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What's the best way to consume protein?

  • Include protein in all meals. About 30% should come from main meals, 5% each for snacks. This will make it easier for you to keep feeling full throughout the day. Protein is also better absorbed when consumed evenly throughout the day.
  • To reduce the "acidifying" effect of protein food, it is better to consume it with a large number of foods that give an alkaline reaction (most often they are rich in minerals - any vegetables, root vegetables, herbs). By volume, a portion of such vegetables should be three times larger than a portion of protein products.
  • Include different types of protein in your diet - both plant and animal. Eat different types of meat and fish. This way, you are more likely to get all the essential amino acids in the right ratio.
  • The protein of meat and fish is better absorbed if they are cooked for a long time and at a not very high temperature. Slow braising, steaming, baking will do.

About the expert:

Natalia Grigorieva
Natalia Grigorieva

Natalia Grigorieva

Photo: Getty Images

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