High protein, low protein, keto diet, and several other terms keep resonating in the society and social media. Before deciding your protein intake, let’s take a minute to understand what are proteins and the importance they hold in our health.
The word “Protein” is derived from the Greek word ‘photos’ means “of first importance”. Proteins play a significant role in all activities of living organisms. Protein is present in our skin, muscles, skeleton, and body fluids. Proteins are essential during growth because it is the main component in our tissues. The first 2 years in human’s life are very important as 80% of brain development is done by this period of time. If protein intake is not sufficient during this time, mental retardation takes place and the shortage of nutrition whatever occurs in this period will not be gained again in the rest of life. That is why this nutrient is known as “protein”.
Food proteins can be classified:
Complete proteins, which have all the essential amino acids and help to maintain life and support growth. Ex: milk, egg, fish.
Partially incomplete proteins, which are partially lacking in one or more essential amino acids and they maintain life but they do not support growth. Ex: gliadin (wheat protein) and vegetable proteins.
Incomplete proteins are those that completely lack in one or more essential amino acids. They neither support life nor growth. Ex: zein (corn protein), gelatin.
The biological value of protein foods depends to a great extent on their amino acid composition and they are grouped as a protein of low or high biological value. The biological value of protein also depends on the digestibility of protein food. Cooking enables the digestibility whereas overheating and frying reduces the biological value of a protein because it destroys the essential amino acid lysine. Egg, milk, fish, poultry, and meat are of high biological value whereas proteins from cereals like wheat, rice, pulses, and nuts are of low biological value. Vegetable proteins are low in an essential amino acid pattern; especially of proteins from different sources is consumed and mutual supplementation takes place. For example, rice or wheat protein is low in lysine whereas pulse is rich in lysine and low in methionine. Rice is rich in methionine and a mutual supplementation results when rice and pulse are consumed together.
Protein requirement for all age groups:
- Man: 1 gram/kg body weight/day
- Woman: 1 gram/kg body weight/day
- Pregnancy: required protein + 14 grams/day
- Lactation: required protein + 25 grams/day
Needless to say, Protein forms a major part of our diet. Plan a balanced diet with the required amounts of protein for your body, to maintain good health status. Contact a dietician to plan your diet in an accurate manner. You can reach out to the online portal of Magnacode Healthcare to schedule an appointment with experienced dieticians.