Proteins may be derived by different sources: those easy to digest are from milk and vegetables.
The name itself of an organic or nutritional component may already help in understanding its function.
The etymology of the word protein originates from the Greek proteinos (from protos) meaning primary. From a chemical point of view, protein substances are quaternary, made up of 4 elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen); this is in contrast with fats and carbohydrates (made up of tertiary substances).
It’s easy to understand why, if need arises, the body can produce a tertiary substance from a quaternary. Producing a quaternary substance from a tertiary is impossible (missing nitrogen).
During any muscular activity we are actually “stressing” our muscle structures that are alive and continuously renewing themselves. If the need arises these structures may also be increased (not only for athletes but also for young ones during their growth and pregnant women).
Proteins are extremely useful and nourishing. Despite common believes, researchers have found that the best protein intake (1.2/1.4g for Kg) is fundamental for counteracting common oncologic and cardiovascular illnesses by supporting the muscle tone recovery and maintenance.
Proteins are composed by amino acids (like wall bricks). The body is not able to produce these (essential) amino acids and that is the reason why we are forced to assimilate them through food.
Animal and plant proteins
Animal proteins include all essential amino acids, plant proteins are lacking some of them (read also “Plant origin proteins”). Because of personal preference some may choose to become vegan (a diet free from animal proteins); these choices are reasonable, perfectly sustainable even for athletes.
The main rule is to mix different types of vegetal protein in order to balance the amino acids intake compensating any deficiency (for example different types of cereals and legumes).
Apart from quality it’s also important to consider the quantities. Protein intake is usually measured in grams in relation to the person’s weight. The best protein intake may start from 0.7/1g for a woman or man with a sedentary lifestyle and may be increased up to 1.7/2.2g for women or men athletes.
Obviously those who choose to become vegetarian may have difficulties in fully reaching their ideal protein intake especially because when eating the body receives not only proteins but also an abundance of carbohydrates and fats that come along with them.
That is why diet supplements for vegans have been produced. It’s important to find properly balanced products that help in providing all essential amino acids needed (for example soia, rice and peas) having an 80% protein concentration.
100 gr meat
22/23 gr supplements
100 gr fagioli
Protein supplement intake is a need for all kinds of people, those who practice sports and those who don’t, all of whom want to optimize their daily protein quota intake without adding fats or carbohydrates contained in food. Just by analyzing the chart the differences are striking.
Apart from proteins for vegans there are other food supplements designed for athletes that include advanced formulations; the best ones are derived from a mix of milk complete proteins and whey. This formula guarantees a regulated time release that allows amino acids to be absorbed by the body both quickly and slowly, during breakfast and daily snacks.
Those who practice intense and frequent sports will benefit from whey concentrates that are hydrolyzed, the most pure encapsulation (90% protein concentration). The product is made up of what we could call predigested proteins containing a very high concentration released in very short periods of time (also used after training to accelerate muscle recovery).
The amino acids listed on this product are abundant and part of the essential class of amino acids, specifically the 3 “ramified” types that constitute the main muscle structure.
Protein supplements are effective when combined during meals or on their own when food intake is not ideal.