There are nine amino acids that must be supplied by our food intake. Out of more than 20 identified, our bodies cannot manufacture these and thus protein restriction will have its consequences
The body will only use the precise amount of protein it needs. The rest will be excreted in the urine and excess amount may even cause liver and kidney strain. It can also cause an increase in calcium loss in the urine as well as dehydration.
It's estimated that over 50 % of the dry weight of your body is protein. Proteins are everywhere in the body - in muscle, bone, brain cells, blood cells, genetic matter, skin, hair, fingernails, etc.
Constant processes of repair and renewal takes place inside our bodies with the aid of protein. Maintenance, repair and growth of body tissue is accomplished by the digestion of protein into subunits called amino acids. In this form these amino acids can enter cells where, following instruction from DNA, they can be synthesized into new proteins as is needed. Protein is therefore essential for healthy living.
There are nine amino acids that must be supplied by our food intake. Out of more than 20 identified, our bodies cannot manufacture these and thus protein restriction will have its consequences. Some specific proteins require these amino acids to synthesize and failure to provide them results in muscle breakdown and other protein functions named earlier. Muscle breakdown is detrimental to weight loss.
Protein cannot be stored and needs to be replenished daily. Muscle wasting can occur if protein intake is inadequate as it may be needed for more important body functions. However, most people eat more than they need in terms of protein. The train of though that strength athletes followed is that the more material you supply the body the more it will build. That is not true. The body will only use the precise amount of protein it needs. The rest will be excreted in the urine and excess amount may even cause liver and kidney strain. It can also cause an increase in calcium loss in the urine as well as dehydration.
Studies done with strength trainers and aerobic trainers alike have concluded that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight is too low for serious exercisers. Higher dosages have produced more strength gains than control groups and less muscle wasting in endurance exercise or rigorous strength training. But these are people who strength train 4 times per week and/or participate in aerobic exercise sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes three times a week.
Beginners and even intermediate exercisers generally should not follow increased protein intake, being brainwashed by protein advertisements. The only way to build muscle is to stimulate it through exercise. Research shows that even on RDA of protein strength trainers built muscle as well as those on twice the amount (1). This is because the protein utilization increased in efficiency and exemplifies on how the body adapts to what is available.
The most concentrated sources of protein come from flesh sources like beef, chicken, turkey and fish. High protein diets should be avoided, especially from animal sources as they are usually high in fat, cholesterol and linked to early disease and death. Protein in animal and dairy foods should be avoided as they are high is saturated fats and cholesterol. Better sources are egg whites, legumes like beans, soy products, and grains. Poultry, fish and low fat dairy products should be used as optional protein sources.
Protein along with fats, are the building materials of the body. Therefore you must authorize construction by stimulating the body through physical activity like exercise. If you don't, minimal amounts of these foods should be eaten. Too much building material and not enough work inevitably cause a deposit which will inevitably contribute to weight gain. But perhaps the worst part is that these foods, (proteins and fats) are not the ideal storage foods as excess can contribute to heart disease, cancers and early death.
1.Campbell, W. W., et al. 1995. Effects of resistance training and dietary protein intake on protein metabolism in older adults. American Journal of Physiology 268: E1143 -53.