Busting myths about protein
Luke Coutinho

Luke Coutinho
11 June 2021

This article is authored by Luke Coutinho. Luke is a globally renowned and award winning Holistic Lifestyle Coach in the field of Integrative Medicine.

Protein is understood as a set of small units of amino acids that are linked together in extended chains. There are twenty different types of amino acids that make up a protein. Proteins are supposed to be enormous, complex molecules that govern tissues and organs while also preserving the body's structure and functions. They are, at their heart, macronutrients that are indispensable for increasing the volume of our muscles.

 

Proteins are one of the most key nutrients for the human body, and everyone requires different amounts depending on their gender and age. It is a key component of our diet and can be found in a variety of foods including fish, eggs, nuts, soy, meat, legumes, beans and peas, and seeds. Antibodies, Messenger, Enzyme, Structural Component, and Transport or Storage Protein are six types of essential proteins where each serves a specific role in the human body.

 

Since proteins are so necessary to the body's proper functioning, it's crucial to analyze their vitality, nature, and functions.

 

But, before I get to that, I'd like to call your attention to some of the popular protein myths that we've all believed in for a long time!

 

The first myth says - The 'ONLY' source of protein is meat, poultry, fish, and other meat products.

 

Myth Buster - Protein is a macronutrient found in a variety of foods, including dairy products, meat, and eggs, as well as pulses, legumes, soy, beans, cheese, and even the delicious tofu on your breakfast plate. You'll be surprised to learn that protein is present in almost every food ingredient in varying quantities. So the next time you need protein, look up a healthy vegan recipe.

 

The second myth says - Protein is only vital to the development of your muscles.

 

Myth Buster - Proteins are necessary for developing your bones, tissues, ligaments, and tendons, as well as your nails and hair, antibodies and hormones, and enzymes in your body.

 

The third myth says - Protein is only consumed by fitness freaks and enthusiasts, mainly those who work out.

 

Myth Buster - Protein is a main nutritional component that is needed for everyone's growth; however, women, the elderly, and growing children need a higher level of protein for muscle strength and development. Fitness enthusiasts must eat protein because their muscles need maintenance and repair after a workout, which can only be accomplished with a sufficient amount of protein in their diet and supplements.

 

The fourth myth says - It's healthier if you have a lot of protein on your plate!

 

Myth Buster - You may believe that putting too much protein on your plate would help you all at once, but this is not the case! Protein must be consumed in adequate quantities only to prevent protein deficiency in your body. An adult will typically eat 0.8 to 0.9 g of protein each day, though this varies depending on the person's sex and body structure. Additionally, break your protein intake into portions in the form of snacks, salads, shakes, soups, raw foods, and so on, rather than consuming all of the proteins in one sitting.

 

As I just said, getting enough protein in your diet is key so now I'd like to discuss Protein Deficiency, which is a consequence of not getting enough protein. Let's take a closer look at it.

 

What is Protein Deficiency?

 

Protein deficiency is characterized as a condition in which people do not consume enough protein from their diet. Kwashiorkor, a condition caused by protein deficiency, is most widely recognized and observed in infants, and mental retardation is also a disorder caused by protein deficiency.

 

As I previously stated, almost every food contains some amount of protein; however, due to a lack of information, awareness, and other economic factors, people can fail to eat enough protein, resulting in protein deficiency. Muscle wasting is one example of how a lack of protein can cause adverse changes in the body's structure over time.

 

Protein deficiency manifests itself in the following ways:

 

  • Edema and a swollen belly
  • Fatty liver is the most common symptom of Kwashiorkor in infants.
  • Muscle mass that has been damaged
  • Fractures can occur as a consequence of decreased bone density.
  • Depigmentation, rough and dry skin, and skin inflammation are all symptoms of protein deficiency.
  • Depigmentation, rough and dry skin, and skin inflammation. Hair loss and dainty nails are also signs and symptoms.
  • Tardy growth of children
  • An increase in appetite may further lead to overeating and weight gain
  • Immunity is compromised.

 

It goes without saying how remarkable proteins are for the body's growth and development. And here's where I'd like to add a few more significant factors and major functions of proteins that make them so valuable.

 

Why is protein required and important?

 

To begin, I'd say that proteins are required because they perform a variety of salient functions in the body, which is why they're so important. They are essential for the continued and development of tissues in the body to work, as well as to systematize your body's functions and activate the metabolism process in your body. Proteins are also vital for building a stable and robust immune system to fight various infections and diseases, as well as maintaining the pH balance in the body. It's time to brush up on your knowledge of the vital roles proteins play in the human body.

 

  • Proteins are supposed to be a great source of energy and make one feel energetic if consumed in the right amounts.
  • Did you know that some proteins play a storage role in your body? A protein namely Ferritin is recognized as a storage protein which iron in the body.
  • One of the most vital roles proteins play is the generation of antibodies in the body, they help to produce antibodies and immunoglobulins eventually enhancing your immunity to fight viruses and bacteria that make you sick.
  • Sustain fluid balance in the body. Globulin and Albumin are two such proteins.
  • Another interesting role of proteins is that they can transport substances across bloodstreams, in and out, and within the cells in the body.
  • Proteins are also supposed to provide tightness and rigor to tissues and cells in the body due to their fibrous nature. Collagen, keratin, and elastin are examples of such proteins.
  • Proteins surprisingly also perform as chemical messengers in the body among the tissues and organs.
  • Proteins as enzymes assist various biochemical processes taking place in the body cells.

 

You've read that proteins are fundamental for muscle health in this blog, and now I'd like to expand on the relevance and benefits of maintaining strong muscles for the body.

 

Muscle health and how it is important for everyone

 

Muscles are extremely intrinsic to the body because they assist us in moving, raising objects, circulating blood around the body, and breathing. There are approximately 600 muscles in our body that perform different functions for us.

 

Remember, it is only with strong muscles that you can move quickly and do any physical activity, such as playing, dancing, walking, exercising, doing everyday chores, biking, lifting weights, jumping, and so much more! To maintain safe and strong muscles, one must get ample rest and consume adequate protein.

 

Muscles' primary function is to allow you to move freely, to make your physical movement quick and flexible, and to make your body sturdy. Only healthy muscles will keep your joints in good shape because strong muscles strengthen and cushion your joints. On the other hand, weak muscles increase the risk of joint injuries. The body balance is maintained with solid muscles, and one feels firm and grounded when moving and doing physical activity. Furthermore, strong muscles are pivotal because they continue to protect the heart muscles functioning.

 

The Bottom Line

 

Protein is the primary component of the muscles, skin, enzymes, and hormones, as well as other body tissues. Protein deficiency can affect almost all aspects of body function. As a result, it is associated with many symptoms. Protein is an essential nutrient for the body, so it's vital to recognize all there is to know about it. Many of us avoid or overlook our protein requirements due to long-held myths, but these are just that: myths, not facts. Protein is needed for muscle strengthening, a better ordinance of tissues and cells, and a stronger immunity, along with many other things.

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