Yes, it’s true. All proteins are not created equal. But before we can go further, we need to understand that our diet consists of macronutrients and micronutrients. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are our macronutrients and micronutrients are what we ingest in smaller quantities, like our vitamins and minerals.
When we eat food, it does not declare itself as simply a carbohydrate, protein, or fat. Most foods have a variety of macronutrient components and our bodies do an amazing job at breaking down each ingredient into particles that can then be utilized. This is why eating high quality food without lots of chemicals is preferred. Our body has enough to do without the need of bombarding it with toxins and unnecessary compounds.
There are basic components that make up proteins. They are called amino acids and there are 20 of them. Of these, 9 are considered ‘essential‘, because we cannot create them from other foods we eat. This means you have to consume them in the protein sources you are eating. By definition, a complete protein is one that contains at minimum, all 9 of the essential amino acids. There are also 3 amino acids in the essential amino acid family that are called Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). These 3, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are important for muscle function and many medical treatments. In the fitness community, we want to ingest a lot of foods that contain BCAAs. Luckily, most animal proteins contain BCAAs and all the other essential amino acids. Vegetarians and vegans can acquire BCAAs and essential amino acids, but many times this involves food combining, and food combining is not the most efficient way to achieve the objective. Continue Reading →