Proteins in Nutrition Essay

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Proteins in Nutrition

Proteins are very large molecules made of amino acids, of which there
are twenty. Eight of these amino acids are "essential," meaning that
they cannot be synthesized in the body even though they are necessary
for life. Essential amino acids must be consumed from sources outside
the body.

Early in the twentieth century, studies of rats revealed that this
rodent grows better using animal sources of protein. Knowing nothing
of humans, which are harder to study because they live so much longer,
grow to adulthood so much slower, and metabolize food so much slower,
nutritional scientists applied what they had learned about rats to
humans. The conclusion was that animal sources of protein were
superior to plant sources for human nutrition because of the higher
concentration of protein.

In the early 1950s, definitive studies were conducted on human beings,
and the eight essential amino acids were identified. Both animal and
plant sources of amino acids provide an abundance of the essential
amino acids. As it turns out, the amino acid needs of human beings can
be met better by some plant sources, such as soy, because plant
protein comes without the heavy load of fat present in meat, milk and
eggs. Milk is said to be a good source of protein. Perhaps so, but the
problems associated with pasteurized milk and milk products make it a
less than desirable source.

At first glance, it may seem that animal sources of protein would be
superior because of the higher concentration of protein. However, as
it turns out, the body cannot distinguish the source of protein, or
the concentration, only the total amount. The pro...

... middle of paper ...


The high purine content of a high-protein diet leads to gout and
kidney stones in some people, as purine breaks down to uric acid,
which crystallizes in the kidneys and joints. A diet with a sensible
amount of protein is highly beneficial for these conditions. This
sensible diet is achieved through vegetables high in fiber
(nondigestible forms of complex carbs) with a sensible amount of
protein and whatever fat comes with that protein.

To make this simple, all you need to remember is to consume, three
times each day, about the amount of protein source which could be held
in the palm of your hand - about the size of a chicken breast -
constituting about thirty percent of your calories. With that, have
whatever fat comes associated with that protein. Add high-fiber
vegetables, the equivalent of three handfuls.

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