Proteins

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Proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods. Beans and grains also provide proteins but in smaller amounts than animal foods. All proteins are made of various amino acids that are joined together. There are 20 different amino acids. Nine of these are called essential amino acids because the body cannot make them, so they must be obtained from the diet.

Proteins are used in the body to:

  • Form muscle, hair, nails, skin, and other tissues.
  • Provide energy.
  • Repair injuries.
  • Carry fats, vitamins and minerals to different parts of the body.
  • Contract muscle.
  • Serve a structural role for every part of the body.

Energy from Proteins

1 gram of protein supplies 4 kcal (the same as CHO). Proteins should supply 10-15% of your total daily kcals.

Example:

One large hard boiled egg provides 78 kcal and contains 6 grams of proteins. Therefore, kcal from proteins are 4 kcal/gram x 6 grams = 24 kcal of energy from proteins.

Example:

One large hard boiled egg provides 78 kcal and contains 6 grams of proteins. Therefore, kcal from proteins are 4 kcal/gram x 6 grams = 24 kcal of energy from proteins.

Your protein needs are determined by your age, body weight, and activity level. Most people eat 100 to 200 g of proteins each day, which is more protein than is actually needed by the body. Many people eat high-protein foods because they think that proteins make them grow "bigger and stronger". Actually, these excess kcals from proteins can be converted to fat and stored. Although proteins provide energy, they should not be the main dietary source of energy. High-protein intakes also increase fluid needs and may be dehydrating if fluid needs are not met (see "Water" on page 17 and Chapter 12). In addition, high-protein intakes put the kidneys under great strain in order to get rid of all the breakdown products.

Table 2-1. Determining Your Protein Factor

Grams of Proteins Per Pound of Body Weight

Activity Level

Low to Moderate

Endurance Training Strength Training

Protein Factor

0.5 grams

Your Protein Factor is

Calculate your daily protein requirements in Worksheet 2-2 using your protein factor from Table 2-1.

Worksheet 2-2. Calculate Your Protein Requirements

Body Weight (lbs.) Protein Factor I

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