Healthy Protein

Protein – the hero nutrient?

Protein is often considered to be a “hero” nutrient. Have you, for instance, ever thought about how weight loss diets are composed? Often is either carbohydrates or fats removed totally or partially, right? Can you recall any weight loss diet that has protein removed? Most certainly not. Why is that? Well protein is an important component of every cell in the body.

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Why do we need Protein?

Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Apart from the above functions, protein is also a macronutrient. It provides us with essential energy (calories), just like carbohydrates and fat do. The key is to consume the right amount of calories. Since fat contains more than double the amount of calories per gram, compared to protein and carbohydrates, it’s easier to keep the energy level at the right amount if eating more of carbohydrates and protein instead of too much fat. Everyone requires different amounts of energy each day, depending on age, sex, size, and activity level.

Macronutrient

Calories per gram

Protein

4 kcal/gram

Carbohydrates

4 kcal/gram

Fat

9 kcal/gram

 

Protein quality

Proteins are made of amino acids. In total there are 20 amino acids, 9 of which are referred to as “essential” amino acids because our bodies cannot produce them on our own. Therefore it is essential that we obtain them through our diet every day. 

Non-essential amino acids

Essential amino acids

Alanine

Histidine

Arginine

Isoleucine

Asparagine

Leucine

Aspartic acid

Lysine

Cysteine

Methionine

Glutamic acid

Phenylalanine

Glutamine

Threonine

Glycine

Tryptophan

Proline

Valine

Serine

 

Tyrosine

 

 

 Complete protein

If a food source contains an adequate proportion of each of the 9 essential amino acids, it’s called a “complete protein”. Examples of single-source complete proteins are red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, soybeans and quinoa. If you choose a plant based protein that is not a complete protein, you can combine it with wholegrains or different kinds of plant based proteins during the day to obtain all the essential amino acids.

Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS)

Another way to measure the protein quality is to use the PDCAAS method which is based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest it. The highest possible score is 1,0. 

Ex. of PDCAAS for different protein sources:
Pea protein = 0,73
• Egg protein = 1,00
• Whey protein = 1,00 
(Whey protein is also an excellent source of branched chain amino acids (BCAA), including leucine, which is the key to stimulating muscle protein synthesis)
• Potato = 0,93
Soy = 0,99

Protein requirements

The World Health Organisation recommends adults a daily intake of minimum 0,8 g of protein per kilogram bodyweight. 
You could have an increased need of protein if you are pregnant or lactating or if you are an athlete or a very active person. The American College of Sports Nutrition recommends a protein intake for active people between 1,2-2,0 g of protein per kilogram bodyweight, depending on the type of activity. 

 

 

60 kg weight woman

60 kg weight woman

Average physical activity

Very active

0,8 g Protein/kg BW

1,4 g Protein/kg BW

= 48 g Protein/day

= 84 g Protein/day

Ex. As much protein as in 210 g of chicken filet

Ex. As much protein as in 365 g of chicken filet

 

Healthy protein sources

The most common source, that people mention, when talking about protein, is meat. But there are a lot of different kinds of protein sources, both from animal and plant based origin.
From a health perspective one should aim to eat more lean protein such as;

Poultry
Fish
Legumes 
and less of;
Red meat (beef, pork, lamb)
Processed meat (sausages, cured meat)

According to the World Cancer Research Fund we should decrease our consumption of red meat and processed meat since there is strong evidence that consumption of these products are causes of colorectal cancer. 

The dietary goal, if you eat red meat, is to limit your consumption to no more than about three portions per week. Three portions is equivalent to about 350–500 g (about 12–18 oz) cooked weight. Consume very little, if any, processed meat.
From a sustainable perspective it’s also good to cut down on red meat in favor of plant based options, According to the EAT-Lancet report  one should only eat 14 g of red meat per day (100 g/week). That’s like 1-1,5 meatballs a day.

Protein distribution during the day

Dietary patterns show that protein intake is often skewed toward the evening meal, whereas breakfast is typically rich in carbohydrate and low in protein. Research shows that protein distribution is most effective to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This is where the total daily protein intake is spread evenly throughout the day. A good rule of thumb here is to consume high quality protein (20-30 g) at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner . Depending on your goals and activity, protein rich snacks may be required in between meals.

 

Examples of Protein distribution – 20-30 grams per meal

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Smoothie with fruits (based on 1 serving of Natural Balance Shake/ Protein Blend, 1 Egg, 100ml Yoghurt with 40g Musli (nuts/ seeds)

1 Chicken breast (150g), 1 portion of bulgur (200g boiled), 1 portion of vegetables (150-200g)

1 fish fillet (125g), 1 portion of root vegetables (150-200g), 1 portion of vegetables (150-200g)

 

Protein sources from Wellness by Oriflame

Wellness by Oriflame can assist in contributing to the healthy protein rich snacks during the day. Both our Natural Balance Shakes/Protein Blend and Natural Balance Soups are based on three different sources of healthy and sustainable proteins that together consists of all the essential amino acids the body requires. 
One serving of these protein rich snacks will offer you about 7-8 grams of protein with a high score of PDCAAS = high quality. 
So enjoy the tasty shakes and soups with a good conscience!

 

NATURAL BALANCE SHAKE/
PROTEIN BLEND

 NATURAL BALANCE SOUPS

PEA, EGG, WHEY

PEA, POTATO, SOY

6.7-7.7
grams Protein
per portion

7.1-7.3
grams Protein
per portion