I write posts about Nutrition Basics because nutrition terms get thrown around a lot. That can make words like calories, fat, protein, etc. seem familiar. It also means we can say the same words but be thinking of different concepts!
I write posts about Nutrition Basics because it’s important to me that my audience and I are thinking of the same things when I say protein, or carbs, etc.
I also write these posts because I want them in my voice. I want you to hear what I think and believe about carbs, or protein, or sugar, for example, and just to explain in simple terms what those things mean, with a little bit of basic background.
That way when I say, add some healthy carbs, or make sure you have enough calories! you know what that means.
Here are some nutrition basics I’ve written so far:
When we eat foods with protein, our bodies take apart the protein into the amino acids it’s made from (like you might take apart a LEGO structure) and use those amino acids to build new proteins in our bodies that become hair, skin, muscle, hormones, mitochondria, etc.
Our bodies use 20 different amino acids to build the proteins it needs. Nine of these amino acids we must get from the food we eat. The other eleven our bodies can manufacture, but we can also get them from food.
That’s why its so important to eat enough foods with protein in them, so our body has all the materials it needs to grow, maintain bones and muscles, make hormones and neurotransmitters, and heal itself, among many many other things.
Our bodies can also burn protein for energy. If we have enough protein for our building needs, our bodies take the extra protein and either burn it for energy or, if it already has enough energy, will store it as fat for future energy.
On the other hand, if we are not eating enough to meet our energy needs, (and especially if we are also not eating enough protein) our bodies will begin to break down the protein in our muscles to use for energy. Of course, it will also begin to break down stored fat, but most weight loss involves some muscle loss.
Now you know what protein is, but how should you eat it? How much should you eat? What are “lean” proteins? What are plant-based proteins?
Check back next week for the answers! Do you have other questions about protein? Leave it in the comments and I’ll try and incorporate it into next week’s post.
(Sorry, this wasn’t an intentional cliff hanger, it just seemed better to break it up rather than doing a super long post!)
If you want to see a list of foods that have protein, click here.