What is the meaning of protein?
What is the meaning of protein?
A protein is composed of amino acids. Amino acids are therefore the building blocks for a protein. Some amino acids can be produced by our body, and other amino acids must be obtained through food. We call these amino acids essential amino acids.
What are proteins good for?
Proteins are necessary for building muscle mass and for maintenance. They support your muscle recovery after exercise. In addition to muscles, amino acids are the building blocks for protein in body cells, but also for enzymes, hormones and antibodies. So very important.
Protein also helps to maintain weight. This is because protein is well saturated and it spares the muscles during a period of weight loss (while eating fewer calories with plenty of protein in the diet). Muscles are very active in the body and burn calories. So it is important to maintain the muscles as much as possible during weight loss.
What are protein sources?
Proteins are in many foods. Some products contain more proteins than others. There are plant based proteins and animal proteins.
Animal proteins are poultry, fish and dairy products such as cottage cheese and yogurt. Plant based proteins are a more sustainable alternative. Examples include legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, soy milk/yogurt, seitan, plant based protein powder, “meat substitutes”, grain products such as bread and rice.
Why do strength and endurance athletes need more proteins?
Proteins are important for the growth and repair of the muscles. If we exercise (intensively enough) we damage the muscles. In this case, this "damaging" is good, because it puts the body in "recovery mode" and it is possible to work towards training adaptation (provided sufficient protein is available). So you become a bit faster, stronger or build up a little more muscle mass.
Strength athletes need more protein than endurance athletes, 1.2-1.4g per kg body weight and 1.6-2.2g per kg body weight, respectively. Athletes who eat dominant vegetarian/vegan food need even more protein.
Why do vegetarians and vegans need more protein?
Plant-based proteins have a different protein quality than animal proteins. Plant-based proteins sometimes contain fewer essential amino acids or in a less optimal ratio. The protein quality of a protein source is determined together with the degree of digestibility. So it's important to consume more protein to compensate for the reduced quality of plant-based proteins. In addition, it is important to eat various plant-based proteins to get all the essential amino acids.
Niet-sporters die vaker plantaardig eten hebben 1,2-1,3g per kg lichaamsgewicht per dag proteïnen nodig. Duursporters die vaker plantaardig eten hebben ongeveer 1,4-1,7g per kg lichaamsgewicht aan proteïnen nodig. Krachtsporters die vaker plantaardig eten ongeveer 1,8-2,2g per kg lichaamsgewicht aan proteïnen. Bodybuilders gericht op het behalen van wedstrijd-niveau vetvrije massa ≥2,2g per kg lichaamsgewicht.
Non-athletes who eat plant-based foods more often need 1.2-1.3g of protein per kg of body weight per day. Endurance athletes who eat plant-based foods more often need about 1.4-1.7g per kg body weight of protein. Strength athletes who eat plant-based more often about 1.8-2.2 g per kg body weight of protein. Bodybuilders who aim to achieve competition-level lean body mass ≥2.2g per kg body weight.
Additional proteins may be of interest. Especially if it’s difficult to achieve enough protein through basic nutrition, for example because you have an increased need or have a busy lifestyle. If you choose a protein powder, choose a blend of plant-based protein sources (for example peas, rice and sunflower seed protein) and that a serving contains at least 3g leucine. Our SUPPLEAM® Premium Plant-Based Protein has exactly this composition, because it was prepared by our founder sports dietitian.