Proteins are found in every cell of our body. They make up about 20% of our body weight. They are needed for growth and maintenance, and energy. They also have many other functions such as having a role in the production of hormones and enzymes. Proteins are complex molecules comprised of combinations of 22 naturally occurring amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
There are two categories of amino acids: essential and nonessentials. Essential amino acids are the ones that we need to get from food since our body can’t produce them. The importance of balancing the diet to get sufficient levels of all amino acids cannot be overstated – it’s essential to health. This is why a diet containing a variety of wholesome foods is important.
Protein intake depends on different factors such as gender, age, health, and physical activities. We can get them from animal or plant sources. Most people get their proteins from animal sources. The problem we have today however is that most people consume way too much of it, get low-quality food and products, and they don’t consume enough plant foods to balance it all.
Excess animal protein is known to create acidosis in the body, which encourages calcium loss. It’s also known to promote inflammation in the body, as well as putting stress on the liver and kidneys. Excess proteins can also be turned into fat and stored in the body as potential fuel or as glycogen in the liber. Furthermore, animal foods contain saturated fat and cholesterol which, if eaten in excess and not cooked properly, may lead to heart diseases and stroke. Lastly, if meat products are mostly consumed conventionally, a range of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals are consumed.
Animal food can definitely be part of a healthy diet, but it needs to be good quality, cook properly, eaten in moderation and be balanced with plant foods. It’s important to know and remember that the quality of our protein is just as important, if not more, as the quantity.