Proteins have been aptly described as “building blocks” for the entire body. They’re an intricate part of every cell in your body and are used for the growth, repair and maintenance of organs and tissues. As such, proteins play a key role in maintaining good health and well-being. Understanding the importance of proteins can encourage people to include more protein-rich foods in their diet.
Proteins are essential macronutrients that assist in just about every function of your body. They’re comprised of long chains of amino acids, some of which are produced by the body and some of which are absorbed from the foods you eat. Of the 20 amino acids required to sustain your body, 12 are produced by the body (non-essential amino acids) and 8 come from food (essential amino acids). A balanced diet provides you with all the essential amino acids your body needs on a daily basis.
Unlike some nutrients, amino acids are not stored by the body. They are produced, repaired and replaced daily within the body or absorbed from food you consume. Through this process of production and absorption, amino acids keep body cells well supplied with the proteins you need. Your body needs a fresh supply of amino acids daily to keep it functioning as it should. Amino acids are needed for creating new cells, building body tissues, repairing skin, operating vital organs and more.
Proteins perform multiple functions in keeping your body working at top capacity. Structural body components such as bones, muscles, skin and organs are comprised largely of proteins. Proteins help regulate body functions, produce antibodies for fighting disease and provide you with energy to perform daily tasks. As amino acids are produced or absorbed from your diet, they enter an amino acid pool in your system from which they are pulled to support body functions when required. Excess amino acids are secreted from the body through urine.
Protein – An Overview of Categories
Proteins can be divided into two categories – complete and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins can be obtained from meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and soy products and contain all the essential amino acids required by the body for optimum health. Incomplete proteins are lacking in one or several of the essential amino acids. Such proteins generally come from plant-related sources. By combining foods from both groups, you can raise the quality of your protein to meet “complete” standards. Ideally, at least 75% of the protein you consume should be from complete protein sources. By eating protein rich foods during meals and snacks, you can get the daily recommended allowance of protein your body needs.
How many grams of protein per day do you need? Recommendations for daily protein intake vary depending on a person’s calorie intake, age and lifestyle. Sedentary people may not need as much protein as individuals who are active. Younger people may need less protein than seniors. According to U.S. Dietary Guidelines, between 10-35% of your diet should be protein. On average, this comes to approximately 45 grams of daily protein consumption for women and 56 grams for men. Older adults may require additional protein to counter the effects of aging on their health.
Protein can be found in both animal and plant sources. Beef, pork, bison, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are generally considered high protein foods, making them good sources of protein for snacks and meals. Foods high in protein from plant sources include legumes, all kinds of beans, soy, wheat germ, quinoa, nuts, seeds and nut butters. Low-fat dairy products and soy are also fairly good sources of protein. Whole grains are more protein-rich than their refined counterparts. By combining protein from both plant and animal sources, you’re more likely to enjoy a balanced diet.
High protein foods like meat and eggs offer greater value due to giving you more muscle-building power than foods with low protein levels. People who exercise regularly will appreciate the extra strength and energy that high protein foods have to offer. The following breakdown gives greater insight into foods that are conducive for an ideal protein diet.
Rucksnacks – Our high protein snacks use only lean beef which makes an excellent choice for a high protein diet. We air dry our beef for days, which removes the moisture and makes it safe as a ready to eat snack – It takes at least 240g of lean beef to make 100g of Rucksnacks beef snacks, providing over 54g of protein per 100g for our beef bites. Rucksnacks are also high in Iron as well as providing other valuable nutrients for your body such a zinc and vitamin B12. The filling protein in beef keeps you satiated for hours, leaving no hunger gaps for unhealthy snacks or junk food fillers.
Eggs – One medium egg contains approximately 6 grams of complete protein in an easy to digest form. An appetising omelette stuffed with low-fat cheese or scrumptious veggies makes a nutritious and delicious breakfast.
Milk, Yogurt and Cheese – These dairy foods are not only rich in protein but are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. By drinking skim milk, you can keep calories down while strengthening teeth and bones. If you’re an exercise buff, try chocolate milk for recovery. Chocolate milk will restock your body with carbs and whey protein. Yogurt is loaded with protein and offers a viable alternative to milk if you are dairy intolerant.
Beans – The protein in half cup of red, black or kidney beans is comparable to that contained in one ounce of oven-broiled steak. Beans also provide you with healthy fiber, which will keep you feeling full for several hours.
Nuts – Nuts are tasty and portable, making them a great protein grab and go snack for people with busy lifestyles. Fifty pistachio nuts will give you up to 6 grams of protein along with the valuable nutrient potassium. Almonds, cashews and walnuts make great high protein snacks that can go with you anywhere.
Soy – Protein rich soy foods help lower cholesterol, reduce cardiovascular diseases and assist in exercise recovery. Although soy is less expensive than other forms of protein, it doesn’t compromise on nutritional value.
Fish and Seafood – Low in fat and rich in protein, fish and seafood make excellent choices for a high protein diet. Salmon may have slightly more fat than other types of fish, but is packed with nutritious omega 3s which can protect you from cardiovascular diseases.
Tenderloin Pork – Pork is rich in leucine, an amino acid that supports muscle recovery after strenuous exercise. Tenderloin pork can be served as part of a meal or tasty post-exercise snack. Lean beef, chicken and eggs are also great sources of leucine, making them smart choices for a protein diet.
Chicken and Turkey – Lean protein as found in the white meat of chicken or turkey offers great nutritional value. Be sure to remove the skin before cooking as it’s full of unwholesome saturated fat.
Milk is comprised of two types of proteins: casein and whey. When making cheese, these two proteins are separated, leaving the watery liquid of whey behind. Whey protein, therefore, is a byproduct of the cheese making process. Due to its high nutritional value, whey protein has gained great popularity as a dietary supplement in protein shakes and powders. Concentrate whey protein powder is a favourite of athletes, bodybuilders and other exercise buffs who want to increase their protein intake. Bodybuilders use whey protein to strengthen their physique.
Jerky is comprised of sliced strips of lean meat that have been dried and preserved to prevent them from spoiling. When taken from hormone-free turkey, pork or beef, jerky is a good source of protein for your diet. Many manufacturers of jerky products use artificial additives and a high amount of sodium, along with cheap quality meat. Rucksnacks only use premium, fully quality assured grass fed beef in their beef jerky and beef biltong snacks.
Because jerky doesn’t require refrigeration, it’s a handy snack for taking to school, your work place or on the road when travelling. Beef jerky snack packs make wholesome, tasty snacks for any occasion. Jerky made from lean beef is rich in protein, low in calories and low in fat, making it a good weight loss snack option. If you’re wonder how much protein is in beef jerky, a 30 gram serving of Rucksnacks Beef Bites provides over 16g of protein and only 89 calories. Beef jerky is quite different from beef sticks which contain a high level of saturated fat. By reading the labels carefully, you won’t get confused between the two. Real beef jerky also contains a fair amount of iron to fight against anemia and vitamin B12 to support the health of red blood cells. Some beef jerky manufactures use high levels of salt and sugar, so be sure to read the nutritional labels of the packs first. At Rucksnacks, we only use a pinch of salt and with no added sugar, our snack is as healthy as you get, click here to see our latest offers.
Biltong is dried and cured meat, originating from South Africa which can be composed of beef, game meats or even ostrich grown in commercial farms. It consists of raw meat fillets cut in strips along the grain to get the best cuts. Both biltong and beef jerky are dried, spiced meats; however, their ingredients, flavouring and means of production differ to best suit the individual product.
An In-depth Look at High Protein Diets is provided via the link, however at Rucksnacks we don’t believe in diets. We believe in lifestyle choices, because who hasn’t stopped using a diet at some point and returned to normal life choices. Its about setting your self up so you can eat healthy, the majority (aim 90%) of the time.
In the right quantity, protein can be extremely healthy for the body. High protein diets, however, often require greater consumption of protein than normal, which has its pros and cons. Many people go on a high protein diet for a few weeks to lose weight quickly. On a long term basis, this diet may have more negative results than positive. When it comes to evaluating the benefits of protein – an overview of the pros and cons of this diet will give you a better idea if it’s right for you.
Pros of Protein Diets
People can often lose weight quicker on a high protein diet than you can on many other diets on the market. Much of this initial weight loss is water, which returns once carbs are re-introduced into your menus. However, with every diet or fad, it is better to make long term changes to your lifestyle.
High protein dieters may also experience a drop in cholesterol, which is another plus. High cholesterol is common in people suffering from obesity and poses the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Is protein more filling than carbs or fat? The answer is yes. As a result, proteins keep you satiated longer so you eat less in between meals. This reduction of food and calories helps you lose weight faster. The more protein in your diet, the more satisfied you are with smaller meal portions, which is also conducive to losing weight.
Of course, don’t start just eating protein – we have all heard about the people guzzling protein shakes after protein shake in order to lose weight, but they never worked out or trained! Their is no miracle pill or weight loss miracle unfortunately, but it all starts with adjusting your diet according to your activity.
Cons of Protein Diets
Maintaining a very high protein diet long-term may increase bad cholesterol levels in your body which can cause health problems. It can also cause kidney problems and increase chance of kidney stones or the development of osteoporosis. With a high protein diet, there’s always the risk of consuming too much unhealthy saturated fat and too little fruits and veggies, resulting in an imbalance of nutrients in your diet.
Although high protein diets offer some weight loss benefits, they may not be to everyone’s advantage. This diet can be effective in jumpstarting a weight loss program or giving you a head start in losing a few pounds before going on vacation or attending a special occasion.
At Rucksnacks, we don’t believe in diets, but we want to provide some information toward understanding more about protein. There are lot more resources available but we do suggest that you speak to a Doctor/Dietitian before going on any drastic diet changes. We prefer to recommend lifestyle changes – How can you adjust what you eat, how you exercise and sleep to suit your lifestyle. In terms of a guide, you should be aiming for 1g of high quality protein per 2kg of body-weight. High quality protein is not protein bars or shakes loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients and/or sweeteners – read the ingredients! Instead, go for high quality protein sources, like our beef bites.
Its all about making to right choices 90% of time, or higher if you can. So having some Rucksnacks Healthy Snacks available to snack is perfect to help avoid any bad choices and ensure you are not not satisfied, but eating a healthy nutrition snack.