Protein is rarely burned as fuel, but carbs and fat cannot do their jobs without it. Protein is our main building block and keeps the fires stoked and metabolism moving. Its smaller components, amino acids, not only act as the bricks and mortar for your entire machine, they are part of the fuel-burning cycle itself.
Certain amino acids are involved in vital chemical reactions, where they assist carbs and fat in the production of Amino acids... are part of the fuel-burning cycle.
Without them, we could not burn fat aerobically. Amino acids are classified as either essential or nonessential. We obtain essential amino acids from the food we eat, and our bodies produce the essential amino acids.
Animal Versus Vegetable
In the final analysis, protein selection comes down to a matter of preference: animal or vegetable. Of course, the main problem with eating protein, at least animal protein, is the amount of fat that accompanies it. But that does not necessarily make animal protein a taboo because there are plenty of low fat choices out there to keep us amply full and satisfied. Any mammal, bird, fish or even reptile will do, since most of these creatures have a similar molecular make up to humans (thus a better amino acid match).
I still can’t believe how easy it is to go to the grocery store and buy a frozen bag of boneless-skinless chicken breasts, tuna steaks, peeled shrimp, pre-packaged “extra lean” meats, egg whites in cartons as well as a plethora of low fat and nonfat dairy products.The key to great protein quality is to choose a variety that has been fed as natural a diet as possible. If it is free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, or fresh-caught salmon, the type of fat differs as well as the amount in the meat.
The blood chemistries of grass-fed cows have been tested and not only do they have a lower amount of saturated fat than the corn-fed variety, but they also have a higher amount of healthy omega-3polyunsaturated fats.
Vegetarians and Complementary Protein
Because there is no one vegetable source that contains all of the essential amino acids we need in our daily diet, vegetarians need to consume protein from a variety of sources to ensure adequate amino acid intake.
At one time it was believed that in order to consume complete protein in a vegetarian diet, complementary proteins needed to be eaten together in a meal. Beans and rice, peanut butter and whole grain bread, or soy and vegetables were considered some of the combinations that would facilitate the absorption of the necessary essential amino acids. The rule of thumb has since changed, and vegetarians can focus on consuming all of the necessary amino acids throughout the course of a day by varying their meal choices and even using protein supplements.If you depend solely on plants for protein, you will have to eat a variety of different foods in order to ensure you are getting your daily allotment of essential amino acids. Also, calorie-for-calorie, plants contain less protein than so plan your meals care fully to ensure you are getting enough protein each day.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not knocking the vegetarian lifestyle. In fact, I ad- mire it. It just isn’t for me. Vegetarianism is quite healthy due to the simple fact that it provides more fiber, natural vitamins, and minerals. Aside from the limited protein sources and more challenging meal planning, vegetarians tend to eat less, live longer, and enjoy better health than the average carnivore—something you cannot ignore and I most definitely support.