As we have already mentioned, proteins have a defining role for the human body. They are responsible for building and repairing certain organs.
Consequently, they are constantly renewing our skin, our hair and our muscle tissues. They also help us strengthen our defences against external aggression.
When you engage in intense physical exercise, they are even more essential because they enable the muscles to grow.
Indeed, muscles are made of amino acids, which are used by the body to repair damaged muscle tissue.
This is why protein consumption in bodybuilders is particularly important. The sport generally requires a higher protein intake, like pregnant or breastfeeding women.
The protein in our body is constantly replacing itself and it is made from the food we eat. The proteins in these food are split up into amino acids during digestion so that the body can then use them to build its own proteins. That's why it is advisable to eat protein-rich food as part of 3 daily meals.
Obviously, our protein needs vary according to our weight, our age and our muscular activity.
It is generally considered that the required intake for an adult male fluctuates between 65 and 70g per day and between 54 and 66g per day for an adult female. In reality, the protein intake must be between 12 to 15% of the total caloric intake. For intensive bodybuilders, this figure rises to between 200 to 300g of protein per day!
The animal-based proteins contain all the essential amino acids whereas the latter are sometimes missing from the plant-based proteins.
The first type are found in the following:
• Meat and fish (15 to 24%)
• Cheese (15 to 30%)
• Eggs (13%)
• Dairy products (5 to 8%)
• Milk (3.5%)
As for plant-based proteins, they can be found in the following:
• Bread (7%)
• Cereals, starchy foods, leguminous plants like soya, lentils, dried beans, etc. (2-5%)
Protein deficiencies are quite rare but they cause weakness, muscle wasting, reduced resistance to diseases, etc. Conversely, excessive protein intake, which occurs more frequently, increases the amount of waste in the body (urea, uric acid, etc.) to the point where the kidneys cannot eliminate all of it, resulting in a higher level of protein in the blood.