3 min read.
Protein is protein right?
Protein can be divided into two groups.
- Complete Proteins
- Incomplete Proteins
I remember my science teacher back in middle school saying that protein helps create and repair muscle.
Being the awkward 13 year old kid I was, that made me excited because I thought that as long as I ate protein, I would have big muscles!
It wasn't until later that I learned that not all proteins are created equal.
So what is a complete protein and why should you care?
First it's important to understand that proteins are made up of something called amino acids.
In total there are 20 different amino acids and they're usually categorized in the following way...
- Essential Amino Acids
- Non-essential Amino Acids
- Conditional Amino Acids
Out of the 20 amino acids, our bodies can naturally produce 11 of them so we have to consume the other 9 through our diet.
Those 9 amino acids our bodies can't produce are the essential ones.
A complete protein then, is one that contains all 9 essential amino acids.
So why does this matter?
Lest you think this is only something that bodybuilders worry about, think again.
You and every other Homo Sapien on earth need complete proteins to grow and repair muscle tissue and quite literally, to survive!
If you're deficient in an essential amino acid, your bodies key processes will get disrupted.
In addition, out of all three macronutrients (Carbs, Fats, and Proteins) proteins provide the best satiating effects.
In other words, when you eat protein, you're going to feel more full and thus have a greater chance of avoiding junk foods.
We created ProLoco our crazy new hydration + protein drink mix with that fact in mind.
Too many people fill their bodies with junk each day, protein can help!
So Should You Avoid Incomplete Proteins?
Don't let the words "Incomplete" or "Conditional" scare you away.
Although the body can produce the other 11 amino acids, it can still be really beneficial to consume the non-essential and conditional amino acids through our diet as they have many beneficial health effects.
For example, collagen is considered an incomplete protein but when taken as part of a healthy diet full of complete proteins, it can provide lots of beneficial amino acids and help promote healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Where to Get Complete Proteins
The good news is, if you consume animal products, your diet should be flush with good complete proteins.
Meat, Eggs, and Dairy are all complete proteins.
If you follow a vegan diet, you're going to have to pay more attention to your protein sources but there's still plenty of great options.
Quinoa is a good complete protein source although just realize that you have to eat a lot of it to get enough protein.
Lentils and legumes combined with whole grains also form a complete protein and hummus is another great option.
Whatever your personal dietary restrictions may be, just recognize that it's important to educate yourself on your protein sources.
So How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?
This is one of the most common questions and there's a lot of opinions out there.
Here's the best general advice we can give.
If you're looking to maintain your weight, a good number to shoot for is 0.40 to 0.60 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
So if you weighed 200 pounds and wanted to stay that way, you would eat about 80-120 grams of protein each day.
If your goal is to burn fat or if you live an active lifestyle and put a good amount of strain on your muscles, shooting for 1 gram per pound of body weight is a good idea.
A Useful Tool
On the surface, HydroSwell looks like a little nutrition company but I tell people all the time that we're really a habit development company and our products are just tools to help people create those healthy habits.
One of the healthiest habits you can develop is to get enough protein, especially if you're trying to burn fat and/or develop lean muscle and speed up recovery.
We've created a multi-tool for your active lifestyle called ProLoco.
It's a hybrid hydration + protein drink mix that's designed to help you boost your complete protein intake, hydrate and energize your body and brain, and kill cravings for junk foods and junk drinks.
You can learn more by clicking HERE.
P.S. If it's your first time hanging out with us, use the discount code SWELL to get 20% off your first order!