We’re going to break down protein so that you can absorb its impact. See what I did there? Protein is one of the big three. By big three I’m referring to the THREE macronutrients every human needs in their system – the others being fats and carbohydrates. Protein helps with specific bodily functions, and we’re going to delve into what that is, why it’s important and what type of proteins you should be looking at having as part of your regular diet – especially when you decide to get your first meal of the day in.
Protein synthesis is huge! It is a critical process and making sure you have the right amounts of protein depending on your activity level is paramount. In a nutshell, the more active you are, the more you’ll need. What is protein synthesis? This is the process where the body creates protein molecules. It involves amino acid synthesis (the production of amino acids.) There is also a process called transcription (genetic coding is taken from your DNA and made into templates known as mRNA.) This template is then ready for the next step which is called translation (this is where the amino acids are arranged according to the set coding that was taken from the mRNA. And voila! You have protein.)
Proteins are large complex molecules. Without them, most of the work done on a cellular level regarding the structure, function, and regulation of the tissues and organs of the body wouldn’t be done. If they go on strike, you’re screwed. Proteins are made up of smaller structures that we call amino acids. These amino acids are attached to each other in long chains. We have 22 different types of amino acids that can be combined to create a protein. It is the various sequences of the amino acids that determine the structure and function of that protein.
First up, antibodies. They are our line of defense against invaders. They bind to specific foreign particles like viruses and bacteria. They help protect your body.
Enzymes are next on the list. These guys are incredible. Without enzymes, cells would be rendered useless. Enzymes take care of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in the cells. They are also crucial to the formation of new molecules because they read the genetic information stored in your DNA.
Messengers. Messenger proteins transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs. Certain types of hormones are an excellent example of this like the Growth Hormone.
Structural component. These proteins provide structure and support for cells. If we’re looking at the big picture, these guys also allow the body to move. Pretty significant, I’d say.
Finally, transport and storage. These are the taxis of proteins. They bind and carry atoms and small molecules within the cells and throughout the entire body.
How does protein impact how you should think of Breaking fast?
If you have an active lifestyle protein should definitely be added to that first meal when you finally break your fast. In my opinion, we need more protein in our diets. As a matter of fact in a recent study Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism (Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Stuart M. Phillips, Stéphanie Chevalier, Heather J. Leidy February, 2016) g oes so far as to suggest that the recommended protein intake that is promoted may be inaccurate. In fact, it seems that we may need more than previously thought. The study states the following:
“A growing body of research indicates that protein intakes well above the current Recommended Dietary Allowance help to promote healthy aging, appetite regulation, weight management, and goals aligned with athletic performance. Higher protein intakes may help prevent age-related sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass, and strength that predisposes older adults to frailty, disability, and loss of autonomy. Higher protein diets also improve satiety and lead to greater reductions in body weight and fat mass compared with standard protein diets, and may, therefore, serve as a successful strategy to help prevent and/or treat obesity.”
If you’re kicking daily ass by making breakfast badass again and working your butt off to earn the day by killing it with your workout routine, then it behooves you to add more protein, especially for that first meal. It helps regulate and set those bodily functions for the day. It’s also great for the brain and will help ensure you keep that muscle around for a long time.