Earlier today I encountered a very misguided post, which shocked me given that the person has a nutrition background and should know better. It is unfortunate that some still have a very old school mentality and no sound basis for what is being passed as fact. So I decided to put some science behind it. You see, it was slamming beans as a source of protein. Saying they have 3x the amount of carbs and while healthy they were not a high or even good source of protein. *Sigh*
We live in an over protein-ed society. We think we need more than we actually do, and while the science is catching up, the media and those who have not kept up on the information are still the loudest voices.
Yes we need protein to build and maintain muscle. That's basic biology. What we need is actually not protein specifically but the amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein
Did you know that the ingredient of protein that distinguishes it from carbs and fat is nitrogen? Scientists use this fact to measure the amount of protein we metabolize by measuring the amount of nitrogen we excrete (in urine and feces) this is known as the nitrogen balance method.
Ok let's geek out a bit here. Nitrogen balance studies show that we are very good amino acid recyclers. When we break down muscle we don't just pee all that valuable nitrogen out... We actually metabolize the proteins into amino acids which then become available for reuse. Brings a whole other meaning to reduce, reuse and recycle haha. This allows us to make what ever new proteins are required.
So where do vegans get their protein? Well as joked about by Author, director of research for TrueNorth Health centre and clinical psychologist Doug Lisle - "they get it from human flesh, their own of course" Seriously, I love that guy!
We don't have a shortage of amino acids in our bodies. According to research it is actually calories, not amino acids, that are the limiting factor which determines rates and efficiency of muscle building (for the most part).
For our systems to function and muscle to be built we need protein and it's metabolites, but also energy from carbs and fats. If we don't have these important pieces of the puzzle our bodies will take protein (or the carbon skeleton of it) and use it as fuel for energy. So beans have carbs.. hmm ok why is that a bad thing? Let's not separate the fact that they are also an excellent source of fiber.
I'm not a fan of calorie counting by any means, get the right amount of food, in its whole food form and learn to combine properly, voila!
- The evolution of protein recommendations is upon us.