Coaching and ServicesHabit and Lifestyle CoachingNutrition Coaching Optimal Nutrition Basics: Protein 101

As a health and wellness professional you know that embarking on a journey towards optimal nutrition involves more than what you eat. Instead, it’s also about understanding how the building blocks of your diet contribute to your overall well-being. In this post, we’ll unravel the complex world of proteins and explore key factors in helping your clients achieve nutritional excellence.

Let’s dive in!

Protein: the Cornerstone of Health

First, let’s explore proteins and their importance to our bodily functions. After all, they play a pivotal role in the construction and upkeep of essential tissues like muscles, bones, blood, and hormones. Therefore, they’re an important part of any optimal nutrition plan.

Additionally, proteins in our bodies are constantly broken down, repaired, replaced or maintained. This helps improve muscle tone and muscular development with exercise.

Next, the proteins in the body are composed of amino acids – the nitrogen-containing building blocks that form proteins. There are 2 classes of amino acids:

1. Essential amino acids

First, essential amino acids. These are derived from the diet as the body cannot produce them. Key members include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  •  Tryptophan, and 
  • Valine.

2. Nonessential amino acids

Next, nonessential amino acids are synthesized by the body. Examples are: 

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine, and
  • Tyrosine.

Finally, the body synthesizes nonessential amino acids through the process of transamination. Meaning, the amine group from one amino acid is removed and transferred onto another acid and side chain.

Check Out: Heart-Healthy Meal Planning Tips for Your Clients

The Best Protein Sources

Next, common sources of dietary protein include beef, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans/legumes, tofu, nuts and dairy products. Additionally, the quality of protein is assessed through multiple methods like; the protein efficiency ratio, the protein digestibly, corrected amino acid score and the net protein utilization. 

Similarly, factors affecting protein quality include the amount of essential amino acids and the digestibility. For example, animal and dairy protein sources are highly digestible. 

Additionally, complementary proteins occur when at least 2 foods are combined to contain all 9 essential amino acids required to make a complete protein.

Similarly, examples include rice and legumes – rice is low in lysine but high in methionine – conversely, legumes are low in methionine but high in lysine. Other examples include peanut butter and bread, rice and lentils, etc.

Why Protein Matters

Similarly, protein is vital to cell growth, maintenance and repair. Because the turnover of cells in our bodies is so constant, dietary intake of protein is needed to accommodate.

Here are some less commonly known facts about protein: 

Enzymes: First, enzymes are proteins and enzymes are the catalysts of chemical reactions in the body.

Hormones: Second, some hormones, like insulin, are composed of amino acids.

Immune system: Next, the immune system relies on proteins. For example, antibodies are made of proteins and they help fight against foreign bacteria, viruses, allergens and toxins.

Fluid balance: Similarly, proteins  play a role in fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. For example, when protein intake is insufficient, low levels of proteins in the blood fail to draw fluid from the tissues and across the blood vessels. Therefore, a condition known as edema often occurs as seen with a swollen appearance from fluid collecting inside the tissues.

Acid-base balance: Additionally, proteins act as buffers and maintain acid-base balance in the body and blood. The negative side chains in protein molecules neutralize the positive charged hydrogen ions found in acids.

Energy source: Lastly, although carbohydrates and fat are the primary energy sources of the human body, proteins are also used for energy. For example, through the process of deamination. During deamination, nitrogen is removed from the amino acid and excreted through the urine by the kidneys. Then, the remnant carbon, hydrogen and oxygen is converted to carbohydrates or directly metabolized for energy.

Check Out: The 5 Key Elements of Good Nutrition Coaching

How Much Protein do You Need?

Additionally, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for sedentary adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram body weight, the International Society of Sport Nutrition recommends a range of 1.4 to 2.0 grams per kilogram per day for those engaging in exercise. These figures emphasize the individualized nature of nutritional requirements.

Navigating Optimal Nutrition as a Personal Trainer

Next, as a personal trainer, helping clients stay on track with their protein requirements is a tricky task. But, it’s certainly a key pillar to helping them achieve their long-term fitness goals.

Some of the ways to do this through:

Balanced macronutrients: First, help your clients understand the importance of achieving harmony between proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is essential for overall health and performance.

Micronutrient rich diet: Secondly, stress eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains  to meet their body’s vitamin and mineral requirements.

Hydration: Next, acknowledge the importance of water for digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall well-being.

Meal timing: Finally, help clients understand the importance of distributing meals evenly throughout the day to support sustained energy levels and metabolism.

ABC Trainerize Smart Meal Planner

Lastly, it’s important to personalize and tailor your approach to each clients’ nutritional plan. And, ABC Trainerize helps your clients stay on track with our Smart Meal Planner.

For example, our high protein macro split feature, makes it easier for clients to track and manage their protein. The feature includes over 100 high-protein macro recipes which are automatically integrated, providing clients with variety and ensuring they receive well-rounded nutritional support.

Power your nutrition coaching with ABC Trainerize and get started with a free 30-day trial today!

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