What are proteins?
Proteins and a protein-rich diet are on everyone's lips and have long been part of a conscious and healthy lifestyle.
But what are proteins actually?
Along with fat and carbohydrates, proteins belong to the macronutrients, or macros for short. They can be composed of 21 different amino acids and, depending on the combination and pattern, result in a different protein with different functions. In this process, the amino acids are linked to each other via peptide bonds, forming a long chain known as a polypeptide.
Most amino acids can be formed by our body itself, so they are not essential.
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic acid
Nine of these amino acids, on the other hand, are essential, which means they are vital for us. Since they cannot be formed by the body itself, we must take them in through food.
What is protein's function in the body?
We have listed the most important features for you:
Enzyme: Many proteins function as enzymes that catalyze biochemical reactions in the body. Enzymes accelerate the chemical reactions necessary for metabolic processes, digestion, DNA replication and other vital functions.
Structural protein: Proteins serve as structural building blocks in our bodies and form the framework of many tissues and cells. Collagen, for example, is a protein-based structural protein found in skin, bones and tendons. Another example is keratin, which is a component of hair and nails.
Transport proteins: As the name suggests, certain proteins have the function of transporting molecules or ions across the cell membrane. A well-known example is hemoglobin, which binds oxygen in red blood cells and transports it to the tissues.
Regulation: Proteins can influence the activity of genes by binding to DNA and controlling the transcription (reading) of genes. Transcription factors are proteins involved in the regulation of gene expression.
Defense proteins: These include, for example, antibodies, which play an important role in the immune system. This is because they can recognize and fight antigens and thus protect our body from, for example, a virus.
Motor proteins: Proteins such as actin and myosin are crucial for muscle contraction and enable the movement of cells and entire organisms.
Hormones: Some proteins act as messengers or receptors and are involved in the transmission of signals between cells. Hormones such as insulin, for example, are proteins that act as signaling molecules and regulate metabolism.
Calculate protein requirement: How much protein a day the body really needs
Misconception: 0.8g protein per day per kg body weight
For a long time, the claim that 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight per day is perfectly sufficient has persisted. We do not want to devote much space or text to this hypothesis, because it does not correspond to today's scientific knowledge.
So what is the optimal amount of protein?
Numerous experts such as Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Layne Norton, Prof. Dr. Stuart Phillips and also Dr. Eric Helms recommend 2g of protein per kg of body weight to build muscle but also to maintain it, for example in diet phases, to reduce body fat and to support health.
So just multiply your body weight by 2 and you have calculated the optimal protein requirement.
Tips to meet your protein needs
Meeting your calculated daily protein requirements while eating a varied and healthy diet can be quite difficult - but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a few tips that can help you do just that:
Make sure to include a protein source in every meal: For example, start the day with a portion of protein in the morning, for example with a quark or delicious protein pancakes. If you're in a hurry, we recommend our Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix.
Here we connect directly: It's important to spread your protein intake throughout the day: This way you can optimize protein synthesis in your body and ensure a steady supply.
Besides the quantity, the quality of the proteins is also important: make sure to choose and combine high-quality protein sources to increase the chance of getting all the essential amino acids.
And last but not least, protein products can help you meet your protein needs: creamy protein shakes with our Total Protein, refreshing protein sodas with our More Clear, sinfully delicious brownies with our Brownie Baking Mix, protein wraps and many more. Our products help you to eat protein-rich, varied and really tasty without having to give up.
Advantages of a high protein diet
The list of benefits of a high-protein diet is long. We have summarized them for you:
1. muscles: Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. However, an adequate supply of protein helps us not only build but also maintain muscle mass.
2. satiety: Protein-rich foods provide a longer lasting feeling of satiety compared to carbohydrate-rich foods. This can support us especially in dieting phases.
3. metabolism and fat burning: the body needs more energy to digest, absorb and metabolize proteins than for carbohydrates or fats. This so-called "thermic effect of food" can stimulate metabolism and contribute to fat burning.
4. blood sugar control: protein-rich foods generally have a smaller effect on blood sugar levels than carbohydrate-rich foods. A balanced protein supply can help keep blood sugar levels stable, which is especially beneficial for people with diabetes.
5. bone health: proteins play an important role in maintaining bone health. They contribute to bone formation and repair, and can reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.
6. immune system power: Proteins are also important for immune system function. They are involved in the formation of antibodies and can help fight off pathogens and make the immune system strong.
Food with a lot of protein
Now we know the benefits of a high-protein diet. Now we'll show you the top protein sources:
Meat consists largely of muscle fibers, so it's quite clear that it belongs to the protein-rich foods. A fillet of beef, for example, contains just under 30 g of protein per 100 g.
Fish & seafood
Fish are also among the top protein suppliers. For example, smoked salmon provides you with about 23g of protein per 100g, in addition to valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggs & Dairy Products
Here we all think first of low-fat quark, absolutely right: with 10.6g protein per 100g. But cheeses like Emmental and Parmesan are also among the top suppliers. So are chicken eggs, with about 13g of protein per 100g.
Legumes & Vegetables
Peas, beans, tofu and co. are rich in fiber and protein. Cooked lentils bring it at 100g up to 11g protein.
Vegetables like spinach, broccoli and cauliflower also provide your body with valuable protein.
Nuts & Seeds
In the list of protein-rich foods must not be missing nuts and seeds: eg pumpkin seeds with 35, 6g protein and peanuts with 26g protein per 100 . But beware: nuts and Co. contain a lot of fat and should be consumed in moderation, not masses.
Cereals & Flours
In addition to complex carbohydrates and fiber, oatmeal also provides a good amount of protein: 13g per 100g. Flours such as whole spelt flour with 15.6g protein per 100g are also considered top protein suppliers.
What are the consequences of protein deficiency?
As we have learned, proteins are an essential nutrient for our body and are involved in many different processes and procedures. Accordingly, the consequences of a protein deficiency can be serious: Visually, a protein deficiency can manifest itself with dry skin, thin hair and brittle nails. Internally, it can manifest itself with constant fatigue, lack of concentration, listlessness and a lack of energy, whether in sports, at university, in the office or in everyday life. This, in turn, can lead to dire and lasting illnesses such as depression, heart problems, severe inflammation and more.
Now we know how important a protein-rich diet really is. Whether for hair and nails, to build muscle, lose weight or just for our general health - we set ourselves the goal to cover the 2g protein per kg body weight daily to be optimally supplied.