So many different types of protein. What are the differences? Beef Protein continues to be extremly popular among gymjunkies.
Your muscles require protein because the muscular system is made from protein.
There are different kinds of proteins available for your body to consume. Whether derived from animals, eggs, beans or whey, protein comes in many shapes and sizes. Beef protein is one particular form of protein that comes packed with health benefits.
However, to understand the importance of beef protein you first need to know why protein is vital to your body and how it differs from other options available.
What is Protein Anyways?
You’ve seen the advertisements about the “power of protein.”
The milk commercials tell you just how much protein is packed into a glass of milk. Those snack bar (which often are just glorified candy bars) advertisements make sure to remind you of the 20g of forced into every bar. Even vegans tell you just how much protein is found in a can of beans or sunflower seeds. Everywhere you look, someone is probably telling you of the importance of protein.
But what exactly is it?
Obviously it’s important because the shirt-bursting muscle guys at the gym are always downing protein shakes, but deep down to its core, what is protein exactly?
Beyond the word protein, you’ve probably come across the term “amino acids” from time to time. Again, you’re told the importance of amino acids, but you’re not really told why or what amino acids are.
Amino acids are small organic compounds within the body that help form the basis of all life and what your body does. Amino acids store and transport everything from water to fat, minerals and vitamins. Your body depends on amino acids to break down and deliver these essential nutrients throughout the body.
Ultimately, amino acids make up your metabolic rate. As your body ages, it does not produce as many amino acids, which slows down the metabolic process (Amino Acid Studies, 2017).
In nature, there are hundreds of amino acids.
The human body though only uses 22 of these acids. Some of these amino acids put together make up protein. In fact, everything you put into your mouth and eat is made up of some combination of amino acids.
So ultimately, when a product is advertised as having “amino acids,” it isn’t lying, it just isn’t telling you that every single thing you consume contains amino acids.
Protein just happens to be one combination of amino acids your body actually needs. Protein, as well as carbohydrates and fats, is one of the three major nutrients found within your body it requires a large amount of to function (Medical News Today, 2017).
The amino acid combination of protein is a necessary nutrient the body relies on to build tissues. Although commonly connected with muscles, protein is needed to maintain most tissue within the body. As muscles can grow and are more externally visible, the muscular system just receives more of the attention.
Why Is Protein Good For You?
Have you ever seen someone post workout just devour an entire rotisserie chicken, or chug glass after glass of protein powder?
After all, muscles require protein to rebuild the damaged tissue after a workout, so the more protein the better, right?
Well, yes and no. After leg day you will need an increase in protein to repair the large muscles groups. So consuming more protein is necessary. However, the human body can only process a certain amount of protein at once. It’s like a highway system. The highway can handle a certain number of cars coming and going at once. But when it hits capacity cars are not able to merge onto the highway and everything more or less stops (Medical News Today, 2017).
When you consume a large amount of protein, the body uses what it can as it passes through.
The rest is simply pushed out of the body. If you strength time several times a week, your body will be able to process more protein at once as it has become accustomed to doing so. According to the Recommended Dietary Allowence, if you are a strength trainer or power athlete (such as you play American football, rugby or another strength and endurance sport) you need anywhere from 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (1 kilogram equals about 2.2 pounds, so divide your weight by 2.2 to see its weight in kilograms, then multiply it by 1.2 to 1.7 to see how much protein to consume).
As an example, if you weight 200 pounds, this would be about 91 kilograms. If you are an active strength trainer and are going for maximum gains, you’d multiply this by 1.7, which would give you about 154 grams.
This is the amount of protein you’d need to consume. To optimally digest and use the amount of protein without wasting what you intake, it is recommended to eat around 30 grams of protein per meal, spread across main meals and snacks throughout the day (National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements).
Don’t Overdo Protein Intake
As is the case with any nutrient in the body, it is essential to not dramatically increase the amount of protein you consume on a daily basis. Your body is simply not use to it, nor can it handle processing this amount.
Consuming 2.5 grams of protein per kilogram will increase your risk of fatigue, dehydration and not absorbing other necessary nutrients, such as calcium. It may also cause your liver to convert nitrogen in the protein to a waste known as urea. A high level of this will cause diarrhea and nausea (Medical News Today, 2017).
Comparing Animal and Plant Protein
Back to the amino acids. Your body is able to produce all but nine of the amino acids it needs to rebuild and function properly. Protein is one of the amino acid combinations it is not able to produce on its own and requires outside assistance.
So, replenishing these missing amino acids is very important for maintaining not only a healthy muscular system, but all other organs and tissues.
Protein derived from animals contains all of the amino acid combinations your body needs. As the animal protein you consume is made from muscles similar to your own, it contains all of the amino acid combinations needed and in sufficient quantities. However, while proteins derived from plans (such as grains, beans or vegetables) do contain the amino acids your body needs, some of the amino acid levels are drastically lower than what your body needs.
Have you ever had a conversation with a vegetarian or vegan about proteins, and they make sure to inform you beans and grains have plenty of proteins?
While part of this statement is true (proteins are found in these plants), the amino acid combinations are not at optimal levels. The branch chain amino acid is one such combination most plants are significantly low on. So, in order to make up for this it is necessary to include concentrated plant protein like pea protein supplements in order to offset the lack of this amino acid chain. Failure to do so and the body does not receive all the amino acid chains it needs to function properly (Nutri Body Protein, 2017).
Comparing Meat Protein
Meat protein is the ideal form of protein because it is a complete protein.
It has all the amino acids needed for your body to remain at peak efficiency. Now with that said, there are different variations of meat protein you want to look for.
Meat, as in a steak, a burger or a chicken wing, while packed in protein, is not necessarily a concentrated source of protein. It is why so many people turn to protein powders and drinks to increase their protein levels. Protein powders and supplements are concentrated forms of protein.
Realistically, any plant or animal is not going to be a concentrated source of protein (although eggs and milk do come close). This doesn’t mean you don’t consume a good amount of protein in a single serving. In fact, three ounces of beef contains about 23 grams of protein. This is almost the full 30 grams of protein you want to shoot for per meal (add in a slice of cheese or some almonds and you’re basically there).
The biological value of protein is 70.
What is Biological Value?
A biological value (BV) is a measurement used to identify the percentage of protein from any given source that is eventually used by the body. 100 is the highest level (although not obtainable as some protein will pass through).
When looking at BV levels though, the higher the number the better the protein is for building muscle and supporting tissue and organs.
Why Beef Protein?
When looking at sources of protein, there are many benefits associated with beef. First of all, it has all nine of the desired amino acid compounds your body needs. This instantly strikes down all plant and non animal based proteins. So in terms of giving your body what it needs, beef and other animal proteins are superior.
In terms of cooking procedures, beef does not have the immediate health issues found in other forms of animal protein (such as e.coli in chicken). This makes beef safer to consume than most other meats as well.
Now, consuming beef in its traditional meat form does have draw backs as beef is often high in cholesterol and fat. You shouldn’t aim to consume 150 grams of cow every day. This would eventually lead to cardiovascular problems.
Thankfully, there is an alternative without ditching the beef.
Beef Protein Powder
As mentioned earlier, meat protein in its pure form is not concentrated, so it is not able to directly compete with that of a whey protein powder in terms of a protein to calorie rate. However, a beef protein powder not only can but it provides substantial improvements over what whey delivers.
Beef protein powder is sourced directly from the cow in order to maintain the nine amino acid compounds required.
By concentrating the protein into powder form though it can cut out saturated fats and cholesterol, so your body only receive the health benefits of beef protein and none of the negative side effects.
Beyond removing the undesirable elements of beef, beef protein does not contain lactose and most other carbohydrates, which is not something that can be said when looking at whey or plant protein powders.
This way, for those who suffer from lactose problems, beef protein may be the best option available.
Plus, as the beef powder maintains the nine amino acid combinations, the body absorbs it faster. By increasing the absorption rate, all of the amino acids can enter the blood stream faster, which delivers the protein to the body faster. This allows you to consume more protein in a shorter amount of time without pushing it through as waste (Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2015).
It is important to note beef protein supplements and powder are relatively new, so not as much research is available on this concentrated protein form when compared to whey, soy and other protein options.
However, the concentrated form does deliver the benefits of beef protein without some of the negative side effects.
Whether you are a professional body builder or you just want to stay in shape and maintain the muscle mass you have, protein is important.
Different forms of protein offers different health benefits and while each do go long ways in improving the muscular structure of your body, beef provides you with very real results. So as long as you’re not vegan, the next time you head out to the super market, consider adding a bit of beef to the shopping cart.
And when that 4th of July BBQ comes around, don’t feel ashamed of grabbing a second round of beef brisket.