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Nutrition Series: Volume 1, Article 2 – Protein – Digestion & Food Selection

DIGESTION

During digestion, complex proteins get broken down into small peptides and individual amino acids. The process begins in the stomach then passes to the small intestine. From there, some amino acids can be used for energy or to synthesize new proteins such as hormones, and new digestive enzymes. 

Most aminos go to the liver. The liver will remove the amino group to produce energy, glucose, ketone bodies, cholesterol or fatty acids. Whatever the liver doesn’t use is sent to feed the plasma amino pool and other cells of the body. The production of important molecules such as – enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, antibodies, transport proteins and muscle proteins occurs from these amino acid pools. 

We are always breaking down and building up new proteins. We cannot store protein the way we store carbohydrates and fats. It is important to get enough protein from our diet to keep the process going. 

PROTEIN OPTIONS

We recommend lean, minimally processed sources of protein. Here is a list of foods to eat more of…

Eggs
Egg Whites
Fish
Shellfish
Chicken
Duck
Turkey
Lean Beef
Bison
Lean Pork
Wild Game
Tempeh
Tofu
Edamame
Cultured Cottage Cheese
Plain Greek Yogurt

Lentils & Beans – These only count as a protein source if a more protein rich option is not available. Otherwise lentils and beans would count as a carbohydrate source since they contain more carbohydrates than protein. 

Black Bean/Veggie Burger – These only count as a protein source if a more protein rich option is not available. Otherwise lentils and beans would count as a carbohydrate source since they contain more carbohydrates than protein. Be mindful of the food quality of your bean/veggie burgers. Most are made from highly processed plant protein, contain added oils, salts, sugars, flavors and colors. Read the ingredient label before including it in your diet. 

AVOID/ELIMINATE

Avoid – fatty meats, fried meats, processed deli meats, protein bars, pepperoni sticks, jerky, and high mercury fish. 

Coach Dan

NEED MORE HELP

Remember, our goal is to help you improve the quality of your life. If you want more information or are feeling stuck, please visit our contact page and ask us. We’re happy to help!

References: https://www.precisionnutrition.com/

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