Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Biological values of dietary protein and athletic guidelines

Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Nutrition Instructor 

Protein is a major component of the American diet. However, there are specific amounts and specific types that are recommended for specific types of athletes and the general population. Overall, protein intakes are based on nitrogen (the overall amount) and amino acid (the specific quality). Dependent on the biological value (BV), the protein is categorized into specific groupings. 

Biological values can vary with different foods. Higher biological values contain all of the essential amino acids generally required by the body. An egg is the highest biological value of all dietary proteins ranking at 100%.  Additionally, milk ranks at 93%, while most meats/fish end up being at least 70-75%. A non-animal product with a higher biological value is soy at 74%. Additionally, foods such as beans and rice, pasta and cheese, and lentil curry and rice can be combined for great sources of essential amino acids.  Ranking including a BV of 70 and above are associated with growth/ maintenance within the body.  

In general, a generally healthy person only needs ~0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) body weight. 

Additionally, here are some more guidelines for athletes in relationship to protein:
Sedentary/slightly athletic: 0.8 grams of Protein/kg body weight
Strength Athlete: 1.4-1.6 grams protein/kg body weight
Endurance Athlete: 1.2-1.4 grams protein/kg body weight
Team Sport: 1.2 - 1.5 grams Protein/ kg body weight
***please note, these are guidelines and not specific recommendations for an individual. Everyone is accessed differently and special considerations are taken into account with each person including overall health and specific disease.

Overall, too much protein can cause problems within the body as well. Protein must be cleared or filtered by the kidneys and provides stress on the kidneys in access. Additionally, too much protein can many problems including but not limited to osteoporosis, gout, and kidney stones

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