You’re the rice to my beans (a protein quality chat)

by Kim on October 10, 2013

Thanks for all the congrats on the news yesterday, guys!

As excited as I am, I think the predominant feeling is still fear. I got myself so worked up last night thinking about it all that I couldn’t sleep, and ended up watching Friends at 1 AM. I was sooo tired, too—hate that feeling!

P.S. It was the episode where Joey and Rachel start dating, which I’m still pretty irritated about, all these years later. I mean, Joey and Rachel??? Plus, is there really no way for a group of friends to exist without them all switching off dating each other all the time??

Rant over.

Two quick things:

–If you were curious about the answer to my Question of the Day the other day, check out the comments!

Sounds like there are two schools of thought: the “do both and keep mixing it up” approach (swapping strength/endurance) and the “moderate weights for moderate-many reps” approach (as in BodyPump). Does anyone go another route?

–Today’s the LAST DAY to enter the Energybits giveaway! Go, energize, win! (<—yuck. so lame. sorry.)

Speaking of fueling your body (… I’m just hitting the nutrition/supplement chapters in my NASM book now, and as expected, they’re faaascinating and chock-full of random bits of food-related wisdom.

I’m planning a couple more What I Learned in PT School posts for ya, and one of them will definitely be nutrition-focused, but here’s a little taste of the goods to tide you over…

Let’s talk about protein.

Did you know that protein sources are not all created equal? And that, if you spend too much time mowing down the less-awesome ones, you might not be hooking your body up as much as you think you are?

Here’s the deal:

–Proteins are made up of amino acids.

–There are two kinds of amino acids: essential and nonessential.

The body can’t create essentials itself, so it relies 100% on food to get them.

–The body uses protein primarily to perform synthesis (building/repairing tissues and bodily structures).

–To be used for synthesis, a proteiny food (proteiny is TOO a word, spell check!) needs to have all of the essential amino acids and in the right ratio.

–Proteins that are missing one or more amino acids are called incomplete proteins.

–Synthesis is all-or-nothing. If one essential amino acid is missing, the protein cannot be used. If there’s a very low amount of one essential amino acid, synthesis can happen only up until the point when that amino acid runs out.

(P.S. I left out some details to simplify this. Just FYI, in case the Protein Police is reading this…)

So which proteins are incomplete?

Protein Quality Check_thumb[5]Source: NASM

(Dear Protein Police: that’s an over-simplified list. There are actually a few more random complete proteins, including quinoa, hemp seed, and spirulina algae [aka ENERGYBITS].)

Sooo…all that peanut butter we’ve been eating? Not really helping our bodies that much, UNLESS we’re combining it with something else.

The good news: incomplete proteins can be combined to form complete proteins. A couple amino acids here, a couple amino acids there, and BOOM. Your body has something it can really work with.

For example…

Complete Protein CombosSource: NASM
(Personal edit: I don’t think yogurt/granola and oatmeal/milk technically belong here, since dairy products are complete all by themselves…)

Man, these bodies are crazy, complex things!

(How’s that for an incredibly unsatisfying, non-summarizing conclusion to this conversation?? Ha, sorry—I’ve got a little boy up from his nap!)

See ya!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

char eats greens October 12, 2013 at 7:10 am

I like that the thing about incomplete proteins, too, is that as long as you are eating them throughout the day, they will combine. So luckily it’s not just in that one sitting where you have to worry about combinations!! The body is so smart…probably smarter than me :( hahah
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Alex @ Alex Runs For Food October 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Love the info!!!! So…. Does this mean Mac and cheese is ok?!?!?! :)
Alex @ Alex Runs For Food recently posted…Chicken Gnocchi SoupMy Profile


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