The proteins you eat… and the proteins you absorb!

Over the last few weeks, I explained the types of carbs and fats you should eat and those you should avoid to reach optimal health and perform at your best.  Now it’s time to discuss protein sources…  That is a quite controversial and sensitive subject because we all have different beliefs.  As a scientist, I will again explain the issue from the scientific point of view such that you can make the best choices for yourself knowing the science and taking into consideration your personal values.

The common protein sources are animal products (meat, eggs, dairy), seafood, beans, legumes, and grains.  As I mentioned a few times already, beans, legumes and grains contain toxic compounds that damage the human gut.  Research have shown this in numerous studies and if you have digestive-related issues or other lifestyle-altering symptoms, I seriously recommend cutting out, at least, gluten-containing foods.  The toxins in beans, legumes and grains can be eliminated to a certain degree by soaking, sprouting, and fermenting, but there is other issues with these protein sources.

The problems that arise with protein sources is that it is not all protein molecules in a given source that get absorbed thought the digestive tract.  There are several methods to assess the absorption efficiency of the human digestive system.  One way of measuring the percentage of protein absorbed with respect to the amount ingested is the biological value.  Here are values for some protein sources:

Whole Egg 100
Cow’s Milk 91
Egg White 88
Fish 83
Beef 80
Chicken 79
Casein 77
Rice 74
Soy 59
Wheat 54
Beans 49
Peanuts 43

You can see that the values are low for grain and beans sources…  That is the problem!  The amount of protein you think you eat when you read the nutritional values IS NOT the amount that your body incorporate in the tissues!?  There are many evidences that show that meat, eggs and fish are the best protein sources for human consumption. As a crossfitter, an adequate intake of protein is necessary to build your muscle mass and repair the muscles fibres broken down during training.  So be careful when you plan your meals!


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