What is protein? 

Protein is one of the three basic nutrients (along with fat and carbohydrates). This is the most important building material of living organisms. Each cell of the human body contains a protein, which in total is about 20% of body weight. Proteins are long, spatially twisted chains composed of single bricks called amino acids. We distinguish 20 amino acids, 8 of which are so-called Exogenous amino acids, which the human body can not create itself and must be delivered with food. 


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Amino acids are exogenous 



lysine, leucine 





Amino acids 2 are referred to as relatively exogenous. This means that the body can produce them alone, but in an insufficient amount in the situation of increased protein demand (eg during growth). These amino acids include arginine and histidine. 

The role of protein in the body 

The most important role of protein in the body is the building material. This ingredient can also be used as a source of energy, especially when the diet lacks carbohydrates. This is the case, for example, when using a protein diet. 

Protein in the human body 

builds muscle and cell membranes, 

transports nutrients (eg hemoglobin), 

is involved in digestion (digestive enzymes are proteins), 

regulates metabolism (creating cellular enzymes), 

ensures proper functioning of the immune system (builds antibodies), 

participates in the hormonal economy (builds important hormones, eg insulin). 

Protein in the human body undergoes constant exchange and reconstruction. That is why it is so important to provide high quality protein in your diet. 

The need for protein 

The daily need for protein is not constant throughout life and depends on 


state of health and physiological condition, 

physical activity. 

The daily amount of protein that should be provided with the diet is expressed in grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or in% of energy (kcal) from the diet. 

The recommended daily allowance for healthy women and men is 0.9 g protein per kilogram body weight. 

People who train in strength need between 1.6-2.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. 

People who train endurance need between 1.2-1.6 g protein per kilogram body weight. 

Considering the calorific value of a diet, the appropriate intake of protein is from 10 to 20% of energy (kcal). What does it mean? 

If you consume about 2000 kcal every day, then the protein should be 10 to 20% of this calorie, or 200 to 400 kcal. 

If 1 g white has 4 calories then 

200 kcal = 50 g protein per day, 

400 kcal = 100 g protein per day. 

However, the method of calculation per kilogram of body weight is simpler. 

Increased protein demand 

There are many situations in which the demand for protein grows. The demand increases 

during pregnancy and lactation 

in children who grow, 

in the course of many chronic diseases, 

during the regeneration period after surgery. 

Deficiency of protein in the diet 

White deficiency in the diet is relatively rare. Most often it occurs in the elderly, in the course of debilitating diseases, but also during the use of rigorous diets slimming. The result of protein deficiency is the loss of muscle mass, which leads to a significant weakening of the body. 

Excess protein in the diet 

Research shows that the dietary intake of protein at the level of up to 2 g per kilogram of body weight does not pose a health risk. However, many people, especially in the group of athletes, consume proteins much more, which can lead to 

acidification of the body, 

loads of the kidneys and liver, 

increase the risk of osteoporosis. 

Consumption of protein over the recommended intake does not contribute to faster building muscle mass or sculpture. 

Protein rich products – TOP 20 list 

Parmesan cheese 41 g / 100 g 

Soy flakes 40 g / 100 g 

Flax powder 40 g / 100 g 

Black soy 36 g / 100 g 

Hemp flour 33 g / 100 g 

Yellow cheese 31 g / 100 g 

Wheat germ 29.5 g / 100 g 

Oscypek 29.5 g / 100 g 

Tuna 29 g / 100 g 

Anchovies (anchovies) 28.9 g / 100 g 

Seeds of sunflower 28.8 g / 100 g 

Pumpkin seeds 28.5 g / 100 g 

Duck breast 28 g / 100 g 

Yeast flakes 28 g / 100 g 

Black sesame 27.4 g / 100 g 

Peanuts 26.6 g / 100 g 

Red lentils 25.4 g / 100 g 

Cottage cheese, lean 25 g / 100 g 

Pistachios 24.2 g / 100 g 

Chicken breast 21.5 g / 100 g 

Biological value of protein 

Protein in food has different utility for the human body. Products that contain all of the essential amino acids are considered full-blown proteins. The ideal protein is egg white. Food that is a source of wholesome protein is also 

milk and milk products (dairy products), 

red meat, 


poultry meat, 

soy and soy products. 

Most plant products that are a source of protein contain only a few of the 8 essential amino acids (not all). The availability and usefulness of a protein is often determined using the BV index (biological value). BV talks about how much protein can be absorbed by the body at one time, and this depends, among other things, on the proportion of amino acids. The egg has BV = 100, which means that the whole protein present in the egg can be used for the body’s needs. 


You can read also: Protein, protein, how much should we consume per day?

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