Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Protein Supplementation

protein supplementation is better than steroids
Although meat, fish, and poultry are among the sources of protein, a vegetarian diet is more conducive to good health. We need to find a way to get as much protein from plant foods as we would get if we were to eat meat.

A complete protein is one that has all of the essential amino acids and is capable of maintaining life and producing growth. Many people, who follow a vegetarian diet, have the erroneous belief that gluten (a component of wheat flour) has everything that meat has. They try to exist on a diet of gluten. It is true that gluten is a protein food, but it is partially incomplete protein, for wheat is low in lysine, one of the essential amino acids.

Four of the essential amino acids have been found to be in short supply in certain foods. Wheat, as already mentioned, is short in lysine. Rice is deficient in both lysine and threonine, corn in tryptophan and lysine, and beans in methionine. In order to have a diet that is complete as far as protein is concerned, it is necessary to combine foods so as to have all of the essential amino acids. Rice and corn would be a bad combination, because, although rice has tryptophan which corn is deficient in, and corn has threonine which rice lacks, both are cereals, so lysine would still be lacking. Rice and beans would go together better, for, although legumes are short in methionine, they are well supplied with lysine.

There are three possible methods of protein supplementation which can be followed:

•Take in the correct mixtures together. Some good food combinations would be macaroni and cheese, gluten and tokwa (tofu), rice and beans, and cereal and milk. Having beans for lunch and gluten for supper will no solve the problem of protein shortage. Foods that supplement each other should be eaten at the same meal, or at most, within 30 minutes of each other.
•Add synthetic amino acids to the diet. Although this is not very practical because of the disagreeable flavor of amino acids, it could be resorted to in cases of tube feeding for the sick.
•Eat your food with small amounts of protein. The Filipino practice of adding small bits of complete protein, e.g., eggs and pechay (Chinese cabbage), to recipes, improve the total quality of protein in the diet.

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