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Protein! It's what's for supper

Monday, April 29, 2013

Just some facts about protein I have found during today's reading:

One of the smallest countries in the world, Luxemburg, is per capita the biggest meat eater. Luxembourgers eat on average about 300 pounds of meat annually per person. The U.S. comes in second with about 276 pounds of meat—mostly beef—per year. Austria is third with about 267 pounds of animal protein per person.

India, with a population of over 1 billion, eats the least amount of meat in the world with just 7 pounds of meat annually per person. Bangladesh comes in second, with 9 pounds, while the Democratic Republic of the Congo eats about 10 pounds of meat per person.

Insects are more nutritious than many other common forms of protein. For example, 100 grams of top sirloin beef contain 29 grams of protein and 21 grams of fat. However, 100 grams of grasshopper contain 20 grams of protein and just 6 grams of fat. Additionally, farming insects emits 10 times less greenhouse gasses than farming livestock.

Protein deficiency can cause serious health problems. For example, children with a protein deficiency could develop a condition known as Kwashiorkor. The symptoms include a protruding belly, thin hair, overall weight loss, and discolored skin and hair. Left untreated, it can lead to stunted growth, mental impairments, and death.

The protein in eggs is the highest quality of protein found in any food.

While most Americans eat nearly twice as much protein as their bodies need, 7.7% of adolescent females and about 8% of adult older women are reaching only the minimum recommended amount. Additionally, 13.4% of children are below the ideal range.

Protein helps make a meal more satiating which, in turn, helps people maintain a healthy weight. Just increasing protein from 15% to 30% of total calories and reducing fat from 35% to 20% of calories can result in sustained weight loss.

Protein deficiency is rare in developed countries. Even a vegetarian diet typically provides all the protein the body needs when a diet includes a wide variety of plant food.

Vegetarian sources of protein include legumes (pulses), nuts, seeds, and fruits. Plants that are poor in protein include roots and tubers, such as yams, cassava, and sweet potatoes.

Because animal proteins are more similar to our proteins than are plant proteins, they are used more readily and rapidly. In other words, our bodies can use animal proteins slightly better than plant-based proteins. However, some meat is loaded with unhealthy saturated fat. The healthiest choice of meat is lean meat low in saturated fat.

And I must include these three totally gratuitous factoids:

While human meat is a good source of high-quality protein, cannibalism was not historically motivated by diet or starvation. Rather it was a symbolic gesture, usually as a way to commune with the gods.

A protein in semen acts on the female brain to prompt ovulation.

One typical human male ejaculation contains about 150 mg of protein.

Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.