All the Information You Need to Know about Proteins

TV health shows, doctors and nutritionists talk all the time about how important proteins are for our health. They talk generally without answering all the questions that people need to know about such an important item. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about proteins in a simple way.

• What are proteins?
Proteins are one of the main food components. They mainly promote growth and consider as the building blocks of our bodies. They are defined as nitrogenous compounds made of amino acids linked together in one large molecule.

• What are the sources of proteins?

Proteins are found in both animal foods and plant foods.
1. Animal foods like cheese, milk, yogurt, meat, poultry, fish, organ meat (liver, kidney, spleen) and egg.
2. Plant foods like pulses (dried beans and lentil), cereal grains, flour, rice, and nuts.

• What are the high and low biological value proteins?
In order to understand the difference between high and low biological value proteins, we need to discuss the difference between essential and non-essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized inside body; they need to be supplemented in the diet while non-essential amino acids can be synthesized in the body and can be supplies by the diet too.

High biological value proteins (complete proteins) meet the amino acids needs of the body to maintain life and normal growth like animal proteins except gelatine while low biological value proteins (incomplete proteins) meet some essential amino acids only and other amino acids are missing or inadequate and thus they fail to support life or maintain growth like plant proteins except soybeans.

In order to improve biological value of plant proteins, a variety of plant proteins should be taken to supplement any missing or inadequate essential amino acids.

• What is reference protein?
It is a suggested protein used to evaluate quality of any protein food fulfilling all essential amino acids in adequate amounts, fully digested and utilized by the body with 100% score. Milk and egg are considered as reference protein.

• What are the functions of proteins?

1. Formation of cells:
a) Build new cells that help in growth, pregnancy and all the processes that need new cells.
b) Maintain cells.
c) Repair injured cells.
2. Formation of essential biological compounds like hormones, enzymes and haemoglobin.
3. Energy production. One gram protein gives 4 calories.
4. Regulate fluid movement between blood and tissues.

• How much protein should you eat per day?
The recommended protein intake per day varies according to many physiological and pathological factors. Yet most of organizations recommend that the daily intake should be about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight which is nearly 0.36 grams per pound. So the average man should take about 56 grams per day and the average woman should have about 46 grams per day.

• What are the risks of protein deficiency?
Protein deficiency leads to serious health problems like:
a) Kwashiorkor disease that affects children between 1 to 3 years old.
b) Failure of normal growth in children.
c) Nutritional oedema.
d) Lower resistance and increase susceptibility to infection.

This is the simplest guide to know everything about proteins. Eat well to maintain healthy.

All the Information You Need to Know about Vitamin A and D

Vitamins are among the most important elements that your body needs. You hear doctors all the time on TV talking about how important vitamins are but they don’t offer the full information. That guide will help you to understand all the aspects of two essential vitamins for us; Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

1. Vitamin A:
• Sources of Vitamin A:
▪ Animal: liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, cream and animal fat.
▪ Plant: carrots and potatoes.
▪ Code liver oil.
• Physiological role:
A. Normal growth of epithelial cells which resist invasion of pathogenic organisms.
B. Maintenance of cell mediated immunity.
C. Vitamin A is an essential component of visual purple (rhodopsin) which is necessary for visual dim light.
D. Vitamin A is essential for formation of healthy epithelial tissue of the eye and normal secretion of lacrimal gland.
E. Vitamin A is essential for normal sharping of bones. It is necessary for activity of osteoblast and osteoclast.
• Clinical effects:
1) Deficiency of Vitamin A:

A. Skin lesions.
B. Night blindness. It is one of the earliest manifestations.
C. Severe eye lesions and blindness
D. Increased susceptibility to infection.
E. Faulty modeling of bone.
2) Excess of Vitamin A: Acute ingestion of more than 500 mg in adult or more than 100 mg in young children may be toxic and will lead to the following problems.
A. Hyperirritability and neurologic symptoms may mimic those of a brain tumor.
B. Dry skin.
C. Sparse coarse hair and thin desquamation.
D. Swelling and pain over long bones.
E. Anorexia, headache and papilledema.
• Recommended daily allowances:
A. 1000 UG retinol for adult male.
B. 1300 UG retinol for lactating mother and 800 UG retinol for adult female.

2. Vitamin D: it is called the anti-rachitic vitamin.
• Types:
A. D2 which is prepared by ultraviolet rays.
B. D3 which is the anima form of Vitamin D. It is produced in the skin by the ultraviolet light exposure at special wavelength.
• Sources:
A. Dietary sources: only animal sources like egg yolk, liver, sardine and salmon.
B. Non-dietary sources:
▪ Ultraviolet radiation of skin.
▪ Fortified foods.
▪ Cod liver oil.
• Physiological role:
A. promotion of absorption of ingested calcium and phosphorus from the intestine.
B. Phosphorus re-absorption in the renal tubule.
C. Utilization and retention of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

• Clinical effects:
1) Deficiency:
A. Rickets.
B. Secondary hyperparathyroidism.
C. Bone malformations and disorders.
2) Excess:
A. Anorexia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
B. Weakness, drowsiness, headache and loss of weight.
C. Metastatic calcifications of renal and vascular structures.
• Recommended daily allowance:
Infants, children, pregnant women and lactating mothers need 400 IU per day.

Why is it so important to know all the information about vitamins? Well, the answer consists of three parts.
The first part is the health of our children especially during the growth years when they need balanced diet to make them grow properly.
The second part is our own health especially pregnant women and lactating mothers.
The third part is the health of our whole community that needs healthy, productive, active members.

The Ultimate Guide to Understand Energy Yielder Foods

It is not a common topic to talk about energy yet it is important to understand it well. This guide will simplify the basic information you need to know about energy so let’s start directly.

• Why providing your body with energy is important? 
The metabolism of dietary fats, carbohydrates and proteins provides the body with energy, which is utilized for:
1) Performing mechanical work.
2) Functional activities of the organs.
3) Liberation of heat and maintenance of body temperature.

• Caloric value of food:
A kilocalorie is a unit used to measure the amount of energy available from foods.
• One gram of carbohydrate provides the body with 4 calories.
• One gram of protein provides the body with 4 calories.
• One gram of fat provides the body with 9 calories.

• What do you need to know about Carbohydrates?

1) Sources of carbohydrates:
All are of plant origin except lactose which you can find in milk sugar and glycogen which are considered as animal starch.
2) Function of Carbohydrates:
They give the great part of the body energy.
3) The recommended intake of carbohydrates:
There is no fixed dietary allowance. It represents about 50% to 60% of energy intake in a balanced diet.
4) Disorders of dietary carbohydrates:
▪ Increased intake will lead to obesity with high risks of coronary heart disease and hyperlipidaemia especially if refined sugar intake.
▪ Decreased intake will lead to increase combustion of fat which will increase ketone bodies and lead to acidosis and protein to get more energy which will affect the muscles and the body organs badly.

• What do you need to know about Fat?
1) Sources of fat: ▪ Animal fat: mostly saturated fatty acids like full cream milk, egg yolk and fatty meat.
▪ Vegetable oils: predominant unsaturated fatty acids like sesame, olive and soybean oils.
▪ Margarine: vegetable fat transformed from liquid to solid from through hydrogenation.
2) Function of fat:
▪ Source of energy as 1 gram fat gives 9 calories.
▪ It is a carrier for fat soluble vitamins.
▪ It increases palatability of diet.
▪ Fat supports organs and viscera.
3) The recommended intake of fat:
It varies according to the season and food habits but it should range from 30 to 35% in a balanced diet.
4) Disorders of dietary fats:
Fat increases low density lipoprotein (LDL) and decreases high density lipoprotein (HDL) and this may increase the danger of atherosclerosis and hypertension.

• Measurement of energy expenditure:
The total amount of energy requirements includes:
1) Basal metabolic rate:
BMR is the energy expenditure of a fasting individual at complete rest. It represents the energy of the basal metabolism for the activity of the vital organs (circulation, respiration, digestion, maintenance of muscle tone and so on) and the maintenance of the body temperature.
2) Specific dynamic action:
The energy for stimulating effect of food on basal metabolism; this reduces the total energy needs about 10% of the basal metabolic rate for person.

Well, this is the simplest guide to fully understand energy. Understanding it well will help you making balanced meals.