What Words To Know In The Fitness (Part 1)

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This part of what words to know in the fitness is about physiology to know the mechanisms of living creatures. If you’re curious about why I’m doing it, click here. The definitions come from, or a mix from these three dictionaries:

Several dictionaries can help to better understand a word.

Matter

  1. The matter is a material object.
  2. In the field of science, physics, the matter is an element that occupies space and the force can move it.

Energy

  1. Energy is the force that comes from sources such as food, fuel, electricity or other. It allows to do a task or produce a movement.
  2. Energy is the intellectual or physical power of an individual to do a work

Organism

The organism is a living creature like a plant, animal or human being

Cell

Cell the main denomination of all living creatures.

It exists living things with only one cell. The human being has more than 37 trillions of cells.

Cells born, multiply, create energy, transfer information and die.

Tissue

The tissue is a set of cells in living creatures. This creates a type of physical structure with defined behavior.

Organ

An organ is a set of tissues. All tissues combined have the function of performing a task in an organism such as the lungs, skin or heart.

Beware, skeletal muscle has only one type of tissue, so it is not considered an organ.

Muscle

Muscle is a type of tissue. It is usually connected to the bones and contracts and relaxes to create a movement.

Muscle fiber

A muscle fiber has several names as a muscle cell or myocyte. It is a group of long filiform strands named contracted myofibrils.

Skeletal muscle

Skeletal muscle is muscle tissue. It linked to the skeleton to help the body move the limbs and other body parts.

Chemistry

Chemistry is a scientific field. It studies the composition, the properties and the reaction of matter.

Chemical

  1. Chemistry is the act of interacting materials studied in chemistry.
  2. A chemical is a material that can have a chemical process or change.

There exist natural and man-made chemicals

Element

An element (chemical element) is a material that it’s not possible to decompose into little parts.

More than 100 are the main components of matter.

Gram

One gram is a metric unit of weight. One pound is about 454 grams.

Kilogram

One kilogram is a metric unit of weight. 1,000 grams is about 2.2 pounds.

Celsius

Celsius is a scale of temperature on which water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100 degrees.

Fahrenheit is a scale of temperature on which water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees. The United States uses Fahrenheit.

Calorie

A calorie is energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

Calories are also called kilocalories (1000 calories). Kilocalories are convenient for measuring the energy value of foods.

Compound

A compound is a material composed of two or more diverse components.

Molecule

A molecule is the smallest particle of a component in a material.

If you break it down, it becomes the element that created the molecule.

Acid

An acid is a chemical material that reacts with another material. It can also dissolve certain elements.

Amino acid

An amino acid is a natural item in proteins

Essential amino acid

An essential amino acid is an amino acid important to keep the body healthy. The body can’t create it itself, but it’s available in food.

Protein

A protein is a natural item in a chain of amino acids. Proteins produce body tissues (skin, hair, muscle, etc).

Fat

  1. Fat is a greasy or oily item in a creature living.
  2. Fat is a material from animal or plant use to cook in the form of liquid or solid.

Carbohydrate

A carbohydrate is a molecule build with hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. The body uses it for energy.

Gas

Gas is a material in the form of air.

Carbon

Carbon is a material non-metallic in a lot of matter on earth and in all living creatures.

Oxygen

Oxygen is an essential gas for living creatures. It has neither odor nor color.

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is a flammable gas without odor or color. The universe is full of it.

Enzyme

An enzyme is a material created by organisms. It provokes chemical reactions.

Digestion

Digestion is the mechanism of decomposition of food into different elements. After, the body can use those elements.

Metabolism

Metabolism is a physical and chemical mechanism in an organism to preserve life.

Metabolism produces energy to create, preserve and destroy cells and tissues.

Anabolism

Anabolism is a metabolic mechanism in an organism. This mechanism uses energy to create complex materials from simple materials. For example, to create tissue, it uses proteins.

Anabolism is also called constructive metabolism.

Catabolism

Catabolism is a metabolic mechanism in an organism. This mechanism decomposes complex materials in simple materials. For example, it breaks down proteins into amino acids. It also produces energy.

Catabolism is also called destructive metabolism.

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-Steph

How To Control Cortisol To Keep Muscles (Part 1)

cortisol hormone organ body

Cortisol. It’s a weird name that I hear rarely. One time, in the gym, a guy told me to be careful about it. When I asked him what is it, he told me: “It’s the stress”. Follow this logic, we stress every day, it means each day we lose a little bit of muscle? It makes no sense. The first time I tried to learn about it, I didn’t understand anything. Cortisol is a hormone and you have to learn some medical things. I didn’t like this situation, because I wanted to know how to control cortisol to keep muscles.

This week, someone told me about cortisol and his explanation was very vague. I see that many people are afraid of it because they don’t understand it. It’s time to go deeper to understand Cortisol, because the body doesn’t create it to destroy itself.

What is its role

role

Cortisol is a stress hormone and it works like a type of alarm system in your body. It controls your fear, motivation, mood to handle dangerous situations. This hormone has several role:

Organize the energy of the stores

It organizes all type of energy that your body has to always be functional for a dangerous event. It means amino acids from muscle tissue, muscle and liver glycogen and fatty acids from body fat.

Stabilize blood sugar levels

When your blood sugar levels are very low, it helps to keep normal levels.

Boost your stamina and attention

Cortisol boosts Phenylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase (PNMT). PNMT is an enzyme that transforms noradrenaline to adrenaline. This method increases your adrenaline’s rate.

Boost the power of muscle contraction

This is a consequence of a high rate of adrenaline.

Boost the power of heart contraction and rate

It’s an effect of a high adrenaline’s level. Oxygen move better to muscle

Weaken the immune system

When there is a threatening situation, the body needs all the resources possible. For example, a fight. The high rate of cortisol will weaken the immune system to have the maximum of energy possible. When the rate decreases, the immune system has the full power back to repair the damage from the fight.

All these roles help you to get through an unsafe situation and survive. The thing is if the cortisol has a high rate for a long time, it can create problems in your body. Let’s see in different areas how cortisol can be bad.

Muscle Gain

gain muscle

A high rate of cortisol for a long period can impact muscle in a unhealthy way with these methods:

Muscle is less feed by food

Muscle receive fewer amino acids to create new tissue. Restocking of glycogen stores is decline too.

Boost muscle damage

There is a high level of protein damage (catabolism) than protein synthesis (anabolism). This is why we say “stress (cortisol) eat the muscle”.

Muscle take more time to repair

The immune system is very important to repair muscle. When a high rate of cortisol is recurring, it weakens the immune system.

Boost myosatin

Myostatin is a myokine, a protein created by the muscle and it limits its growth. It means when you have a high rate of myostatin, it limits your muscle gain.

On the long term it declines testosterone rate

Pregnenolone is a hormone that creates testosterone and cortisol. To have a high rate of cortisol, your body needs a huge amount of pregnenolone to make it. It means there will be less pregnenolone to create testosterone.

At the end of your training session, the level of your protein synthesis is big for around 24-30 hours. This is the period where your body repairs your muscle and add new tissue. When your immune system is fragile, your body uses these amounts of hours to only repair the breakdown you caused. Your body is not able to produce new muscle, it means you don’t gain muscle.

Recovery

fat loss weight

A long period of high rate of cortisol can impact your recovery in these ways:

Decrease the production of growth hormone

At night you have a natural spike of growth hormone and a high rate of cortisol disrupt your recovery. When your recovery is not optimal, you don’t progress.

Decline muscle glycogen storage

Gycogen is critical in the process of recovery.

Speed down the reparation of muscle

Growth hormone maintains, build and repair tissue. It means it also builds muscle mass. You gain muscle by repairing muscle. When the cortisol decreases the production of growth hormone, you don’t have results.

Increase adrenaline rate

Adrenaline (or epinephrine) is a helpful hormone before a workout session. It boosts your cardiorespiratory activity (more oxygen to the muscles). It also improves your metabolism, your mood, and your body is more reactive. Before to go to bed, it doesn’t help you to sleep.

Fat loss

The famous coach Charles Poliquin said that when you have too much cortisol, it stores your fat in abs. There is a problem here because cortisol has also as function to organize stored energy. Fat is a kind of energy for the body. It means cortisol doesn’t store fat, you know, fat is energy.

Another function of cortisol is that is a fat loss hormone when the rate is high while a short time. If the high rate is recurring, it complicated the action to fat loss.

Decline the transformation of hormone T4 to T3

A little explanation about these hormones. The thyroid is a gland in the neck. It creates three hormones: triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and calcitonin. T3 and T4 adjust the temperature of your body, your metabolism, and your heart rate. T3 usually sticks to protein in your body.

The thyroid creates a lot of T4 to change it in T3. T3 modifies the metabolism rate. When you have a high rate of metabolism, you burn more calories. In the case where your body has a low level of energy, the thyroid creates less T4. Fewer T4 means fewer T3 and the result is a low metabolism rate and the body burns fewer calories.

Do you remember what happens in a situation when your body lacks food? The cortisol rate is high to keep blood sugar stable and organize stored energy. This is a mechanism of the body to survive since the prehistoric era. Today is good because access to food is better. Unfortunately, cortisol can have a high rate because of other stress factors.

Insulin resistance

Cortisol boosts the blood sugar rate in a crisis event (lacking food, running away or fighting). These emergency circumstances allow the body to release glucose for energy. When people are sedentary and the blood sugar level is high, it’s not good. The level stays longer high and can drive to hyperglycemia. The body to avoid it creates insulin to decline the rate of blood sugar to a normal level.

Imagine a situation where cortisol’s rate is high a lot of time. It boosts the blood sugar levels and the body produces insulin every time. The result of this is insulin resistance. In the plan to lose fat, settle a caloric deficit is crucial. Unfortunately, insulin resistance and a metabolic rate low make the process more difficult. It can even create a surplus of fat.

Let’s be things clear, insulin alone doesn’t make you fat, it stores the elements of your food. It’s when insulin has a high rate that is tough for the body to use fat in a good way.

Insulin resistance means that the cells work badly with insulin. The result is the body needs to create more insulin to do the same task with the cells. When there is a huge amount of insulin, it takes more time to go back to the normal level. When there is a big quantity of insulin for a long time, the body has trouble to use fat.

It is the same thing for cortisol. Alone, cortisol doesn’t make you fat. It’s when cortisol has a high rate that is tough for the body to use it in a good way.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Dietary Fats

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What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in nutrition to stay in shape. I read some advice from Arnold Schwarzenegger and I learned some good stuff.

Of the 3 macronutriments, fats are the nutrients that are the most dense in energy. Fat is composed of the same thing as carbohydrates (carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) but the difference is that the atoms are not linked together in the same way. Fat is in plants and animals. Oils are liquid fats. Fats are insoluble in water. Fats are organized in 3 categories:

  • Simple fats (triglycerides)
  • Compound fats (phospholipid, glucolipid, lipoprotein)
  • Derived fats (cholesterol)

Here are the 3 fat’s functions in your body:

  1. Fats are the main source of stored energy (body fat)
  2. Fats help to protect and cushion the major organs
  3. Fats have an insulator effect, preserving body heat and protecting against excessive cold.

Fat is the most dense nutrient in calories 1 pound (453gr) of fat contains 4000 calories while 1 pound (453gr) of protein or carbohydrate contains about 1800 calories.

When you do exercise and stay within your aerobic capacity, it means you don’t run out of breath, your body uses fats and carbohydrates as a source of energy at around 50/50. But if you continue, your body will use more fat than carbohydrates as a source of energy. If you train for 3 hours, your body can use fat to create 80% energy for your body.

As you could read, there is different type of fat: saturated, unsaturated and polyunsaturated. These terms mean the number of hydrogen atoms attached to the molecule. Here is an analogy with a string’s ball so that it’s easier to understand. Saturated fat is like a length of string in a messy clutter. Unsaturated is like a rope with some entanglements. And polyunsaturated is like a rope carefully wrapped without the sign of a tangle. The more fat is saturated (tangled), the more likely it’s to remain in the body and clog the arteries, which increase the risk of heart disease.

There are also other factors. Diets rich in saturated fat tend to increase cholesterol levels in the blood. Health experts advise that 2/3 of your fat intake is polyunsaturated fat.

Saturated fats are found in:

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Shellfish
  • Egg yolks
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Chocolate
  • Lard

Unsaturated fats are found in:

  • Avocados
  • Cashews
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Peanuts, peanuts oil, peanut butter

Polyunsaturated fats are found in:

  • Almonds
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Margarine (usually)
  • Pecans
  • Sunflower oil
  • Corn oil
  • Fish
  • Mayonnaise
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Walnuts

Essential Fatty Acids

fatty, acid, saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega,3,6,9,linolenic, linoleic, cla, gla, arachidonic, epa, dha, oleic, lauric, myristic,palmitic, stearic

Essential fatty acids are inevitable in a healthy diet because your body can’t create it itself- That’s why it’s essential that you eat foods containing essential fatty acids. It’s a shame because many bodybuilders have low fat diets and they develop deficiencies in dietary fat. Fortunately there are foods and supplements that provide “good fats” to avoid this extreme. Here are some examples:

Fish oil

Instead of eating low-fat fish, test salmon, trout or mackerel. Fish oil is needed by organs, especially the brain. You can also take fish oils as supplements.

Polyunsaturated vegetable oil

In vegetable oils, there are 2 acids that are valuable: linoleic acid and linolenic acid. Supermarket oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil and safflower oil don’t contain linoleic acid. Soybean oil is the only supermarket oil containing linoleic acid but you need ot pay attention to GMO. For linolenic acid, you can find that in linseed oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil.

Monounsaturated fatty acids

There are the most harmless fatty acids compared to some polyunsaturated fatty acids because they don’t affect your cholesterol or your prostaglandins (regulators of the hormones action). Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in olive oil and macadamia nuts.

Supplements of fatty acid

These supplements contain essential fatty acids from fish oils and other sources.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .

Carbohydrate

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What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in nutrition to stay in shape. I read some advice from Arnold Schwarzenegger and I learned some good stuff.

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in the body. All carbohydrates are sugars that are molecules containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Glucose is synthesis by plants through the photosynthesis process (using the sun’s energy) or by animals during the glycogen synthesis process. But be careful when I talk about glucose (sugar), I’m not talking about table sugar. There are several categories of glucoses (sugars). Here they are:

Monosaccharides

  • Glucose (blood sugar)
  • Fructose (fruit sugar)
  • Galactose (a kind of milk sugar)

Oligosaccharides

  • Sucrose(table sugar)
  • Lactose(milk sugar)
  • Maltose (malt sugar)

Polysaccharides

  • Plant polysaccharides(starch and cellulose)
  • Animal polysaccharides (glycogen)

The speed of which carbohydrate metabolized are measured with the glycemic index. A high glycemic index (a large increase in serum glucose) indicate that carbohydrates metabolized rapidly. A low glycemic index (a small increase in serum glucose) indicates that carbohydrates metabolized slowly or differently.

What’s cool now I being able to check the gylcemic index of foods on internet. For example, Chinese restaurant rice has a very high glycemic index compared to brown rice or wild rice.

carbohydrate, bread, rice, pasta, potato

Carbohydrates are the easiest type of food to turn into energy for the body. When carbohydrates converted to glucose, glucose circulates in the blood and helps muscle contraction. Glycogen in the muscle and liver stored for future use. A supply of carbohydrates is necessary for an ambitious bodybuilder for several reasons:

  1. Carbohydrates are a basic type of energy. Carbohydrate stored in the muscles in the form of glycogen will allow to train intense and heavy.
  2. Size of muscles increases when the body stores glycogen and water in individual muscle cells.
  3. Carbohydrates in the body have an effect that prevents the body from burning excess protein to create energy.
  4. Glucose is the main source of energy for the brain to be operational. Carbohydrate deprivation can have very negative effects on mood, personality and mental abilities.

There is a reason why carbohydrates are really needed as fuel for a workout. This is because most exercises are anaerobics exercises. Anaerobics exercises are flushed through intense puffs and exceed the body’s ability to provide enough oxygen to sustain the effort. But the carbohydrates structure allows to continue feeding the muscles during an exercise for a short period without oxygen. Therefore, when you do intensive weight training or you run a 100 meter sprint, your energy for these efforts is mainly composed of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate supplement

carbohydrate, supplement, powder

Intense training creates a demand in the body to replace glycogen and amino acids. Be careful that your body contains enough carbohydrates after training, otherwise your body may start using amino acids (protein) as a source of energy. The period during which the body is in very high demand for carbohydrates is shorter than for proteins. The best results are obtained when you give the necessary carbohydrates to your body about 20 minutes after your training.

This need for immediate replacement of glycogen is the reason why many bodybuilders use a carbohydrate supplement after training with a protein supplement. It’s very useful when you do a strength training with a cardiovascular session (treadmill, stepper or bike). If you do cardio too soon after your strength training, you’ll be depriving your body of carbohydrates. And as you lack energy, your body will quickly use your amino acids (protein) to create the energy that is missing.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .

Protein (Part 3)

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Before read Part 3, be sure you read Part 1  and Part 2 .

Protein supplements

In training program, there is always a nutritional plan because to build muscle lifting weights isn’t enough. The good quantity of protein in relation to your bodyweight is an extremely important element. But as you’ve noticed, it’s difficult to eat enough protein without eating too much fat. Protein supplements are a solution.

Protein supplements can increase protein intake without increasing the fat’s amount in your body and ease protein intake several times a day. Eating several times a day is essential for a bodybuilder and having tips to make it easier is appreciated.

There is an incredible variety of protein supplements and they really have a dessert’s taste. What’s interesting is that they’re more and more rich in nutrients with vitamins and minerals and in macronutrients with proteins and carbohydrates. Find a protein supplement that meets your nutritional needs and tastes can be a help in your nutritional plan.

whey, protein, supplement, glass, milk, egg, soy, shaker, powder

As there is an incredible amount of protein supplement, there are several things to check to help you choose. First, reading the label is important because there are some that really contain too much carbohydrate. It’s good to know that carbohydrate improve the conversion of food protein to muscle protein but an excess of carbohydrate creates an excess of calories which prevents your body from easily burning fat. Therefore, it’s necessary to count the number of carbohydrate on the label.

Second, protein supplement that is consumed pure, without a meal or without carbohydrate, isn’t metabolized effectively. Research shows that for the protein to be used for protein synthesis, it must be consumed with calories, especially those from carbohydrate. Otherwise protein and used as energy production.

On the other hand, if you’re on a low carbohydrate diet and you increase your protein intake for energy (to compensate the lack of carbohydrates), it may be a good idea.

Third, the protein source of protein supplements comes from 3 foods :

  • Milk protein (whey, milk protein concentrate and caseinate)
  • Egg protein
  • Soy protein

All these proteins are of high quality. For the moment, no scientific studies show that there is one protein better than the other. Protein supplements made from milk and eggs are the most popular among bodybuilders. Soy protein has a specificity because it can reduce serum cholesterol rate in some people. This may be advisable for people with cholesterol problems but it’s careful because it’s possible to find a lot of GMOs in soy.

It’s important to remember that protein supplements aren’t created to be the only source of food protein. A balanced diet consisting of whole foods is essential for a healthy diet and building muscles.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here.

Protein (Part 2)

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If you didn’t read Part 1, click here .

An egg is an excellent source of protein and its protein is so good that the egg is used as a basis of comparison to evaluate the protein quality of other foods. The egg has an arbitrary value of a « perfect » 100% :

FoodProtein rating
Eggs (whole)100
Fish70
Lean beef69
Cow’s milk60
Brown rice57
White rice56
Soybeans47
Whole-grain wheat44
Peanuts43
Dry beans34
White potatoes34

In the table, there is the value of whole eggs and it’s done on purpose. There is a fashion that consists only of eating the egg’s white because the yellow contains fat and cholesterol (which the egg’s white doesn’t have). The problem is that the egg’s yellow contains as much protein as the egg white and the majority of the vitamins and minerals of the egg.

In the table, you can see that rice, potatoes and beans give less usable protein than eggs and fish. It’s because that they have few essential amino acids. However, you can combine foods that have little useful protein so that the mix of all this gives you the amount of usable protein you need.

With this combination of feeds that have little usable protein, adding a complete protein food makes an excellent meal.

This combination of food with little usable protein is convenient because these are foods that are generally low in calories and fat, which is not the case for many complete protein foods. When you try to get as much muscle as possible with less fat, it helps a lot. You can also have fat-free protein with supplements.

In Part 1, I said that foods with little usable protein devoid of some essential amino acids, that’s why you have to have a special combination with food to make up for that lack. In « Diet for a small planet » by France Moore Lappe, the following combinations are recommended :

Grains plus Seeds

  • Breads with added seed meals
  • Breads with sesame or sunflower seed spread
  • Rice with sesame seeds

Grains plus Milk Products

  • Cereal with milk
  • Pasta with milk or cheese
  • Bread with milk or cheese

Grains plus legumes

  • Rice and beans
  • Wheat bread and baked beans
  • Corn soy or wheat-soy bread
  • Legume soup with bread

By remembering these food categories, you will be able to combine your foods to have the maximum protein available for use. You can also read a nutritional guide to know which of the 8 essential amino acids is missing in a food to be more precise, but with these food categories, it’s easier.

You just have to calculate the amount of protein you need per day, apply what you just read and reach your goals.

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-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .

Protein (Part 1)

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What’s up ? This is THE stephane ANDRE. With my training, I’m interested in nutrition to stay in shape. I read some advices from Arnold Schwarzenegger and I learned some good stuff.

Your body uses protein to build, repair and maintain muscle tissue. Bodybuilders have a great knowledge of nutrition, especially the protein for building muscle. Since they want to consume much more muscle than the average person, they consume more protein than average.

Your body uses protein to build muscle only if all the necessary amino acids are available. The small problem is that your body doesn’t produce by itself all the necessary amino acids. Amino acids that your body can’t produce are called essential amino acids and fortunately they’re available in foods.

Proteins are made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen like other macronutrients, but proteins have one more element, nitrogen. Bodybuilders often explain that they have a positive or negative nitrogen balance, which means that they’re in an anabolic state (muscle gain) or in a catabolic state (loss of muscle).

Food and protein

There are foods called complete proteins, which means that they provide all the amino acids needed to create usable proteins. Milk, eggs, meat, fish and many vegetable products have complete proteins. Be careful because these foods don’t have the same amount of usable protein by weight. For example a food that contains 10 grams of protein, your body can use only 7 grams.

Here is a table that shows the amount of protein by weight and the protein’s amount used in your body as a percentage for the most common foods :

Food% Protein by weight% Net Protein Utilization
Eggs1294
Milk482
Fish18-2580
Cheese22-3670
Brown rice870
Meat and flowl19-3168
Soybean flour4261

(Whey is a byproduct of milk that contain much more protein than eggs)

This table tells us that an egg contains only 12% protein by weight. Despite this small percentage, an egg contains an amino acids balance that allows your body to use 94% of it. However, the table tells us that soy flour contains 42% protein by weight. But because of the amino acids composition, your body can use only 61%. This shows us that there is a difference between the protein’s amount in a food and the protein’s amount your body can use.

This is the end of Part 1.In Part 2, I show you that in cases where you don’t have complete protein foods, it’s possible to make combination of food to have the maximum protein used by your body.

Subscribe to my newsletter and share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

P.S. If you’re in Miami and you like Caribbean food, go to my cousin’s bistro to eat Haitian food, click here .