Bodybuilding Protein Quality

All bodybuilding proteins are not created equal... so how do we measure the real quality of our protein intake?

We need bodybuilding protein quality of the highest order to feed the muscles and this is based on the content of amino acids in the protein. There are a few methods that are used to measure protein quality and you have probably seen these either on ads for supplements or on the protein powders themselves.

 PDCAAS: Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acids Score

This is a method that first looks at the content of amino acids resident in a protein and then adjusts this score based on the overall digestibility of the protein. The digestibility of a protein is important because this effects how much protein you will need to eat to achieve the same results. For example, the digestibility of animal protein is more than 90% which means that this amount is broken down and absorbed by the body and may be used for creating new protein and amino acids in the body. Though, the vegetable protein sources contain protein, the difference is that they are less easily absorbed.

Of the protein in fruits, vegetables and grains between 60 and 90% can be used by the body as it is only this amount that can be digested. Lets say you have a plate with a pile of rice and re fried beans and a plate with a lean T-bone steak. Lets also say each plate has the same amount of protein on it.

You would notice straight away that there is a ton of rice and beans and not too much steak. This is because there is already less protein per volume of rice and beans – so you need to a larger quantity.

But more than that, you have to make up for the fact that maybe 30% of the protein you do find in the rice and beans will not be absorbed by the body – again, this means you have to eat more just to get the same protein as from the steak.

This is great if you like rice and beans… But wait a minute, what if I want a quick protein fix say before or after working out? And what if you happen to be a vegetarian?

This is where the fortified Soy protein and Whey protein powders are useful. Back to the PDCAAS… the highest score possible is 100 and this perfect score is made by egg whites, skimmed milk powder, tuna and ground beef. Soy protein powder has a score of 94.  

Protein Efficiency Rating PER

We want to know which sources of protein enhance gains in lean muscle weight...... this is the PER, and the benchmark is egg white protein as this is a complete protein containing all 8 essential amino acids in the correct proportions to encourage and support tissue growth.

 The Biological Value BV

The BV measures how useful a protein is for promoting growth and repair......again egg whites are the ideal in that they have the highest BV of any food… but just because a food does not have a high BV doesn’t mean it is not useful, it may just be more useful as a fuel.

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