Protein… What Even is it and How Does it Work?

In between the few exams I have and the mountain of revision that I left to the last minute, I will try and publish a good quality article. Regardless, today I will reveal what really makes up that protein shake, lump of chicken or tuna that you consume daily to try and reap the benefits of that glorious workout you just did. What makes up protein? Where is the best pace to find it? And how does your body use it?

To start I will discuss the best place to find protein. Many will simply jump at those adverts that you see from companies such as MyProtein, and Grenade protein. With products such as “Extreme Mass Gainer” and “Carb Killer” it can be hard for you to not want to surrender your bank balance to them in exchange for a single bag of gains. But, like everything in life, take this with a pinch of salt. There are other forms of protein, that do not come in bar or powder form, that are just as useful for building and maintaining muscle. The classic suspects charlie chicken, timothy tuna fish and barry baked beans are a staple. So if there are so many other forms of protein,why do so many use a manufactured product? A good question- and one that requires a little bit of digging. For those of you who are eagle eyed…


you will notice that on the packet it says “Whey Protein” and normally accompanied by the words “fast absorbing”. Does this make a difference? Will it drastically affect your results? Well whey protein is fast absorbing… but so are lean meats like chicken, tuna and lean beef. Be careful with plant based proteins as they take more fibre to digest but nut butters and tofu will be fine. Eggs are also great if you do not have a heart problem. But what about our good friend whey protein? Well it is fast absorbing but because it is often consumed as a liquid and therefore leaves the stomach very quickly. After it has left the stomach it must react with enzymes, proteases, in the small intestine. But the passage through the small intestine is slow for solids and faster for liquids- meaning that the time allowed for absorption  is less. Once the protein has been absorbed it needs to enter the blood stream, but whey proteins easily saturate the blood allowing no other protein to enter the blood. The excess that was not absorbed will enter the large intestine and will ferment and be wasted. So frankly, your better off with charlie chicken, timothy tuna fish and barry baked beans- who will not waste your time.

Happy Chicken

That then leads me nicely on to what happens inside your body. So, like I briefly explained in the above paragraph the protein travels down into the stomach where it begins to be digested. It then, depending upon its consistency, moves to the small intestine. Here the vast majority of the digestion and absorbtion takes place. Protein breaks down into amino acids, there are twenty in total. These amino acids are absorbed into the blood stream, that blood then passes to the liver where almost half will be converted to glucose. The amino acids that were not converted to glucose are stored normally as muscle tissue or they go towards creating other vital proteins that the body needs to function properly.

So what happens when you exercise? Well as you exercise glycogen, a source of energy stored in muscles,  is released and turned to glucose. When the glycogen has ran out the body begins to convert the stored amino acids (muscle) into glucose so the body has enough energy to carry out essential processes. As the muscle breaks down  it begins to cause pain and it needs new amino acids to repair it. And the process starts all over again.

I hope you have found this article interesting, I certainty did writing it. Any further questions then just contact me via Instagram or email.


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