Understanding Protein: Exploring Different Sources and Utilization

In this video, the speaker discusses the topic of protein and its importance in our diet. They explain that determining the exact amount of protein needed is difficult and that factors such as digestion and protein quality also play a role. The speaker goes on to discuss different sources of protein, such as soy, beans, nuts, dairy, red meat, and fish, ranking them based on their effectiveness as protein sources. They also touch on protein utilization and the potential for protein toxicity. In conclusion, the speaker emphasizes the significance of incorporating high-quality protein sources into our diets.

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Key Insights:

– The exact amount of protein needed varies from person to person, and it’s more important to understand protein digestion and quality.
– Digestion plays a crucial role in protein absorption, so the body must be able to break down protein effectively to utilize it.
– The quality of protein determines how much of it becomes tissue and how much gets converted into glucose.
– Soy is a popular vegetarian choice, but it is hard to digest and can be allergenic. Fermented soy, like tofu or tempeh, is a better option.
– Protein is essential for building various components of the body, including hair, skin, nails, muscles, and hormones.
– Excess protein can be converted into glucose, but the capacity for this conversion is limited.
– Beans and legumes are a source of protein, but a significant portion is converted into glucose. They are also challenging to digest and can be allergenic.
– Animal proteins, like pork, turkey, and chicken, have a utilization rate of about 30%. It is essential to choose high-quality, pastured options.
– The myth that egg whites are the best source of protein is debunked. The yolk contains more protein, and the whole egg is the most complete source.
– Lean meats, such as rabbit, can lead to protein toxicity and starvation due to excessive protein conversion.
– It is challenging to reach the recommended protein intake of 35% of total calories. Even a carnivorous diet mainly consists of fat, not protein.


Hello Health Champions. People often ask how much protein do I need to eat, but the answer is no one really knows. No one can pin down an exact number so rather than that we’re going to take a look at understanding protein understanding what it does and what the different factors are so instead of asking how much do we need we want to understand there’s more to it than just reading the label and adding up the grams of protein what about digestion if you can’t digest it if you can’t break down protein then you can’t absorb it and then it’s no use to you. Also the quality is hugely important because the quality determines how much of the protein becomes tissue and how much of the protein is converted into glucose and we’ll cover that in some detail and we also want to understand how difficult it is to get protein toxicity and what happens when we do and talk about something called rabbit starvation i want to go over 10 different foods and 10 different categories of foods that are often promoted as great protein sources and i want to explain and help you understand what are the different factors that make them a good or not so great source of protein now soy is often a vegetarian’s choice it’s often promoted it’s included as in food bars and textured vegetable protein and it’s in a million different forms one of the more common is soy milk and i don’t think that’s usually such a great source because it often comes loaded with sugar it is typically a gmo food genetically modified and it is very hard to digest and because it’s hard to digest then it is also a very common allergen it is consistently among the top three or four things that people are allergic to because of the way that we eat it and because it’s hard to digest another problem with soy is phytoestrogens and these are plant compounds that can mimic estrogen so they fit into receptor sites in humans females particularly and now they can either block it and keep the body’s estrogen from fitting in or they can fit in and stimulate it so they can actually inhibit or overstimulate either way they can unbalance your hormone system if you’re going to eat soy i would recommend that you do it in a form like tofu or tempeh or miso because these are fermented now you have bacteria that have helped you digest them and all of the countries all the cultures that have traditionally used soy in their diet they always eat fermented soy we’ll talk about some other factors that relate to this also on the quality of the protein but nevertheless it is an important source of protein it’s not my favorite it’s not the best but it’s a very important staple for people who are vegetarian because it is more difficult to find quality proteins for them protein is essential and that means you cannot live without it and you have to add it through the diet on a regular basis carbohydrates are not essential fats and proteins are essential so the first thing that proteins do is they are building blocks fats provide a few structural elements like insulation for thermal insulation and electrical insulation and they are insulating the surface of the cell from the inside from the outside that’s what fats do everything else that’s a structural component is basically a protein so hair skin nails bone muscles connective tissue you name it the rest of it if it’s a building block it’s protein hemoglobin is also a protein the thing that carries your oxygen that delivers oxygen to the tissues that lives inside red blood cells next we have albumins and globulins. Albumin is the main protein that provides osmotic pull that holds the water inside the bloodstream without enough albumin the water leaks out causing edema and with globulins you want to think immunoglobulin as related to the immune system but also carriers so most things in the blood are not just floating around freely they’re carried by a globulin so minerals and hormones they have carriers that’s globulins protein also makes up many of your hormones and many of your enzymes now these are the things that are essential about it and this is why we want protein the purpose of protein is to provide these things when they don’t fit this when the pieces don’t fit when they don’t have the right composition now the excess gets turned into glucose either if they’re not the right mix or if we just have way more than we need the excess gets turned into glucose and even this is part of something that’s happening all the time and it always will this is not what makes proteins essential right this is the essential part this is just kind of the leftovers number nine on the list is beans and legumes and this also includes things like peanuts which is actually a legume now these are difficult to digest a lot of people know this they get gas when they eat them and also it’s a fairly common allergen not even close to soy but it is pretty common and it is also high in carbohydrates so yes you’re getting some protein but along with that you get a lot more carbohydrate than you get protein now out of that protein only about 17% gets utilized meaning it gets converted into tissues the body can use that ratio of building blocks to actually make tissue and that means 83 percent of it the body cannot use for building blocks and it can get turned into fuel as glucose and it’s pretty typical for plant proteins to get used at about 17% so what does that mean let’s talk about utilization when we eat protein we eat things that are strung together like a pearl necklace basically and these are amino acids side by side hundreds or thousands of them and then we digest them we break them apart one by one and then the body puts them together your dna puts together the amino acids in certain sequences to make new unique proteins and these amino acids there’s eight or nine of them that are essential meaning we can’t make them from other amino acids depending on who you talk to it’s eight or nine so think of these amino acids as letters in a word that if you have the the sequence of the letters make up different words just like the sequence of amino acids make up different proteins and if we have to make a nine-letter word with nine different amino acids then if we have one of each letter we can make one word but if we have one of each and ten of the o’s we can still only spell that word one time so the closer the sequence the ratio is to what your body is trying to make which is animal tissue that yes we are animals then if we eat an animal protein that’s going to be closer to human the ratios are going to be closer to human than a plant protein and therefore we have a utilization rate of about 30 percent so 30 of all the amino acids gets turned into building locks and tissue about 70 percent gets converted into glucose and burned as fuel now that doesn’t seem like a whole lot but it’s still much higher than plant protein because plants are not very close to humans the ratios the type of tissue is even though the parts are all there the ratios are just not that close so therefore we utilize about 17% just over half as effective if you will number eight on the list is egg white and this is a big surprise for people because this often tops the list people think this is the perfect protein it’s they’ve heard all kinds of good things about eggs and they think well egg white that is the pure protein of the egg and they are so sadly mistaken because we talked about this sequence of amino acids the ratios and the egg white is incomplete without the yolk a lot of the letters that the body needs to use this is actually in the yolk so when we discard it now we have an incomplete protein and while animal sources are usually absorbed utilized at about 30 percent this is the worst animal source once we discard the yolk this is the worst animal source for protein just like plants it’s at about a 17 utilization level meaning 83 percent of what you think is protein actually turns into glucose and it’s a common allergen while it’s not nearly as common as wheat or dairy or soy or corn it is still quite common a certain percentage of people will have a sensitivity to it and when they do it’s often more so to the egg white than the egg yolk and then in my opinion it is terribly boring everything that to me that makes egg interesting is the yolk and if you eat the whole thing then it’s a nice combination it’s another example of throwing away the good part for all the wrong reasons number seven on the list is nuts and seeds now again it’s a plant so we’re gonna have the same utilization ratio again these are still good proteins they’re just not as good as an animal protein you can still get protein out of these just not as much now the good thing about nuts and seeds is they also have a good amount of fiber and they have a good amount of fat so even though a lot of this turns into glucose protein is converted rather slowly into glucose and fiber and fat slows it down even further so you’re not going to have much of a glucose response you’re just not going to have a tremendous amount of protein come out of this and typically you’re going to get more fiber and protein with the seeds like flax chia and pumpkin and you’re going to get more fat from the nuts like macadamia pecan and walnut and less fiber but again variety is good so eat a little bit of everything and you should be fine just don’t turn these into staples thinking that they’re going to provide everything number six on the list is pork turkey and chicken so what do these have in common they are animal proteins they are utilized at about 30 percent into building tissue 70 percent gets turned into glucose and the problem that i have with them is that it’s hard to find good quality meat and fish it’s pretty straight forward to find good quality animals that lived a normal life for that species but it’s very difficult to find pork turkey and chicken that have been pastured and raised organic and so forth now i still eat some of these i enjoy them but i don’t eat them as much as i would have if there were plenty of healthy sources available. Now here we want to remember something also about the nature of fat that most pesticides most toxins are fat soluble so an animal will concentrate toxins in their fat tissues so if the animal was very clean then the fat will be also clean and healthy if the animal is toxic then that fat will be toxic so unless you can find a clean animal then you don’t want to eat high fat if you find a clean animal go for high fat if you can’t now you want to go with the low fat but then on the other hand now the lean chicken breast etc is pretty dry and boring now let’s look at how much protein we need and how much we’re actually getting from different things that we’re eating and the standard recommendation for protein is 10 to 35 percent of your calories to come from protein and now the green numbers they’re my suggestions and i dropped the 35 down to 25 and i’ll show you with some numbers why i feel that way because it’s rather difficult to get to 35 percent and then you say oh well i know people are carnivore they eat nothing but meat they eat almost a hundred percent protein right no they don’t so let’s take a look at some numbers now if you’re carnivore meaning you eat meat only no plants nothing else at all and let’s say now that you’re eating meat with 15 fat and 85 percent lean then this is a huge surprise to a lot of people now you’re going to get 36 of your calories from protein you’re almost twice as much from fat 64 so almost two-thirds from fat and one-third from protein even though you’re eating all meat this would be a scenario where you manage to get up to 35 but that’s not all that easy to do furthermore most carnivores learn that they feel the best get the best results the meat is the tastiest and most satisfying if it has a little bit more fat so if we go up to 20 percent fat now it’s almost one quarter to three quarters almost 75 percent of the calories are coming from fat so now you’re eating 20 percent fat all carnivore now you’re fitting into my 25 here so you can see it’s not that easy to get up to 35 percent and if we increase the fat a little bit further like we have 25 percent fat now the numbers change further and if we go to 70 30 30 fat like in a lot of wagyu ground beef that’s becoming more and more available it’s going to be around 28 to 30 percent fat now more than 80 percent of the calories are from fat and 19 less than 20 percent are from protein so you’re down in the middle of this range even though you’re only eating meat so none of these numbers will give you protein toxicity but it can be done and that is if you start eating very lean protein extremely lean and the leanest is often referred to as the rabbit starvation rabbits are just over two percent fat 98 percent lean meat so if you eat nothing but rabbit then you would get 81 of your calories from protein and 19 of fat and this is where you create some severe imbalances in your body and we’ll take a look at that you can actually end up starving to death let’s say that we eat only meat and all the calories in one day come from meat ground beef or wagyu or something real fatty that has 30 percent fat now that’s very satisfying so we’re going to be completely full with 2 000 calories a day and because it’s so dense because it’s so rich we only have to eat 613 grams to reach the 2000 calories that’s a little under a pound and a half now we get a total of 86 grams of protein and 184 grams of fat in that diet and it’s kind of funny here because you have a carnivore you have someone eating only meat that is actually on a relatively low protein diet but now let’s contrast that with very lean meat so let’s talk about rabbit starvation and there’s been reports of this throughout history where people have been stranded in various remote locations and if they have nothing but extremely lean meat to eat then they get really really sick and they starve to death why when you eat lean meat only remember the purpose of protein is to turn into tissue but when we have nothing else to eat and we put protein in now virtually all that protein is going to turn into glucose and that’s a very unnatural process for the body that’s not ever really supposed to happen and now if we eat only rabbit with about 2.3 percent body fat we’re actually gonna need more calories because this conversion from protein to glucose is quite inefficient okay and the body can do it and it will do it with excess or if we don’t have anything else but it’s not efficient it costs a lot of energy so to get 2 000 calories out of it we’re gonna have to eat more so that translates into 2.3 kilograms or about five pounds of rabbit of lean rabbit meat so now compared to the 86 grams we get with wagyu now we have to eat 506 grams of protein and only 53 grams of fat so you can see the difference in these ratios that this people do really really well with when the protein is low to moderate and the fat is high that’s the kind of fuel the body is looking for when we turn it around it’s very unnatural and there is a limit to how much protein can be converted into glucose because the liver has to do that and it’s like the machinery only has so much capacity and when you exceed the limit now the rest of it can’t be converted so as a result now you get very very hungry so you eat more and more and more and your belly is full even distended from all that food but you’re still not able to convert that protein into the energy the body needs so you get hungrier and hungrier and when the body can’t process it when it can’t convert this it doesn’t know what to do with all that lean meat now you get diarrhea typically within a few days and a byproduct of all this protein is nitrogen and down the road becomes ammonia and this ammonia when it’s excess like we get from excess protein now it starts affecting the nervous system so now you get confusion and brain fog and delirium and so forth and all sorts of nervous system effects and after a few weeks of that you actually reach death so i’m going over this more as an academic example because unless you find yourself in the wasteland somewhere with only rabbit to eat this is not likely to happen but it’s still a good idea to understand what’s happening and what protein toxicity actually is it’s very difficult to get there so most people don’t have to worry about it now one thing to understand is this is not about rabbits right any lean meat would do this any very lean meat so if someone got the idea of eating chicken breast only which has about 3.3 percent fat and they managed to force themselves to eat that dry boring thing with no additional fat in the cooking now they would probably need about 2250 calories they would need to still eat roughly five pounds of that stuff and they would get almost the same amount of protein as you would from rabbit over 460 grams and that would certainly become toxic and you would have very little fat to live off if you don’t have enough fat or carbohydrate then your body would try to convert all that protein but it’s not going to be successful and you’re going to have all these side effects number five on the list is dairy and this is an animal protein so it’s going to be utilized at about 30 percent unless we are foolish enough to break it apart and turn it into whey protein because now that utilization drops right down to the level of plants so again there’s virtually no protein powders or food bars with protein in them that are utilized at any significant level we want it to be grass fed because along with the protein we want those healthy fats and if it’s grain fed that fat balance is off balance if it’s grass-fed then it’s a good healthy fat and we also want that to be organic if possible if I had to choose between the two i would go grass fed over organic but ideally i’d like to get both if i can allergies is the one drawback again with dairy because in my office the one of the top two allergens is processed dairy wheat is probably number one and if we ferment it now we add back the bacteria the bacteria start digesting some of the protein they start consuming some of the sugar and they start making some enzymes and healthy bacteria lactobacillus now it’s a completely different food it is much much better for us it’s much easier to digest it’s not just because it has some probiotics in it it is much easier for us to tolerate number four is cheese which is another form of dairy but more concentrated the protein utilization is the same if you eat cheese you want to try to find raw cheese that’s not super super important but it is a great plus you also want it to be grass fed so that the fat ratio is favorable ideally you want it to be organic so if you can find all three raw grass-fed and organic that’s the best but you do the best you can now this is higher on the list more favorable than other dairy simply because more people tolerate it it is still a relatively common allergen but most people tolerate cheese pretty well number three on the list is red meat and this to me is lamb and beef the protein utilization is like for most animal products about 30 percent and I like these because it’s pretty easy it’s pretty straightforward to find good quality grass-fed is becoming more widespread organic is becoming more widespread you can find it in a lot of places number two on the list is fish and why is fish higher on the list than red meat the protein utilization is about the same it is also easy to find good quality wild fish much like the high quality of of red meat the reason it’s higher is because it also has fish oil it has essential fatty acids that are difficult to get anywhere else the EPA and the DHA the EPA is a natural anti-inflammatory the DHA is a building block for your nervous system some of my favorites are salmon mackerel and sardines because they have the highest rates of EPA, DHA and they’re pretty readily available fish is also a little bit easier to digest than meat for most people but if you don’t have a problem with it then either one will be fine in that regard so i’m not saying eat one instead of the other but i’m just explaining why they’re sort of ordered this way i would certainly recommend that you eat both for variety and what about the other fish well there’s lots of others that are good you want to look at my other video to see which ones are lower in mercury typically but things like cod and flounder and sole etc they still have the same level of protein the same utilization and they’re beneficial they’re easy to digest you just don’t get the benefit from these essential fatty acids and the number one food source for protein would be the whole egg so it’s kind of ironic that the whole egg tops the list whereas the egg white is almost at the bottom when most people think that the egg white is where the protein comes from the nature packages things for us in wonderful packages and the egg yolk actually has more protein by percentage than the egg white does but we’ve been taught to throw it away because it also has cholesterol now cholesterol is not a problem that’s not any kind of reason you shouldn’t eat eggs that’s a myth i’ve done lots of other videos talking about cholesterol so take a look at those for more details so the egg is the most complete food source we have the combination the ratio of amino acids allow us to utilize it at 48 which is way higher than any animal source now make sure though that it’s still the high quality because again the fat the types of fats the ratios they all matter and if the chicken was pastured if it had a natural life eating real chicken food then you’re going to have healthy components healthy fats if the chicken was not healthy it can’t make a healthy egg the only food that’s slightly better is mother’s milk now that’s not going to be a viable option for most people and if you can get your hands on it it wouldn’t be a bad idea just make sure that the baby gets theirs first and the only reason pretty much that you would not want to eat a lot of eggs on a regular basis would be if you have a sensitivity or an allergy so again sometimes people notice these things and sometimes you don’t so just be very sensitive to it it is a great food unless it’s not great for you if you enjoyed this video you’ll love that one next and if you truly want to master health and understand how the body works make sure you subscribe hit that bell and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life-saving video