Protein isn’t just important for athletes and bodybuilders; it is considered one of the building blocks of life and is a crucial nutrient for anyone hoping to achieve and maintain a healthy, well-balanced body. Protein is a macronutrient, which means the human body requires large amounts of protein because it provides energy and essential nutrients (source). Yet our bodies are not able to store this macronutrient, which is why it is important to consume a steady supply of protein on a regular basis. Not all sources of protein are created equal, however. Figuring out the most efficient sources of protein can help even the busiest person stay on track with their health goals. And luckily, there are ways to measure the quality of protein.
Most Efficient Sources of Protein
Protein with an Ideal PDCAAS Score
Proteins are composed of long chains of amino acids, and there are 20 different types of amino acids that can make a protein. The sequence of amino acids determines each protein’s function and structure. In order to digest protein, the body unlinks the amino acids it contains, which is why the sequence of amino acids plays a role in whether or not your body can effectively digest different types of protein. Protein is digested in the stomach and small intestine, and your pancreas secretes enzymes to aid in the process.
The protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) is used to measure the quality of protein in human nutrition. The lower the PSCAAS score, the higher the quality of protein (source). In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization adopted the PDCAAS rating in 1993 as the preferred method to measure the quality of protein (source). Chicken, milk, eggs, and beef are all sources of protein with good PDCAAS scores.
Protein with High Biological Value
Biological value measures how well the body absorbs a dietary protein. To calculate this score, scientists calculate the nitrogen used for tissue formation divided by the nitrogen absorbed from food. This number is multiplied by 100 and expressed as a percentage of utilized nitrogen. Represented by a number from 0 to 100, the biological value of a protein clarifies how much of the protein can be incorporated into the protein in the human body. The higher the number, the more your body will generally benefit from the protein. Protein with a low biological value is not as useful for your body because most of the protein will not be absorbed and utilized (source).
Although biological value indicates how well protein is absorbed by the body, it doesn’t reveal whether the protein has a good balance of essential amino acids. A protein that lacks several key amino acids could score well on the test but fail to supply the consumer with the protein he or she needs. So in addition to assessing a protein’s biological value, remember to assess its amino acid content.
Protein is a crucial component of hair, nails, bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood, and your body relies on protein to produce hormones, enzymes, and other chemicals. Protein helps your body in many other ways as well – it supports muscle growth, boosts your immunity, helps heal injuries, speeds recovery after exercise, and curbs hunger. To find the most efficient sources of protein, look at their PDCAAS, biological value, and amino acid content.
At BarnDad Nutrition, we create high-quality protein products using only natural and active ingredients. You can have the convenient quick fix of a protein shake, or add even more nutrition and flavor to meals by incorporating protein powder. To learn about our products, please explore our online store, send us a message, or request a free sample.