Nutrition is understood as the intake of food that should be
supported by the energy that the body requires. Good nutrition
is confi rmed by having a balanced diet together with regular
physical activity. However, one of the main questions is: What
amount of nutrients should be taken for good health? This
article covers information about one of these nutrients, which is
extremely important due to its high energy content: “Proteins”.
Proteins are built by thousands of chemical units called “amino
acids”, those units are naturally produced by the organism.
However, there are essential amino acids that need to be
extracted from different sources of protein:
Animal proteins: They contain all the essential amino acids and
these proteins are called “complete or whole proteins”.
Vegetable proteins: (fruits, grains, seeds) these proteins contain
one or more essential amino acids therefore are called “partial
Even though it seems animal food are better for the fact of being
complete, there are other elements, especially found in red
meat and dairy product that in high levels can generate severe
diseases. An example is the heart disease caused by cholesterol,
saturated fats and excess of calories.
In case of low or no protein food consumption, the organism uses
the fat and glycogen reserves, but once they are exhausted, the
amino acids in the proteins act as a source of energy, damaging
the tissue´s natural maintenance, growth and restoration
resulting on malnutrition syndromes with and obvious health
So, how much protein should you eat?
A scientifi c study published in the online magazine “Cell
Metabolism” in 2014, considered a sample of 6,381 adults under
65 years of age and suggests that middle-aged people should
not consume high levels of protein, particularly animal protein
because it quadruples the risk of developing cancer. However,
for a person aged 65 or more, a diet rich in meat and animal
products can help extending his/her life.
The result indicates that those under 65 years old with high
animal protein consumption were more likely to die of cancer
and diabetes. However, those over 65 years old with protein
intake were 60 % less likely to die of cancer.
According to the study, research, the reason may be a protein
that controls the growth of the hormone IGF –I that is linked
to cancer susceptibility because when is developed, it promotes
cancer cell growth. But after 65 years, the hormone levels drop,
causing weakness and loss of muscle mass.
However the researchers involved in the study found that
the vegetable protein in grains does not have the same effect
on mortality than the animal protein, since cancer rates and
mortality were not affected by the consumption of carbohydrates
and vegetable fats, therefore, it is concluded that the main
effect is due to the consumption of animal protein. Still, it is
not recommended to eliminate animal proteins from the diet
because could lead a quick malnutrition.
According to the scientifi c study published on the online
magazine Cell Metabolism in 2014 suggested that it is
recommended to eat 46 grams of protein for women over 19
years, and 56 grams for men over 19 years.
So the last answer of science about how much protein should
be consumed depends on the individual´s age; it is important
to consider a balanced diet authorized by an expert and never
forget to practice exercise regularly.
Nowadays there are many options that complement the
consumption of animal protein, like vegetable alternatives that
generate a positive impact on health by reducing the collateral
conditions that are generated by the excessive animal protein
Vegetable protein sources also provide other nutritional benefi ts
such as the increased consumption of fi ber, minerals and Phytonutrients
that could stop diseases because the intake of saturated
fat and cholesterol is reduced.
The consequences of using alternative plants are directly
refl ected in the preservation of the environment, and now the
industry realizes that is important to use sustainable works
alternatives that generate greater value in the consumer and at the same time consumers are becoming more aware that change
is generated directly in all actions that are performed daily and
the consumption of green products its the new choice, reduce the
footprint of our coexistence in nature.
- European Food Information Council (2005) Las proteínas
son esenciales para la vida. 21/01/2016 de European Food
Information Council Sitio web: http://www.eufic.org/
- DJ Frenk (2016) Protein de Harvard T.C Chan Sitio web:
- BBC MUNDO (2016) Las proteínas pueden ser buenas o
malas según la edad. de BBC MUNDO Sitio web: http://
- Morgan E. Levine, Jorge A. Suarez, Sebastian Brandhorst,
Priya Balasubramanian, Chia-Wei Cheng, Federica Madia,
Luigi Fontana, Mario G. Mirisola, Jaime Guevara-Aguirre,
Junxiang Wan, Giuseppe Passarino, Brian K Kennedy, Min
Wei, Pinchas Cohen, Eileen M Crimmins, Valter D Longo
(2014). Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major
Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality in the 65
and Younger but Not Older Population. Cell Metabolism,
19: 407-417. De Cell Metabolism Base de datos.