What did the bodybuilder say to the protein source when asking for a date? What’s your bioavailability?
I know, lousy joke. But some protein sources are just as lousy. Yes my amino acid structures…not all proteins, like people themselves, are of the same quality.
The term bioavailability refers to how easily a protein can be utilized to repair and build tissue in the body.
Since it is a bit conveluted to explain how the bioavailable value (BV) of a protein source is determined, suffice it to say that it results from comparing a source’s amino profile to that of the human body. Therefore, the closer the BV number is to 100, the better.
Whey Protein, found in many supplement powders has a BV 100+. Whole eggs have a BV of 100, while dairy meat, fish and poultry range for 100 to 70 in descending order. And while most grains (with the exception of Quinoa), nuts, seeds and vegetables all contain protein, their BV is less than 70 and therefore the body CANNOT use them as efficiently as the others.
Furthermore, when determining your protein requirements (especially if your goal is to maintain or build muscle; which, by the way, it should be – whether you are trying to gain OR lose weight), you must take in to account the BV.
For example, when I wanted to gain back (and beyond by the way) the weight I lost in June, I had to account for my foods’ bioavailable number to make sure my body was getting enough “useable” protein to rebuild and build muscle.
I weighed 162 (with 12% body fat) on or about June 18 and by the end of July, I had 10% body fat and weighed 152. My goal was to weigh 170 pounds as soon as possible. Today, three months later, I stand at 172 and my body fat is at 11%. Overall, from June, that means I’ve gained 7.26 pounds of muscle and only 2.72 pounds of fat. Because I choose high quality proteins, I keep myself in position to build muscle without gaining much fat.
So people, the next time you are eating something that is considered a protein source, remember not all are created equally and not all will help you reach your goal in a timely manner.