Updated on February 27th, 2017
The word protein comes from the Greek πρώτα (“prota”), that means “of primary importance” . These molecules were described and named by the Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius in 1838. The role of proteins in animal is very wide, but we could summarize it saying that they have much to do with the structure of the body. Collagen, muscles, blood and internal organs are made substantially of proteins. When the diet does not provided enough food in the form of carbohydrates and lipids, protein are used as combustible. Blood cells are taken to be burnt, as well as muscle and other organs ones.
Proteins also take parts in many body processes in the form of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and even our DNA.
The nutritionists estimate our minimum daily protein requirement multiplying the body weight in kilograms by 0.8, or weight in pounds by .037. Nevertheless, these needs depend also on our age and activity.
When our food intake has more proteins that we need, they have to be transformed and burnt, what overburdens our body, specially our liver, and pollute it with sub products related to urea. The most known consequences of it is a sickness known as gout, also defined centuries ago as the “royal sickness” because of their high protein content of the kings’ diets.
So, beware high protein diets!
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