Energy, exercise and protein-is this relationship optimized by higher protein intake?

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Answered by: Elizabeth, An Expert in the Diet and Health Category
Energy exercise protein--how do these elements relate. There is no yes or no answer to this question. Although it is commonly accepted that a healthy diet will result in improved energy and stamina during exercise, opinions about necessary components for a healthy diet are virtually infinite. Some say high protein, low fat, some say less carbs or more carbs, others advocate the food pyramid with less fat, less protein, more complex carbs, and lots of good green vegetables, and still others advocate any number and variety of these essential dietary components.



On the other hand, vigorous, regular exercise promotes a more efficient, higher rate of metabolism and assimilation of nutrients. Proteins, as the building blocks of the body, metabolize very slowly, breaking down to amino acids from which cells are constructed. Carbs synthesize immediately into glucose, metabolizing first and fastest for quick energy, but a spurt of energy that is quickly depleted. Next comes fat, which takes longer and provides a more sustained boost, but does assimilate faster than protein.

With the aim of optimizing energy during exercise, considering that proteins metabolize slowly, carbs burn quickly for quick energy, and fats metabolize more slowly than protein, but not as quickly as carbs, it follows then that combining all three should offer the greatest benefit, gauged against how vigorous and how long one plans to devote to an episode of exercise. This means balance is the key. If you plan on skiing all day, then pack a fairly substantial lunch, and include all three elements proportioned to provide long-term steady nutrition as well as short-term quick carb boosts--that is, fill up the tank for a long road trip. If you're going to the gym for a 30-minute aerobic class, do a small meal, carbs and fats, a small amount of protein, about a half tank.



Beyond the necessary components of protein, fat and carbohydrate, though, one needs to consider the quality of the nutrients themselves. Fresh, organic, grass fed, whole grain, cultured dairy-- there's a lot of buzz around these foods today. Likewise, it is pretty much commonly accepted that one should avoid trans fats, fast food, high fat food, high fructose corn syrup, processed food, genetically modified foods and so on. One could further extrapolate from that as well that the more imaginative, trendy, fad "diets," restricting intake to high proteins, high carbohydrates, high fat, just grapefruit, and so on, would probably do more harm than good. Conversely, good fresh whole food provides the body with nutrients that are naturally well tolerated and metabolized efficiently,

In conclusion, energy exercise protein--what is the optimal relationship. The body derives energy and stamina from all the various elements in food, i.e., proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Therefore, a healthy diet needs to be composed of good quality, fresh, whole, real food. A healthy body is a living, breathing, magnificent machine. If it is provided with its optimal fuel, meaning good quality, well balanced nutrition, not just protein, not just fats, not just carbohydrates, the body can excel. It can run, it can jump, it can climb mountains, it can dance. Without question, the body just needs to be fed good food to fuel our highest aspirations--an optimal energy exercise protein relationship.

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