The importance of proteins

Proteins are an important building material and fuel for us. Our body is made up of 17% proteins. It consists largely of protein structures; just think of bones, hair, nails, blood, connective tissue, tendons, muscles, organs, hormones and enzymes. It is therefore important that you consume enough proteins. Unfortunately, most people’s diet consists of carbohydrates. How do we get enough proteins?

Amino acids

Proteins break down into amino acids in the small intestine. The enzymes that split proteins are proteases. The amino acids ultimately reach all body cells via the bloodstream. The body uses amino acids for:

  • The production of the body’s own proteins for organs and tissues
  • The production of enzymes
  • The production of hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Detoxifying tissues
  • The production of various organic substances

Biological value

100 grams of dietary protein produces a certain amount of body protein. This is the biological value of protein. For example, an egg has a value of almost 100% and fish and meat have an average value of 70%.

We can make our diet more valuable by combining food to supplement certain amino acids. An example of this is legumes. When you use them together with grains, the value of legumes goes from 30% to 70%. Legumes contain the amino acid lysine and grains contain the amino acid methionine. These two amino acids together with vitamin C form the amino acid carnitine. Carnitine is normally only found in animal products and provides energy. Due to the combination of legumes with grains, legumes are a source of protein. Without grains, legumes are more likely to be a source of carbohydrates.


It used to be thought that you needed 70 grams of protein per day. However, recent studies have shown that this is too much. It is now assumed that 30-40 grams of protein per day. This assumes an average situation. During pregnancy, top sports or heavy physical work, 70-80 grams per day would be ideal. With kidney problems it is important not to ingest so much. In that case, consider 20-30 grams per day.

A properly functioning digestive system can process 20-30 grams of protein per 4 hours without negative effects. However, this differs per person. It depends on body type, weight, sex, the activity and presence of digestive enzymes and stomach acid.

To get proteins to their destination more efficiently, it is important to reduce the amount of carbohydrates. When the body has to digest both proteins and a lot of carbohydrates, the digestive juices compete with each other and neutralize each other. As a result, we do not digest food properly. It costs energy and produces putrefactive components in the intestines. In the Western diet, proteins are often replaced by carbohydrates. A protein deficiency can undermine the immune system and even lead to cancer. It is therefore important that this is reversed for everyone’s health. But also be careful not to overconsume, because this also causes problems.

Examples of nutrition

For a protein-rich diet that takes the biological value into account, you can consider:

  • Pea soup with rye bread
  • Humus with bread
  • Two eggs every day
  • 70 grams of cottage cheese
  • 100 grams of yogurt
  • 30 grams legumes (dry weight)
  • 75-100 grams of fish and meat
  • 100 grams of seeds