High Quality Protein
Whey, vegan, pea, casein, hemp, brown rice, egg. With so many sources of protein on the market, how do you know which is best? Keep reading to find out more about protein quality.
BIOLOGICAL VALUE (BV)
BV is a measure of how much of the ingested protein is incorporated into new proteins made within the body. Essentially BV determines how efficiently the body utilises the particular protein, often compared against a whole egg which has a high score of 100. A food with a high score delivers a high supply of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids being the amino acids of which we cannot self-synthesise and have to get from our diet.
Although BV gives an understanding of the protein source, it fails to consider the interaction of the protein source between other foods eaten at the same time and the effect of digestibility. To clarify, when you sit down to your evening meal you probably have more than just a piece of steak, you may have a side of potatoes and veg along-side your steak. These foods will all get digested at the same time, but the BV score doesn’t consider if the potatoes and veg will influence the digestibility of your steak.
PROTEIN DIGESTIBILITY CORRECTED AMINO ACID SCORE (PDCAAS)
PDCAAS score came into play in the early 90s and is considered as the preferred method to determine protein quality. PDCAAS score simply compares the known reference score of the amino acids and corrects it for true digestibility. Egg, cows milk, whey, casein and soy protein have the highest possible values of 1, the lowest value is 0.
COMPLETE OR INCOMPLETE PROTEIN
Protein sources which have the highest scores are known as ‘complete’ proteins, which have all the essential amino acids that we require from our diet. ‘Incomplete’ proteins either have one or more of the essential amino acids missing or don’t have the amino acids in a high enough content for it to be considered a ‘complete’ protein.
QUALITY OF COMMON PROTEINS
Eggs – 1 medium egg has about 6 – 7 grams protein and has a PDCAAS score of 1.0. Egg is a complete protein source.
Whey – One 30 g serving of Maximuscle Whey protein isolate powder contains 23 g complete protein with a PDCAAS score of 1.0.
Soy – 1 serving of edamame beans (100 g) has around 11 g protein and a PDCAAS score of 1.0. Soy is one of the few plant based protein sources that are complete.
Hemp – 3 Tbsp ground help seeds provide 11 g incomplete protein with a relatively low PDCAAS score of 0.5.
Pea– 80 g peas provides 5 g incomplete protein with a low PDCAAS score of 0.5. One 30 g pea protein powder provides about 20 g incomplete protein.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
When deciding on your preferred choice of protein to help support your training, consider protein quality as well as the amount of protein you’ll get per dose.