College students aren’t exactly known for their stellar nutrition and diet. Due to changing class schedules, homework loads and job hours, most college students struggle with creating a normal eating routine. Yet it is not enough to simply eat regularly. You have to eat the right things. The three major macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Can you guess what the least-consumed macronutrient among college students is?
It’s protein. Before we dive into the two major types of protein, let’s go back to basic high school biology class. Protein is made up of 21 types of amino acids. Nine of these amino acids must be consumed — they cannot be made in the body.
Unlike carbs or fats, protein cannot be stored in the body and drawn upon whenever needed. Why do you need this protein then? It is used to build and repair your tissues, to make enzymes and hormones and to help build up strong bones, muscles, cartilage, blood and skin.
Now that we have established some of the very basics, let’s discuss the two major types of protein — complete and incomplete.
Complete proteins contain all nine of those amino acids we talked about earlier — the ones that your body must obtain from your diet. Complete proteins also can be fully used to build or fix your muscle tissue. Generally, animal sources of protein tend to be rich in complete proteins. Foods such as eggs and milk are complete proteins, as are meats like beef, poultry, pork, lamb and fish. Whey protein is also a good complete source of protein to check out and it can be bought in bulk to add to smoothies or protein shakes. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, don't panic. Food such as quinoa, soy and buckwheat are all complete proteins that can be consumed by vegetarians or vegans.