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Medicine LibreTexts

6: Protein

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  • In this chapter, we cover the structure and roles of protein, and explore the consequences of getting too little or too much protein in your diet. Tips for getting the right amount and quality of protein, as well as a look at special populations, such as the elderly and athletes, are also covered.

    • 6.1: Prelude to Proteins
      Protein is best used for vital body functions—eat just enough for your lifestyle needs. Some dieters use protein bars as a prime part of their diet, with the hopes of slimming their waistlines. Exercise cafes serve protein shakes to many of their patrons, who drink them for building muscle and enhancing exercise recovery.
    • 6.2: Defining Protein
      Amino acids differ chemically in the molecular composition of their side chains, but they do have some similarities. They are grouped into four different types: nonpolar, polar, acidic, and basic. Amino acids are also categorized based upon their nutritional aspects. Some are nonessential in the diet because the body can synthesize them, and some are essential in the diet because the body cannot make them. Proteins are polymers of amino acid monomers held together by peptide bonds.
    • 6.3: The Role of Proteins in Foods - Cooking and Denaturation
      Proteins provide food not only with nutrition, but also with structure and texture. When a protein denatures, its complicated structure unfolds into a strand of amino acids.
    • 6.4: Protein Digestion and Absorption
      When you eat food the body’s digestive system breaks down the protein into the individual amino acids, which are absorbed and used by cells to build other proteins and a few other macromolecules, such as DNA. We previously discussed the general process of food digestion, let’s follow the specific path that proteins take down the gastrointestinal tract & into the circulatory system.
    • 6.5: Protein’s Functions in the Body
    • 6.6: Diseases Involving Proteins
    • 6.7: Proteins in a Nutshell
    • 6.8: Proteins, Diet, and Personal Choices