Finding the Elusive Complete-Protein Source
Images of "protein powder" containers with accomplished bodybuilders on their labels help inform consumers that protein is a critical macronutrient in strength training success. Yet what is sometimes lost in this protein-bodybuilding link is that protein is an essential component for everyone, regardless of physical activity. Even those who live sedentary lives must ensure that their protein intake is complete and balanced.
The importance of protein in diet is undeniable. Protein creates digestive enzymes, transports other vitamins and nutrients, builds and repairs body tissue, and helps keep harmful bacteria at bay[i]. These are bodily system function that all people need - not just bodybuilders and other athletes.
The first challenge with respect to these meat-based sources of complete protein is that they are not an option for vegetarians. While the number of US vegetarians is difficult to pinpoint, educated estimates suggest that there are about 6 million adult vegetarians in the US, and the number is growing annually[iii]. Therefore, 6 million adult Americans cannot access complete protein through meat sources.
Several attempts have been made to find the ideal complete protein source: one that is healthy, accessible to all eaters, and convenient. Indeed, this last criterion of convenience is of particular importance, because many Americans in the 21st century evidently have less time to eat than ever before.
Some of these attempts to find the ideal complete protein source hearken back a few generations. The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich has been adopted as a complete protein source by some, but rejected by many more. While peanut butter does provide a good source of protein, the sodium content of most grocery store peanut butter brands, and the high carbohydrate and fat levels of the average "PB&J on white" keep it from being an ideal choice[v].
These innovative, complete protein products are a positive sign in a nutritional sector that has struggled with misinformation. Regrettably, many so-called energy bars and protein powders are laden with calories and carbohydrates. Some of them - in particular many energy bars - hardly offer any protein, which is a curious omission that most consumers do not realize as they ingest these products.
Fortunately, as noted above, there are scientifically engineered products on the market that deliver the complete protein and nutrition that consumers expect when they purchase something with the words "nutritional supplement" on the container.
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat. Information on Protica is available at www. protica. com. You can also learn about Profect at www. profect. com.
 These products use "Actinase®" protein, which is derived from isolated animal sources that do not contain the lactose and fat normally associated with animal-based proteins.