Much has already been said about protein, and you probably already know the basics: It’s the building block of cells and hence the whole body, and it goes into making muscles, tendons, and organs, including skin. Proteins also contribute to the production of enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters. Proteins are so embedded in our makeup and our nutrition needs that it impacts our lives and health in ways you might not even know.
So, here are five interesting facts about protein that you might not have heard before:
- Insects are good source of protein. They are on par with meat from other animals. Locusts and grasshoppers, for example, can supply the same amount of protein that by weight that beef does. Other edible insects, such as crickets, termites, and mealworms, vary in their protein content, but are on par with beef and seafood. The protein availability of insects depends on what they eat – they have to be fed the right kind of grains in order to be high in protein. So, as the world population continues to swell, you might start seeing insects flying off the shelves of your nearest store.
- Americans don’t eat the most meat. However, they are a close second to the inhabitants of Luxembourg. Each person there consumes a whopping 300 pounds of meat per year. Americans consume about 276 pounds per year. Americans’ taste for meat is declining – we consume about 20 pounds less per year than we did about 10 years ago. Beef used to be our meat of choice until about the early 1990s, when chicken started its ascent into popularity, and it has showed no signs of stopping.
- Protein makes your hair curl. Researchers looked at curly hair and straight hair through an electron microscope. They found that keratin – the protein that’s the primary component of hair – was distributed unevenly in curly hair: It accumulated on the inside edge of the curl, as opposed to being spread evenly over the hair, as in straighter hair.
- Some proteins have weird names. There’s the Sonic Hedgehog protein, which plays a role in the development of the brain and nervous system. There’s also Pikachurin, which is a fast-acting protein that facilitates visual function.
- Protein deficiency can have serious consequences. For example, if you’re lacking in the protein albumin – the most common protein found in your blood – you could suffer a variety of symptoms, including swelling all over the body. So, it’s important to eat a varied diet. Other signs of protein deficiency could be lethargy, muscle or joint pain, trouble sleeping … even hair loss and dried, cracked skin on the corners of your mouth.
Our protein bars and energy bars are great for giving you the necessary proteins you need if you’re always busy and need to snack between meals or ensure you get the right nutrients before or after your workout. Check out our selection of protein bars and other high-quality products, and get started on the path to better nutrition today.