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  1. #1
    rider of small bicycles geneman's Avatar
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    Protein metabolism - for Koffee

    <Originally Posted by geneman>

    Koffee,

    My Biochemistry may be rusty, but I'm pretty sure protein metabolism does not provide for conversion of unused amino acids to fat. Hence the success of all-protein diets in reducing fat.

    -mark


    <response from Koffee>

    My biochem is just as rusty, but first, I'm not going to hijack a thread to argue for or against the high protein diet. If you feel like you have to debate it, start another thread on the topic.

    I do believe I oversimplified- proteins are long chains of amino acids, but at the same time, we have to consider the protein diet itself, as well as what's beinc consumed with the high protein diet. As far as the "success" of the all-protein diets in reducing fat, a protein diet often results in an increase in fat intake. Excess protein is not used efficiently by the body, and can promote an increased metabolic burden on the kidneys and liver. A high protein-high fat diet, deficient in carbohydrate, causes a metabolic shift in favor of ketosis.

    Besides that, when we eat protein in our diet, the main source of protein is from animal fats. There are not many people on Atkins who are vegetarians! When proteins are ingested, they are broken down into water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. The nitrogen part of protein metabolism is used for amino acids in muscle and tissue repair, as well as to drive the Krebs Cycle (to a small extent). BUT we are not just ingesting long chains of amino acids- often, these animal fats are higher in saturated fats. As we overconsume protein, we increase the amount of saturated fats in the body. I remember hearing once that people on high-protein diets are consuming up to 34% of their total calories in the form of protein and up to 53% of total calories from fat. So, if someone is eating a higher protein diet, they're actually consuming more fat, which will be stored in the body in excess. Since there isn't a lot of energy expenditure promoted in Atkins, then if you think about it, there will be excessive amount of fat storage in the body.

    Beyond this, there is more to it with Atkins and other high protein diets, but I'm not going to discuss it in this thread. The point of THIS thread is to discuss recovery, not the alleged success of protein rich diets. I had hoped to skip a longer explanation of proteins, so I did simplify things a bit, but I suppose I should have just broke it down so I wouldn't have to then hijack a thread about the "success" of protein diets.

    Koffee


    <new message>

    Koffee,

    My intention was not to support high-protein diets. I simple wanted to point out that unused amino acids are not converted to fat during normal metabolism. And it turns out I was wrong. Here's the explanation I dug up in an old Biochemistry text book. You were on the right track in stating that high-protein diets cause a shift in favor of ketosis;
    -----------quote-------------------------------
    We now turn to the fates of the carbon skeletons of amino acids after the removal of the alpha-amino group. The strategy of amino acid degradation is to transform the carbon skeletons into major metabolic intermediates that can be converted into glucose or oxidized by the citric acid cycle. The conversion pathways range from extremely simple to quite complex. The carbon skeletons of the diverse set of 20 fundamental amino acids are funneled into only seven molecules: pyruvate, acetyl CoA, acetoacetyl CoA, a-ketoglutarate, succinyl CoA, fumarate, and oxaloacetate. We see here a striking example of the remarkable economy of metabolic conversions, as well as an illustration of the importance of certain metabolites.



    Amino acids that are degraded to acetyl CoA or acetoacetyl CoA are termed ketogenic amino acids because they can give rise to ketone bodies or fatty acids. Amino acids that are degraded to pyruvate, a-ketoglutarate, succinyl CoA, fumarate, or oxaloacetate are termed glucogenic amino acids. The net synthesis of glucose from these amino acids is feasible because these citric acid cycle intermediates and pyruvate can be converted into phosphoenolpyruvate and then into glucose. Recall that mammals lack a pathway for the net synthesis of glucose from acetyl CoA or acetoacetyl CoA.

    Of the basic set of 20 amino acids, only leucine and lysine are solely ketogenic. Isoleucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and tyrosine are both ketogenic and glucogenic. Some of their carbon atoms emerge in acetyl CoA or acetoacetyl CoA, whereas others appear in potential precursors of glucose. The other 14 amino acids are classed as solely glucogenic. This classification is not universally accepted, because different quantitative criteria are applied. Whether an amino acid is regarded as being glucogenic, ketogenic, or both depends partly on the eye of the beholder.
    --------------end quote----------------------------------

    Clearly protein metabolism does result in the net creation of fatty acids. The efficiency with which new fat is formed from broken down amino acids is still a bit unclear to me but obviously will depend upon the amino acid composition of the protein in our diets as conversion to acetyl CoA appears to be more effecient for a class of amino acids. Obviously this is not something that people think about when considering diet. However, the bottom line is (and I think you'd agree from your last post) that the contribution of fat from the protein source (i.e. fatty foods) is likely to far outweigh de novo fat synthesis from the metabolic conversion of ketogenic amino acids.

    -mark

  2. #2
    Guest
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    Easy answer- the creation of fatty acids is NOT efficient, since it's more efficient for the body to use glucose (carbs) and fat to enter the Krebs cycle to break down glucose for the production of ATP for energy. Less ATP means less energy, which leads to less energy for work= less work done, and less chance of recovery, since proteins are now used for Krebs instead of muscle repair.

    Koffee

    (Again, limited to 2 sentences)

  3. #3
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geneman
    ...
    Obviously this is not something that people think about when considering diet.
    ...
    I got lost somewhere into the second sentence, so I guess it is not obvious to me. I'm just glad that I can throw a frozen bananna and some milk in the blender or slurp up some yogurt after a ride without having to explain the chemistry.

    I think the point I see you trying to make is that you need carbs and protien to get the full recovery effect.

    Yes ?

    Dan
    There is nothing homlier than the face on your last dime.
    --John Wildcat, Greenback Friend

  4. #4
    rider of small bicycles geneman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanFromDetroit
    I got lost somewhere into the second sentence, so I guess it is not obvious to me. I'm just glad that I can throw a frozen bananna and some milk in the blender or slurp up some yogurt after a ride without having to explain the chemistry.

    I think the point I see you trying to make is that you need carbs and protien to get the full recovery effect.

    Yes ?

    Dan
    I stop short on making recommendations concerning diet as I'm not qualified (other than possessing common sense). For that reason, I wasn't trying to make a point per se. Rather, I was attempting to answer whether excess dietary protein is turned into fat or secreted as urea. It can in fact be converted to fat.

    -mark

    <the shakes sound yummy>

  5. #5
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification.

    Since this is a thread on protien metabolism:

    I was told once that amino acids (from protein) are not stored. Since they are needed as inputs to metabolism, they need to be consumed daily. What would happen to someone on a long term low to zero protein diet ? I am thinking about famine victims or prisoners of war. I have heard the rule of thumb of 75-100grams of protein daily for an average sized adult (not a weightlifter or athlete) is needed for good health. Just how little can you get survive on over the long term ?

    Dan
    There is nothing homlier than the face on your last dime.
    --John Wildcat, Greenback Friend

  6. #6
    Guest
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    Easy answer- the creation of fatty acids is NOT efficient, since it's more efficient for the body to use glucose (carbs) and fat to enter the Krebs cycle to break down glucose for the production of ATP for energy. Less ATP means less energy, which leads to less energy for work= less work done, and less chance of recovery, since proteins are now used for Krebs instead of muscle repair.

    Koffee

    (Again, limited to 2 sentences)
    Just for the clarification, I'm mainly referring to the point at which the body undergoes ketosis, not the normal Krebs cycle, which requires amino acids as substrates to drive the cycle for gluconeogenesis.

    Koffee

  7. #7
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    Nope. The body needs 20 amino acids, and a few of them have to come from outside protein sources, while the other amino acids can be made by the body.

    Koffee

  8. #8
    rider of small bicycles geneman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koffee Brown
    Just for the clarification, I'm mainly referring to the point at which the body undergoes ketosis, not the normal Krebs cycle, which requires amino acids as substrates to drive the cycle for gluconeogenesis.

    Koffee
    It's what I assumed. Bottom line, those people that believe a high-protein diet is beneficial for the sake of reducing fat need not worry excessively about fat synthesis from unused protein. Which begs the question of whether one would do better to rely on protein shakes as a low fat source of protein in combination with a balanced diet (thereby avoiding fat intake associated with most sources of dietary protein). However, it must be understood that protein is not protein, meaning that protein found in lyophilized form (sometimes simply labeled as amino acids) lack some of the qualities of protein found in animal and plant material.

    -mark

  9. #9
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Nope. The body needs 20 amino acids, and a few of them have to come from outside protein sources, while the other amino acids can be made by the body.
    To elaborate just a little, and I'm kind of rusty on this, but hopefully not too far off base...

    Simply put, amino acids are the building blocks of protein. 20 different amino acids are used to synthesize proteins. All except 9 of them, which are referred to as the essential amino acids, can be synthesized in the body from other amino acids.

    This is pretty basic nutrition stuff. You can find out a lot by googling around on "amino acids."

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