Is Protein Used For Energy?

William Smith is the President / CEO and Founder of the INTRAFITT Corporation which was established in California in 1992. Will has won more than twenty-eight bodybuilding championships and is also known for his role as “THUNDER” on television’s American Gladiator between 1990 – 1992. He is a National and International Speaker on Performance Nutrition and Exercise Science.

Although carbohydrates and fats are the body’s primary fuel source during rest and exercise, amino acids such as Leucin, Isoleucine, Valine and Glutamine are also used for energy purposes especially during long bouts of exercise.  In fact, in the later stages of prolonged endurance exercise, protein may contribute up to 15% of the total energy used by the muscles.  Individual metabolic variables, the nutritional status, biological conditions and behavioral factors will ultimately determine the rate and to what extent amino acids are used for energy during rest and exercise in each individual.

Incomplete Proteins (plant and vegetable derived) are quite different from Complete proteins in a variety of ways and are commonly referred to as protein containing foods because they do not contain adequate levels of all of the nine essential amino acids and because they are usually higher in carbohydrates than they are in protein.  For example, the protein contained in a one and a half ounce serving of pasta equated to approximately six grams of incomplete protein, thirty two grams of carbohydrates and 165 calories.    However in a one and a half ounce chicken breast you will get ten grams of complete protein, zero carbohydrates and only 45 calories.

As you can see, the protein yield in the chicken breast is almost twice as high when compared to the pasta, whereas the calorie yield is nearly 70% lower.  It is important to point out that animal meats are approximately 70% water, which contributes to the low-calorie content on a per ounce basis when compared to that of a carbohydrate rich food.  Perhaps this is one reason why popular diet themes today suggest high-protein/low carbohydrate meal plans to promote weight loss.

In strength and honor,
William (Billy) Smith/aka Thunder of the American Gladiators

Visit us at to purchase your individual nutrition program.  Any questions, I am  Hope to hear from you soon.


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