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Protein is the structural basis for all muscle tissue. In fact, your muscle tissue is about 72% water, 22% protein, 6% fat and other nutrients. They build, repair, and maintain all body tissues (muscles, bones, blood vessels, hormones and hair).

Proteins are broken down during digestion into different amino acids. There are 9 essential and 13 non-essential amino acids. The body produces the 13 non-essential amino acids, but must get the other 9 essential amino acids from meat.

There are two types of dietary protein, complete protein and incomplete protein. Complete protein foods include lean meats, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, eggs and dairy products. These foods include all 9 of the essential amino acids. Incomplete protein foods are missing one or more of the 9 essential amino acids.

These foods include beans, pasta, bread, nuts, soy products, vegetables and fruits. For vegetarians or people who don’t eat much meat, two or more of the foods in the incomplete category can be combined to make a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids.


Eat to Compete. Chapter 4: Protocols for Developing Diets and Meal Plans; Timing Meals with Event Protocol, pages 136-37.

Gatorade Sports Science Institue. Sports Science Exchange : Round table ; “Sports Foods for Athletes : What Works ?” Volume 9(1998) number 2.

Lafayette Sports Medicine. “Nutrition Handbook”.

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