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One of my buddies always say “learn something everyday”. So, like the title suggests, let us look at the difference between animal protein vs plant protein, as well as what is this soy isoflavones thingy today.

Yep, today’s post is educational.

fish stall at wet market

Before we get to animal vs plant protein, lets look at the two different classification of protein:

  • Complete Protein – a complete source of protein is a food that contains all the essential amino acids. In general, animal proteins are considered good sources of complete protein
  • Incomplete Protein – these are protein sources that contain some, but not all of the essential amino acids. In general, vegetables, legumes, and grains are incomplete proteins.

Now the animal versus plant protein:

  • Animal Protein – generally associated with high fat content. There is increasing evidence that a diet mainly based on animal proteins is associated with various diseases. High intake of animal proteins increases total blood cholesterol, LDL, and the chances of obesity, risk of atherosclerosis as well as coronary heart diseases.
  • Plant Protein: vegetable protein sources are also good sources of dietary fibre, and generally low in fat content and saturated fats. Studies show that vegetable proteins are associated with low blood cholesterol and lower associated diseases.

Excess Protein

So, what happens to excess protein that we consume?

The short answer is that it’s taken care by our kidneys. The excess protein is converted to urea and glucose, urea is then excreted through urine, while glucose that is not used by body may be converted to body fat.

Excess protein is usually okay for most, but those with liver or kidney problems might want to consult physicians before using protein supplements.

On the flip side, having not enough protein (protein deficiency, or kwashiokor) can lead to retarded growth, loss of hair and skin color, poor digestibility, diminishing blood protein, liver damage and so on, especially in children.

soy protein

Best of both worlds

If you recall advantage and disadvantages of complete vs incomplete protein and animal vs vegetable protein above, it begs the question if we can have the best of both worlds. The answer is yes – soy protein.

Soy protein is a complete vegetarain protein with all the essential amino acids for adults and children. Soybean oil is largely unsaturated and high in essential fatty acids.

It is also an excellent alternative for those who are allergic to milk (like me….), nutritious and rich is not only protein but also B vitamins and isoflavones. The only plant-based protein with protein quality equal to that of meat, milk, and egg.


Soy Isoflavones

One unique compound found in soybeans is isoflavones which are phytoestrogens – plant substances similar to female hormone, oestrogen. There are three types of isoflavones and soy protein isolate is a good source of isoflavones. One cup of soymilk has about 20 miligrams.

Research indicates that isoflavones are responsible for soy’s health benefits, and among the bioactive compounds that work with soy protein to lower blood cholesterol.

Here’s the daily amount of soy and isoflavones studied or being studied to prevent a range of diseases:

  • Lowering cholesterol – 25-50g of soy protein
  • Cancer (breast, prostate, colon) prevention – 20-40 g of soy protein
  • Hot flush reduction – 45 g of soy flour/day, 80-160 mg of isoflavones
  • Osteoporosis, post-menopausal women – 40g of soy protien containing 90mg total isoflavones per day for 6 months

(source: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)

So there you go, learn something new everyday. I also previously wrote an entry on how to enjoy Nutrilite protein powder, which is a good supplemental source of soy protein.

Proteins are building blocks of life and from the previous post, we do know that it is essential for everyone as well as how you can get them as dietary supplements. Today we’re going to learn that while it is a supplement, you don’t have to necessarily make it a chore consuming protein and other Nutrilite products.

Amway head quater at Petaling Jaya
Amway headquarters at Petaling Jaya

This is essentially what we learned while visiting Amway’s Malaysian headquarters at Petaling Jaya a few weeks ago where the representatives showed us some of the flavor mixes possible with Nutrilite protein powders, as well as a chance to taste them.

Amway Nutrilite products come complete with nutrition information
Amway Nutrilite products come complete with nutrition information

First of all, I really love the packaging of these products. The all plant protein powder plastic container is easy to handle, and if you peel the label open (resealable), reveals a detailed description, instructions for consumption, and complete nutrition information.

Similarly, the POSITRIM meal replacement packets too have all the information properly labeled on the box.

we sampled a couple different recipes
we sampled a couple different recipes

To consume the protein powder, all you need to do is add a scoop (approximately 10 grams) of the content to 225 ml glass of milk, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or any cold/room temperature drinks. Stir, and drink. It’s that simple. There’s no need to prepare hot water for it.

To make it even healthier, add a packet of Nutrilite ACTIVE 8 Lime/Lemon or Tangerine/Orange flavor powder to the mix. This will not only give you the benefit of the protein, but also extra 8 essential vitamins. You can actually also consume ACTIVE 8 beverages on its own in replacement of other sweetened beverages that only gives you empty calories (such as sodas or syrup).

I actually like the protein drinks on its own even though it’s unsweetened, and those who love their drinks to carry more flavors would love the addition of ACTIVE 8.

If you really want to get funky, the protein powder can actually be mixed pretty much anything – rice, salad, vegetable, cereal, porridge, soup. The key is that you can go creative and don’t need to treat it like consuming supplements.

I actually quite like how it tastes
I actually quite like how it tastes

Another product that we tried is the POSITRIM meal replacement packets that comes in three flavours – Vanilla, Dutch Cocoa, Cafe Au Lait.

Again, the preparation as simple as mixing it with 250 ml of cold water or skim milk. Both tasted pretty good as well, and carries essential nutrients of a complete meal with 12 essential vitamins, 12 minerals, 7g protein, and 3g of dietary fibre per packet.

This way you cut calories without jeopardizing your health, best of both worlds. To get even more out of it, you can mix this with the protein powder and Active 8 as well.

Here are some recipes for your convenience:

  • 1 pack Positrim Vanilla + 1 scoop All Plant Protein + 1 tablespoon Active 8 Tangerine/Orange + 1 cup ice water
  • 1 pack Positrim Ducth Cocoa + 1 scoop All Plant Protein + half cup Low fat milk + 1 cup iced water
  • 1 pack Positrim Vanilla + 1 scoop Protein Mixed Berries + 1 cup iced water
  • 2 tablespoon Active 8 Lemon/Lime + 2 tablespoon Manuka Honey + 2 cups ice water

we did a tour and a quick health screening too
we did a tour and a quick health screening too

After enjoying the drinks, we took a tour of the facility and got ourselves a quick health test as well. The Inbody 720 Body Composition Analaysis showed that I am pretty much in normal range when it comes to BMI, muscle/fat analysis, and strength, with only my waist to hip ratio needing a little bit of improvement. I guess exercising 3-4 times a week does pay off.

Oh, by the way, there’s also a “supermaket” at Amway’s headquarters (28, Jalan 223, 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor) where you can purchase all these and other Amway products.

Look at the weird and wonderful 3D picture below, they aren’t the latest hairstyle for clowns. Instead, these are 3 possible representations of the three-dimensional structure of the protein triose phosphate isomerase (source: wikipedia)

protein structure

OK, so they are protein, but what has that got to do with me, right?

Well, protein is the building block for our cells. It plays a huge role in repairing body tissues and contributes to having better skin, nail, hair, as well as producing essential hormones that stabilizes our emotions. Yes, it is also used by body builders to add mass (muscle cell repair). In short, YOU NEED PROTEIN.

For the weight watchers, good news, protein also makes you feel full longer and more energized.

typical breakfast - 2 eggs, some breads, coffee

Alright, how much do I need?

Well, each individuals have their needs based on age, size, and level of activity. But to make it simple, nutritionists devised a simple method of calculating your daily protein requirement by a simple formula:

BODY WEIGHT (kg) x 0.8

And if you don’t want to make that calculation, the recommended nutrient intake for Malaysia is as follow:

  • Children: 17-32g protein
  • Adult Male: 59-62g protein
  • Adult Female: 51-55g protein
But if you’re 100 kg, you’ll have higher requirement than another adult who is 50 kg, you get the gist.

that's a lot of meat here

The next question is – where and how do we get our daily protein intake?

Well, protein is found mostly in meat, fish, eggs, and soya based products, but the challenge though, is to have enough of them to meet the daily recommended requirement.

Check out the “even I can understand” graphic below:

nutrition information

So, an  easy example is egg. Each one has about 6 gram of protein. You can have 7-8 eggs a day (don’t do it), 3-4 cheeseburger, or maybe about 6-7 hot dogs a day to satisfy your protein needs. I once heard that a friend’s friend has about a dozen eggs a day to try to build muscle, that didn’t end up very well I think.

 Amway Nutrilite products

So, how now?

Well, this is where supplements come in. NUTRILITE Protein is an easy and convenient way that provides 8 gram of protein in a single serving. It’s neutral in flavor and hence you can basically add it to any drinks or food.

Other than the nine essential amino acids that helps body’s digestion, NUTRILITE Protein also contains additional benefits of soy isoflavones. As a 100% plant based protein formula, it is also safe to consume for pretty much everyone.

Check out the video above, and the following sites for more information on NUTRILITE Protein.

This product is available through Amway distributors nationwide as well as 20 Amway shops located across the country.