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The biological value: Efficient turnover of dietary proteins

Written by Lena, Nutritionist (M.Sc. Medical Nutrition)

Biological value is an important measure when it comes to protein quality in food. The higher the biological value, the better dietary proteins are converted into the body's own protein. You will learn in this article how exactly protein metabolism works and how to improve protein absorption.

Topics at a glance

  1. Definition: What does biological value mean?
  2. Proteins: Building materials of life.
  3. Amino acids: The protein building blocks.
  4. What foods have high amino acids?
  5. Food with a high biological value.
  6. Tip: Increase the biological value by cleverly combining it.
  7. The Almased multi-component protein.
  8. Almased provides the optimal nutrient ratio.

Definition: What does biological value mean?

Biological value is the common measure for estimating how well the human body can utilise a particular protein source. The more the composition of a dietary protein corresponds to that of our body's own protein, the better we can use it for ourselves.

The biological value is calculated using the formula (impacted protein/absorbed protein)*100. It is therefore determined how much of the ingested protein remains in our body and how large the proportion of that is excreted.

No protein source can be 100% converted into body protein. For good comparability, the hen's egg was set as a reference value and given a biological value of 100.

Proteins: Building materials of life

Protein, also known as egg white, is a biological molecule with multiple functions. The term proteins are derived from the Greek protos: "first", because proteins are important basic elements of our body. Above all, we need protein as a building material. Only with proteins do we form and maintain cells and tissues, skin and organs, skeleton and muscle strength. Proteins also form signalling substances such as enzymes, hormones, antibodies, coagulation factors and transport proteins.

Unlike carbohydrates and non-essential fatty acids, proteins cannot be replaced by other nutrients. Protein deficiency threatens, among other things, the onset of brittle bones and a weak immune system. Proteins, on the other hand, serve as a limited energy source. Only in the case of prolonged calorie deficiency or intense endurance exercise does the body fall back on muscle protein.

Amino acids: The protein building blocks

Proteins that we ingest with food are broken down in the digestive tract into their smallest components, so-called amino acids. The body can only absorb these compounds through the blood and use them again to build up the required protein structures.

In total, there are 21 amino acids that can be assembled into proteins in various combinations. Of these, 9 are essential for humans, i.e. they must be ingested with food and cannot be produced by the body itself. Only when enough of these essential amino acids are present can the body efficiently convert dietary protein into body protein.

What foods have high amino acids?

We now know that proteins are made up of different amino acids. The number and combination of amino acids in protein sources such as meat or legumes determine how well the protein can be used in the body. Central to this is the content of essential amino acids, which also determines the biological value.

Foods that directly provide all 9 essential amino acids are, for example, beef or soya beans. Almased also fulfils the daily requirement of all essential amino acids, in just one shake! However, because the amino acid composition in most foods varies greatly, the best strategy for optimal protein intake is a balanced and varied diet.

Food with a high biological value

The biological value describes how efficiently a dietary protein can be converted into the body's own protein. As a reference value, one refers to the hen's egg, which has been given the value 100. The higher the value, the less protein is needed to meet one's own amino acid needs.

Whey Protein 104
Whole Egg 100
Beef 92
Milk 88
Soya Protein 86
Yogurt 83
Quinoa 82
Poultry 80
Potatoes 76
Beans 72

Tip: Increase the biological value by cleverly combining it

If you combine vegetable and animal proteins in the right proportions, you benefit from the advantages of both protein groups. Half to two-thirds of protein intake should ideally come from plant sources.

In a multi-component protein, the amino acids complement each other, resulting in a more diverse amino acid profile and increased biological value. This applies both to combinations of legumes with eggs, cereals or milk and the mix of meat or fish with other protein sources. Almased also contains a multi-component protein from vegetable soya protein and skimmed milk yogurt and thus offers the optimal amino acid profile.

Examples of the biological value (BV) of protein combinations

In everyday life, we naturally consume different protein sources through our meals. The best food combinations can be found in the table below.

Almased (soya protein + yogurt) 158
Whole egg + potatoes 136
Milk + wheat flour 125
Whole egg + soya 123
Milk + potatoes 114
Beef + potatoes 113
Soya + rice 111

The Almased multi-component protein

For optimal protein supply, Almased combines high-quality soya protein with valuable skimmed milk yogurt. This ensures a very high biological value of 158.

Soya is a protein powerhouse and – measured by its own natural protein content – is the vegetable protein source with the highest biological value. The small bean brings all the amino acids from which our body forms proteins. Thanks to its short-chain molecular structure, soya protein can also be easily absorbed by the body.

Skimmed milk yogurt is the perfect complement as an animal protein source and supplements Almased's amino acid profile. In addition, yogurt contains high quantities of calcium, which support normal muscle function in addition to building muscle.

Almased provides an optimal nutrient ratio

It is not only the high biological value that ensures that Almased is ideal as a protein shake for athletes or as a meal replacement for weight loss. In addition to the main ingredients soya and skimmed milk yogurt, the natural honey present in Almased also plays a decisive role.

Due to the carbohydrates in honey, the glycogen stores can be quickly replenished after exercise, whereas in everyday life, the special formula ensures a precisely co-ordinated supply of nutrients at all times.

The vitamins and minerals contained in Almased complement this effect and provide an additional nutrient boost, all so you can start the day full of energy!

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