T Nation

Essential Amino Acids?

Really? So if I were to pick a food like peanut butter and ONLY use that one for a source of protein, what would happen? (Since it doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids.)Would I only grow in some areas? What makes them essential?

essential AAs mean that you need to ingest them since your body doesn’t make them on its own.

There are around 20-22 AAs depending on your source and IIRC about 8 are essential the remaining ones are produced by the body.

You would end up nutritionally malnurished.

Why would you even consider only eating peanut butter as your protein source? Besides the fact that many people are allergic to peanuts, that’s just a dumb idea when there are many other sources of amino acids that are higher quality, less chance of being an allergen and taste good!

Beef
Chicken
Fish
Pork
Buffalo
Deer
Eggs
Cottage cheese
Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts)
Protein powders
etc.

Ah, you guys aren’t getting the question… True answers, though.

They aren’t called “essential” because they’re more important than the other amino acids. They’re simply called that because the body can’t produce them, making them ‘essential’ to include in one’s diet. The “nonessential” amino acids are produced in the body and aren’t necessary to ingest, but can be used for supplementary purposes.

If one were to eat only one source of protein, that source being incomplete/unbalanced, then the liver would just convert the protein into carbohydrates and fats.

[quote]baekjool wrote:
Ah, you guys aren’t getting the question… True answers, though.

They aren’t called “essential” because they’re more important than the other amino acids. They’re simply called that because the body can’t produce them, making them ‘essential’ to include in one’s diet. The “nonessential” amino acids are produced in the body and aren’t necessary to ingest, but can be used for supplementary purposes. [/quote]

is that not what JF pretty much said?

Your question has been ably and absolutely completely answered, so now I feel free to hijack :slight_smile:

One of my chemistry professors told an interesting story that, though this was not his intent, helps illustrate how screwed up the FDA is.

As you mentioned, the protein of peanut butter (besides just being low in amount, period) has a low biological quality – low ability to support growth in growing animals due to being severely short of one of the essential amino acids.

Now, a chemist of this professor’s acquaintance decided to try to do something about this, as (he thought) many kids eat enough peanut butter that improving the quality of the protein could make a difference for them. The obvious solution to just add that amino acid does not work because it gives a bad taste.

So he decided to try making an ester of that amino acid, that in the body would yield the amino acid, on the hope that the ester would mask the taste, as often does occur.

This worked great: the taste of the peanut butter was completely unaffected.

A major peanut butter brand, I forget which, I suppose it must have been either Jif or Skippy, on learning of this wanted to do it and test-marketed it.

Only problem: the FDA told them that because they had added an ingredient, they could not call it peanut butter! The label could not say that. It had to say “peanut butter product.”

They would not accept the proposed alternative of calling it “fortified peanut butter.” Nope, it had to be “peanut butter product,” said the Feds.

Well, the outcome was obvious. Moms in the supermarket, giving choices between jars of peanut butter and a jar labeled “peanut butter product” of course did not buy the “peanut butter product.”

So the improvement to the nutritional quality of the protein in peanut butter never made it to market, thanks to the FDA throwing a hissy about calling a nutritionally supplemented peanut butter, peanut butter.

Your tax dollars at work.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
Your question has been ably and absolutely completely answered, so now I feel free to hijack :slight_smile:

One of my chemistry professors told an interesting story that, though this was not his intent, helps illustrate how screwed up the FDA is.

As you mentioned, the protein of peanut butter (besides just being low in amount, period) has a low biological quality – low ability to support growth in growing animals due to being severely short of one of the essential amino acids.

Now, a chemist of this professor’s acquaintance decided to try to do something about this, as (he thought) many kids eat enough peanut butter that improving the quality of the protein could make a difference for them. The obvious solution to just add that amino acid does not work because it gives a bad taste.

So he decided to try making an ester of that amino acid, that in the body would yield the amino acid, on the hope that the ester would mask the taste, as often does occur.

This worked great: the taste of the peanut butter was completely unaffected.

A major peanut butter brand, I forget which, I suppose it must have been either Jif or Skippy, on learning of this wanted to do it and test-marketed it.

Only problem: the FDA told them that because they had added an ingredient, they could not call it peanut butter! The label could not say that. It had to say “peanut butter product.”

They would not accept the proposed alternative of calling it “fortified peanut butter.” Nope, it had to be “peanut butter product,” said the Feds.

Well, the outcome was obvious. Moms in the supermarket, giving choices between jars of peanut butter and a jar labeled “peanut butter product” of course did not buy the “peanut butter product.”

So the improvement to the nutritional quality of the protein in peanut butter never made it to market, thanks to the FDA throwing a hissy about calling a nutritionally supplemented peanut butter, peanut butter.

Your tax dollars at work.[/quote]

that is very interesting. i, too, feel the FDA has some pretty stupid policies.

i read once that the FDA made it so amino acid supplemenets are not allowed to display caloric content, or they have to put 0 calories, because they are not a complete macronutrient. i do not know if this is true or not, but i don’t believe i have never seen calories listed on an pure EAA or BCAA product.

I think you’re right, though I don’t know specifically. It does seem that way.

well that’s totally retarded. I’ve said for years why do they have to call “Natural PB” natural.

Why not call the stuff with hydrogenated oils chemically manufactured PB.

unreal

thanks Bill that was nice to learn

Essential Amino Acids and foods they’re most concentrated in:

Histidine - Lean Round Beef
Isoleucine - Fish/Poultry
Leucine - Fish/Meat/Poultry
Lysine - Meat/Dairy
Methionine - Seafood
Phenylalanine - Meats
Threonine - Fish/Meat/Poultry
Tryptophan - Poultry/Yellow Fin Tuna/Soybeans
Valine - Fish/Meat/Poultry

Foods from animal sources are typically rich in essential amino acids. These include chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, beef, and pork. With the increasing emphasis on vegetarian diets, plant sources of protein are gaining in popularity.

Such sources include dried beans (black, kidney, northern, red, and white beans), peas, soy, nuts, and seeds. Although plant sources generally lack one or more of the essential amino acids, when combined with whole grains such as rice, or by eating nuts or seeds with legumes, all the amino acids can be obtained.

Don’t just eat peanut butter.

So, may i ask why esters of BCAA’s are not produced by supplement companies? Isn’t the major problem with bcaa powders that they are so bitter? If the esters are sweeter this would be a considerable improvement. At least from a marketing perspective.

His question sounded hypothetical, I’m not sure why everyone thinks he was planning on eating only peanut butter as a source of protein…

Here’s an addendum to the original Query,…

I take a bunch of BCAAs while I train (as I’m sure many of you do). A guy I train with takes a combination of EAAs and BCAAs (although a much smaller dose of BCAAs than I do). Who’s better off in the long run?

S

If often wondered that. Often asking a similar question. Why take that many bcaa’s five times a day. When i could take some whey conc. just as often? The only thought i could come up with was absorption speeds and insulin levels.

[quote]Beatnik wrote:
The only thought i could come up with was absorption speeds and insulin levels.[/quote]

Those factors alone make them useful. I’m guessing the ratios of each bcaa may be important as well.

[quote]dfreezy wrote:
His question sounded hypothetical, I’m not sure why everyone thinks he was planning on eating only peanut butter as a source of protein…[/quote]

Yeah you’re right. I COULDNT just eat peanut butter for protein

[quote]Beatnik wrote:
So, may i ask why esters of BCAA’s are not produced by supplement companies? Isn’t the major problem with bcaa powders that they are so bitter? If the esters are sweeter this would be a considerable improvement. At least from a marketing perspective.[/quote]

I don’t know that a similar ester will solve the bitterness problem with BCAA’s. The particular amino acid in the peanut butter case, while I don’t remember what it was, I am sure was not a BCAA.

The thing of esters often masking bad taste, sometimes completely, is one of those things that is often true but can’t be known in a specific case unless tried

(or maybe in some instances can be predicted with very good probability if the structure is extremely similar, but many amino acids are more than enough different from the BCAA’s that that would not, IMO, apply for them.)

Even if it were true, there might be a cost issue.

Of course, it could be the case that what you just had was a great idea. It does sound worth trying. Though the relevance would seem to be with powder.

In drinks, people tend to complain if there is undissolved sediment (if ready-to-drink products) or if they can’t get everything dissolved or well-suspended (if self-mix.)

While there is a way to get BCAA’s to dissolve quickly that I discovered or perhaps re-invented – I’ve seen it from another company and have no way of knowing who came it with it first but give them every credit of certainly doing so independently and quite possibly first, who knows – usually rate of dissolution is a big problem if not using that technique.

But even if using that technique, going to the most common (for amino acids) ethyl ester would guarantee inadequate water solubility. So it would not be suitable for RTD’s or so much for pre-mix either.

It would I think have to be for the market of powders that the user understands and accepts is not going to dissolve.

It’s potentially a very good idea you have, if it so happens that the bitter taste is abolished, but I do think it would be limited to that subset of the market for those reasons.

And that subset is fairly tolerant of the bad taste and tends to be cheap on cost – which is usually why they buy bulk powder – so unless it was a very cheap reaction (it may be) it might not have a market even among bulk powder buyers. Just guessing.

Though since you mention that general direction, actually we are looking at something very interesting, some brand new chemistry, that is different than that :slight_smile:

Btw, as the above post reminded me of it, I might as well share with you how to make your powdered BCAA’s dissolve quickly into water, if so desired:

Obtain some maltodextrin and add the BCAA’s and maltodextrin into a blender, which has to be a fairly good blender. Use small enough volumes so that the powder thoroughly churns rather than gets hung up. I forget how high the ratio can be, but as a guess maybe you can use 15 g BCAA’s per 30 or maybe 45 g maltodextrin.

Allow several minutes for blending.

What happens is that the BCAA’s, which are waxy in nature, “smear out” onto the maltodextrin particles and their surface area is vastly increased. Since rate of dissolution is directly related to exposed surface area, this greatly improves rate of dissolution.

16 ounces of water can dissolve about 10 grams of leucine. Isoleucine and valine dissolve even better. So contrary to common belief, it’s not that BCAA’s won’t dissolve, it’s that, ordinarily, their rate of dissolution is just painfully slow. But this technique solves that.

I thought the egg was the perfect protein because it has all the amino acids