Digesting Animal Protein

Digesting Steak

photo used under a creative commons license, flickr user adactio

“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

Anytime we ingest food, our body releases digestive enzymes to break the food down or digest the food. Because animal protein (meat) is a more complex food, our body expends a much larger amount of digestive enzymes to digest it. The process of cooking meat destroys most of the naturally-occurring enzymes that are needed to break down meats complete proteins into amino acids that the body can utilize; the more the meat is cooked, the more naturally-occurring enzymes are destroyed. This is the main reason that a well-done steak is more difficult to digest than a rare steak. It’s also important to note that as we get older, our bodies naturally start to produce fewer digestive enzymes. Some meats take longer to digest than others; pork takes the longest to digest, followed by beef and lamb. The longer the meat takes to digest, the more digestive enzymes are exhausted.

Protein Digestion Times

There are several things we can do to make the digestion process of meat easier, especially when it comes to the harder-to-digest meats like pork, beef, and lamb. There are a few foods and supplements that naturally contain digestive enzymes including fresh, raw pineapple and fresh, raw papaya. By eating these fruits as accompaniment to meat, our bodies are less likely to be depleted of its own digestive enzymes. Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, while fresh papaya contains an enzyme called papain; both help the body to break down protein quickly. Sometimes, it may not be possible to eat fresh pineapple or papaya with your meal, especially if you are eating away from home.  In this case, there are combination bromelain and papain supplements available. Remember to always check the labels of your supplements for unwanted ingredients such as artificial sweeteners, MSG, and other neurotoxins.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com’

Sources:
http://www.elitefitness.com/forum/diet-bodybuilding/common-digestion-times-449044.html
http://www.drheise.com/beef.htm
http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/14432/1/How-to-Help-Digestion.html

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