Protein and Biological Value

Eat and weep Vegans! Meat is here to stay, and you're not :P

Eat and weep Vegans! Meat is here to stay, and you’re not :P

I was watching TV at my buddy’s house and was shocked he didn’t know about Biological Value!

Alex: Which is better beef or chicken?

Todd: Beef, it’s got an 80 BV and chicken is like a 75 or something.

He looked at me like I grew a third head.

Alex: Whats BV?

I was shocked! I thought it was common knowledge. Turns out not, he asked me to do an article about it. So I am!

Find more about protein and Biological value

Protein Quality

“All I need is marine phytoplankton because it’s a complete protein.” My response was “How many grams do you have per day?” This was met with a red face and yelling. Like most granola heads this one had no education, just bounced retarded ideas of other hipsters about how they FEEL strongly about a pressing issue. This is what happens when parents over encourage their kids, they get stupid ideas and think those ideas have value because they are their ideas. The truth is no matter how strongly someone feels, feelings are irrelevant. All that matters are facts. And the fact is people don’t know much about protein.

Quality is important, but only in figuring out how much protein you actually need!


Biological Value

Much like Glycemic Index is for carbs, Biological Value (BV) is nothing more than a co-efficient you apply to ingested protein to get actually absorbed protein. So 100 g of protein from beef is really only 80 g of protein because beef has a 80 BV.

How Is This Determined?

There are 2 methods, one super hard, and one retardedly easy. I’m going to go over the easy one first because I am merciful.

(BV of a food) / (BV of Whole Egg) x100= BV reference

Basically if a whole egg is a BV of 100% then all other foods are measured against a whole egg. This is the way nutritionists/dieticians learn it; fingerpainting style!

Truth is that the biological value of eggs is closer to 93.7%. Whey has a BV reference of 104 since Whey has a higher BV% than 93.7%.

Until there was whey no one was the wiser, but when whey got popular people like me were like “How the F do you get 104% absorption?”

SUMMARY: BV reference is a value without the % symbol because its a mickey mouse system of assuming eggs are 100% absorbed and just comparing other protein sources to eggs.


Click me!

The Real Formula

This is brutal so skip this if you’re sensitive. The BV% is the % of protein absorbed and utilized in producing protein in the body. Protein excreted as waste is not included as you can’t count that as absorbed if it never made it to the blood stream. Additionally the amount that is used to make carbohydrates is monitored by collecting extra nitrogen in the urine. If the protein is used to make carbohydrates for fuel then it isn’t used to build muscle, and this process involved deamination or the cleaving of nitrogen atoms off the amino acids.

So here it goes:

BV% = ( ( Ni – Ne(f) – Ne(u) ) / (Ni – Ne(f)) ) * 100

Ni = Nitrogen intake
Ne(f) = Nitrogen eliminated as Feces
Ne(u) = Nitrogen eliminated as Urine

What does this formula mean?

Ask yourself if you really care, if not skip this. Basically every amino acid has one nitrogen. We’re measuring nitrogen to count amino acids. This is how the other (not LG) companies tricked the world into buying creatine not protein: the procedure of determining if protein powder was real just counted nitrogen atoms because protein powder used to be spiked with maltodextrin (sugar) not creatine.

Creatine is an amino acid so it has nitrogen. So if Muscle Farce releases protein with 24g of whey per serving but actually used 14 g whey and 10 g creatine the machines register it as 24 g protein. Do you get it? No? That sucks 🙁

So were measuring Ni or initial nitrogen intake minus(-) the excreted nitrogen intake as feces. If you poop the meat out you can’t have digested it right? it just passed through you.

That’s the denominator.

The numerator is when you take the value of the denominator and subtract the nitrogen excreted in urine. This is the amount of nitrogen that was cleaved off the amino acids when the liver makes carbohydrates during gluconeogenesis. The lower the carbs in your diet and/or the greater the amount of protein in your diet the more likely any given amount of protein will be converted to carbs.

Your body sees the huge influx of protein and thinks it doesn’t need it and uses some to make carbs. The way around this is to increase your carbs or have less protein at one time and have more meals or “feedings” If you’re a Beast (Beasts have feedings, people have meals).

You absorb what’s left: the amount that is not excreted as urine and is not excreted as feces has to be absorbed right? Well this is true for test subjects but beasts sweat out more nitrogen than vegetarians even eat, they just don’t make enough Marine Phytoplankton to fuel a beast, the sea would be demolished as an ecosystem if bodybuilders had to used marine phytoplankton to get their 400 g of protein in a day.

I’m going to re-write the formula now so you understand it:

Biological value % = (digested protein – protein used to make carbs) divided by (digested protein)

Where digested protein = ingested protein – excreted protein

Because you can’t count the protein you pooped out in either denominator or numerator..

It Gets Worse!

Other factors that influence BV are numerous:

For one, rats and humans digest food different.
Amino acids have different profiles, ones with more essential amino acids increase the BV and ones missing Lysine and leucine and other key muscle building amino acids have a lower BV

The way the food is prepared affects BV, softer more processed food is easier to digest and less is lost as fegcal weight and defecated out, so it doesn’t effect the BV directly per say but it does increase the total amount of protein absorbed.

If you have a ton of protein in your diet or low carbs the BV goes down since the body needs more carbs than protein in these circumstances.

Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside.  The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only.  All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise.  Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.


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