Protein is needed to repair body tissues and make new cells to maintain and support growth and development. It is made up of amino acids. There are 9 “essential” amino acids that the body cannot synthesize or cannot synthesize enough; thus needed to obtain from diets. The remaining 11 amino acids can be synthesized by the body itself.
Animal protein contains all “essential” amino acids and yet as well as cholesterol and higher amounts of saturated fat. Excessive intake of animal protein may increase serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Plant proteincontains no cholesterol and lower amounts of saturated fat. Some plant does not have all the “essential” amino acids; however, combining different plant foods in diet, such as whole wheat bread with peanut butter, can also obtain enough “essential” amino acids to meet the needs.
Similar to carbohydrate, each gram of protein provides 4 calories.
Deficiency is generally rare as protein is abundant in many foods, especially meat.
Excessive intake of protein can cause weight gain as it provides calories. It can also relate to high serum cholesterol and triglyceride levels as it contains saturated fat.
Approximately 15 – 20% of daily energy intake should be from protein sources. For example, an adult who needs 2000 kcal per day should consume about 75 – 100 g protein.
Protein Rich Foods
- 3 oz. cooked pork fillet ~ 24
- A block of hard tofu ~ 27
- A cup of boiled cowpeas ~ 13
(Source: Centre for Food Safety Nutrient Information Inquiry)SourcesAnimal protein: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products (e.g. milk, yogurt, and cheese).
Plant Protein: Beans (e.g. red beans, kidney beans, and cowpeas), soy products (e.g. soymilk, tofu, and dried tofu), grains, and nuts (e.g. peanuts, almonds, and hazelnuts).