Nutrient Information: Protein

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Nutrient Key Information 
Nutrient Name: Protein
Nutrient Category: Macronutrients (Proximates)
Unit Name: g
Nutrient Summary: Proteins provide calories, or "energy" for the body (4 calories per gram of protein). More importantly, proteins form the major structural components of all the body cells. They build and repair cells, body tissues, and muscles. They also help to regulate activities such as digestion and energy metabolism.


Sample Foods High in:
Protein  ( Additional Top Food Sources )
Food Description Nutrient Amount1 Daily Value%2
Soybeans, mature seeds, dry roasted
Category: Legumes and Legume Products
43.32 g 94.17%
Cheese, parmesan, low sodium
Category: Dairy and Egg Products
41.6 g 90.43%
Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised
Category: Beef Products
32.76 g 71.22%
Chicken, broiler or fryers, breast, skinless, boneless, meat only, cooked, braised
Category: Poultry Products
32.1 g 69.78%
Pork, ground, 96% lean / 4% fat, cooked, pan-broiled
Category: Pork Products
31.69 g 68.89%
Fish, tuna, fresh, bluefin, cooked, dry heat
Category: Finfish and Shellfish Products
29.91 g 65.02%
1 Nutrient amount is in 100 gram food
2 Use Female 31-50 years old as Daily Value reference


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Nutrient Detail Information
Nutrient Summary Proteins provide calories, or "energy" for the body (4 calories per gram of protein). More importantly, proteins form the major structural components of all the body cells. They build and repair cells, body tissues, and muscles. They also help to regulate activities such as digestion and energy metabolism.
Nutrient Function • Build and repair cells and body tissue.
• A major part of skin, hair, nails, muscle, bone, collagen, and internal organs. Protein distribution: ~43% in muscle, ~15% in skin, ~15% in blood, ~10% in liver and kidney tissue, remainders are in other organs and bone.
• Amino acids are constituents of protein, they function as enzymes, in membranes, as transport carriers, and as hormones.
• Is important for many body processes, such as blood clotting, fluid balance, immune response to protect from infection, vision, production of hormones, and antibodies.
• For growth and development.
• Provide calories, or "energy" for the body.

Protein is made up of 20 types of amino acids, 9 of them are Essential Amino Acids which are required for normal body functioning, growth, maintenance, and repair. Body digests foods and makes amino acids and nitrogen. The quality of the protein foods is determined by their digestibility to compose essential amino acids during digestion.
Food Sources
Top Food Sources
Protein exists in animals and plants:
• Meats and poultry
• Seafood (fish and shellfish)
• Eggs
• Dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt)
• Soy products
• Beans and peas
• Nuts and seeds
• Whole grains
• Some vegetables

For vegan diet (pure vegetarian), the key food sources of Protein are:
• Whole grains
• Legumes, seeds, nuts
• soy products, such as tempeh, tofu, veggie burgers

Recommend 10-35% of energy (calories) comes from protein for adults. 1 gram protein generates 4 calories.

Protein is made up of amino acids. There are 20 different types of amino acids. 9 of them are Essential Amino Acids which are required for normal body functioning and they are obtained from foods. Animal foods and soy contain all the essential amino acids. Most plant foods contain only some types of amino acids, so you should take multiple plant foods with different types of protein together to have a complete protein.

Since intake of higher amount meats (especially processed meats) may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, recommend to eat a variety of protein foods from animal and plant sources. For example, eat some seafoods to replace some meats and poultry.
Deficiency Health Effects Protein deficiency has been shown to affect all organs and many systems and functions, including brain, immune system, gut mucosal function and permeability, and kidney function.

Physically, protein deficiency may cause edema (swelling in part of the body), slow growth, poor musculature, dull skin, and thin and fragile hair.

To prevent protein-energy malnutrition, a person should keep good balance of energy calories sources. For adults:
10-35% from proteins
45-65% from carbohydrates
20-25% from total fat
Effects if Above Upper Limit Data were insufficient to establish a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for total protein. There is no evidence that amino acids derived from usual or even high intakes of protein from food present any risk. However, be cautious in using any single amino acid dietary supplements at a level significantly above that normally found in food.
External References Learn more at:
• The National Academies of Science, Engineering, Medicine publication: Dietary Reference Intakes
• US FDA Website: Interactive Nutrition Facts Label - Protein



Daily Value Age Group Recommended Daily Values
Toddler 1 to 3 years old: 13 g
Child 4 to 8 years old: 19 g
Male 9 to 13 years old: 34 g
Male 14 to 18 years old: 52 g
Male 19 to 30 years old: 56 g
Male 31 to 50 years old: 56 g
Male 51 to 70 years old: 56 g
Male Senior 71 or older: 56 g
Female 9 to 13 years old: 34 g
Female 14 to 18 years old: 46 g
Female 19 to 30 years old: 46 g
Female 31 to 50 years old: 46 g
Female 51 to 70 years old: 46 g
Female Senior 71 or older: 46 g
Female Pregnancy (>18): 71 g
Female Lactation (>18): 71 g
FDA (Based on 2000 calorie daily diet): 50 g


Dietary Reference Intakes The nutrient Dietary Reference Intakes and nutrition facts is from Institute of Medicine of National Academies 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11537
US FDA Nutrition Education Nutrition facts knowledge are based on U.S. FOOD & DRUG Administration Nutrition Education Resources & Materials. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/
National Institutes of Health Nutrition facts knowledge are based on National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all
Disclaimer The nutrient information provided here should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (such as your doctor) about your dietary requirements which are best for your overall health. We also recommend you to read organization or professional reference documents or articles mentioned, but not limited to, in this page. Any mentions and reference links in this page don't represent our endorsement of their services and advice.


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