Proteins are large, complex molecules. They make up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in our blood. Protein is made from twenty-plus basic building blocks called amino acids. Because we don’t store amino acids, our bodies make them in two different ways: either from scratch or by modifying others. Nine amino acids—histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine—known as the essential amino acids, must come from food. Protein can actually be found in an abundance of foods, including those from animals and plants (such as beans, nuts, and seeds).
The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight each day.
It’s the source of protein (the protein “package”), rather than the amount of protein, that likely makes a difference for our health. The table below shows an example of food “packages” sorted by protein content, alongside a range of components that come with it.
|Food||Calories||Protein (g)||Carbohydrate (g)||Saturated fat (g)|
|Roasted chicken, white meat||130||23.1||0||0.9|
|Roasted leg of lamb||184||22.7||0||3.9|
|Cooked ground beef (85% lean)||197||20.9||0||4.5|
|Baked coho salmon||151||20.7||0||1.7|
|Roasted chicken, dark meat||151||19.8||0||2.1|
|Boiled green soybeans||127||11.1||10||0.7|
|Cottage cheese, 1% milkfat||61||10.5||2.3||0.6|
|Boiled black beans||114||7.6||20||0.1|
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF PROTEIN DEFICIENCY:
? Skin, hair and nail problems
Redness on the skin, brittle nails, thin hair, faded hair color are considered symptoms of protein deficiency.
? Loss of muscle mass
Muscle loss is one of the first signs of inadequate protein intake. Muscles are made up of mostly protein and if our body is protein-deficient, we tend to start losing muscles.
? Increased risk of bone fractures
Protein helps maintain the strength and density of bones. Not consuming enough protein content might weaken the bones and increase the risk of fractures.
? Risk of infections
Protein deficiency affects our immune system. An impaired immune system may disable the body against the fight of infections.
? Fatty liver
Another common symptom of protein deficiency is fatty liver or fat accumulation in liver cells.
? May inhibit proper body growth in children
Protein is essential for overall body growth. They are essential to the body growth of children.