Protein

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One of three main categories of basic nutrients (the others are carbohydrates and fat) that are used by our cells for the building, repair and maintenance of our muscles, organs and glands, enabling our body to defend against infection, disease and loss of daily functions. Constructing proteins in our body involves a complex combination of amino acid chains. The body can manufacture 13 of the amino acids required, which are considered the non-essential amino acids, since we do not need to get them from our diet. There are 9 amino acids we cannot produce that must be obtained through the foods we eat daily and these are consided as the essential amino acids.

Realizing that we need to have at least 20 amino acids for the synthesis of the proteins in our body, we use foods to secure the additional proteins. Thus, the protein provided by a food is classified as either complete or incomplete protein. A food with complete protein provides all of the essential amino acids necessary for the body. Foods that are considered as those with complete proteins include beef, lamb, pork, poultry, cheese, eggs, fish, and milk. Foods that do not provide all of the essential amino acids contain incomplete protein (plant foods), which include grains, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Combining both incomplete protein foods with complete protein foods will enable the body to receive the essential amino acids required daily.

While it is beneficial to receive the daily requirements of protein, it is not always beneficial to maintain a high protein diet, since health issues such as excessive stress on kidneys may result. Daily requirements for protein depend on age, medical history and daily diet. However, consumption of 2 or 3 servings of protein rich foods daily provides sufficiently for the needs of most people.

USDA Nutrition Facts

Serving Size1 square
Calories501
Protein12g
Total Fat52g
Total Carbohydrates29g
Dietary Fiber16g
Sugars0g
Potassium830mg
Sodium24mg
Cholesterol0mg
Serving Size1 oz
Calories270
Protein13g
Total Fat2g
Total Carbohydrates48g
Dietary Fiber3g
Sugars1g
Potassium346mg
Sodium601mg
Cholesterol0mg
Serving Size2 oz
Calories374
Protein21g
Total Fat2g
Total Carbohydrates65g
Dietary Fiber2g
Potassium201mg
Sodium8mg
Cholesterol0mg

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