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Quick Facts

P R O T E I N


What is protein?

Proteins are molecules made up of amino acids, which the body breaks down and absorbs in order to rebuild and repair tissues. Humans need about 20 amino acids in order to live, but our bodies can make most of them on their own. Eight of the 20 must be obtained by eating foods that contain them.


What foods contain those essential amino acids?

Nearly every animal food, including dairy products, meat, fish and poultry, contain all eight amino acids. However, since the body breaks them down and redistributes them, eating combinations of foods that have incomplete proteins has the same end effect. Combining legumes and grains in the same meal will give your body complete proteins; such combinations include tofu (a soybean derivative) and rice, or black beans and corn.


How much protein do I need every day?

Right now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that protein make up 10 percent of the total calories you consume every day. Since protein has 4 calories per gram, in a 2,000-calorie diet, that would allow for 50 grams of protein. Meanwhile, the national average consumption of protein is about 90 grams daily. The only people who might have trouble getting enough protein in their diets are some vegetarians who do not eat any animal products, including eggs and milk. However, even they can get enough protein by consuming foods like lentils, tofu, nuts and peas, all of which are high in protein.


What if you don't manage to get enough?

Protein deficiency in children can impair growth. In adults, it can cause loss of hair and muscle mass.



Some foods high in protein

BEEF:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
ROUND, T0P, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
576
15g
5g
258.5mg
103.5g
ROUND, BOTTOM, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
653
25.5g
8.5g
267.5mg
99g
ROUND, TOP, RAW 1lb.
798.5
42.5g
16.5g
276.5mg
97.5g
CHUCK, ARM POT ROAST, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
589.5
20g
7g
272mg
96.5g
ROUND, TIP, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
562.5
17.5g
6g
272mg
96.5g
TOP SIRLOIN, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
589.5
20g
7g
276.5mg
96.5g
PORK:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
LOIN, WHOLE, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
648.5
25.5g
9g
267.5mg
97g
SIRLOIN (CHOPS/ROAST), BONE-IN, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
644
26g
9g
286mg
95.5g
TENDERLOIN, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
544.5
15.5g
5.5g
295mg
95g
HAM, WHOLE, LEAN, RAW 1lb.
617
24.5g
8.5g
308.5mg
93g
CHICKEN:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
MEAT & SKIN, FRIED BATTER From 1lb. chicken
809
48.5g
13g
243.5mg
63g
MEAT & SKIN, ROASTED From 1lb. chicken
425.5
24g
6.5g
156.5mg
48.5g
TURKEY:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
MEAT & SKIN, ROASTED From 1lb. turkey
499
23.5g
7g
197mg
67.5g
MEAT ONLY, ROASTED From 1lb. turkey
353.5
10.5g
3.5g
158mg
61g
SEAFOOD:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
GROUPER, MIXED SPECIES 1 fillet (259g)
238.5
2.5g
0.5g
96mg
50g
MACKEREL, PACIFIC & JACK 1 fillet (225g)
355.5
18g
5g
106mg
45g
SNAPPER, MIXED SPECIES 1 fillet (218g)
218
3g
0.5g
80.5mg
44.5g
SALMON, COHO, WILD 1/2 fillet (198g)
289
11.5g
2.5g
89mg
43g
HALIBUT, ATLANTIC & PACIFIC 1/2 fillet (204g)
224.5
4.5g
0.5g
65.5mg
42.5g
VEGETABLES:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
BEANS, KIDNEY 1 cup
612
1.5
45g
110g
43g
PEAS, CHICK 1 cup
728
12g
35g
121g
38.5g
BEANS, LIMA 1 cup
601
1g
33g
113g
38g
BEANS, SOY 1 cup
376
17g
2g
0g
33g
NUTS:
ITEM SERV. CALOR. FAT SAT. FAT CHOLEST. PROT.
BUTTERNUTS, DRIED 1oz.
173.5
16g
1.5g
3.5g
17g
PEANUT BUTTER, WITH SALT 2Tbsp.
190
16.5g
2g
6g
8g
PINE NUTS, PIGNOLIA, DRIED 1oz.
160.5
14.5g
1.5g
4g
7g
WALNUTS, BLACK, DRIED 1oz.
172
16g
1.5g
3.5g
7g
Source: USDA - Nutrient Data Lab (Sept. 1996) - all data rounded to nearest 0.5

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