Protein is in every cell in the body. Our bodies need protein from the foods we eat to build and maintain bones, muscles and skin. We get proteins in our diet from meat, dairy products, nuts, and certain grains and beans. Proteins from meat and other animal products are complete proteins. This means they supply all of the amino acids the body can't make on its own. Most plant proteins are incomplete. You should eat different types of plant proteins every day to get all of the amino acids your body needs.
It is important to get enough dietary protein. You need to eat protein every day, because your body doesn't store it the way it stores fats or carbohydrates. How much you need depends on your age, sex, health, and level of physical activity. Most Americans eat enough protein in their diet.
- All About the Protein Foods Group (Department of Agriculture)
- National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference - Find Nutrient Value of Common Foods by Nutrient (Department of Agriculture)
- Protein (Harvard School of Public Health)
- Protein (Department of Veterans Affairs) - PDF
- With Protein Foods, Variety Is Key: 10 Tips for Choosing Protein (Department of Agriculture) - PDF Also in Spanish
Diagnosis and Tests
- Total Protein and Albumin/Globulin Ratio Test (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
Statistics and Research
- Structural Biology Fact Sheet (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Dietary Proteins (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Proteins Are the Body's Worker Molecules (National Institute of General Medical Sciences)