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Protein in diet
Alternative namesProteins are complex organic compounds. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids .
FunctionProtein is the main component of muscles, organs, and glands. Every living cell and all body fluids, except bile and urine, contain protein. The cells of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are maintained with protein. Children and adolescents require protein for growth and development.
Proteins are described as essential and nonessential proteins or amino acids . The human body requires approximately 20 amino acids for the synthesis of its proteins.
The body can make only 13 of the amino acids -- these are known as the nonessential amino acids. They are called non-essential because the body can make them and does not need to get them from the diet. There are 9 essential amino acids that are obtained only from food, and not made in the body.
Plant proteins can be combined to include all of the essential amino acids and form a complete protein. Examples of combined, complete plant proteins are rice and beans, milk and wheat cereal, and corn and beans.
Side EffectsA diet high in meat could lead to high cholesterol or other diseases, such as gout. Another potential problem is that a high-protein diet may put a strain on the kidneys. Extra waste matter, which is the end product of protein metabolism , is excreted in the urine.
RecommendationsA nutritionally balanced diet provides adequate protein. Vegetarians are able to get enough protein if they eat the proper combination of plant proteins.
The amount of recommended daily protein depends upon age, medical conditions, and the type of diet one is following. Two to three servings of protein-rich food will meet the daily needs of most adults.
The following are the recommended serving sizes for protein:
Update Date: 9/2/2003A.D.A.M. editorial. Previously reviewed by Poune Saberi, M.D., M.P.H., Family Practice and Community Medicine. University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (11/19/2001).
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT