Proteins, just like carbohydrates, are not all created equal. Different proteins are more effective than others. Animal complete proteins (milk, eggs, and meat), as well as vegetable complete protein soy, contain all the essential amino acids for proper body function, while non-animal proteins are incomplete.
Always try to eat proteins that are lean and low in fat (fish, poultry, lean meats and low-fat dairy) and avoid those that have high fat content (fatty meats, sausage and bacon).
Why Proteins are Important: Proteins are crucial to building muscle and burning fat, and increasing and maintaining your metabolism. They:
- Provide energy when carbohydrates are not available
- Help transport nutrients throughout the body
- Make essential hormones and enzymes
- Provide structure for muscles, hair and blood, repair tissue and preserve lean muscle mass
- Support the immune system
- Assist growth
Daily Dietary Requirements*: 20% – 40%** of Caloric Intake
|If diet has too little||If diet has too much|
||Excess protein is used for energy, excreted out of the body or turned into fat. Too much can lead to:
|Types of Proteins||What you Should know||Foods Containing and Typical Serving Size|
*Caloric intake requirements vary from person to person. Understanding your personal needs is beneficial. To get an idea of what you need, refer to the ‘Caloric requirements calculator’ under ‘Nutritional Tools’.
** Note that percentage requirements are given in ranges because each individual’s needs vary depending on their level and kind of daily activity. If you tend to be very active, your diet will require more carbohydrates (to maintain your energy level). If you tend to do a lot of strength training, you will need a higher percentage of protein (to help build and repair muscle tissue).