Health and Wellness

Protein: Sources,Deficiency and Requirements

Protein: Sources, Deficiency and Requirements
Written by Banani Chakraborty

Protein: Sources, Deficiency and Requirements is a burning question as the formation and activities of our bodies depend mainly on protein.

Protein: Sources, Deficiency and Requirements:

To start with, protein is an essential macronutrient. It is necessary for constructing muscle mass. Usually, we get it from animal products. But, we also find it from other sources like legumes, nuts, etc.

What are Proteins?

Proteins are large particles which facilitate our cells’ functions well. In the first place, they contain amino acids. In fact, the formation and activities of our bodies depend mainly on proteins.

Most importantly, the function of our body’s cells, tissues, and organs are not possible without them.

Moreover, our bones, muscles, skin and other parts of our body contain a considerable amount of protein. Further, hormones and enzymes and antibodies are also proteins.

protein diet

Added to this, proteins also perform as neurotransmitters.

To tell the truth, haemoglobin which is a carrier of oxygen in the blood is also a protein.

Proteins are polymer chains of amino acid and peptic bonds. Our body mechanism breaks down proteins into smaller polypeptide chains through hydrochloric acid and protease actions within our stomach at the time of digestion.

It is essential for the amalgamation of the essential amino acids which our body cannot biosynthesize.


Proteins, actually, are long chains of amino acids which is the main foundation of all life. Most importantly, there are almost 100 trillion cells in our body and each cell contains thousands of various proteins.

As a matter of fact, these proteins are responsible for the function of all the cells. Therefore our good health depends a great deal on protein.

Amino Acids and Proteins:

Proteins are vital nutrients in our body. They act as one of the building blocks of tissues. Further, they provide a source of fuel. In terms of fuel, proteins are the source of the same level of energy-mass as carbohydrates.

In the first place, protein consists of 20 amino acids, and they are the building blocks of protein. Indeed, these proteins amalgamate with one another and create numerous variations of proteins. Each of them has different structures and performs precise but different functions within our body.

These 20 different amino acids are:

Amino acid rich food

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  •   Aspartic acid.
  •   Argentine.
  •  Alanine.
  • Asparagine.
  • Cysteine.
  • Glycine.
  • Glutamic acid.
  • Glutamine.
  • Histidine.
  • Isoleucine.
  • Lysine.
  • Leucine.
  • Pethionine.
  • Phenylalanine.
  • Proline.
  • Serine.
  • Tyrosine.
  • Threonine.
  • Tryptophan.
  • Valine.

Amino acids are such organic particles which contain oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon and sometimes sulfur.

To tell the truth, amino acids amalgamate proteins and some essential compounds in the human body. In fact, they are some neurotransmitters, peptide hormones, and creatine.

Also, read Healthy eating habits

Types of Protein:

We will find three types of protein foods.

Complete protein: As a matter of fact, these foods are a source of essential amino acids. Furthermore, we will mostly find them in animal foods, such as meat, fish, poultry, egg and dairy products. Added to this are pork and total soy sources like edamame, miso, tofu, tempeh.

Incomplete protein: These foods are consisting of a minimum of one essential amino acid. Grains, peas, beans, etc. plant food contain this protein.

Complementary protein: At first, people amalgamate two or more incomplete protein items. Indeed, these are like rice and beans or bread with peanut butter. As a result, we get a complete protein.

What do Proteins do?

In all honesty, proteins have a vital role in almost every function within our body.

The main functions of proteins in our body are to build, strengthen and repair. It also replaces things, such as tissue.

Functions of proteins in our body are:

Protein: Sources, Deficiency and Requirements

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  • structural, like collagen
  • hormonal, like insulin
  • carriers, for example, haemoglobin
  • enzymes, such as amylase

Keratin is a basic protein that gives strength to defensive covers, such as hair. Collagen and elastin are also basic proteins which give support to the connective tissues in our skin.

However, a protein-rich diet plays a very important role in our skincare routine.

Added to this, it is extremely essential to have flawless skin.


The majorities of enzymes are proteins and they function as catalysts. It means that they accelerate chemical reactions. Anyhow, they are essential for cellular respiration in human cells. In the same way, they take an important part in the photosynthesis process in plants.

Sources of Protein:

To tell the truth, proteins are essential nutrients, or macronutrients, present in our diet. But all the proteins that we intake do not change into proteins.

At first, we eat foods that have amino acids. Afterwards, amino acids of food create or synthesize proteins in our body. Therefore, it is most vital that we have to consume some amino acid with our food. In turn, they will manufacture proteins within our bodies for proper function.

Another important thing is that we need nine essential amino acids. As a matter of fact, our body cannot synthesize them. So we need them from an outside source that is from our diet.

Most importantly, all the food proteins possess a different proportion of each amino acid.

Gelatin is unique as it contains a high amount of several amino acids. But it does not have the whole range.

 our body does not synthesize nine amino acids. They are:

  • Leucine.
  • Histidine.
  • Valine.
  • Lysine.
  • Isoleucine.
  • Methionine.
  • Threonine.
  • Phenylalanine.
  • Tryptophan.

These foods are familiar as complete proteins. And from them, we get these nine essential amino acids in approximately equal proportionate. We generally get them from animal sources, like meat, eggs and milk.

Vegetable sources of complete protein are quino and soy. We may also get complete protein from the blend of wholemeal bread and red beans or lentils and wholegrain rice or peanut butter.

We need not take all the essential amino acids from all our meals. To tell the truth, we can consume amino acids from recent meals and form complete proteins. It means that we have to take enough protein throughout the day. In that case, we will have no fear of a deficiency.

Protein Deficiency:

In the first place, 10 to 35 per cent of calories of an adult’s total requirements should come daily from protein. For children, the necessity is between 10 to 30 per cent.

However, the shortage of protein intake in our diet is a matter of fear worldwide. Particularly, the effect is a matter of concern for the children. As a result, it causes malnutrition for the children. This problem may even lead to life-threatening marasmus as well as kwashiorkor. Therefore protein deficiency may be a cause of stress for an individual.

Anyhow, we also need to know stress management techniques.

Protein deficiency may also occur due to the followings:

  • Some genetic conditions.
  • Eating disorder like anorexia nervosa.
  • The last stage of cancer.
  • The problem of absorbing nutrients, due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastric bypass surgery.

What Is Protein Deficiency?

To start with, protein deficiency occurs when our protein

intake cannot meet our body’s requirements.

What Is The Main Cause of Protein Deficiency?

In all honesty, it happens due to short supply of dietary protein is in our body. When it happens, our body most likely tries to take protein from our skeletal muscles. The reason behind this is to preserve more vital tissues as well as body functions. As a result, protein deficiency happens. It, in turn, may cause a lot of problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Protein Deficiency:

Protein: Sources, Deficiency and Requirements

If protein intake is very low, then it may cause:

  • Weak muscle tone.
  • Kwashiorkor (in children).
  • Loss of muscle mass.
  • Hypoproteinemia.
  • Edema (swelling) because of fluid retention.
  • Fatty Liver.
  • Greater appetite and calorie intake.
  • Brittle hair(loss of hair) and nail.
  • Bone fractures tendency.
  • Increased severity of infections.
  • Skin lesions(acne) particularly in adults.
  • Stunted growth of children.
  • Weak feeling or fatigue.
  • Cold prone.

Biochemical tests may show low serum albumin and hormone imbalance. It may also lower our energy and therefore motivation level.

How Much Protein We Need/ Require?

As a matter of fact, protein should generate at least, 10 per cent of our daily requirements of calories. Further, very active people, pregnant women, or bodybuilders need more proteins than recommended. Usually, we try to eat a balanced diet daily. Indeed, it includes protein-rich foods. As a result, we get the necessary protein.

However, as per the recommended dietary allowance(RDA), we need 0.8 grams(g) of protein per kilogram of our body weight. Usually, we require this amount of protein daily under normal circumstances. Otherwise, we may say that a man needs around 50 grams of protein daily. Whereas, a woman requires daily around 42grams(g) of protein.

Choosing the Right Proteins:

In the first place, vegans or vegetarians should consume a lot of plant-based foods. To tell the truth, proteins are basically consisting of various amino acids. In fact, they form the building blocks of our tissues. We require all the variety of amino acids for various bodily functions.




Animal proteins, like fish, eggs, poultry, meat, etc. offer “complete” proteins.

Soy is a plant-based protein. Normally, it is also a good source of complete protein. This is due to all the essential amino acids which our body needs, are present in it.

Plant Proteins:

plant based protein

Source Google image

In the first place, plant proteins offer some of the essential amino acids. However, we get some of the amino acids from foods like seeds, beans, nuts, etc. But our body needs all of them. Therefore, we should eat a variety of plant-based protein daily. Above all, our target must be to take all the essential amino acids daily. Particularly, the vegan or vegetarians must ensure that they get all the necessary amino acids in required quantity from their foods.

Animal Proteins:

Animal based proteins

Source google image

In the first place, we can get all the essential amino acids from animal proteins. Moreover, we will get them sufficiently. But, there are some drawbacks. There is a chance of consuming concerning the level of saturated fat as well as calories if we eat Red meat. On the other hand, there may be mercury along with other contaminants in Fish.

  • We will get around 5 grams of saturated fat along with around 33 grams from a 4-ounce broiled sirloin steak.
  • We will get around 1.6 grams of saturated fat along with 1500 milligrams of sodium from around 22 grams of protein from a4-ounce ham steak.

Usually, we need to eat lean meats, fish and poultry in moderate quantity. In all honesty, this is the best and suitable way to intake a vast range of complete proteins.

Which is the Best?

Usually, the best recommended healthful diet are proteins that we get from various animal and plant sources. Although it is true that basically plant-based foods do not contain complete proteins. Yet they can supply all other necessary nutrients vital for our good health.

Besides, we get vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre from vegetables, fruits, seeds, whole grains, legumes, nuts, etc.

Protein Requirements:

In fact, it is not possible to say exactly the needs of protein. In all honesty, it differs from man to man. Moreover, the requirement of every person differs. So, the exact amount of its needs is a debating issue.

The FDA suggested that a full-grown man usually consume 50 grams’ protein daily. It normally happens when the total intake is 2,000 calories. Anyhow, it may increase or decrease, proportionately with calorie intake.

However, denoting the precise amount is not so easy. This is because it depends on many factors.  They are age, sex, activities, and status. For example, a pregnant woman requires more than a normal lady.


Other factors are the number of amino acids available in a specific protein diet. Added to this, is the digestibility of amino acids of an individual. It is also not clear how protein metabolism influences the requirement for protein intake.

As per the U.S.Department of Agriculture(USDA)  the below-listed foods can supply around 1-ounce protein from every serving:

  • One standard tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • One egg.
  • A half-ounce of seeds or nuts.
  • One-ounce lean meat, poultry, seafood.
  • One-fourth of a cup of cooked peas or beans.

The USDA suggested that most people above 9 years generally consume between 5 to 7 ounces of protein food daily.

Protein and Calories:

In all honesty, protein supplies calories. In fact, we get 4 calories from one gram of protein. On the other hand, one gram of fat gives 9 calories.

Protein and Weight Loss:

In the first place, we will eat a protein-rich diet. It, in turn, may help to lose our weight naturally.  But for that, we have to change our existing diet. Most importantly, we have to take protein instead of fat and sugar.  Additionally, we will take high-fibre foods. Apart from this, we will take fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.   Fat Burning Foods for Weight Loss:

In all honesty, the following list of food items is helpful for weight loss:

  • Apples.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Salsa.
  • Almonds.
  • Pears.
  • Beans.
  • Bananas.
  • Avocadoes.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts,  cauliflower).
  • Tuna.
  • Salmon.
  • Green tea.
  • Lemon.
  • Olive oil.
  • Lentils. ( A very favourite Bengali food item.)

Protein tips:

Finally, the following list may supply enough protein:

  1. At first, we will adopt cooking processes that will not supply extra fat, like grilling.
  2. Secondly, we will eat these protein foods. They are soy, nuts, tofu, meat, fish, beans, etc.
  3. Next, we will choose from low-fat meat, dairy products and poultry. Trim meat in smaller pieces and make it fat-free. We will not take processed meats, because they have more sodium.
  4. Further, these items must contain minimum or no sugar.
  5. Apart from this, we will try plant-based proteins. They include soy products, lentils, beans, etc.
  6. Moreover, these nutrient-dense foods should provide fibre.

High-protein foodsProtein rich food

  • Peanuts
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Shrimp
  • Fish (All Types)
  • Turkey Breast
  • Lentils
  • Whey Protein Supplements
  • Broccoli
  • Milk
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Oats
  • Chicken Breast
  • Almonds
  • Eggs
  • Pork

From this article, it is clear that protein is the most essential food item. In fact, we must be careful about the sufficient intake of all types of proteins. In all honesty, it is the prime need of every human to be healthy. Moreover, we came to know that a pregnant woman needs more of it. We should take care of her. This will help to improve love and relation.

Further, sufficient intake of proteins will help to give birth a more healthy baby. Furthermore, it will play a key role in the all-round growth of a child.  However, it is also a part of the role of parents for child development.

By the by, if the baby is a girl child, then be very careful. Because there is a general tendency of protein deficiency in the girl child for many reasons.

Finally, we will eat protein-dense food and live a happy life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Banani Chakraborty

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