What is protein?

Quick Answer:

Protein is one of the three essential micronutrients that your body needs to create energy to survive. Protein typically makes up about 15% of a person’s body weight. The protein function works to repair, rebuild, and fuel muscles with the amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein an muscle tissue. They are found mostly in meat products, legumes and nuts. 

Full Answer:

What is Protein

There are three micronutrients that the body needs to live: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. These micronutrients provide energy for the body as well as aid the body in growth and recovery. The macro, protein accounts for about 15% of a bodies total body weight. Proteins are made up of amino acids, while there are hundreds of different types of amino acids; the human body only requires 22 of these. The body produces 13 of these 22 amino acids but 9 of the amino acids are consumed in food. For complete protein meats and animal protein have all 9 of these amino acids, while plant-based proteins may only have some of the essential 9 amino acids. Soy and quinoa are the only vegetable proteins that are complete.

Protein Function

Proteins main function within the body is to build and repair muscle tissue, it also works as a transport for the body and proteins help to produce molecules within the body. This means, it is more important to increase protein intake during times of growth when a child, pregnant, building muscle or trying to repair muscle injuries. In order for the body to properly function, the average adult has a minimum recommended protein intake of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

One gram of protein has 4 calories. By eating the least daily recommended protein of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, protein would equal about 10% of a persons daily calories. On average, Americans consume 16% of their calories from protein. An athlete, or someone building muscle is encouraged to eat 1.0-2.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. A protein deficiency can lead to weak muscle tone, edema, skin and hair issues, and stunted growth in children. Eating more protein is linked to increased muscle strength, when paired with activity, and helps with weight loss by helping people to feel full longer.


References: PrecisionNutrition, LiveScience, MedicalNewsToday, MedicalNewsToday