Protein food chart

Updated April 17, 2017

To maintain a healthy body, everyone needs a balanced amount of protein. The protein is needed for ensuring growth and development, maintaining and repairing the cells, regulating body functions and carrying out certain tasks that cannot be done by the fats and carbohydrates. A protein chart will help you keep track of your daily intake.


Protein is necessary for a nutritionally balanced diet. It consists of different types of minute organic chemicals called amino acids, which the body absorbs to make new proteins and other important substances. Although bodies are able to make some proteins without food, they can only make the nine essential amino acids from a person's diet. When a food consists of enough of the nine essential amino acids, such as meat, it is a complete protein. Those that lack one or more, for example fruit, are called incomplete proteins.


The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences provides a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein, depending on someone's age and weight. In most cases, a person needs about 15 per cent of protein a day. This is about four calories per gram. If you are to have 2,000 calories a day, about 300 would come from protein. However, how much protein you need is based on the amount of muscle that is already in your body or that you want to build. A diet that has a lot of protein helps increase muscle more quickly. In order to know how many proteins you are consuming, look for a protein chart online, at the library or at a book store. It will include food item, portion, calories and grams.


The amount of protein for athletes is about twice that of non-athletes due to the calories burnt. Children who are under the age of 18 require additional protein for their growth. The younger a child is, the more protein is needed per each pound of body weight. Because protein is such an important part of the body structure, and it cannot be stored, amino acids must be continually produced. If you eat high-quality protein, your body requirement will be less than from nonessential protein.


The easiest way to get the right amount of protein is by eating animal products, such as fish, chicken, meat, milk products, soybeans and nuts. Foods, such as lentils, peas and beans, are second higher in protein. Other foods like fruit, lettuce and potatoes are lower in their amount of protein. These are still excellent additions to the diet. They just need to be eaten along with other protein.


Humans are omnivores. They eat both meat and plants. This is one reason why they have been able to survive. Yet, too much protein is not healthy either. Some nutritional specialists say that more than 30 per cent of protein each day could be harmful. By increasing the amount of protein but not the calories or exercise, the bodily functions could be overworked and stressed and increase the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, strokes and kidney stones.

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About the Author

Sharon L. Cohen has 30-years' experience as a writer and editor. Her Atlantic Publishing book about starting a Yahoo! business is being followed by one on and another about starting 199 online businesses ( See Clients love her excellent high-quality work. She has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin, Madison and an M.A. from Fairfield University Graduate School of Corporate and Political Communiation.