What is Protein and why our body needs protein?

What is Protein and why our body needs protein?


Proteins are large, complex molecules that play many critical roles in the body. Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains.

  • Protein is found throughout the body – in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue.
  • Proteins contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and Sulphur.
  • Proteins may be either complete or incomplete.
  • Complete proteins are proteins that contain all essential amino acids.
  • Incomplete proteins are proteins that do not contain all essential amino acids. Most plant foods are incomplete proteins, including beans, nuts, and grains.

Functions of Protein:

Antibody – Antibodies bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body.

Enzyme – Enzymes carry out all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA.

Messenger – Messenger proteins, such as some types of hormones, transmit signals to coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs.

Structural component – These proteins provide structure and support for cells. On a large scale, they also allow the body to move.

Transport/storage – These proteins bind and carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout the body.

Why our body needs protein:


     Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. Hair and nails are comprised mostly of protein.


    Our body uses protein to build and repair tissue.


     Red blood cells contain a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. This helps supply our entire body with the nutrients it needs.


    About half of the dietary protein that we consume each day goes into making enzymes, which aids in digesting food, and making new cells and body chemicals.


     Protein plays an important role in hormone regulation, especially during the transformation and development of cells during puberty.

Side effects of Excess Protein:

Increased weight:

    Excess protein from food is stored as body fat, while the excess amino acids are excreted. Over time this is going to add up and lead to increase in weight, rather than weight loss.


    Excess protein can result in constipation due to the lack of fibre. This nutrient passes through the body undigested keeping your digestive system clean and healthy and easing bowel movements. So, reducing the intake of fibre may lead to digestive problems and constipation.

Bad breath:

    Limiting our carb intake and increasing the intake of protein can lead to bad breath. This happens because in the shortage of carbs your body goes into metabolic state ketosis.

Brain fogging:

    Brain fogging or dizziness is another common sign of consuming a high amount of protein. To eat more protein, we need to decrease the carb intake to maintain our calorie count.


    Increasing protein intake can decrease the hydration level. The dehydration is caused by the kidney which has to work harder to remove an excess of protein and nitrogen waste from metabolizing the protein.

Protein sources of good and bad:

Good sources of protein:

  1. Eggs – Whole eggs are a good source of protein that’s easy to absorb, and they’re also an excellent source of vitamin, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants.
  2. Almonds – Almonds are a nutritious tree nut rich in essential nutrients like, fibre, and magnesium.
  3. Chicken breast – Chicken provides a variety of B vitamins, plus minerals like zinc and selenium.
  4. Cottage cheese – Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that is low in fat and calories yet high in protein. It’s rich in calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, and various other nutrients.
  5. Milk – Milk is a good source of high quality protein, and it’s high in vitamins and minerals.

Bad sources of protein:

  1. High Processed meats – Hot dogs and other processed meats like salami, pepperoni, and sausage generally contain less protein than a piece of fresh lean meat or fish.
  2. Red meats – Eating high amounts of fatty cuts of red meat meaning beef, pork and lamb contains higher low-density lipoprotein(LDL) levels, known as “bad cholesterol,” and saturated fats than lean white meat.
  3. Low-quality protein powder – Some protein powders are loaded with added sugar, artificial sweeteners and preservatives. It can disrupt our hunger hormones as well as promote bad bacteria in our gut.
  4. Dairy products – products made from cream like ice cream, cream cheese, custard, or butter should be avoided due to the high levels of lactose, fat.

Amount of protein consumption per day (by a person):

    The Recommended Dietary Allowance(RDA) for protein is modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.








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