About This Chapter
Protein in Nutrition - Chapter Summary
This comprehensive overview of protein in nutrition can help you better understand various aspects of this nutrient, including its importance in the functioning of the human body. Lessons also examine protein sources, deficiencies and differences between proteins originating from plants and animals. Upon completion of this chapter, you will have the knowledge to:
- Explain how amino acids form proteins
- Differentiate between essential and nonessential amino acids
- Identify types of protein quality and completeness
- Describe the primary functions of protein in the body
- Calculate the recommended protein intake for adults, and list food sources of proteins
- Provide details about the concept of protein turnover
- Discuss health effects related to protein-energy malnutrition
- List differences between plant and animal proteins, and develop vegetarian diets that include protein
Feel free to review the lessons in this chapter in any sequence that suits your current and desired knowledge of protein in nutrition. Access them anytime, day or night, from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Lessons are available as both videos and full transcripts, enabling you to review this chapter in the format that best suits your learning style. With each lesson is a short quiz designed to assess your knowledge of concepts covered. If you need additional information about any lesson topic, be sure to use the Dashboard to submit your questions to our experts.
1. How Amino Acids Form Protein
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Learn about the basic structure of an amino acid and how the molecules bond together through peptide bonds using a process called a dehydration synthesis reaction.
2. Essential & Nonessential Amino Acids: Difference & Roles
The proteins in your body are made up of 20 amino acids. Your body can synthesize the nonessential amino acids, but the remaining amino acids need to come from your diet, making them essential amino acids. Learn about this difference and their roles.
3. Protein Quality & Completeness: Types & Examples
Protein quality is a measure of how good a food is at providing the essential amino acids. See examples of high and low-quality proteins in this lesson, and learn the difference between complete, incomplete and complementary proteins.
4. Primary Functions of Protein in the Body
Protein is a vital molecule that carries out many functions in your body. Learn how proteins provide structure, regulate body processes, transport materials throughout your body, help your immune system and act as a source of energy.
5. Proteins: Food Sources & Recommended Intakes
Do you know which foods provide the best source for protein? Learn about both animal-based and plant-based foods that contain protein in this lesson. It will also show you how much protein you should consume each day to stay healthy and avoid disease.
6. Protein Turnover & Balance
Protein breaks down into amino acids, which can be reassembled into new proteins. The balance between protein breakdown and buildup is known as protein turnover. Learn about protein turnover, the amino acid pool and nitrogen balance in the body in this lesson.
7. Health Effects Associated with Proteins
If a diet is deficient in protein, it can lead to a type of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), such as kwashiorkor or marasmus. If a diet is too high in protein, it can lead to dehydration or increase the risk of heart disease or cancer. Learn about all of this and more in this lesson.
8. How Vegetarian Diets Include Protein: Plant vs. Animal Proteins
Most plant-based foods only offer incomplete proteins, meaning they do not contain all of the needed amino acids. Animal products, on the other hand, are a good source of complete proteins, but vegetarian diets limit these foods. Learn how vegetarians can meet their protein needs in this lesson.
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