Protein in the Diet

1.      Purpose of Protein in the Body


A.      Essential to growth and maintenance of body tissues.

B.      Essential in maintenance of water balance.

C.      Essential in formation of antibodies to resist disease.

D.      Essential in formation of body secretions such as enzymes, hormones, and milk.

E.      Source of energy if intake of carbohydrates and fat is deficient.


2.      Conditions Requiring Increased Protein


A.      Rapid growth periods.

B.      Pregnancy.

C.      Lactation.

D.      Convalescence.

E.      Fever and infections.

F.       Burns.

G.      Hyperthyroidism.


3.      Foods High in Protein


A.      Eggs.

B.      Meat.

C.      Cheese.

D.      Milk.

E.      Fish.

F.       Nuts.

G.      Peanut butter.

H.      Legumes (dried peas and beans).


4.      General Suggestions


A.      Add skim milk to regular milk.

B.      Add milk powder to hot or cold cereals, scrambles eggs, soups, gravies, ground meats, and casseroles.

C.      Use milk or Half and Half instead of water.

D.      Add diced or ground meat to soups and casseroles.

E.      Add grated cheese to sauces, vegetables, soups, and casseroles.

F.       Make desserts with eggs such as sponge cake, egg custard, bread, or rice pudding.

G.      Drink instant breakfast products.

H.      Drink milkshakes with eggs.


5.      General Facts


A.      Protein can not be used efficiently in the body without other essential nutrients.

B.      High fluid intake should accompany a high protein diet.

C.      Amount of protein varies depending on lean tissue in the body.

D.      Excess protein can not be stored in the body and is converted to fat.

E.      A complete protein food is defined as having all eight essential amino acids required by the body.

F.       Incomplete protein foods (plant proteins) can be combined to supplement each other.


6.      Signs and Symptoms of Protein Deficiency


A.      Weight loss.

B.      Decreased resistance to disease.

C.      Impaired healing of wounds.

D.      Weakness and fatigue.

E.      Dry, brittle hair and nails.

F.       Mental depression.