Proteins are one of the basic nutrients, along with carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. They can be broken down and used as a source of emergency energy if carbohydrates or fats cannot meet immediate needs. The body does not use protein from food directly: after ingestion, enzymes in the digestive system break protein into smaller peptide chains and eventually into separate amino acids. These smaller constituents then go into the bloodstream, from whence they are transported to the cells. The cells incorporate the amino acids and begin building proteins from them.

The human body is capable of manufacturing 12 of the 20 amino acids it needs, but it must obtain the other eight known as essential amino acids from the diet. Most forms of animal protein, except for gelatin (made from animal bones), contain the essential amino acids, but plant proteins do not. Thus, the nonmeat varieties of protein are incomplete, and a vegetarian who does not supplement his or her diet might be in danger of not obtaining all the necessary amino acids.

RDA Protein

For a person who eats meat, it would be extremely difficult not to get enough protein. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), protein should account for 10% of total calories in the diet, and since protein contains 4 calories per 0.035 oz. (1 g), that would be about 1.76 oz. (50 g) in a diet consisting of 2,000 calories a day. A pound (0.454 kg) of steak or pork supplies about twice this much, and though very few people sit down to a meal and eat a pound of meat, it is easy to see how a meat eater would consume enough protein in a day.

For a vegetarian, meeting the protein needs may be a bit more tricky, but it can be done. By combining legumes or beans and grains, it is possible to obtain a complete protein: hence, the longstanding popularity, with meat eaters as well as vegetarians, of such combinations as beans and rice or peas and cornbread. Other excellent vegetarian combos include black beans and corn, for a Latin American touch, or the eastern Asian combination of rice and tofu, protein derived from soybeans.
Good sources of Protein are:
We have sorted our nutrition database by high protein foods. So you can easily see how much is contained in different foods. We also have a list of low protein foods. You can also search through our database using the search box below or browse the Protein content by food category.

Protein and Nutritional Values - Top 221 Foods

Vegetables

leeks, turnip greens, swiss chard, mustard greens, yams, fennel, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, green beans, brussel sprouts, cabbage, sweet potato, a potato, carrots, lettuce, iceberg lettuce, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, celery, salad, mushrooms, potatoes, baked potato, onions, asparagus, pumpkin, radishes, taro, turnips, okra, rhubarb, sweet corn, cowpeas, seaweed, broadbeans

Fruits

a banana, an apple, an orange, a peach, apricots, butternut squash, lemon, grapes, watermelon, strawberries, green grapes, kiwi, blueberries, zucchini, figs, honeydew, eggplant, dates, olives, a pear, coconut, cranberries, pomegranate, a mango, pineapple, cherries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tangerine, nectarines, raisins, plums, tomatoes, chili peppers, chilis, peppers, avocado, cucumber, summer squash, winter squash, papaya, prunes, fruit salad, persimmons

Seafood

salmon, cod, sardines, shrimp, tuna, fish, tuna salad, halibut, sea bass, scallops, crab, lobster, oysters, herring, haddock, halibut, mackerel, pike, pollock, trout

Drinks

coffee, apple juice, cranberry juice, red wine, skim milk, white wine, wine, milk, beer, alcohol, coke, soy milk, whole milk, prune juice, tea, a shake, coconut milk, orange juice, energy drinks, soft drinks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, lemonade

Nuts and Seeds

chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, nuts, almonds, sesame seeds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, chestnuts, coconut meat, ginkgo nuts, mixed nuts, macadamia nuts

Beans and Lentils

soybeans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, beets, beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans

Meat

beef, steak, deer, bacon, chicken, fried chicken, turkey, turkey breast, chicken breast, meatloaf, ham, lamb, sausages, chicken light meat, chicken dark meat, chicken leg, fried chicken, roasted chicken, chicken thigh, chicken wings, duck, goose, pheasant, quail, pigeon, turkey light meat, turkey dark meat, turkey breast, turkey leg, turkey wing, emu, ostrich, frankfurter, pate, pork sausage, salami, bratwurst, pork loin, ground pork, lamb shank, veal, bison, beef liver, beef ribs

Fast Foods

french fries, pizza, a slice of pizza, hot dog, hamburger, a cheeseburger, a big mac

Dairy and Cheese

ricotta, yogurt, cottage cheese, an egg, egg whites, goats cheese, cheddar, cheddar cheese, cheese, hard boiled egg, feta cheese, mozzarella, low fat yogurt

Bread, Rice, Grains and Pasta

rye, millet, flaxseed, barley, buckwheat, whole wheat bread, a bagel, white bread, bread, quinoa, corn, spaghetti, rice, pasta, brown rice, white rice, cooked egg, mexican cheese, fruit yogurt

Spreads, Sauces and Herbs

hummus, mayonnaise, butter, peanut butter, soy sauce, thyme, basil, rosemary, pepper, coriander, dill, parsley, spices, chili sauce

Sweets, Desserts and Snacks

popcorn, chips, nachos, a granola bar, saltine crackers, cheesecake, jello, ice cream, doughnuts, chocolate, puddings, frozen yogurt, a snickers bar, croissants, danish pastry, english muffins, blueberry muffins, pie, pop tarts, coffeecake, crackers, potato chips, rice cakes, tortilla chips, fudge, puddings, syrups, dark chocolate, sundae, pretzels, pop tarts

Breakfast Cereal

granola, cheerios, oatmeal, kelloggs cereals, general mills cereals

Miscellaneous

spirulina, honey, sugar, brown sugar, tofu, olive oil, garlic, tempeh, oats, salad dressing, tomato soup, mushroom soup, chicken soup, vegetable soup, infant formula, cooking oil, shortening, fish oil, soybean oil, soy protein, gravy, raisins, currants, balsam pear, succotash, macaroni, egg noodles, japanese noodles, macaroni and cheese, burrito



Search for Protein content in Food

  enter food  

Protein in foods - by food category

Baby Food      Baked Products
Beef Products    Breakfast Cereals
Cereal Grains and Pasta    Dairy Products
Drinks    Ethnic Foods
Fast Foods    Fats and Oils
Fish    Fruits
Lamb, Veal, and Game Products    Legumes and Legume Products
Meals, Entrees, and Sidedishes    Nuts
Pork    Poultry Products
Sausages and Luncheon Meats    Snacks
Soups    Spices and Herbs
Sweets    Vegetables
Cakes    Fruit Juices
Soy Products      Sauces
Shellfish      Candy
Spreads      Soda
Dried Fruits      Soups




Nutrition Facts

calories, fat, carbohydrate, high protein foods, high fiber foods, low carb foods, calcium, iron, magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, chloride, potassium, sodium, fluoride, iodine, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins and minerals, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, biotin (vitamin B7), Folic Acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B12, vitamin B13, vitamin B15, vitamin B17, vitamin K, folic acid, tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, cysteine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, valine, arginine, histidine, alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, proline, serine, cholesterol, essential fatty acids, trans fat, saturated fat, recommended daily allowance