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Protein: Getting the Balance Right

Published: August 12, 2016

Lentils: a plant source protein
Lentils: a plant source protein

Protein is a major nutrient and the protein that you obtain from the foods that you consume provides your body with amino acids

These amino acids are used by your body to make hundreds of different proteins with many different functions. Functions include:

Meat, chicken, dairy products, fish, and eggs are obvious sources of protein, but many plant foods such as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein. 

It is sometimes thought that vegan and vegetarian diets do not provide a person with enough protein, especially if you are an athlete or exercise regularly.  This is not the case as, with some planning, vegan and vegetarian diets can provide you with a sufficient amount of protein to meet your body's requirements.
Another myth is that protein is a key provider of energy. Certainly advertisements for eggs, the availability of protein supplements and the promotion of high protein (and low carbohydrate) diets give that impression.
Under normal body functioning conditions protein only provides a small amount of energy. 
Many advertisements for protein supplements also give the impression that people do not get enough protein from food, especially if you are trying to build muscle. Again this is not the case for the majority of people in North America.
Protein consumption in excess of your needs usually results in the unused amino acids being converted to fat and stored, or metabolised and excreted from your body: wasted.
As with much of the nutrition information that is available there are conflicting views about the best source of protein, the right amount of protein and the best time to consume protein.  This course will provide you with reliable information about protein in relation to your protein requirements.
Topics presented in this course include:

  • An overview of protein
  • Your protein requirement
  • Your protein requirement in terms of real food
  • Fitting protein into your diet

Learn more about protein, how much you need and how to make sure you are getting enough and not too much by signing up for this course.

Related Topics

Diet  Food Choices  Protein 


Gropper, S.S., Smith, J.L. & Groff, J.L. (2005). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4thEd.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Centre for Science in the Public Interest (April 2011, March 2012, 2010, 2007)