Amino Acid Classification

Eat The Fat Off

The Truth About Fat Burning Foods

Get Instant Access

Of the 20 amino acids that make up all proteins, only 9 are considered "essential" in our diets because they cannot be made by our bodies and must be obtained from the foods we eat.

Essential in

Essential in Our


Our Diets

Diets Under Some Circumstances

in Our Diets









Aspartic acid


Glutamic acid










*Cysteine can be synthesized from the essential amino acid methionine.

fTyrosine can be synthesized from phenylalanine when supplied in adequate amounts.

saturated fat, which increases the risk for coronary artery disease and some forms of cancer.

What if we eat too little protein? Few Americans are at risk of eating too little protein. However, individuals on severely restricted diets, those who are unable to eat, and those whose needs are increased because of illness or trauma may experience protein deficiency. To replenish the pools of essential amino acids that have been depleted, in order to make critical proteins such as enzymes and hormones, the body of a protein-deficient person begins to rob protein from muscle by digesting that protein to its constituent amino acids. Because muscle is needed for various vital functions (for example, diaphragm muscles for breathing and heart muscles for pumping our blood), the loss of large amounts of muscle protein can be fatal. Fortunately, the vast majority of people, even those who engage in regular, rigorous endurance exercise, can easily meet their need for protein by eating a balanced diet based on the Food Guide Pyramid.

The Bottom Line on Protein

Adequate protein is critical for growth, metabolism, and health, but eating more protein than we need will not build bigger muscles. Conversely, excess protein is converted to fat. Foods of animal origin are high in protein but may also be high in total and saturated fat. Lean meats and dairy products, fish, legumes, and grains are the best sources of protein.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
36 Fat Burning Potent Foods

36 Fat Burning Potent Foods

If you’re overweight, you are not a bad person. You’re simply overweight. But it’s important to lose the extra pounds so you’ll look good, feel healthier and develop a sense of pride and self-esteem. Once you’ve lost the fat, you’ll need to maintain your weight.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment