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A common misconception about proteins is that they give us energy. This is not necessarily the case. Proteins are actually our bodies' least preferred energy source. But this does not mean it is not extremely important to consume adequate protein!
Proteins are made up of amino acids. Our bodies consume and use both essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are ones that our bodies are not capable of making on our own. This means we must†consume these amino acids from the foods that we eat. The best sources of these essential amino acids are eggs, milk, fish, and meat. These are high quality sources of protein. Other sources such as soy, cheese, grains, nuts, and seeds do contain protein but not as many essential amino acids.
Proteins are needed for our bodies to function; they are responsible for forming tissues, hormones, enzymes, proteins in the body, and so much more. They are the structure of our bodies, therefore it is very important to make sure we are consuming adequate amounts of quality proteins.
Best sources of protein:
- Lean meats: chicken, turkey, and occasional red meat
- Eggs and egg whites
Better†sources of protein:
- Greek yogurt
- Whey protein
Good sources of protein:
- Nuts and seeds (these should count more as a fat source)
- Natural soy products (i.e. tofu, edamame, etc.)