My Tropicana Slim

Your Guide to Healthy Lifestyle

What is protein?

What is Protein?

Protein is the major components of the body. It is part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies, such as hair, muscle, eye etc. These body proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced when damaged.

The protein from foods we eat is digested into a smaller unit called as amino acids. These amino acids are later used to replace the proteins in our bodies. There are two types of amino acid:

  • Essential amino acid: amino acid that the body CANNOT synthesize in sufficient amount, and thus must be supplied by the diet.
  • Non-essential amino acid:  amino acid that body can synthesize for itself

What are the sources of protein foods?

Protein in the diet derived from two sources, namely animal protein and plant protein. Most animal proteins contain all of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. However, plant protein may be low in one or more essential amino acids.In general, plant protein is of lower quality than animal protein. So, for vegetarians who avoid all animal protein (include milk & egg), they should balance up the essential amino acid by combining the different plant protein throughout the day.


What are the functions of protein?

  • to build new cells and tissue during growth periods, (infancy, childhood, adolescents and pregnancy)
  • function as building blocks for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
  • to make enzymes, hormones and antibody.
  • provide energy to the body (although it is not the main energy sources). Excess protein in body will be stored as body fat.

Tips to choose protein sources wisely

  1. Choose lean cuts of meat and trim away any visible fat
  2. Remove the skin of the poultry.
  3. Choose low-fat or fat-free products milk / yogurt/ cheese.
  4. Replace part of the animal protein with plant protein.
  5. To consume fishes rich in omega 3 fatty acid such as salmon & tuna twice a week.
  6. Save your money and don’t but any supplement unless when necessary, such as excessive protein loss during illness or injury and inadequate protein intakes directly from diet.

Guest Columnist
Lai Huey Qin
B. Sc Dietetics, UPM


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This entry was posted on March 13, 2013 by .
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