Health and Nutrition

Protein

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Protein is required daily in the diet to provide the building blocks for the body’s cells and tissues, as part of important enzymes and hormones, to build and strengthen muscles and as an important component of a strong immune system.

Protein is made up of components called amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that the body requires in order to build all of the proteins required for health and normal functioning of the body.  Of these, there are 9 that have to be provided by the diet and these are called the ‘essential’ or ‘indispensable’ amino acids.

The recommended dietary intake (RDI) for protein varies depending on age and gender.  The following table highlights the recommendations:

Children 1-3 years

14grams

Children 4-8 years

20grams

Boys 9-13 years

40grams

Girls 9-13 years

35grams

Boys 14-18 years

65grams

Girls 14-18 years

45grams

 

Men 19-70 years

 

64grams

Women 19-70 years

46grams

Men 70+ years

81grams

Women 70+ years

57grams

 

Sources of protein in the diet are extensive and include meat products, dairy, eggs, nuts, legumes and soy products. While animal sources of protein provide a good balance of essential amino acids, most plant sources do not.

You may be interested to know that the protein found in eggs is considered to be of the highest quality, providing the right amount and balance of amino acids to match human requirements. A serve of eggs* provides an average of 12.7grams of protein, representing a quarter of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for adults and a third of the RDI for children.  

 

While the majority of Australians meet the current recommended intakes for protein, there are certain groups within the population that may benefit from increased intakes or higher quality sources, including ovo-vegetarians, children and adolescents, elderly people, those participating in resistance training and those managing their weight.

Due to their significant contribution to nutrient intakes, eggs can be a valuable inclusion in a healthy diet and contribute significant amounts of high quality protein to assist in meeting daily requirements.

* A serve of eggs equals to two large eggs.