How Do I Calculate the Protein Composition of Food?

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You can calculate the protein composition of food by reading the grams-per-serving information on the label, or you can look up the food's amino acid breakdown through the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. Find out how much protein you eat with the help of this free video on nutritional calculations.

Part of the Video Series: Nutritional Calculations
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Charlotte Lawson, a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and I'm going to help you find ways to calculate the protein composition of food. Now, first you're going to need the nutrition facts label. This can really tell how you determine how many grams of protein there are per serving of that food. Now, for instance, if you look down here at our nutrition facts label, this product here has five grams. Now protein provides us four calories per gram. So, this is five times four, just about twenty calories; only twenty calories of this two hundred and sixty calories serving come from protein. Now, if you want to get a little bit more in detailed, protein composition as far as amino acids, looking at our essential or inessential amino acids, you're really going to need nutrient database. One that I highly recommend is the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. You can easily go online and Google USDA Nutrient Data Library. Enter in the amount and type of food that you've eaten and then, this will break down very very specifically all the different kinds of proteins as well as vitamins and minerals. So, you really can get direct correlation as far as the specific protein composition. Now, keep in mind, proteins come from different sources. Our animal sources of protein really have that complete protein. We may have all the essential proteins that our body doesn't make necessarily, but we still need for metabolic and daily function. And combination of vegetables and whole grains become complimentary proteins as they may only contain certain proteins but not all of them and by combining those two foods, we can kind of make a whole well-rounded picture of those essential amino acids. But again, definitely look into the USDA Nutrient Database for very specific information on the protein composition of foods. I'm Charlotte, and eat happy.

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