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What is the role of dietary protein in the body?

Manuel Villacorta
Nutrition & Dietetics
Most Americans get plenty of protein, which is essential for growth, tissue repair, and immune function. Protein also preserves lean muscle mass and helps make essential hormones and enzymes, as well as energy, when carbs aren't available. Proteins are found in meats and vegetarian meats.
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Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Proteins play an important role in our body. The most well-known is their role in building lean body mass (muscle), but many proteins are also enzymes which mean they are messengers in cellular communication that signal metabolism and immune responses among other core functions. When consumed, your body goes to work breaking down proteins into their amino acids, which then get absorbed and transported by the blood to cells for use. The mere act of breaking down protein burns calories and keeps your blood sugar stabilized. Amino acids can then be converted to glucose and used as energy, or they can form new protein molecules needed by the body.
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Protein is one of three major sources of calories in the diet. It provides the body with material for building blood cells, body tissue, hormones, muscle, and other important substances. It is found in meats, eggs, milk, beans, legumes, vegetables, starches, and nuts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.