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Protein consists of 23 amino acids, most of which we manufacture in the body, but 8 of which (9 in children)we obtain from our food. Complete protein foods contain all these amino acids; there are also 3 groups of Incomplete protein foods, items from which can be combined in order to make complete protein.

Protein Function

Proteins are the basic building blocks of all body tissues, so they and their constituent amino acids are essential for growth and repair.

They are particularly important, therefore, in the diet of babies and children. Antibodies, enzymes, and hormones are proteins, too, so protection against infection, body metabolism, and coordination of tissue function depend upon a full and regular supply of all 23 amino acids.

Extra protein is needed during pregnancy and breastfeeding, after illness and for those who do a heavy manual work or heavy exercise.

The body cannot store excess protein.