Guide to meat, fish and protein
Food that contains protein
This food group consists foods that are high in protein such as fish (oily, such as kippers, herrings, sardines, mackerel, salmon and trout; and white, such as cod, haddock and pollock), red meat (such as lamb, pork, beef) and poultry (such as chicken and turkey). It also includes alternatives such as pulses (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas etc.) nuts and tofu for vegetarians.
This food group provides protein and it should make up about 15 per cent of the diet. This means that we should be eating high in protein foods (a portion is about 110g (4oz) of red meat, 170g (6oz) of poultry and fish) twice a day.
Protein consists of ‘building blocks’ called amino acids. Once protein has been eaten and digested, it is used in the body as a major component of every human cell. It is found in muscles, bones, hair and forms part of hormones and other essential substances.
A lack of protein in the diet means that the body uses up its own stores in the muscles. This can happen in some low calorie, weight-reducing diets. When more protein is consumed than is needed it is used as a source of calories, therefore it can lead to weight gain.