Dietary proteins in humans: basic aspects and consumption in Switzerland.

Research paper by Yves Y Guigoz

Indexed on: 06 Dec '11Published on: 06 Dec '11Published in: International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. Internationale Zeitschrift fur Vitamin- und Ernahrungsforschung. Journal international de vitaminologie et de nutrition


This introductory review gives an overview on protein metabolism, and discusses protein quality, sources, and requirements as well as the results from recent studies on Swiss spontaneous protein consumption. To assess protein quality in protein mixes and foods, the "protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score" (PDCAAS) is presented as a valuable tool in addition to the biological value (BV). Considering protein intake recommendations, the lower limit recommended has been defined according to the minimal amount needed to maintain short-term nitrogen balance in healthy people with moderate activity. Evaluation of intakes in Switzerland from food consumption data is about 90 g/day of protein per person. Two-thirds of proteins consumed in Switzerland are animal proteins with high biological value [meat and meat products (28 %), milk and dairy products (28 %), fish (3 %), and eggs (3 %)] and about 1/3 of proteins are of plant origin (25 % of cereals, 3 - 4 % of vegetables). Actual spontaneous protein consumption in Switzerland by specific groups of subjects is well within the actual recommendations (10 - 20 % of energy) with only the frail elderly being at risk of not covering their requirements for protein.