Classes of Nutrients and Meat Products Protein

Proteins comprise the structural unit of all muscle cells and connective tissue. As such, meat and meat products (muscle foods) are major protein sources. Furthermore, muscle foods, as a group, are excellent sources of high-quality protein that supplies all the essential amino acids in desirable proportions for human consumption. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and those provided by meat match or exceed the profile required by humans.

The protein content of most muscle foods, on a wet basis, is between 15 and 35%. This percentage will change due to the moisture and lipid content of the specific product. On a raw weight basis as purchased at a store, the protein content is generally less than 20%. However, people do not eat muscle foods raw, and visible fat in red meat products and skin in poultry products are usually trimmed away. Therefore, muscle foods, as consumed, have a much higher protein content, in the range of 30%.

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