Protein is an essential nutrient because it’s one of the building blocks of the human body. Commonly found in animal products, protein is also available in other foods people commonly eat, such as legumes and nuts. It’s important to intake protein daily because, without an optimum amount of this nutrient, we can develop deficiencies. Dieticians recommend people consume enough protein to represent about 10-35% of their daily caloric intake to best support overall health.
Certain types of disease have a clear link to severe protein deficiency. For instance, kwashiorkor is a disease that develops because of serious protein deficiency and results in symptoms like stunted growth and cognitive impairment. Marasmus can lead to extreme weight loss and reduced muscle tissue, and even death without treatment. People who eat low-protein diets devoid of foods like beef, nuts, and fish -- often those in developing countries -- are most likely to have these diseases.
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