We need many forms of protein for the structure and repair of cells, and to form hormones and enzymes. Our bodies make proteins by combining the basic components, about 20 amino acids. Adults must obtain 8 of these amino acids from food and children 9. From these essential amino acids, our bodies can make the rest.

All 9 essential amino acids are present in any animal protein food, including eggs and milk, usually in a balance that suits our needs. This is not true of single plant protein foods, whether nuts, seeds, cereals or pulses, but a mixture of protein foods provides and ample supply.

Animal foods contain no fibre and much dairy food and meat is veryhigh in saturated fat. A key step in improving diet balance is to chose animal protein foods that are low in saturated fat, such as fish, game, poultry, lean meat and low-fat milk and cheese, and eat them only in moderate amounts. Eating more of our protein in the form of low-fat, high-fibre starchy foods and pulses lowers fat and raises fibre intake.

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