I don’t know how to tell what amino acids I get from what I eat.

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I exercise frequently, so I try to eat a diet rich in amino acids. Unfortunately, I don’t really know how to tell what amino acids (or how much of them) I get from what I eat. Since food labels don’t give us this information, is there another way to find out?

First, you need to write down everything you eat. Then your choices are to either send your food records to a Registered Dietitian who could analyze the amino acid content in the foods you eat or buy a nutrition analysis software program that has amino acid content of foods in their database.

A dietitian’s report could include the levels of 9 essential amino acids in your foods including histidine, which is essentially only for children. Their report also graphs your food plus any amino acid supplements you may take so you can see the combined effect. A dietitian could also include the amounts of non-essential amino acids you eat. Remember that non-essential amino acids are still necessary to the body, but that your body can manufacture non-essential amino acids from essential amino acids eaten in food.

Your other choice is a nutrition software package. Look for software that contains a database of amino acid content in food. There are very few nutrition software packages that contain amino acid food values though. Those that do are designed for nutrition professionals and are usually too expensive for consumers.