Protein needs no introduction. You likely already know it as one of the three major macronutrients that make up your diet (the other two being fat and carbohydrates).

There are hundreds of products — from supplements to energy bars — designed to make it easy to get your protein fix. There are even entire diets based on upping your protein intake.

What Is Protein? And Why Do I Need It?

Symptoms of Protein Deficiency and Health Risks of Not Getting Enough

Protein deficiency occurs when you don’t eat enough protein. The most severe cases result in a form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor. Usually, this affects people in very poor countries that don’t have enough food to sufficiently feed the people. It rarely occurs in western society.

Symptoms of protein deficiency include:

  • Delayed growth
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Thinning hair
  • Fatigue