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Leucine Content of Foods

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Food NameLeucineProteinScore
Butter, salted830.85178
Butter, whipped, with salt830.85178
Butter oil, anhydrous270.28175
Cheese, blue191921.40163
Cheese, brick224423.24176
Cheese, brie192920.75169
Cheese, camembert184019.80169
Cheese, caraway241225.18174
Cheese, cheddar238524.90174
Cheese, cheshire223823.37174
Cheese, colby227523.76174
Cheese, cottage, creamed, large or small curd111611.12182
Cheese, cottage, creamed, with fruit109110.69186
Cheese, cottage, nonfat, uncreamed, dry, large or small curd103710.34182
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Usage Note

  • Amino acid content is in milligrams, protein value in grams, and are measured per 100g of food weight.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by column's content.
  • Amino-Acid Score:
    • The score is the ratio of the amino acid in the food's protein over the same amino acid in the reference protein expressed in percentage.
    • This score is for determining the limiting amino acid in a food item. A score below 100 indicates that a food's protein is incomplete. However, a score higher than 100 for a particular amino acid does not necessarily mean that a food's protein is complete. Scores of other essential amino acids of the food also have to be 100 or higher for its protein to be considered complete.
    • The limiting amino acid of a food is defined as the essential amino acid present in the lowest amount compared to a reference protein or to human requirements.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. When proteins are digested, amino acids are left. The human body requires a number of amino acids to grow and breakdown food.

Amino acids are classified into two groups: essential and nonessential amino acids.

  • Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body and must be supplied by food. These include leucine, lysine, tryptophan, etc. Sources of essential amino acids include milk, cheese, eggs, certain meats, vegetables, nuts, and grains.
  • Nonessential amino acids can be made by the body from the essential amino acids or normal breakdown of proteins. They include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and glycine, etc.

Complete Protein

A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans or other animals. Some incomplete protein sources may contain all essential amino acids, but a complete protein contains them in correct proportions for supporting biological functions in the human body.

Leucine

Leucine is an essential amino acid in humans and other mammals. As an essential amino acid, leucine can't be synthesized by animals. Consequently, it must be ingested, usually as a component of proteins. In plants and microorganisms, leucine is synthesized from pyruvic acid by a series of enzymes.

Leucine is used in the liver, adipose tissue, and muscle tissue. In adipose and muscle tissue, leucine is used in the formation of sterols, and the combined usage of leucine in these two tissues is seven times greater than its use in the liver.

Leucine is the only dietary amino acid that has the capacity to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. As a dietary supplement, leucine has been found to slow the degradation of muscle tissue by increasing the synthesis of muscle proteins in aged rats.

While once seen as an important part of the three branch chained amino acids in sports supplements, leucine has since earned more attention on its own as a catalyst for muscle growth and muscular insurance. Supplement companies once marketed the "ideal" 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, iso-leucine and valine; but with evidence that leucine is the most important amino acid for muscle building, it has become much more popular as the primary ingredient in dietary supplements.

Our Protein-Related Online Databases

See our most complete directory of Protein-Related Online Databases with nutrient databases from the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, etc.

Leucine Food Sources

List of 120 foods highest in leucine. Leucine content is in grams per 100 grams of food weight.



Foods Rich in Leucine Leucine (g)

Soy protein isolate, PROTEIN TECHNOLOGIES INTERNATIONAL, SUPRO 7.200

Egg, white, dried, powder, glucose reduced 7.172

Soy protein isolate, PROTEIN TECHNOLOGIES INTERNATIONAL, ProPlus 7.100

Egg, white, dried 6.838

Soy protein isolate, potassium type 6.783

Soy protein isolate 6.783

Soy protein isolate, potassium type, crude protein basis 6.783

Egg, white, dried, flakes, glucose reduced 6.695

Seal, bearded (Oogruk), meat, dried (Alaska Native) 6.386

Whale, beluga, meat, dried (Alaska Native) 5.778

Fish, cod, Atlantic, dried and salted 5.106

Seaweed, spirulina, dried 4.947

Soy protein concentrate, crude protein basis (N x 6.25), produced by acid wash 4.917

Soy protein concentrate, produced by alcohol extraction 4.917

Soy protein concentrate, produced by acid wash 4.917

Seal, bearded (Oogruk), meat, partially dried (Alaska Native) 4.822

Egg, whole, dried, stabilized, glucose reduced 4.231

Fish, whitefish, dried (Alaska Native) 4.110

Egg, whole, dried 4.046

Cheese, parmesan, shredded 4.013

Seeds, sesame flour, low-fat 3.841

Soy flour, defatted, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 3.828

Soy flour, defatted 3.828

Smelt, dried (Alaska Native) 3.820

Mollusks, whelk, unspecified, cooked, moist heat 3.807

Soy flour, low-fat, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 3.789

Cheese, parmesan, grated 3.718

Soy meal, defatted, raw 3.660

Soy meal, defatted, raw, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 3.660


Foods Rich in Leucine Leucine (g)

Tofu, dried-frozen (koyadofu) 3.644

Tofu, dried-frozen (koyadofu), prepared with calcium sulfate 3.644

Milk, dry, nonfat, regular, without added vitamin A and vitamin D 3.542

Milk, dry, nonfat, regular, with added vitamin A and vitamin D 3.542

Seeds, sunflower seed flour, partially defatted 3.500

Milk, dry, nonfat, calcium reduced 3.478

Cheese, parmesan, hard 3.452

Milk, dry, nonfat, instant, with added vitamin A and vitamin D 3.438

Milk, dry, nonfat, instant, without added vitamin A and vitamin D 3.438

Seeds, cottonseed flour, low fat (glandless) 3.404

Peanut flour, defatted 3.384

Milk, buttermilk, dried 3.360

Seeds, cottonseed meal, partially defatted (glandless) 3.354

Snacks, pork skins, plain 3.322

Egg Mix, USDA Commodity 3.312

Soybeans, mature seeds, raw 3.309

Meat extender 3.263

Soybeans, mature seeds, dry roasted 3.223

Snacks, pork skins, barbecue-flavor 3.221

Beef, loin, top sirloin filet, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, grilled 3.165

Beef, plate steak, boneless, inside skirt, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, grilled 3.151

Cheese, gruyere 3.102

Seeds, sesame flour, partially defatted 3.088

Cheese, romano 3.071

Beef, top loin filet, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, grilled 3.069

Beef, loin, top sirloin petite roast, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, 3.018

Beef, rib, back ribs, bone-in, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 3.010

Egg, yolk, dried 3.009

Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, microwaved 3.008

Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, pan-fried 2.985

Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, broiled, pan-fried or roasted 2.985


Foods High in Leucine Leucine (g)

Cheese, parmesan, dry grated, reduced fat 2.983

Beef, rib eye steak, boneless, lip-on, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, grilled 2.979

Beef, rib eye steak, boneless, lip off, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, grilled 2.979

Cheese, swiss 2.959

Beef, rib eye roast, boneless, lip-on, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, roasted 2.953

Beef, plate steak, boneless, outside skirt, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, grilled 2.945

Beef, top loin petite roast, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, roasted 2.929

Veal, leg (top round), separable lean only, cooked, braised 2.922

Leavening agents, yeast, baker's, active dry 2.920

Beef, ribeye petite roast, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, roasted 2.917

Beef, loin, top sirloin cap steak, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, 2.916

Game meat, bison, chuck, shoulder clod, separable lean only, 3-5 lb roast, cooked, braised 2.898

Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, broiled, pan-fried or roasted, reduced sodium 2.884

Veal, leg (top round), separable lean and fat, cooked, braised 2.878

Beef, loin, top sirloin filet, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, grilled 2.876

Beef, rib eye steak, bone-in, lip-on, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, grilled 2.875

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 2.873

Soybeans, mature seeds, roasted, salted 2.868

Soybeans, mature seeds, roasted, no salt added 2.868

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.855

Beef, round, top round, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 2.855

Beef, ribeye filet, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, grilled 2.847

Veal, shoulder, arm, separable lean only, cooked, braised 2.844

Soy flour, full-fat, roasted 2.834

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 2.834

Soy flour, full-fat, roasted, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 2.834

Beef, plate steak, boneless, inside skirt, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, 2.821

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, braised 2.815

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.815

Soy flour, full-fat, raw 2.812

Soy flour, full-fat, raw, crude protein basis (N x 6.25) 2.812


Foods High in Leucine Leucine (g)

Seeds, cottonseed flour, partially defatted (glandless) 2.798

Spices, parsley, dried 2.794

Pork, cured, bacon, cooked, baked 2.782

Veal, cubed for stew (leg and shoulder), separable lean only, cooked, braised 2.781

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.779

Beef, rib eye roast, bone-in, lip-on, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, roasted 2.779

Beef, chuck, mock tender steak, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, 2.777

Lamb, domestic, shoulder, arm, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/4" fat, choice, cooked, braised 2.764

Mutton, cooked, roasted (Navajo) 2.764

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, braised 2.762

Beef, top loin filet, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, grilled 2.759

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 2.757

Beef, chuck, mock tender steak, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, cooked, 2.757

braised

Beef, chuck, arm pot roast, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.753

Game meat, beaver, cooked, roasted 2.749

Lupins, mature seeds, raw 2.743

Veal, rib, separable lean only, cooked, braised 2.741

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.741

Beef, loin, top sirloin petite roast, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, all grades, 2.739

cooked, roasted

Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat only, cooked, rotisserie, original seasoning 2.736

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.736

Beef, round, top round, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8" fat, select, cooked, braised 2.735

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, all grades, cooked, braised 2.732

Seal, bearded (Oogruk), meat, dried, in oil (Alaska Native) 2.730

Game meat, deer, shoulder clod, separable lean only, 3-5 lb roast, cooked, braised 2.729

Beef, chuck, mock tender steak, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, select, cooked, 2.728

Beef, loin, top sirloin filet, boneless, separable lean only, trimmed to 0" fat, choice, cooked, grilled 2.726

Elk, free range, roast, eye of round, cooked (Shoshone Bannock) 2.724

Beef, round, bottom round, steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, braised 2.722

Leucine: Relief for the Long-Distance Runner

Long-distance runners and others performing strenuous exercises have long known that they should eat carbohydrates after workouts to replace the energy stores they have exhausted. Now a report in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating meat, dairy products and protein bars containing the amino acid leucine after intense exercise also significantly cuts down on the time muscles need to recover...

During exercise, some of the protein that makes up muscles is broken down, preventing them from working fully. But leucine, an amino acid, or protein component, appears to spark the first step in creating, or synthesizing, protein, leading to muscle renewal. ''Our research shows that consuming food with leucine after exercising starts the recovery process right away,'' said Dr. Donald K. Layman, an exercise scientist at the University of Illinois. ''The quicker an exerciser recovers, the sooner he or she can operate at peak capacity. When you are at less than full recovery, you give a less than full performance,'' Dr. Layman said.

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