Top 10 Foods Highest in Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid involved in creating DNA, brain signaling molecules such as dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline), and the skin pigment melanin. Phenylalanine can also be used by the body to make the amino acid tyrosine. Further, phenylalanine is used as an ingredient in artificial sweeteners containing aspartame, and may have negative health effects if consumed in high amounts. People suffering from Phenylketonuria should almost certainly limit their intake of phenylalanine. High phenylalanine foods include soybeans, cheese, nuts, seeds, beef, lamb, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and whole grains. The recommended daily intake for phenylalanine and tyrosine is 25mg per kilogram of body weight, or 11mg per pound. Assuming a person gets half their requirement from each amino acid, a person can then consume 12.5mg per kg or 5.5mg per pound. As such, a person weighting 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume around 875mg of phenylalanine per day, and this is the amount used to calculate the recommended daily intake. If you only plan to consume phenylalanine, and no tyrosine, you should double the RDIs. Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in phenylalanine, for more high phenylalanine foods see the extended list of phenylalanine rich foods.

#1: Soy Foods (Roasted Soybeans)
Phenylalanine 100g Per cup (93g)Per ounce (28g)
2066mg (236% RDI)1921mg (220% RDI)578mg (66% RDI)
Other Soy Foods High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per ounce): Koyadofu (Dried, Frozen Tofu) (75%), Soy Flour (58%), Soy Chips (44%), Tempeh (29%), Sprouted Soybeans, stir-fried (28%), Fried Tofu (27%), Boiled Soybeans (18%) and Silken Tofu (14%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#2: Cheese (Parmesan)
Phenylalanine 100g Per ounce (28g)Per cubic inch (10g)
1922mg (220% RDI)538mg (61% RDI)192mg (22% RDI)
Other Cheeses High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per ounce): Gruyere (56%), Swiss (53%), Edam (46%), Monterey (41%), Reduced-Fat Mozzarella & Colby (40%), Hard Goat's Cheese (39%), and Cottage Cheese (22%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#3: Seeds & Nuts (Pumpkin Seeds)
Phenylalanine 100g Per cup (129g)Per ounce (28g)
1733mg (198% RDI)2236mg (256% RDI)485mg (55% RDI)
Other Seeds & Nuts High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per ounce): Watermelon Seeds (65%), Peanuts (39%), Sunflower Seeds (38%), Almonds (36%), Pistachio Nuts (35%), Chia Seeds (32%), Flaxseeds (31%), Sesame Seeds (30%), and Cashew Nuts (25%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#4: Lean Beef & Lamb (Roast Beef)
Phenylalanine 100g Per piece (296g)Per 3oz (85g)
1464mg (167% RDI)4333mg (495% RDI)1244mg (142% RDI)
Other Cuts of Beef & Lamb High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Lamb Shoulder & Beef Sirloin (141%), Australian & New Zealand Lamb (135%), Beef Ribs (134%), Stewing Lamb & Beef Rib Eye Steak (133%), Beef Pot Roast (132%), and Beef Tenderloin (129%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#5: Chicken & Turkey (Chicken Breast, cooked)
Phenylalanine 100g Per piece (181g)Per 3oz (85g)
1294mg (148% RDI)2342mg (268% RDI)1100mg (126% RDI)
Other Cuts of Chicken & Turkey High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Stewing Chicken (128%), Fat-Free Ground Turkey (120%), Chicken Wings (117%), Turkey Breast (110%), Chicken Thighs (109%), Chicken Drumsticks & Turkey Leg Meat (106%), and Turkey Wings (103%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#6: Lean Pork (Chops, cooked)
Phenylalanine 100g Per chop (180g)Per 3oz (85g)
1288mg (147% RDI)2318mg (265% RDI)1095mg (125% RDI)
Other Cuts of Pork High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Bacon (157%), Low Fat Ground Pork (131%), Pork Sirloin (123%), Pork Tenderloin & Pork Ribs (118%), Ham (114%), Loin of Pork (111%), and Pork Shoulder (108%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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#7: Fish & Seafood (Tuna, cooked)
Phenylalanine 100g Per 1/2 fillet (154g)Per 3oz (85g)
1101mg (126% RDI)1696mg (194% RDI)936mg (107% RDI)
Other Fish & Seafood High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per 3oz, cooked): Lobster (108%), Salmon (101%), Snapper (100%), Mackerel (99%), Crab (97%), Halibut (96%), Haddock (88%), and Cod (71%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#8: Eggs & Dairy (Eggs)
Phenylalanine 100g Per cup (243g)Per egg (50g)
680mg (78% RDI)1652mg (189% RDI)340mg (39% RDI)
Other Dairy Foods High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per cup): Fat-free Natural Yogurt (88%), Natural Yogurt (53%), Skimmed Milk (49%), Semi-Skimmed Milk (48%), Buttermilk (47%), Whole Milk (45%), and Sour Cream (35%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#9: Beans & Lentils (Pinto Beans, cooked)
Phenylalanine 100g Per cup (171g)Per tablespoon (11g)
531mg (61% RDI)908mg (104% RDI)58mg (7% RDI)
Other Beans & Lentils High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per cup, cooked): White Beans (108%), Adzuki Beans (105%), Kidney Beans (103%), Cranberry (Roman) Beans (102%), Lentils (101%), Mung Beans (98%), Black Beans (94%), and Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) (89%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



#10: Wholegrains (Kamut, cooked)
Phenylalanine 100g Per cup (172g)Per 1/2 cup (86g)
300mg (34% RDI)516mg (59% RDI)258mg (30% RDI)
Other Wholegrains High in Phenylalanine (%RDI per cup, cooked): Teff (59%), Quinoa (39%), Wild Rice & Millet (37%), Cous Cous (33%), Bulgur & Brown Rice (30%), Buckwheat Groats (25%), and Pearled Barley (23%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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Spirulina 2777mg (317% RDI) per 100 gram serving 3110mg (355% RDI) per cup (112 grams) 194mg (22% RDI) per tablespoon (7 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Spirulina
Dried Fish (Cod) 2452mg (280% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1962mg (224% RDI) per piece (80 grams) 2084mg (238% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Fish
Baker's Yeast 1750mg (200% RDI) per 100 gram serving 210mg (24% RDI) per tablespoon (12 grams) 70mg (8% RDI) per teaspoon (4 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Baker's Yeast
Gelatin 1737mg (199% RDI) per 100 gram serving 486mg (56% RDI) per ounce (28 grams) 122mg (14% RDI) per tablespoon (7 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Gelatin
Dried Herbs & Spices (Parsley) 1712mg (196% RDI) per 100 gram serving 34mg (4% RDI) per tablespoon (2 grams) 17mg (2% RDI) per teaspoon (1 gram) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Herbs & Spices
Veal (Cooked) 1481mg (169% RDI) per 100 gram serving 3954mg (452% RDI) per piece (267 grams) 1259mg (144% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Veal
Liver (Lamb's, cooked) 1365mg (156% RDI) per 100 gram serving 4586mg (524% RDI) per liver (336 grams) 1160mg (133% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Liver
Game Meats (Venison, cooked) 1356mg (155% RDI) per 100 gram serving 3973mg (454% RDI) per roast (293 grams) 1153mg (132% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Game
Goose & Duck (Goose, cooked) 1214mg (139% RDI) per 100 gram serving 7175mg (820% RDI) per 1/2 goose (591 grams) 1736mg (198% RDI) per unit (143 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Goose & Duck
Aspartame (Equal) 1186mg (136% RDI) per 100 gram serving 47mg (5% RDI) per teaspoon (4 grams) 12mg (1% RDI) per packet (1 gram) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Aspartame
Canned Fish (Tuna) 1137mg (130% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1944mg (222% RDI) per can (171 grams) 966mg (110% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned Fish
Caviar 1071mg (122% RDI) per 100 gram serving 300mg (34% RDI) per ounce (28 grams) 171mg (20% RDI) per tablespoon (16 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Caviar
Shiitake Mushrooms 486mg (56% RDI) per 100 gram serving 73mg (8% RDI) per 4 mushrooms (15 grams) 19mg (2% RDI) per mushroom (4 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Shiitake Mushrooms
Sun Dried Tomatoes 366mg (42% RDI) per 100 gram serving 198mg (23% RDI) per cup (54 grams) 7mg (1% RDI) per piece (2 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sun Dried Tomatoes
Protein Powder (Soy Based) 2958mg (338% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1331mg (152% RDI) per scoop (45 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Protein Powder
Whelks (Cooked) 1648mg (188% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1401mg (160% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whelks
Cuttlefish (Cooked) 1164mg (133% RDI) per 100 gram serving 989mg (113% RDI) per 3oz (85 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cuttlefish
Wheat Germ & Wheat Bran (Wheat Germ) 928mg (106% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1067mg (122% RDI) per cup (115 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Wheat Germ & Wheat Bran
Oats & Oat Bran 895mg (102% RDI) per 100 gram serving 1396mg (160% RDI) per cup (156 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Oats & Oat Bran
Sprouted Beans, Lentils & Peas (Lentils) 442mg (51% RDI) per 100 gram serving 340mg (39% RDI) per cup (77 grams) Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sprouted Beans, Lentils & Peas

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27.