Fish are one of the main sources of animal protein around the world.
While much of the protein in the American diet comes from beef and pork, this isn't necessarily the case around the world. People in some countries eat little or no meat, getting much of their protein from vegetarian protein sources, and some people get their protein from foods many Americans have never tried.
Vegetarian Protein Sources
Only about one-third of the protein eaten around the world comes from animals raised for food. Much of the protein consumed around the world comes from vegetarian sources, including grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Three grains - wheat, maize and rice - provide 60 percent of the world's energy, as well as a good percentage of the protein consumed.
Fish is one of the major sources of animal protein around the world, providing about 20 percent of the animal protein consumed. It's the main source of animal protein in many developing countries, providing over 50 percent of the animal protein consumed in some areas, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. People who live on the coast are more likely to eat a lot of fish for protein than those who live inland since it is more readily available and they can catch the fish themselves.
Out of the animal protein consumed around the world, 70 percent comes from ruminant animals, which include cows, goats, sheep, buffalo, elk and deer. While goat meat isn't all that popular in the United States, it makes up 63 percent of the red meat eaten around the world. Goats are less expensive than cows, and can survive on more types of food, making them a better option than cattle in many developing countries.
Poultry, eggs and dairy products provide a good deal of the world's protein as well. However, so do wild game and insects. About 80 percent of people around the world regularly consume one or more of the 1, 700 edible types of insects, which are very high in protein for their size.