List of foods high in phenylalanine

Foods with phenylalanine


Where is phenylalanine?

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that the body can not synthesize and therefore must be provided by the diet.

Photo of animal protein

Photo of animal protein: aged cheese, meat, fish, seafood and eggs are rich in phenylalanine

Almost all foods contain phenylalanine, both of plant origin, as animal origin. However, the richest foods are:

* Meat products with phenylalanine

The richest foods in this amino acid are dairy-rich proteins (such as cheese and powdered milk), meat, fish, eggs and offal.

* Plant foods with phenylalanine

Richest phenylalanine plant foods are legumes, especially soybeans and soy products (tofu, tempeh, soymilk,…). Beans, lupins, or concentrated foods such as peanut butter contain a similar amount.

Cereals such as rice, barley, oats, wheat and wheat products (bread, flour, and especially seitan) are also rich in phenylalanine.

Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.)

Seeds: In particular, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds contain a lot of phenylalanine

Fruits and vegetables are low in phenylalanine.

Other sources of phenylalanine

There are other sources of this amino acid to consider:

Protein supplements or hyperproteic supplements

Gelatin desserts: When gelatin is made from fish protein it contains phenylalanine. If you want to reduce the intake of this amino acid, such as phenylketonuria, you should use gelatins with vegetable gums such as agar agar.

Aspartame sweetener: It takes part of many drinks such as soft drinks, colas, gum, etc. (Hence the importance of reading the food composition in people with phenylketonuria)

Medications: Some medications may contain phenylalanine, especially if they are sweetened.


(By order of high to low amount)

100 mg. phenylalanine

found in… g. of food

Powdered milk – 5
Hard cheese- 6
Soy- 6
Veal- 7
Lamb- 8
Chicken – 9
Pig – 10
Hake- 12
Oats – 12
Eggs- 16
Rice – 28
Bread – 25
Cow milk – 58
Mushrooms – 60
Artichokes – 140
Potatoes – 140
Honey- 165
Butter – 175
Escarole – 180
Bananas – 180
Celery – 200
Woman milk – 220
Onions – 260
Strawberries -330
Melon – 330
Apricots – 330
Cherries – 330
Plums – 330
Grapes – 330
Peaches- 330
Carrots – 380
Pineapples – 400
Pears- 660
Apples – 1.000


For a correct reading of the table: Lower numbers correspond to the richest foods in phenylalanine.

A correct reading is, for example, to ingest 100mg of phenylalanine we can take 6g. of cheese (¼ slice; a very little amount of cheese) or 1 kilo of apples (about 4-6 apples, a high amount of apples). Apples have very little phenylalanine compared to other foods analyzed.

* Related information:

Properties of proteins

Proteins formation

Proteins function

Daily proteins needs

Vegetal proteins

How to combine vegetable proteins

List of amino acids in food

Essential amino acids

Nonessential amino acids

Phenylalanine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine

Aspartic acid, Glutaminic acid, Alanine, Arginine, Cysteine, Cystine, Glycine, Hydroxyproline, Proline, Serine, Tyrosine


punto rojo More information on amino acids.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

21 November, 2021

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