Top 10 Foods Highest in Phenylalanine

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid involved in creating brain signaling molecules such as dopamine, norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and epinephrine (adrenaline). (1) Phenylalanine can also be used by the body to make the amino acid tyrosine. (2)

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. (3)

High phenylalanine foods include beef, chicken, pork, tofu, fish, beans, milk, nuts, seeds, pasta, whole grains, and vegetables like sweet potatoes.

The recommended daily intake of phenylalanine and tyrosine is 25mg per kilogram of body weight or 11mg per pound. (4) 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 weighing 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.

List of High Phenylalanine Foods

A steak on a plate

#1: Beef (Skirt Steak)

Phenylalanine
per 6oz Steak
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
2297mg
(262% RDI)
1351mg
(154% RDI)
1008mg
(115% RDI)

More Red Meats High in Phenylalanine

  • 144% RDI per 3oz of veal roast
  • 141% RDI per 3oz of lamb roast
  • 128% RDI per 3oz beef chuck roast
  • 116% RDI per 3oz buffalo roast
  • 97% RDI per 3oz hamburger

See all meats high in phenylalanine.

A roast chicken

#2: Lean Chicken Breast

Phenylalanine
in a 6oz Breast
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
2200mg
(251% RDI)
1294mg
(148% RDI)
1648mg
(188% RDI)

More Poultry High in Phenylalanine

  • 282% RDI in a whole chicken leg
  • 240% RDI per 6oz of lean ground turkey
  • 197% RDI per cup of lean chicken breast
  • 157% RDI per cup of roast duck
  • 131% RDI per chicken thigh

See all meats high in phenylalanine.

A pork chop

#3: Lean Pork Chops

Phenylalanine
in a 6oz Chop
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
2190mg
(250% RDI)
1288mg
(147% RDI)
1321mg
(151% RDI)

More Pork High in Phenylalanine

  • 181% RDI per cup of lean roast ham
  • 137% RDI per 5oz rack of pork ribs
  • 110% RDI per 3oz of roasted wild boar
  • 106% RDI per 3oz pork bratwurst
  • 58% RDI per 3 slices of bacon (~1oz)

See all meats high in phenylalanine.

A block of tofu

#4: Firm Tofu

Phenylalanine
per Cup
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
2104mg
(240% RDI)
835mg
(95% RDI)
1160mg
(133% RDI)

More Soy Foods High in Phenylalanine

  • 171% RDI per cup of boiled soybeans (edamame)
  • 169% RDI per cup of tempeh
  • 90% RDI per cup of soft tofu
  • 51% RDI per cup of soybean sprouts
  • 31% RDI per cup of soymilk
Tuna Fillet

#5: Tuna

Phenylalanine
in a 6oz Fillet
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
1986mg
(227% RDI)
1168mg
(133% RDI)
1270mg
(145% RDI)

More Fish High in Phenylalanine

  • 224% RDI per 7oz grouper fillet
  • 211% RDI per 6oz salmon fillet
  • 204% RDI per 6oz tilapia fillet
  • 200% RDI per 6oz snapper fillet
  • 183% RDI per 6.5oz cod fillet

See all fish high in phenylalanine.

Pinto Beans

#6: Pinto Beans

Phenylalanine
per Cup
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
908mg
(104% RDI)
531mg
(61% RDI)
743mg
(85% RDI)

More Beans High in Phenylalanine

  • 133% RDI per cup of navy beans
  • 108% RDI per cup of white beans
  • 105% RDI per cup of adzuki beans
  • 103% RDI per cup of kidney beans
  • 101% RDI per cup of lentils
  • 94% RDI per cup of black beans

See all beans and lentils high in phenylalanine.

A glass of milk

#7: Milk

Phenylalanine
per 16oz Glass
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
858mg
(98% RDI)
175mg
(20% RDI)
1029mg
(118% RDI)

More Dairy Products High in Phenylalanine

  • 95% RDI per 16oz glass of low-fat milk
  • 91% RDI per 16oz glass of whole milk
  • 88% RDI per cup of yogurt
  • 79% RDI per 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 62% RDI per oz of grated parmesan
  • 54% RDI per oz of Swiss cheese

See all dairy products high in phenylalanine.

Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

#8: Seeds (Squash and Pumpkin Seeds)

Phenylalanine
per 1oz Handful
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
486mg
(56% RDI)
1711mg
(196% RDI)
596mg
(68% RDI)

More Nuts and Seeds High in Phenylalanine

  • 47% RDI per oz of hemp seeds
  • 40% RDI per oz of peanuts
  • 37% RDI per oz of sunflower seeds
  • 37% RDI per oz of pistachios
  • 37% RDI per oz of almonds
  • 33% RDI per oz of chia seeds

See all nuts and seeds high in phenylalanine.

Uncooked Spaghetti

#9: Pasta

Phenylalanine
per Cup
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
368mg
(42% RDI)
297mg
(34% RDI)
376mg
(43% RDI)

More Grains High in Phenylalanine

  • 59% RDI per cup of kamut
  • 58% RDI per cup of teff
  • 40% RDI per cup of whole wheat pasta
  • 39% RDI per cup of quinoa
  • 38% RDI per cup of oatmeal
  • 31% RDI per cup of brown rice

See all grains high in phenylalanine.

Sweet Potatoes

#10: Sweet Potatoes

Phenylalanine
per Cup Mashed
Phenylalanine
per 100g
Phenylalanine
per 200 Calories
303mg
(35% RDI)
119mg
(14% RDI)
236mg
(27% RDI)

More Vegetables High in Phenylalanine

  • 57% RDI per cup of lima beans
  • 36% RDI per cup of green peas
  • 28% RDI per cup of spinach
  • 25% RDI per cup of sweet corn
  • 23% RDI per cup of Swiss chard
  • 21% RDI per cup of broccoli

See all vegetables high in phenylalanine.

See All 200 Foods High in Phenylalanine

Extended list of Phenylalanine Rich Foods

FoodServingPhenylalanine
#1 Gelatin Powder (Dry)
(Source)
per oz56% RDI
(486mg)
#2 Eggs
(Source)
in 1 large egg38% RDI
(334mg)
#3 Toasted Wheat Germ
(Source)
per oz38% RDI
(332mg)
#4 Avocados
(Source)
per avocado22% RDI
(195mg)
#5 Caviar
(Source)
per tblsp20% RDI
(171mg)
#6 Potatoes
(Source)
in a medium potato20% RDI
(171mg)
#7 Mamey Sapote
(Source)
1 cup chopped12% RDI
(107mg)
#8 Mushrooms
(Source)
per cup cooked11% RDI
(99mg)
#9 Dried Coconut
(Source)
per oz11% RDI
(99mg)
#10 Shiitake Mushrooms
(Source)
per cup cooked11% RDI
(97mg)
#11 Grapefruit
(Source)
per cup10% RDI
(87mg)
#12 Kiwifruit
(Source)
per cup9% RDI
(79mg)
#13 Whole Wheat Bread
(Source)
per slice toasted9% RDI
(77mg)
#14 Bananas
(Source)
per cup sliced8% RDI
(74mg)
#15 Bakers Yeast
(Source)
per tsp8% RDI
(70mg)
#16 Equal Artificial Sweetener (Aspartame)
(Source)
per tsp5% RDI
(42mg)

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Data Sources and References

  1. Pubchem on Phenylalanine
  2. An Overview of Phenylalanine and Tyrosine Kinetics in Humans. J Nutr. 2007 Jun; 137(6 Suppl 1): 1549S–1575S.
  3. Medline Plus on Phenylketonuria
  4. World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Report Series – Protein And Amino Acid Requirements In Human Nutrition ISBN 978 92 4 120935 9
  5. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central

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