The global profiling of the whole protein complement of the genome expressed in a particular cell or organ, or in plasma or serum, makes it possible to identify biomarkers that respond to alterations in diet or to treatment, and that may have predictive value for the modelling of biological processes. Proteomics has not yet been applied on a large scale in nutritional studies, yet it has advantages over transcriptome profiling techniques in that it directly assesses the entities that carry out the biological functions. The present review summarizes the different approaches in proteomics research, with special emphasis on the current technical 'workhorses': two-dimensional (2D)-PAGE with immobilized pH gradients and protein identification by MS. Using a work-flow approach, we provide information and advice on sample handling and preparation, protein solubilization and pre-fractionation, protein separation by 2D-PAGE, detection and quantification via computer-assisted analysis of gels, and protein identification and characterization techniques by means of MS. Examples from nutritional studies employing proteomics are provided to demonstrate not only the advantages but also the limitations of current proteome analysis platforms.