What Is Protein How Much You Need Benefits Sources More
Protein needs no introduction. You likely already know it as one of the three major macronutrients that make up your diet .
There are hundreds of products from supplements to energy bars designed to make it easy to get your protein fix. There are even entire diets based on upping your protein intake, such as the Atkins diet or the paleo diet.
But what is protein all about anyway? And what benefits does it offer the body?
Dig in here.
Protein Payout: 1/4 Cup 161 Calories 6 Grams Of Protein
While you may have never heard of this hearty whole grain before, it may become your new favorite. This wheat-rye hybrid packs 12 grams of protein per half cup and is also rich in brain-boosting iron, bloat-busting potassium, magnesium and heart-healthy fiber. Use triticale berries in place of rice and mix it with soy sauce, fresh ginger, cloves, shiitake mushrooms and edamame to make a healthy, Asian-inspired dish. If you prefer to firing up the oven to using the stove, use triticale flour in place of traditional flour in your baking.
Top 10 Foods Highest In Protein
Protein is a macronutrient that forms the building blocks of the human body. It is necessary for the growth and repair of all tissues, along with many other functions including forming hormones and enzymes. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy and impaired functioning of the body in general.
Also Check: Special K Protein Bars Healthy
How To Add Protein To Your Meals
Foods are not all one macronutrient they are a mixture of fat, carbohydrate and protein, just in differing amounts. In saying that, there are some foods that are better protein sources than others. The best choices are:
- Meat: lamb, beef, pork, kangaroo, game meats, etc
- Fish: basa, ling, salmon, snapper, baramundi, tuna, etc
- Seafood: prawns, crab meat, squid, muscles, oysters, etc
- Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, etc
Best Healthy Nut Snack: Toodaloo Adaptogenic Trail Mix Bbq
Toodaloo brought trail mix into the 21st century. This nut and seed blend is made with healing, adaptogenic herbs and real superfoods like roasted chickpeas, nuts, and seeds.
The expert’s take: “Some nut mixes can be packed with ingredients like sugar and unhealthy oils, but this mix contains no added sugars and is loaded with natural flavors like lemon peel and chiles. Plus, the adaptogenic ingredients are an added bonus to help people keep their ‘chill’and who doesn’t need that these days?” says Manaker.
Our tasting notes: “Goodbye my sweet, sweet BBQ potato chips! This trail mix boasts the same addictive flavors of my favorite bag of chips but with an incredible textural complexity thanks to a blend of five different nuts, seeds, and legumes. I literally eat these by the handful,” says Tarantino.
For more, to get the latest grocery news delivered straight to your inbox!
Read Also: Can Premier Protein Help You Lose Weight
Protein Foods And The Planet
To give you an idea, this scorecard from the World Resources Institute illustrates the differing GHG emissions per gram of protein from both animal and plant-based protein foods. Making just one pound of lamb generates five times more GHGs than making a pound of chicken and around 30 times more than making a pound of lentils. In the U.S. alone, beef accounts for 36% of all food-related GHG emissions. Beyond emissions, its also important to note that food production places an enormous demand upon our natural resources, as agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation, species extinction, and freshwater depletion and contamination.
Debunking The Myth That Americans Dont Get Enough Protein
Theres a commonly held belief that Americans dont get enough protein from their diets. A quick walk through the grocery store reveals hundreds of products that are marketed as great sources of protein. The number of protein callouts is so excessive, youd think there was a major protein deficiency in our country.
Not so. The average American gets about 15 percent of their calories from protein, which falls within that 10 to 35 percent sweet spot. And in fact, most Americans get 2 times as much protein as they need.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 20152020 found that teenage boys and men actually take in more meat, poultry, and eggs than recommended. Protein comes with a host of health benefits, but it is possible to overdo it .
Read Also: Can Low Protein Cause Headaches
Best Healthy Cheese Snack: Whisps Hot & Spicy
This is going to be your new favorite flaming hot cheese snack! These cheese crisps are made of 100% baked cheddar cheese and simply seasoned with a blend of spices reminiscent of everyone’s go-to bar food: buffalo wings.
The expert’s take: “Hot and spicy usually also means fried when it comes to snacks. But Whisps’ Hot & Spicy cheese crisps, baked with 100% cheddar and spices, have 9 grams of protein and only 2 grams of carbs per serving, making these a craveable yet healthy snack,” says Manaker.
Our tasting notes: “Whisps are a cheese snack that knows how to balance crispy and buttery. These cheddar cheese crisps don’t break into a million pieces upon first bitethere’s a solid amount of integrity that makes it easy to eat each crisp in two bites . This high-protein, low-carb snack is tangy, yet packs a little less heat than I expected. Alas, it makes polishing off the entire bag much more enjoyable than eating through it with your mouth feeling like it’s on fire,” says Tarantino.
What Are The Healthiest Animal Protein Sources
Protein plays many roles in the human body. Its used in the production of muscle and structural tissues, as well as the production of many hormones, transport molecules and antibodies. Protein acts as a source of energy and provides essential amino acids .
Many people get their protein from animal products. This can be beneficial, since animal proteins are considered complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids. Unfortunately, not all sources of animal protein are created equal. Heres what you should know so you that can choose the healthiest option.
What are the healthiest sources of animal protein?
Its best to choose leaner protein sources and, as much as possible, cut back on red meat and processed meat . Both diets high in red meat and diets high in processed meat have been linked to increased risk of colorectal cancer. If you do choose to eat red meat, choose leaner sources like those included in the list below.
Look for sources that are low in saturated fat, are unprocessed or are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3s. Some good examples are:
- White-meat poultry, such as chicken or turkey breasts
- Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna
- Pork tenderloin
- Lean or extra-lean cuts of beef such as sirloin or round cuts, greater than 93% lean ground beef
- Eggs and egg whites
- Non-fat/low-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, milk
What are the best ways to cook these proteins?
Read Also: What Is Considered A High Protein Breakfast
High Protein Meal Prep Toolkit
Emphasizing more protein dense options can help make hitting your daily protein goals easier, however, it won’t solve all your nutrition needs.
Learning how to meal plan and prep your food choices is one of the best ways to take control over your diet and make sure you get plenty of protein and good nutrition regularly.
Learn exactly how to stick to your calorie and protein goals with this free meal prep toolkit for weight loss. An RD-written guide complete with macro meal planner, food lists, and expert advice to help you lose weight quickly.
Chia Seeds And Hempseed
Chia seeds and hempseed are wonderful ways to add protein to your diet because they can be thrown into almost any dish without affecting the flavor. Both complete proteins, chia seeds contain six grams of protein per 1.25 ounces, and hempseed contains ten grams per ounce. Both these seeds are also dense in essential minerals such as iron, zinc, selenium- among many others! Let’s just say these two seeds definitely earned their place on this list!
Recommended Reading: Is Gold Standard Protein Good
Getting More Protein Into Your Day Naturally
If youre looking for ways to get more protein into your diet, here are some suggestions:
- Try a peanut butter sandwich. Remember to use natural peanut butter with no added salt, sugar or other fillers.
- Low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese is high in protein and can go in your scrambled eggs, casserole, mashed potato or pasta dish. Or spread it on your toast in the morning.
- Nuts and seeds are fantastic in salads, with vegetables and served on top of curries. Try toasting some pine nuts or flaked almonds and putting them in your green salad.
- Beans are great in soups, casseroles, and pasta sauces. Try tipping a drained can of cannellini beans into your favourite vegetable soup recipe or casserole.
- A plate of hummus and freshly cut vegetable sticks as a snack or hummus spread on your sandwich will give you easy extra protein at lunchtime.
- Greek yoghurt is a protein rich food that you can use throughout the day. Add some on your favourite breakfast cereal, put a spoonful on top of a bowl of pumpkin soup or serve it as dessert with some fresh fruit.
- Eggs are a versatile and easy option that can be enjoyed on their own or mixed in a variety of dishes.
Daily Protein Foods Table
*These are general recommendations by age. Find the right amount for you by getting your MyPlate Plan.
|Daily Recommendation* in Ounce-Equivalents|
3 to 5½ oz-equiv
5 to 6½ oz-equiv
5 to 6½ oz-equiv
5½ to 7 oz-equiv
5 to 6½ oz-equiv
5 to 6 oz-equiv
6½ to 7 oz-equiv
6 to 7 oz-equiv
5½ to 6½ oz-equiv
Read Also: Premier Protein Sugar
The Best Healthy Sources Of Protein
- When youre following the Bulletproof Diet, roughly 20 percent of your daily calories should come from protein, but the type of protein that you eat matters.
- Protein is found in virtually every part of the body. It performs many vital functions like building and giving structure to your tissues, organs, and muscles.
- You generally want to eat complete proteins, which contain all eight essential amino acids. Meat, fish, and eggs are all complete protein sources.
- Choose wild fish, grass-fed meat, and pastured eggs.
- Eat poultry and pastured pork in moderation, and avoid factory-farmed meat, farmed seafood, and soy.
When youre following the Bulletproof Diet, roughly 20 percent of your daily calories comes from protein The type of protein that you eat matters, but thats where things get a little confusing. Is grain-finished beef pretty much the same as grass-fed? Is it ever OK to eat plant protein? And whats the deal with chicken? Read on to discover the very best protein sources for your body.
Easy Ways To Increase Your Protein Intake
- Make protein the objective of your meal. When eating a meal, have the protein component first. When deciding to cook a meal, protein should be the first thing on your mind. This will prevent you on getting full on carbs before you get to the protein component of your dish.
- Snack on protein-rich foods. This can be through protein bars, protein pancakes, beef jerky. The list goes on!
- Have a protein-rich breakfast. When you have protein-packed breakfast, it puts you in good stead for the rest of the day to hit your targets.
- Eat low fat greek yoghurt. This is packed with protein and is a great addition to most meals to add a bit more protein. Plus, its tasty.
- Eat smaller, regular meals.
- Replace carbs with high protein alternatives. I.e., pasta with protein pasta.
- Meal prep so you have protein available at all times.
Whether you want to build muscle or lose fat, you need to try to have 1.5 gram of protein per your pound of bodyweight. I.e., if you weight 159 lbs, you should try have around 215g of protein a day. The way I see it, its better to have more protein than not enough.
Read Also: Protein Powder Food Stamps
Cup : 41 Calories 05 G Fat 5 G Protein
Popeye’s favorite veggie is a great source of not only protein but also vitamins A and C, antioxidants and heart-healthy folate. One cup of the green superfood has nearly as much protein as a hard-boiled eggfor half the calories. Looking to get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck? Be sure to steam your spinach instead of eating it raw. This cooking method helps retain vitamins and makes it easier for the body to absorb the green’s calcium content. Add a handful to soups, omelets, pasta dishes and veggie stir-fries, or simply steam it and top with pepper, garlic, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Beef Pork Veal And Lamb
Its best to limit your intake of red meat which is often higher in saturated fat and processed meats like ham, bacon and hot dogs which are often higher in saturated fat and sodium. If you decide to have these, choose the leanest options, which are:
- Select or Choice grades of beef trimmed of fat including: chuck, rib, rump roast, round, sirloin, cubed, flank, porterhouse, T-bone steak or tenderloin
- Lamb: chop, leg or roast
- Veal: loin chop or roast
- Pork: Canadian bacon, center loin chop, ham or tenderloin
Recommended Reading: Can I Eat Too Much Protein On Keto
Top Sources Of Protein Beyond Whole Foods
Even though protein is found in many whole foods, there are hundreds of manufactured protein-packed items. Protein powders, protein energy bars, and even protein-boosted breads, pancake mixes, and chips are available to you.
These products may be appropriate for certain people who are supposed to take in more protein than the usual recommendation. Athletes, for instance, may benefit from ingesting protein within an hour of working out. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a large single dose of 25 g of protein after exercise can increase muscle protein synthesis. That could explain why protein shakes are so often associated with body builders and gym rats.
Elderly people who have trouble eating and drinking enough protein during the day, sometimes as a result of a decreased appetite, can also benefit from high-protein products and shakes, according to an article published in the magazine Aging Well. Protein is important for this group because the bodys protein stores naturally decline as people age. In fact, people lose 3 to 8 percent of their lean muscle mass each decade after age 30, per a review published in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. Without enough protein, these older adults may experience general weakness , fatigue, decreased mobility, and weakened immune systems.
Is Meat The Best Source Of Protein
Without diving into all of the controversy, I will say: not all meat is healthy or a great choice for protein. The old saying You are what you eat rings true here. The confounding factor is that your dietary protein is what it eats, also. Besides the extra body fat caused by these grain foods, these poor animals get really large doses of toxins to store in this fat from all the pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics used on these grains.
If grains are bad for us , it isnt the best idea to eat a bunch of animals that have been fattened up on genetically modified corn or soybeans in an attempt to get health .
Lets look at beef for an example. Cows were meant to eat grass . When cows do eat grass, they function largely without disease and when slaughtered, have over five times the nutrients of grain-fed cows. The problem is that cows who eat grass dont gain weight and dont sell for as much. In the name of fast profit, we have converted entire species of animals to diets they were not meant to eat.
Grass-fed and free-range meats can often be found at farmers markets or through local farmers. Some farmers offer cow-sharing or cow-pooling, which allows you to purchase 1/4 or 1/2 of a cow when it is live and then receive the meat after it has been butchered. Similar arrangements often exist for chickens.
Don’t Miss: Cholesterol In Protein Shakes
The Best Sources Of Protein
You generally want to eat complete proteins, which are proteins that contain all eight essential amino acids. Meat, fish, and eggs are all complete protein sources. Here are the Bulletproof-approved options:
- Wild-caught fish: Wild fish is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Make sure you choose fish that are low in mercury like sockeye salmon, wild trout, anchovies, haddock, and sardines. Too much mercury can damage your nervous system, immune system, and heart.
- Grass-fed beef and lamb:Organic, grass-fed meat is hands-down the best source of protein there is. Make sure you choose beef or lamb thats been grass-fed and grass-finished, meaning the animal only ate grass. You may be wondering whether grain-fed meat is really that much different. The short answer is yes, it really is inferior. Grass-fed meat provides you with more nutrients and less toxins than conventional meat. Its also jam-packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins. One study found that grass-fed beef had more omega-3s and more conjugated linoleic acid than grain-fed cattle. And that included grain-finished beef grass-fed cows that ate grains 80 days before slaughter. The longer the cows ate grains, the lower the quality of their meat.