Protein: Are you getting enough?

By Kent Bastell, MSc, CSCS Strength and Conditioning Coach

Nutrition is a hot topic in the world of fitness and we’ve reached a point in society where it has become hard to filter out the solid evidence based information from the “magic” diet and food revolution. What people fail to realise is that the real magic diet is the one that is flexible to your own personal needs and is sustainable as a lifelong habit. One such habit that may be beneficial is protein consumption.protein

A common question I ask athletes/clients is “how much protein are you eating?” After listing all the foods they typically consume in a day, we usually come to the conclusion: “not enough”

Why is protein important?

  1. Protein provides the building blocks for developing, growing, and maintaining almost every body system – Organs, hormones, muscles, bones, skin, enzymes, immune cells and neural messengers are just some of the systems that rely on protein.
  2. Protein builds and maintains our skeletal structures – For athletes and those who workout, protein is important for building muscle and bone (increases strength) and aids in recovery after activity. For general health, protein can slow muscle and bone loss due to aging (after age 30, people tend to lose 3% to 5% of their lean body mass per decade).
  3. Protein makes you feel full – Protein increases the demand of energy needed for digestion and suppresses hormones that drive the feelings of hunger. The thermic effect of protein digestion can be up to 20%, meaning your body uses up to 20% of the calories consumed by the protein source to digest it. These characteristics of protein help people maintain weight as it leaves less room for calorie dense foods.
  4. Protein increases energy – Protein is a foundation of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and dopamine, which help increase the feelings of energy and alertness.

So how much protein should you be getting to gain from these benefits of protein? In my own experience, I find that people benefit most from consuming 0.5 grams to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for between 75 grams and 150 grams of protein per day. I tend to be a bit less conservative and try to get people to experiment with the higher end ranges, especially if they are athletes, or are weight training. To ensure you are getting enough protein, I always recommend using a food diary to track intake. The MyFitnessPal app is a great tool that contains a database of hundreds of thousands of different foods and brands. It will automatically calculate how much protein you have consumed from your diary inputs.

41 High-Protein Foods Ranked By Protein Content Per 100g

  1. Beef jerky 30-40g
  2. Parmesan 32g
  3. Tuna steak 32g
  4. Pumpkin seeds 30g
  5. Turkey 30g
  6. Peanuts 25-28g
  7. Edam 27g
  8. Canned tuna 25g
  9. Cheddar 25g
  10. Seitan 25g
  11. Beef 20-24g
  12. Chicken 24g
  13. Salmon 24g
  14. Stilton 24g
  15. Almonds 21g
  16. Sardines 21g
  17. Cod 20g
  18. Lamb 20g
  19. Mackerel 20g
  20. Pistachios 20g
  21. Pork loin 17-20g
  22. Tempeh 20g
  23. Cashew nuts 18g
  24. Mozzarella 18g
  25. Mussels 18g
  26. Chia seeds 17g
  27. Walnuts 15-17g
  28. Prawns 15-18g
  29. Quorn mince 14.5g
  30. Brazil nuts 14g
  31. Edamame beans 13g
  32. Eggs 13g
  33. Tofu 12g
  34. Cottage cheese 10g
  35. Greek yogurt 10g
  36. Oats 10g
  37. Lentils 7-9g
  38. Kidney beans 8g
  39. Chickpeas 7g
  40. Peas 6g
  41. Quinoa (cooked) 5g

Disclaimer: This is not to be used in place of medical advice. For any extreme changes in diet, it is suggested for individuals to get approval by an accredited physician or dietician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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