What is Protein?
Protein is one of the three key nutrients necessary to sustain life, the others being carbohydrates and fat. Protein is required for a substantial number of bodily processes including:
- Assisting in optimal body function including affecting the cardiovascular, muscular, immune and respiratory systems.
- Strengthening organs including hair, cartilage, nails and of course muscle.
- Supporting optimal metabolism through enzymes such as digestive enzymes.
In fact, proteins are considered the primary controllers of how our body works as they carry out the tasks that our genes code for.
In this day and age of fast and convenient foods high in fat and carbohydrates, the level of protein intake in the diet can easily slip below what we require which can mean that your body processes might not be as effective as they can be. The average person needs at least 0.8g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight – however this figure is the absolute minimum required to sustain bodily processes. Most people need slightly more and can actually benefit from having extra protein in their diet.
Protein in Food
Protein can be found in an abundance of foods. Foods with the highest levels of protein are usually meat products such as chicken, beef, fish, etc. Other high sources of protein include dairy products, nuts and legumes. Grains and vegetables in comparison contain relatively less protein than the previously listed foods.
Protein Food List
Here is a list of foods high in protein listed as per 100g:
Meat Protein (Protein per 100g)
- Lean Beef – 36g Protein
- Lamb – 36g Protein
- Chicken Breast – 33g Protein
- Pork Tenderloin – 32g Protein
- Canned Tuna – 22g Protein
- Salmon – 21 Protein
- Eggs – 11g Protein
Dairy Protein (Protein per 100g)
- Whey Protein Isolate – 90g Protein
- Full Cream Milk – 3.3 Protein
- Skim Milk – 3.6g Protein
- Cheddar Cheese – 24.8g Protein
- Cottage Cheese – 15.5g Protein
- Greek Yoghurt – 4.7g Protein
- Casein Protein – 70g
Plant Protein (Protein per 100g)
- Brown Rice – 7.94g Protein
- White Rice – 7.13g
- Lentils – 24.2g Protein
- Almonds – 19.5g Protein
- Peanuts – 24.7g Protein
- Kidney Beans – 6.6g Protein
- Pasta – 12.5g Protein
Protein for Weight Loss
Protein is an ideal nutrient to assist with weight loss as it is an extremely satiating nutrient. That is, high protein diets usually make you feel fuller and assists in your ability to avoid binges and overeating. In addition, higher protein intakes during diets helps to conserve muscle mass – which helps to control and raise whole body metabolism. Higher metabolism means more energy used and less stored.
As you can see from the above list, protein supplements such as whey protein isolate and casein protein are extremely high in protein and are some of the most cost effective and convenient ways to increase protein intake. While protein supplements may not provide many other beneficial nutrients, using protein supplements to increase protein intake is an excellent option, especially for those who are time-poor or are looking to maximise training results. However, regardless of wherever you get your protein, it’s important that you do have plenty of quality protein in your diet from a variety of sources. This way, you’ll be sure your body is performing at its best each and every day.