Essential for growth, repair and maintenance of the body, protein is 1 of the 3 macronutrients and is an important part of a healthy diet.
Whether you’re aiming to lose weight, add muscle or maintain health, protein is probably the most important nutrient to get right, and you should always aim to hit your protein target daily.
How much protein should you eat?
As a general rule, aim to have 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. For example if you weigh 180 pounds, you should aim to eat 180 grams of protein per day. If you’re wanting to shed weight, aim for at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and if you’re looking to gain muscle, aim to get 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight, from lean sources.
Fuller for longer
Protein is also the most satiating nutrient and helps you to feel full for longer. Eating protein can also be classed as low-level thermogenesis as it’s harder to digest and chew.
The best protein sources
Aim to get the best, most complete protein sources in your diet daily.
Dairy including eggs, milk, cheese
Poultry including chicken and turkey
Red meat, specifically grass fed sources
Fish including cod, salmon, tuna
Vegetarian and vegan options, including beans, legumes, nuts, tofu
The lower down the list, the less diverse the amino acid profile becomes which means you have to be a little bit more savvy with your protein to get the most complete source over the day.
Here’s how to hit your protein target…
As mentioned earlier, aim to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day.
The calories in protein
If you’re tracking your calories or are on a specific nutrition plan, it’s useful to know that protein equals 4 calories per 1 gram. For example, 100 grams of protein would equal 400 calories.
Find you’ve got a lot of flatulence after eating protein? You may not be digesting it properly! Look to add a digestive enzyme supplement to your diet with high protein meals.