Many people assume they get enough protein in their normal, everyday diets, but is it enough to accomplish your fitness goals? If you’re on keto, are you consuming enough protein to balance out the fats you need to stay in ketosis? For those trying to build muscle, protein is mandatory, but what’s the ideal amount you need for your body weight?
Discover the answers to those questions and more as we explore why you need protein, how much, and what the best sources of it are among different food groups.
How Much Protein Do You Really Need
Before knowing how to attain all the protein you need, it’s important to know what that amount actually is. The first step is to be clear regarding your fitness goals. If you’re trying to build muscle or you’re on the keto diet, you’ll need more protein than the average person. Also, if you’re on a plant-based diet, protein can be harder to find, so it’s important to actively make sure that you’re consuming the protein you’ll need to stay strong and healthy.
Understanding Your Ideal Protein Requirement
Depending on your goals, your optimal amount of protein will vary greatly. Here is the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for various types of people:
Determine Your Personal Basic RDA for Protein
To find your recommended amount of protein for a person who’s not highly active, simply take your bodyweight and multiply that number by 0.36. For example, a sedentary 150-pound woman should consume 54 grams of protein each day.
Protein RDA for Highly Active People
If you do at least 45 minutes of cardio, meaning running, swimming, or some other aerobic workout for five days each week, plus resistance training at least two days each week, then your protein intake should be around .5-.9 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Protein and Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, it can seem like a good idea to starve yourself, but the truth is, that will just grind your metabolism to a halt. Protein is more filling than carbs and takes longer to digest, so it’s extremely valuable to get enough of it in your diet. If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s recommended that about 30% of your calories come from protein or 0.9 grams per pound of bodyweight.
How To Find the Protein You Need
While the average person who follows a typical Western diet will not have trouble getting enough protein, other people who aren’t fans of meat or who follow diets like veganism may struggle to get enough in their natural diet. Knowing where to get additional protein is vital regardless of the diet you follow, and you may be surprised where you can find it.
The Obvious Protein-Rich Foods
If you ask the average person on the street which foods have the most protein, meats will very likely be the most popular answer. It’s true that animal products, including meat, are the cornerstones of a high protein diet. Other animal-based foods like yogurt and cheese are also rich in protein, and all of them are typically low in carbs compared to other foods.
Here’s a List of 10 Animal-Based Foods that Are High in Protein
If you need to increase the protein in your diet and have no problem eating meats, cheese, and eggs, then the foods on this list will provide large amounts of protein in small servings.
- One Cup of Skim Milk = 8g of protein
- Half Cup of Non-Fat Cottage Cheese = 12g of protein
- One Large Egg = 6.3g of protein
- 3oz of Canned Tuna = 22g of protein
- An oz of Cheddar Cheese = 12g of protein
- 4oz portion of Chicken or Turkey = 35g of protein
- 3oz of Shrimp = 18g of protein
- One slice of Bacon = 3g of protein
- Pork Chops = 22g of protein
- 6oz Steak = 42g of protein
Getting Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet
Plant-based diets like vegetarianism and it’s many variations have gained immense popularity for their health benefits. Famous and powerful people like Bill Clinton and Mike Tyson have gone vegan, and both have lost a noticeable amount of weight in the process. Whatever your reason for maintaining a plant-based diet, protein is a little harder to come by, but you can find a lot if you know where to look.
Plant-based Foods That Are Rich In Protein
In general, those who follow a plant-based diet can rely on nuts, seeds, and even certain vegetables to ensure that they get enough protein. Here are some examples of plant-based foods that are rich in protein:
Nuts and Seeds
- Peanut Butter (2 Tablespoons) = 8g of protein
- Almonds (¼ cup) = 8g of protein
- Cashews ( ¼ cup) = 5g of protein
- Flax Seeds (¼ cup) = 8g of protein
- Sunflower Seeds (¼ cup) = 6g of protein
- Pumpkin Seeds (¼ cup) = 8g of protein
Veggies that Have Protein
- Peas (1 cup) = 8g of protein
- White Mushrooms (Five of them) = 3g of Protein
- Potato = 3 or 4g of protein
- Broccoli (100g serving) = 3g of protein
- Artichokes (100g serving) = 3-4g of protein
Consume Ample Amounts of Protein to Keep Your Body Strong
Some people think protein is just for bulky muscle builders, but the fact is, it’s used to rebuild your cells, blood, and bone, as well as muscle. No matter which diet you follow, it’s vital to include enough protein, and as long as you know what to look for, it’s easy to get enough of it each day. Ultimately, as one of the three macronutrients, protein is vital for everyone and just as important to your health as fats, carbs, and other nutrients. The key is knowing where to find it.