How To Eat Enough Protein


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How Much Do You Need

How Can Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines state that an adult man should take in a minimum of 10% of his daily calories from protein. The body breaks the protein down into amino acids andamong other thingsuses them to build muscle. Any protein left over is available to fuel energy needs. Each gram of protein you eat contains 4 calories.

Guidelines also say that the healthy range for protein extends up to 35% of daily calories. In practice, it can be difficult to consume that much protein every day without resorting to eating a lot of meat and other animal foods or relying on protein supplement products.

How Much Protein Should You Eat

Chamon explains that we should try to evenly distribute our protein intake across all meals aiming to eat a source of protein with each meal. In particular, we should prioritise having a high-protein breakfast as this helps to keep our blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and avoid energy slumps.

Unlike carbohydrates and fats, your body cant store protein. You can carb-load for days before a marathon and youll be able to run on that excess glycogen. But having a chunk of chicken on a Monday wont mean youve got enough protein in the tank on Tuesday. Therefore, consuming protein every day is really important.

Batt suggests using the palm of your hand to measure out a serving. A full palm roughly equates to one serving of protein, he says.

Use the palm of your hand to measure out a serving of protein

Be Mindful Of Both The Volume And Timing When Doing Cardio And Other Exercises

You have to make sure your exercise routine is well-rounded, and it’s really beneficial to include non-resistance training exercises, such as cardio. But if your end game is muscle gain, Dr. Bohl suggests, “It’s important to be thoughtful about when and how often you incorporate these other forms of exercise into your routine. For example, while cardio can be great for heart and blood vessel health, it also uses up a lot of calories. Overdoing cardio, therefore, can burn off the extra calories you’re trying to consume for muscle gain, overall slowing down any muscle-building progress.”

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Top Crackers With Nut Butters Or Cheese

You have Wongs permission to eat cheese and crackers to fill you upjust remember to make sure your meals are balanced throughout the day, so you dont overdo it on calorie intake. If cheese upsets your tummy, go for peanut butter and crackers, as a way to make sure youre fulfilled when there are still hours to go until dinner time.

How To Measure Protein Intake

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Protein is measured by the gram weight of the protein itself, not the total volume of food you eat. This is a common point of confusion for people who are new to tracking their food. As youll see, four ounces of steak is different protein-wise than four ounces of chicken breast or salmon. To determine how much protein a given food contains, youll need an app like Cronometer plus a food scale for precision. Measure all meat raw and make sure to select the correct entry in your tracking app.

Even if you dont want to weigh and measure all your food, consider tracking just your protein intake for a few days. See what youre averaging. In my experience, almost everyone is eating less than they think, especially if they practice intermittent fasting. Once you have a decent sense of what it takes to hit your daily protein goal, its up to you whether you want to continue to track or not.

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Very High Protein Diets Are Dangerous

Some fad diets promote very high protein intakes of between 200 and 400 g per day. This is more than 5 times the amount recommended in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

The protein recommendations in the Guidelines provide enough protein to build and repair muscles, even for body builders and athletes.

A very high-protein diet can strain the kidneys and liver. It can also prompt excessive loss of the mineral calcium, which can increase your risk of osteoporosis.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need

According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, someone who consumes 2,000 calories a day should be eating about 50 grams of protein a day.

This number is a very rough average the USDA states that women need a little less and men need a little more , and it goes up or down depending on the calories you consume in a day.

Your level of activity, age, and a number of other factors, like pregnancy or illness, can also shift that number up or down, but 50 grams is a good average to discuss during this conversation.

The average 2,000 calorie diet = 50 grams of protein

How much is 50 grams? To put this in perspective, a six-ounce piece of salmon has about 44 grams of protein in it. If you ate that for dinner and had even just one egg at some point in the day maybe boiled as a snack, or fried on toast for breakfast youd be at 50 grams, as one egg had six grams of protein in it.

So the reality is, if youre eating a well-balanced diet, youre probably getting your fill of protein, and perhaps eating a good amount more than your daily requirement, without even trying.

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What Is Your Recommended Daily Intake Of Protein

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most people need 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 50-60 grams of protein per day. Thats about 38 to 47 grams of protein per day for a 150 pound person. However, that is a goal, not a recommendation. The goal of this amount is that we get all of our protein needs from food, and not supplements. This makes it a lot easier to meet your protein needs. However, if you are looking to improve your muscle building and strength, the current recommendation is 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 97 grams of protein per day for a 150 pound person. However, that is a goal, not a recommendation.

Include A High Protein Food With Every Meal

How To Get Enough Protein On The Vegan Diet

When it comes to protein, its not just the total amount you take in every day that matters. Getting enough at each meal is also important.

Several researchers recommend consuming a minimum of 2030 grams of protein at each meal.

Studies show that this amount promotes fullness and preserves muscle mass better than smaller amounts eaten throughout the day .

Examples of foods high in protein include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and soy products like tofu or tempeh.

You can also select foods from this list of delicious high protein foods to make sure you meet your needs at every meal.


Include a high protein food at each meal to get what you need to feel full and maintain muscle mass.

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Replace Cereal With Eggs

Many breakfast foods are low in protein, including toast, bagels, and cereals.

Although oatmeal contains more protein than most cereals, it still only provides about 5 grams in a typical 1-cup serving .

On the other hand, 3 large eggs provide 19 grams of high quality protein, along with important nutrients like selenium and choline .

Whats more, several studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast reduces appetite and keeps you full for several hours, so you end up eating fewer calories later in the day .

According to one older study, eating whole eggs can also modify the size and shape of your LDL cholesterol particles in a way that may even decrease your heart disease risk .


Replacing cereal with eggs boosts protein consumption, makes you feel more full, and helps you eat fewer calories.

Protein And Nut Butter Smoothie: 30 Grams

If you’re eating lunch on the go, hit up a smoothie bar or whip up your own smoothie.

Use one scoop of protein powder, frozen fruit, a handful of kale, fresh ginger, unsweetened almond milk, and two tablespoons of almond butter, suggested Sass. Altogether, those ingredients add up to nearly 30 grams of protein.

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Adults Over The Age Of 65

For example, adults over the age of 65 need should try to get 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily to maintain muscle mass, Glover says. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to consume anywhere between 82 to 136 grams of protein daily.

Upping your protein as you age helps to combat age-related muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia. According to a 2014 review in Current Opinion in Rheumatology, research suggests that people start to lose muscle mass and strength as early as their 40s and can lose up to 50 percent by their 80s.

Getting Or Staying Sick

How To Eat Enough Protein To Build Muscle

Amino acids in your blood help your immune system make antibodies that activate white blood cells to fight off viruses, bacteria, and toxins. You need protein to digest and absorb other nutrients that keep you healthy. There’s also evidence that protein can change the levels of disease-fighting “good” bacteria in your gut.

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Easy Ways To Increase Your Protein Intake

Getting enough protein is important for your health.

For this reason, the Daily Value for protein is 50 grams per day.

However, some researchers believe that many people should be eating significantly more than this amount .

A high protein intake offers several potential health benefits and could help increase weight loss, enhance muscle growth, and improve your overall health.

Here are 14 easy ways to eat more protein.

Why Do We Need Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in your body, including building tissue, cells and muscle, as well as making hormones and anti-bodies. Everyone needs protein in their diet, but if you do endurance sports or weight training, you may benefit from increasing your protein intake, as well as factoring it into your training routine at specific times to reap its muscle-building benefits.

Studies also suggest that as we get older we may benefit from eating more protein because it helps minimise the muscle loss associated with aging.

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Choose The Healthiest Sources Of Protein

Just about every type of food has protein. Some have more than others. Whether you eat meat or not, you can get enough protein from your diet.

Apart from protein, you might also want to think about what else you’re getting from protein-rich foods.

For instance, to limit saturated fat, you’d want to choose lean cuts of meat over fattier cuts. And to cut back on sodium, skip the processed meats like hot dogs and sausage.

If you’re trying to get more omega-3s, you might choose salmon, tuna, or eggs fortified with omega-3s.

If you need to get more fiber, look to beans, vegetables, nuts, and legumes.

To help lower the chance of getting heart disease, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of red meat, especially processed red meat, and eat more fish, poultry, and beans, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health. Most nutritionists agree the best approach is to choose from a variety of protein sources.

If you’re watching your weight, try including protein with every meal. It will help you feel full longer. Spreading protein evenly across your meals is also good for your muscles, which is especially important as you get older and start to lose muscle mass.

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Consider Your Activity Level

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Generally speaking, the more you move, the more protein you need.

“The less wear and tear you put on your body, the less repair work there is to do,” explained Sass.

Your age plays a role, too. Some research suggests that your body performs better with higher amounts of protein as you age. Research has indicated that when people aged older than 50 years eat about double the recommended protein intake, their bodies are better at building muscle than others.

If you’re completing cardio and strength exercises regularly, Sass noted that the ideal amount of protein per day for muscle building and maintenance is about 0.75 grams per pound of body weight. And ideally, you should spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day.

However, suppose you’re severely underweight or overweight. In that case, you don’t want to just use the numbers on the scale as a reference for your protein intake. Instead, you should base your protein intake on your weight when you have felt your strongest and healthiest.

Kimball noted that your absolute minimum amount of protein should be about 0.5 grams per pound of healthy body weight if you’re not active or only slightly active.

For example, an active 130-pound woman might consume 24 grams of protein per meal and snack, which is about 97 grams per day .

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Are You Eating Enough Protein

When you hear the term protein intake, you might just think about building muscle, but its much bigger than that. Protein is essential for our bodies to work properly from head to toe. Getting the right amount of protein is important and depends on each individual.

You can think of protein as the worker bees of your body. The body doesnt store protein at all. The proteins of your body made up of individual components called amino acids are acting as the manpower of movement, the hard-working immune system, and carriers of oxygen in your blood, just to name a few roles. Each protein has a job and is doing that job pretty much all the time. Protein rarely just sits around idle in your body, nor is muscle simply stored protein.

When it comes to muscle, dietary protein is essential for ensuring your body has the necessary building blocks to maintain and build lean body mass. Without a surplus of available amino acids, muscles will not grow in strength or size. Of course, protein in the body is not enough to build muscle adding resistance exercise to your daily routine gets you on the fast track to muscle growth.

but can be paired together to easily meet your amino acid needs. For example, eating beans with brown rice would fit the bill, and tofu is another great plant-based complete protein.

Divide Protein Across Meals And Snacks

Make sure youre spreading out your protein intake throughout the day and not consuming too much in one meal. A 2018 review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionfound that by spreading out your protein intake to 0.4 grams per kilogram of body weight at each meal across four meals a day, your body can use the protein more efficiently.

For example, if youre following a 2,000-calorie diet and the upper protein limit, then 700 of those calories would come from protein and if you divided that up between three meals and two snacks, you would consume around 35 grams of protein at each serving.

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Complete Vs Incomplete Proteins

Every single food is made up of different combinations of amino acids and is characterized according to how much of each EAA they provide.

Foods that contain adequate amounts of all of nine EAAs are called complete proteins. Meat and other animal foods are considered complete sources because they have complete EAA profiles.

Foods that are missing one or more of the EAAs are called incomplete proteins. Most plant foods have incomplete protein profiles, which means that you must combine them with other plant foods that have different EAAs to make a complete protein meal. To complicate matters, the body isnt always able to absorb all the protein we eat. The bioavailability of plant EAAs is lower than that of animal sources. If the label says there are 13 grams of protein in a veggie burger, it doesnt mean that your body will actually be able to absorb and use all 13 grams.

Here is where strategic planning is involved. To meet your protein needs, you need to know which plant foods provide which EAAs and which can be combined to balance out the missing amino acids.

What Grams Of Protein Really Means

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This is a very common area of misunderstanding.

In nutrition science, grams of protein refers to the number of grams of the macronutrient protein, not the number of grams of a protein-containing food like meat or eggs.

An 8-ounce serving of beef weighs 226 grams but only contains 61 grams of protein. Similarly, a large egg weighs 46 grams but only packs 6 grams of protein.

If youre at a healthy weight, dont lift weights, and dont exercise much, aiming for 0.360.6 grams per pound is a reasonable estimate.

This amounts to:

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Always Keep Protein Powder Handy

Just like you keep some deodorant for the sweaty days, hair-ties for when you just *cant* with your hair, and lipstick for an impromptu happy hour, Dale suggests keeping another must-have item at hand: protein powder. I always keep a mini Ziploc of high-protein, zero-carb powder in my purse to make sure Im never hurting for my post-workout recoveryor a healthier snack choice at work, she says. Watch for the signs youre not getting enough protein.

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