How much protein do you need?
This depends on your weight, gender and age. As a guideline, it’s recommended that adults eat 0.75g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
How much protein does the average person need per day?
It’s likely that you need less protein than you might imagine. In the UK, the average adult typically eats a lot more protein than they need to – 88g for men and 64g for women. For most of us, around two daily palm-sized servings of protein should do the trick.
What are high protein foods?
Despite the huge range of protein-boosting supplements, drinks, shakes and snacks on the market, the majority of us can happily get all the protein we need from a healthy, balanced diet.
Protein in animal-based food
The most obvious sources of protein come from meat and dairy products, and that’s because many of them are ‘complete’ proteins, or foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.
Always choose your proteins carefully. It’s important to steer clear of processed meat, avoid a diet that’s too high in red meat and make sure you’re getting a good variety of plant-based proteins too.
- Eggs – a single egg contains over six grams of protein, along with essential amino acids, vitamins A, E and B12.
- Meat – branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are found in meat and play an important role in supporting muscle recovery. Try to opt for lean protein from chicken and turkey. If you’ve been exercising go for pork, one of the richest sources of leucine, which helps to stimulate repair after exercise.
- Fish and seafood – a great low-fat source of protein.
- Dairy food – milk, cheese and yoghurt; Greek yoghurt is a particularly impressive source of protein.
What plant-based food is protein in?
Even vegetarians and vegans can get enough daily protein, providing they do the research and incorporate the right foods into their diets.
If you’re on a plant-based diet, one of the most important rules is to make sure you consume a variety of protein sources. That’s because there are fewer complete proteins from plant-based sources, although quinoa and pea protein both give a wide range of amino acids in one source.
It’s a good idea to look at combining two different protein sources to provide the same kind of amino acid profile as you would get from meat.
Good sources of plant-based proteins include:
- Soya – such as soya milk and tofu.
- Beans and pulses – not only are these high in protein, they are also great for iron and fibre.
- Grains – you’ll find good protein content in quinoa, brown and white bread, rice, pasta and oatmeal.
- Nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds are all great go-to sources of protein.