What do you need protein for? How much protein do you need? Are high protein intakes safe for your kidneys? What are the best sources of protein? This post will answer any question you might have about protein.
Why Do You Need Protein? Proteins are building blocks. Muscle, skin, hair, ... They're all made of protein. Benefits of reaching your daily protein needs:
- Build Muscle. Since you need protein to build muscle, eating enough protein will ensure your body has what it needs to build new one.
- Maintain Muscle. Getting your body the protein it needs will improve muscle recovery and prevent muscle breakdown from exercising.
- Fat Loss. Protein has the highest thermic effect: your body burns more calories digesting proteins than carbs or fat. Protein also satiates: you feel full longer after eating a protein-rich meal. Both help fat loss.
How Much Protein Do You Need? The United States RDA is 0.8g/kg or 0.4g/lbs. This is 80g protein per day if you weigh 200lbs. But this recommendation is based on studies done on average, sedentary people.
The minimum if you train hard is 1g protein per pound of body-weight per day. That's 200g daily protein if you weigh 200lbs. You'll reach this amount easily by eating a whole protein source with each meal.
Protein Myths. Here's some urban legend on protein that you'll hear in gyms and probably also from friends, colleagues & crabs.
- Protein Is Bad for Your Kidneys. There's no data suggesting that high protein intakes cause the onset of kidney dysfunctions in healthy adults. There aren't even correlational studies. Try to find them.
- Protein Causes Weight Gain. Increasing your protein intake or drinking whey shakes won't make you gain weight unless you increase your daily calorie intake. Read how to gain weight for skinny guys.
- You Can Digest Max 30g Protein/Meal. Your body can digest & absorb pretty much anything you give it. Read the post how much protein can you absorb per meal for more info.
Best Sources of Protein. Vary your protein sources so you get the full range of amino acids. Here are some of the best & most popular sources of protein which also have been a staple of my diet for years.
- Red Meat. Steaks & ground round. Top round, sirloin.
- Poultry. Chicken breast, ground turkey, whole chicken.
- Fish. Canned tuna, mackerel, salmon.
- Dairy. Milk, cottage cheese, plain low fat yogurt, quark cheese, whey.
- Eggs. Whole eggs, scrambled eggs. Don't worry about cholesterol.
- Nuts. Walnuts, almonds, cashew, pistachio
Example Diet. Here's an example diet that will provide you with 200g protein. Again: eat a whole protein source with each meal and you'll reach your daily protein requirement easily. This diet fits the 8 nutrition rules.
- Breakfast. 3 whole eggs, veggies, orange, green tea.
- Snack. 100g Plain fat free yogurt, 1 scoop whey, apple.
- Lunch. 1 Can of tuna, roman lettuce, olive oil.
- Snack. 100g Mixed nuts, peer.
- Post Workout Shake. 1 Scoop whey, 300ml milk, oats, banana.
- Dinner. 150g Chicken breast, spinach, baby carrots.
- Pre bed. 200g Cottage cheese, berries, flax seeds, fish oil.
Protein is acidic. Eat plenty of veggies, ideally with each meal, to combat acidity. This prevents muscle & bone loss. The most alkaline food is spinach.