There is much talk in the diet community about how much protein is necessary for a healthy diet and what the best source of protein really is. With so many questions and differing opinions, it is difficult to know how much protein you need to stay healthy, and if you are really getting enough.
There are many healthy options available for meeting your recommended protein intake, and we will look at them here.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Adult men typically require 56 grams a day, where adult women only require 46 grams a day. Your total protein intake should be 17% to 21% of your total caloric intake.
Protein assists the body in many of its important physiological functions, including building muscle and bones, and keeping cells in working order. Recent studies have shown that increasing protein intake to 30% of your total caloric intake and reducing fat to just 20% of your total caloric intake has resulted in sustained weight loss.
Healthiest Sources of Protein From Food
So many foods contain protein that both meat eaters and vegetarians can easily satisfy the recommended daily protein intake by carefully selecting foods high in protein and low in fat.
- Fish and seafood are excellent sources of protein. Seafood is low in fat, while fattier fish such as salmon and herring contain omega-3s which protect against heart disease.
- Poultry is another source of lean protein. Eat white meat with no skin for the best nutrition with the least fat.
- Dairy products offer another source of protein with the added benefit of calcium, which is good for your bones and teeth. Use skim or low fat versions to minimize fat consumption.
- Beans are a great source of protein and are a particularly good choice because they also contain fiber, a nutrient many Americans do not get enough of. Additionally, they help lower heart disease and cancer risk.
- Venison, bison, and elk meat are all leaner than the average red meat and are very high in protein, making them a good choice.
Protein from Supplements
Protein powders and bars can provide you with a quick and easily measured boost of protein and other nutrients. They make an excellent substitute for a meal, and they can have many other benefits for people looking to enhance their workout or lose weight.
You should not replace your entire diet with powdered shakes or protein bars, but they can be taken throughout the day as a supplement to your already diverse diet. Every different powdered protein supplement and bar has a different purpose, so make sure that you select one that is in line with your fitness or weight loss goals. Select protein products with low carbs, sugar, and fat if you are not looking to gain weight from your protein supplement.
Most nutritionists agree that it is best to vary your diet and include more lean proteins than those full of saturated fats, such as red meats. Combining lean meats with protein supplements, such as shakes and bars, can be a great way to meet your daily protein intake and stay healthy. Try picking a protein for every meal, and stay fuller for longer.