What Foods Are High in Protein? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Foods Are High in Protein?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Most meats are high in protein, but some are also high in fat and cholesterol.
  • For a healthy balance of protein and fat, you should incorporate beans, lean meats, legumes, and healthy grains into your diet.
  • Supplementing is always an option if you cannot get the protein you need from your diet.
Most foods contain some type of protein. However, some are naturally higher in content than others.

Fish, beans, grains, lean meats, and legumes contain the highest concentration of protein per gram.

If you have specific dietary restrictions because of a medical condition, you may need to find out which healthy foods are the best source of protein.

Although proteins are great for keeping your muscles healthy, it is the amino acids they contain that keep your body in good shape.

Many people take protein supplements because they are thought to promote the development of lean muscle. While this claim is supported by medical evidence, it is still best to get the majority of your protein from your diet.

Keep in mind that protein alone is not enough for your overall fitness and health needs. Exercise is vital. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

Do Meats Contain the Highest Amount of Protein?

When you consider the total volume of food that needs to be consumed by the average person in order to get a sufficient amount of protein daily, healthy meats provide the best source.

A few ounces of chicken breast and some varieties of fish have more protein than most other sources.

Some meats that are high in protein also contain high levels of fat, cholesterol, and carbohydrates.

This is the main reason that a variety of protein sources should be eaten. Do not try to get all your protein by way of eating meats alone, even if they are high in protein. For example, you can also get protein from a vegetarian source like soybeans.

Can Vegetarians Get Enough Protein Without Taking Supplements?

Poultry and fish alone contain enough protein for you to get your daily allotment without having to supplement. By comparison, vegans, vegetarians, and raw food eaters have somewhat limited choices but can still do just fine with proper diet planning. See the video below for the top 10 vegetarian protein sources:

Nuts are a good source of protein, but they also contain a lot of fat.

Vegans must carefully plan their daily menus. There are plenty of vegan protein supplement options on the market — such as hemp protein — for those unable to get their daily protein allotment through their diet.

Those leading a raw food lifestyle are not able to heat their food over approximately 120 degrees, which essentially makes their meals lukewarm. This makes high-protein vegetarian and vegan foods such as beans and legumes unsuitable except on a few occasions.

Some nutritionists believe that it is veritably impossible for strict vegetarians to get the protein that they need. Yet many followers of the raw food lifestyle have reported staying in excellent health for decades.

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Can You Benefit from Consuming Protein Supplements?

Protein supplements can be extremely helpful if you are facing a deficiency in your diet, especially if they have been recommended by your doctor.

But bear in mind that just as it is possible to consume too little protein, you can also take in too much.

In most cases, protein supplements are powdered and added to liquids such as water or milk. Energy bars are also high in protein, but they also contain other ingredients that can have an impact on your health, such as added sugar.

What Can You Do If You Are Not Getting Enough Protein?

You should vary your diet if you are protein deficient. Doing something as simple as eating a snack that is high in protein can help raise your overall levels.

If you are not fond of any of the foods that are high in protein, you can opt for meals that incorporate foods that have moderate amounts of protein.

For example, shellfish is high in protein, but it is not normally recommended as a good source because it is also high in cholesterol.

Taking protein supplements can help you get a quick protein boost, but you may need to discontinue use if you are not actively attempting to gain muscle mass.

Taking in an elevated amount of protein might cause you to gain weight in the form of fat, which is rarely desirable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much protein should I eat?

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends consuming 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.

Do I need to drink protein shakes?

Not at all! If you are getting an adequate amount of protein from whole foods, protein shakes are not necessary.

I am a vegetarian — how do I get more protein?

Vegetarians and vegans usually need to supplement with protein shakes or powders to hit their minimum daily protein requirements. 

And don’t forget that regulating your protein intake is just part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Exercise is vital.  Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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