The body uses the proteins we consume to essentially make every tissue structure in our bodies. Proteins also function as enzymes, hormones, and are heavily involved in our cardiovascular and immune systems. Our body metabolizes about 1 pound of our protein mass daily for use in our natural body processes. We are in fact what we eat! A good lean quality protein is important to carry out all these bodily processes.

Protein Quality

The proteins we consume are metabolized into amino acids. There is a total of 20 amino acids that are required for protein synthesis in the body. Proteins are important for muscle growth, antibody production, and the production of different hormones. Half of these amino acids can only be obtained through diet, the other half we can make on our own.

Proteins should consist anywhere from 25% – 35% of your diet. Research has shown that the optimal range of protein intake is .8g – 1.5g protein per kg of body weight. .8g is for the less active person and 1.5g is more for body builders. I like to recommend 1g protein per kg of body weight.

Recommended Intake

1 gram of protein = 4 calories

Based off 1g protein per kg of body weight Ex: current weight 200lbs

200lbs / 2.2 (kg per pound) = 91 body weight in kg

Depending on activity level, multiply body weight in kg by .8g – 1.5g protein to determine number of grams of protein to eat daily

91 x 1 = 91grams

91g x 4 calories per gram = 364 calories daily

What Protein to Eat

Protein plays such a vital role in our bodies, so it’s important to intake the best kinds of proteins. The quality and digestibility of the proteins is how to determine which protein is the best to intake. Low end and processed meats usually contain lower amounts of protein. High quality meats and fish contain high amounts of lean protein that your body can easily extract, digest, and use to build muscle.

  • Animal and fish proteins (serving size about size of palm)
  • Grass feed beef (general rule: 1oz = 6-7g of protein)
    • Hamburger: 6oz = 36g protein
    • Lean Steak: 6oz = 42g protein
  • Chicken: Anti-biotic free/hormone free, free range chicken
    • Depends on density of chicken: 1oz = 6-8g protein
  • Wild Alaskan salmon (not farm raised)
    • Read labels to determine amount of protein
  • Other fish and shellfish including: herring, mackerel, albacore tuna, whitefish, bass, mussels, oysters, bluefish, smelt, swordfish, trout, sardines, scallops.
    • Read labels to determine amount of protein
  • Lean meats like deer and boar
    • Read labels to determine amount of protein
  • Lamb chops
    • Read labels to determine amount of protein

Legumes/nuts/seeds: (serving size is typically a handful)

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Soybeans
  • Baked beans
  • Lentils
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almonds

Other sources of protein:

  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach