Proteins play a vital role in our bodies and are essential for the growth and repair of muscles, hair, nails, and bones.
While protein aids muscle growth, it also increases your metabolism because your body burns a lot of energy to digest and absorb it. Protein can be very satiating (meaning that you feel full longer) which can help with fat loss or your overall body composition.
Here are some examples of the different types of protein you should include in your diet:
Some excellent plant-based or vegan protein sources include:
It’s important to be mindful that certain foods contain significant amounts of more than one type of macronutrient. For example, beans, lentils, and chickpeas are high in both protein and carbohydrates, and eggs and specific cuts of red meat are high in both protein and fats.
Some find it challenging to meet their protein needs with whole foods. If this is the case for you, try protein supplements such as whey protein and/or plant-based protein powders like pea and soy.
1 scoop of whey protein powder has roughly the same amount of protein powder as 3 ounces of cooked chicken breast or steak. Having a protein shake or a smoothie is a convenient way to get a boost of protein.
So, how much protein should you eat?
Servings will vary by individual based on your caloric needs, but here is a general guideline:
People who exercise regularly: 1.4 - 2.0g per kg of bodyweight
Competitive or strength athletes: 2.0 - 2.2g per kg of bodyweight