protein amounts in foods

How to Eat Enough Protein

Sliced ​​rare steak next to various vegetables, which indicates a meal with enough proteinAs I discussed in a recent post, my diet tends to be higher in protein than it has been in years past. I rarely consume less than 100 grams of protein. Most days I am significantly higher, even if I only eat two meals. These meals focus primarily on protein, with vegetables playing a more supportive role.

After so many years on the Primal Diet, I am fully confident in my ability to eat intuitively. I trust my body to guide my meal-to-meal, day-to-day, and week-to-week nutritional decisions, so I don’t care about keeping track of macros (the exact amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fat I eat each day eat). However, knowledge is power. You should at least have a sense of your protein and carbohydrate intake, even if you can.

However, most people have no idea what they are eating. Sure, you could read the nutritional information at the grocery store, but How many people know what 100-150 grams of protein looks like in relation to real food? Do you know how much protein is there in a single chicken breast? How about a six-ounce steak? Three eggs, a handful of nuts or even vegetables?

How to Measure Protein Intake

Protein is measured by the gram weight of the protein itself, not the total amount of food you eat. This is a common cause of confusion among people new to tracking their food. As you will see, four ounces of steak is different from four ounces of chicken breast or salmon in terms of protein. To determine how much protein a particular food contains, you need an app like Chronometer (my current favorite) plus a food scale for precision. Measure all meat raw and make sure you select the correct entry (raw or cooked) in your tracking app.

Even if you don’t want to weigh and measure all of your foods, just keep track of your protein intake for a few days. See what you’re making on average. In my experience, almost everyone eats less than they think, especially when they practice intermittent fasting. Once you have a good grasp of what it takes to meet your daily protein goal, it is up to you whether or not to keep pursuing.

I’ll save you some time, and I’ve provided protein data for a number of common foods below. All values ​​are from Cronometer. You will immediately notice that this list includes both animal and vegetable sources of protein, including things like legumes and soy products that aren’t necessarily primal. Don’t take this to mean that I believe animal and vegetable sources of protein are equivalent. There is no question that animal proteins are superior in terms of bioavailability and amino acid profiles. However, our primal community includes people who describe themselves as plant-based, vegetarian or even vegan. I want you to get enough protein from the best possible sources too. I’ve covered the issue of plant-based nutrition in detail opposite to Primal Blueprint recommendations in the past. Scroll to the bottom of the post for more information on the topic.

How much protein is there in meat?

Raw meat values ​​by weight.

4 oz. Ground beef, 85% lean: 21 grams

Ground turkey, 93% lean (4 oz.): 21 grams

Boneless Chicken Breasts (4 oz.): 26 grams

Boneless Chicken Legs (4 oz.): 23 grams

Turkey Breast (4 oz.): 26 grams

Pork Chop (4 oz.): 25 grams

Pork Shoulder (4 oz.): 21 grams

Steak, New York Strips (4 oz.): 25 grams

Steak, Ribeye (4 oz.): 22 grams

Ham (4 oz.): 23 grams

Game meat (4 oz.): 24 grams

Beef liver (4 oz.): 23 grams

Beef Heart (4 oz.): 21 grams

Beef tongue (4 oz.): 20 grams

Protein in seafood

Tuna, Fresh (4 oz.): 28 grams

Salmon (4 oz.): 25 grams

Pollack (4 oz.): 22 grams

Trout (4 oz.): 23 grams

Oysters (4 oz.): 11 grams

Prawns (4 oz.): 15 grams

Canned tuna (1 5-oz. Can): 36 grams

Canned Sardines (1 4.4-ounce can): 17 grams

Protein in common dairy products

Cottage cheese, full fat, plain (1 cup): 23 grams

Cottage cheese, fat-free, plain (1 cup): 22 grams

Greek yogurt, full fat, plain (1 cup): 22 grams

Greek yogurt, fat-free, plain (1 cup): 25 grams

Whole milk (1 cup): 8 grams

Skimmed milk (1 cup): 8 grams

Whipped cream (2 tbsp): 1 gram

Cheddar cheese (1 ounce): 7 grams

Swiss cheese (1 oz.): 8 grams

Cream Cheese, Full Fat (1 oz.): 2 grams

Are Eggs High In Protein?

Chicken egg (1 large): 6 grams

Duck egg (1): 9 grams

Quail egg (1): 1 gram

Vegetable protein: legumes and soy

Tofu, firm (4 oz.): 14 grams

Tempeh (4 oz.): 23 grams

Natto (4 oz.): 22 grams

Lentils (1/2 cup cooked): 9 grams

Peas (1/2 cup cooked): 8 grams

Black beans (1/2 cup cooked): 8 grams

Kidney beans (1/2 cup cooked): 8 grams

Pinto beans (1/2 cup cooked): 8 grams

Chickpeas, also known as chickpeas (1/2 cup cooked): 7 grams

Green peas (1/2 cup): 4 grams

Nuts and seeds

Peanut butter (2 tbsp): 7 grams

Almond butter (2 tbsp): 7 grams

Almonds (1 ounce): 6 grams

Cashews (1 ounce): 5 grams

Macadamias (1 ounce): 2 grams

Walnuts (1 oz.): 4 grams

Chia seeds (1 ounce): 5 grams

Flaxseed (1 oz.): 5 grams

Hemp seeds (1 oz.): 9 grams

Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 9 grams

Sesame seeds (1 oz.): 6 grams

Sunflower seeds (1 ounce): 6 grams

Fruits and vegetables with the most protein

Spirulina powder (2 tbsp): 12 grams

Brussels sprouts (1 cup): 4 grams

Broccoli florets (1 cup): 3 grams

Asparagus (4 large stalks): 2 grams

Green beans (1 cup): 2 grams

Spinach, raw (1 cup): 1 gram

White potatoes (1 medium): 4 grams

Sweet potatoes (1 medium): 2 grams

Blackberries (1 cup): 2 grams

Guava (1 fruit): 1-2 grams

Gluten-free ancient grains, pseudo-grains, grasses

Teff (1/2 cup cooked): 5 grams

Amaranth (1/2 cup cooked): 5 grams

Quinoa (1/2 cup cooked): 4 grams

Wild rice (1/2 cup cooked): 3 grams

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the proteins you might be eating. Protein powders, especially whey protein, are convenient and usually highly bioavailable sources of essential amino acids. I didn’t include them here as the protein content varies by brand, but you can usually expect 20-30 grams per serving. I also avoided the bevy of fake meat alternatives. This is partly because they also vary greatly in protein supply, but most of all, many of them contain objectionable ingredients so I cannot list them here with a clear conscience.

Finally, let me plug in one more plug to seriously consider insects as an option. Unless you grew up in a culture that loved insects as a staple food, you’re probably shaking your head right now, but insects score big for both sustainability and nutrition!

You can find tons of fantastic protein-centric meal ideas in our recipe collection.

further reading

Protein FAQ

How Much Protein Do I Need?

A good rule of thumb is to aim for a minimum of 0.7 to 1 gram per pound of lean body mass for overall health. For muscle building, research suggests that 0.8 g / lb (1.6 g / kg) of body weight is a good goal.

How Much Protein is Too Much?

There really isn’t a cap, although at some point you will start seeing diminishing returns. The myth that you shouldn’t be consuming more than 30 grams of protein at once because your body can absorb it is just that – a myth.

Is Protein Powder Good For You?

While I generally recommend opting for whole foods first, protein powders can provide convenient meal replacement or snack options. Whey protein is the most bioavailable. Although it is made from dairy products, many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate whey protein powder.

Best Vegan Protein Sources?

It’s extremely difficult to be both vegan and primal. Most vegan-friendly foods that contain non-negligible protein are borderline at best. That said, all kinds of legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as teff, quinoa, amaranth, and vegan protein powders are your best choices.

About the author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather of the primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times Bestselling author of The keto reset diet. His latest book is Keto for lifewhere he discusses how to combine the keto diet with a primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The original blueprintwho was credited with accelerating the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After three decades of researching and clarifying why food is the key component in achieving and maintaining optimal wellbeing, Mark started Original cuisine, a real food company that makes Primal / Paleo, Keto and Whole30 friendly kitchen staples.

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