Which Foods Have Protein?

August 21, 2017

Protein is naturally found in animal foods such as meat, pork, poultry, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs, as well as in plant foods such as grains, beans, nuts, seeds and soy.

But did you know not all protein is created equal?

Protein is made up of amino acids, and the quality of any protein depends on the type and amount of amino acids it provides. High-quality protein contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make on its own. The high-quality protein found in milk, cheese, yogurt and whey protein powder, as well as in meat, pork, poultry, fish, eggs and soy, can help you meet your daily needs. Since most plant proteins do not provide significant amounts of all the essential amino acids the body needs, a variety of plant foods are often needed.

Although most people meet minimum protein requirements, diets higher in protein may help support weight management, active lifestyles and healthy aging. Some experts recommend eating 20-30 grams of high-quality protein per meal to build a higher protein diet. Based on research in athletes and older adults, 10-15 grams of that should come from essential amino acids per meal, including 2-3 grams of leucine, to help rebuild muscle. Use the chart below to help you make the most of your protein choices:

 

Not All Protein Is Created Equal

Did you know that not all protein is created equal? The amount and quality varies among foods. Use the chart below to help you make the most of your protein choices!

Diets higher in protein may help support weight management, active lifestyles and healthy aging. Some experts recommend eating 20-30 grams of high-quality protein per meal to build a higher protein diet.

Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Research in athletes and older adults suggests aiming for 10-15 grams of essential amino acids per meal, including 2-3 grams of leucine.

Food 1

Common Portion Size

Energy (kcal) Calories

Essential Amino Acids (g)

Leucine (g)

Protein (g)

Skinless Chicken Breast

3 oz.

128

11

2.1

26

Whey Protein Powder-Isolate 2

1 scoop (25 g)

100

10

2.5

20

Ground Beef (97% lean)

3 oz.

130

9

1.7

22

Salmon

3 oz.

175

8

1.5

19

Soy Protein Powder-Isolate 3

1 scoop (25 g)

99

6

1.3

17

Low-Fat Cottage Cheese (1% milkfat)

1/2 cup

81

7

1.4

14

Greek Yogurt (low-fat)

6 oz.

124

4

0.9

17

Yogurt (low-fat)

6 oz.

107

4

0.9

9

Tofu

1/2 cup

94

4

0.9

10

Cheddar Cheese

1.5 oz

170

4

0.8

10

Pea Protein Powder-Isolate 4

1 scoop (30 g)

110

4

0.8

25

Skim Milk

1 cup

83

3

0.8

8

Black Beans

1/2 cup

112

3

0.6

8

Almonds

1/3 cup

273

3

0.7

10

Egg

1 large

72

3

0.5

6

Peanut Butter

2 tablespoons

188

2

0.5

7

 

1 Food nutritional data are per USDA Food Composition Databases unless indicated otherwise. Available at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/

2 BiPro Chocolate Whey Protein Isolate nutritional data found per BiPro website. Available at https://www.biprousa.com/

3 GNC Pro Performance 100% Soy Isolate-Chocolate Supreme nutritional data found per GNC website. Available at http://www.gnc.com/home/index.jsp

4 Pea Protein isolate non-GMO nutritional data found per True Nutrition website. Available at https://truenutrition.com/

 

 


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