What is Protein?
First of all it would be useful to understand what protein is and why it is important to your health.
Protein is a macronutrient and it is essential for the proper growth of muscle mass and a healthy functioning body. There are three main macronutrients that are essential for your body protein, fats and carbohydrates. Macronutrients provide energy known as calories. The body needs large quantities of these macronutrients to sustain life.
A gram of protein contains about 4 calories and protein accounts for around 15% of a personā?Ts body weight. When protein is broken down inside the body it helps to fuel the muscles which in turn helps the body to metabolise.
Protein also has high satiety effects which helps when trying to control the quantity of food you consume. Another reason we need protein in our diet is that it helps to boost the immune system, meaning we get sick less often if our protein levels are good.
There are a variety of foods that contain protein including meat, fish, dairy, nuts, beans and pulses. It is recommended that 10 - 35% of your daily calorie intake comes from protein, depending on your lifestyle. This equates to between 46-63 grams for most adults. Athletes or people looking to build more muscle mass may require more. Protein levels in meat
The amount of protein you get in meat is dependent upon the cut and quantity. The table below shows the amount of protein per gramme, on average, per 3 oz serving. We have kept the portion size equal to demonstrate the levels in the most fair way possible. Protein Per 3 oz serving:
Chicken 28 g
Steak 26 g
Turkey 25 g
Lamb 23 g
Beef 22 g
Pork 22 g
Ham 14 gIn comparison:
Salmon 17 g
Shrimp 19 g
Tofu 5.87 g
Lentils 21.94 g
However, as stated above, some cuts will have higher levels of protein than others. Also the way that meat is cooked and treated will affect the levels. Here are a couple of examples.
Chicken drumstick: 12.4 grams in one drumstick, or 28.3 grams per 100 grams. Chicken wings: 6.4 grams in one wing, or 30.5 grams per 100 grams.
Although the chicken wings are obviously higher in protein, it may be harder to get the amount of protein verses the quantity of wings you need to consume. 100 grams of wings may look a lot more daunting on your plate than 100 grams of drumsticks.
What also needs to be considered when choosing your meat source for protein are the levels of all the other component nutrients. Some may be marginally lower in protein but higher in iron for example. Always check the food labels if you are watching your intake of nutrients. In Conclusion
Generally speaking, chicken has the highest protein levels, but it is worth noting that some cuts of beef will be higher than chicken. Dark meat is usually higher in protein than light meat with poultry. The way you treat and cook your meat, as well as the cut you have will all affect the nutritional values, including protein levels.
However, it would appear that meat has a far higher level of protein than any other source overall. So if you are low in protein, or you want to improve the performance of your muscle mass, then the quickest way to help yourself is to eat great meat