Did you know that many of us are not getting enough protein?
While most people in westernized societies have access to more protein than they need, most of us do not actually consume enough to meet our most basic requirements.
Interestingly, it is very difficult to eat too much protein, as it is so satisfying and filling. Most people have to work really hard in order to overeat protein. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, it is a myth that eating too much protein will damage our kidneys. In fact, only those with existing kidney disease need to be cautious of their protein intake.
Unfortunately, many conventional resources suggest a protein intake that is just enough to prevent disease, however it’s not enough to ensure that you thrive and flourish. Depending on the source, you may see recommendations as low as 45g/day for women and 55g/day for men, which correlates to about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Health Canada recommends a baseline of 46g/day for females, and 56g/day for males. In my experience this is much lower than what is ideal, and leads people to then overeat carbohydrates; typically nutrient poor options like bread, pasta, crackers etc.
In my practice, I see that clients are better able to maintain a healthy weight, think more clearly, reach their goals, as well as feel a sustained satisfaction after meals when they aim for a protein intake of 1.2g/kg – 3g/kg body weight per day (0.54/lb – 1.5/lb body weight).
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, the key is to focus on eating enough protein throughout the day, ensuring it is the base of each meal or snack.
I recommend most people aim for 20-50g+ per meal or snack, (depending on gender, body size, composition & goals). It’s also important to take into consideration factors such as intermittent fasting where you would have a shortened period in which you eat your meals, i.e. eat between the hours of 12pm – 8pm and then fast between 8pm – 12pm the next day.
In general, this works out to be about a total of 65-125g+ for the average female and 100-200g+ for the average male. If you are pregnant, or working towards specific body composition goals, you may require even more than this.
Protein in Your Meal
Here are a couple examples of common meals and their protein content:
Here are some additional protein sources that I recommend as a base for meals and snacks:
Main sources of dietary protein:
If you are working towards specific body composition goals, for example body building, or if you are really pressed for time and cannot eat a proper meal after a workout, then I recommend taking advantage of protein and collagen powders. I must again stress that these should not be used as a go-to meal replacement, but as a supplement to a protein rich diet.
Other simple ways to increase protein intake: