The 7 Sources Of Protein Every Man Needs

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The 7 Sources Of Protein Every Man Needs

Protein: we go on about it all the time. For good reason too: it’s the fastest way to build muscle, burn fat and get the body you want.

And we’ve put together your definitive guide on it.

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The foods are ranked in order of their protein content – the more they have, the higher up the list they go. In case you forgot: “If you’re training to get lean or build muscle you should eat 1g of protein per lb (0.5kg) of body weight each day,” says sports nutritionist Matt Lovell. Print this page out and stick it in your fridge – it’ll serve as your shopping list for more post-gym muscle and better performance.

The 7 Sources Of Protein Every Man Needs

1. Whey protein

Protein content per 100g: 80-90g
Calories: 82
Carbohydrates: 3.4g
Fibre: 0g

The good

“Whey protein is absorbed faster than any other protein, making it ideal for fuelling muscle growth before and after training,” says Lovell. It also boosts your immune system and a study at Ball State University, Indiana, found taking a minimum of 0.88g of whey per pound of body weight could prevent the ills of overtraining from setting in.

The bad

People who are lactose intolerant should take whey protein isolate as this has less of it.

What to eat with it

Carbs. “You should always take 20-30g of whey before and after training and its best accomplice is 40-50g of carbs,” says Lovell. “The carbs supply energy to train and replace muscle glycogen after you’ve trained – plus refined sugars cause the body to release insulin, which after training has a very anabolic effect and enhances protein synthesis.”

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2. Soya protein isolate

Protein content per 100g: 88g
Calories: 321
Carbohydrates: 3g
Fibre: 2g

The good

It’s very low in saturated fat (0.5g) and researchers at the nutrition division of Miami Research Associates, US, found that it was equal to whey at building muscle. “It’s also very rich in iron, which provides additional oxygen to your muscles, thereby allowing you to do cardiovascular exercise for longer,” says Lovell.

The bad

It has a reputation for being a man-boob builder. But don’t write it off: the study above found no change in the subjects’ estrogen (female hormone) levels, which is the cause of the chest inflation.

What to eat with it

An orange. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating foods rich in vitamin C increased the amount of iron you can absorb by up to 12%.

The 7 Sources Of Protein Every Man Needs

3. Cod

Protein content per 100g: 63g
Calories: 290
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fibre: 0g

The good

This is the animal protein with one of the lowest saturated fat content, serving just 0.5g of fat per 100g. “A modest 300g serving will provide your RDA of magnesium, which generates the energy needed for you to train, protect you against cramps and help your muscles contract,” explains Lovell.

The bad

It’s high in sodium (salt) but begrudging a seawater fish for being too salty is like resenting a lap dancer for wearing tassels.

What to eat with it

Broccoli. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research (IFR) in Norwich found that eating foods high in selenium, like the cod, with sulforaphane-rich foods like broccoli make the meal 13 times more powerful at attacking cancer than when they are eaten alone.

RELATED: what happens when I eat too much protein?

4. Clams and other mollusks

Protein content per 100g: 48g
Calories: 275
Carbohydrates: 16g
Fibre: 0g

The good

It will provide you with 302% of your RDA of vitamin B12, which keeps your nervous system healthy, gives you energy and is used to metabolize fats, carbs, and protein. You’ll also get 128% of your RDA of the antioxidant selenium. “This antioxidant boosts post-exercise recovery and will reduce post-training stiffness,” explains Lovell.

The bad

It’s high in cholesterol (130mg) which is bad if you have high cholesterol, but researchers at Texas A&M University found that eating cholesterol can help to add muscle if your cholesterol levels are normal – it seems every clam has a silver lining.

What to eat with it

Tomatoes. “They are rich in vitamin C which will help you absorb a larger chunk of the 10mg of iron found in this smiling protein source,” says Lovell.

5. Tofu

Protein content per 100g: 48g
Calories: 480
Carbohydrates: 15g
Fibre: 7g

The good

You’ll receive 184% of your RDA of manganese. “This mineral is used to strengthen bones and metabolize carbs, amino acids, and cholesterol,” says Lovell. Tofu also has 24g of unsaturated (good) fats and a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that when people ate unsaturated fats after exercise the blood flow in their arteries increased by 45%, which resulted in more anti-inflammatory agents being rushed to the working muscles. Take home message: tofu will help you recover from training faster.

The bad

It’s not known for its flavor so it’s often flavored with sauces like soya, which are very high in salt and preservatives or fried.

What to eat with it

Vegetable soup. “This will provide flavor and extra nutrients without any salty, preservative filled seasonings that often cancel out the goodness found in the tofu,” says Lovell.

6. Low-sodium Parmesan cheese

Protein content per 100g: 42g
Calories: 456
Carbohydrates: 4g
Fibre: 0g

The good

Due to its long aging, much of the protein in Parmesan has been “pre-digested” and it takes just 45 minutes to digest. You’ll get 138% of your RDA of bone-strengthening calcium, which is vital for making your muscles contract.

The bad

You’ll get a whopping 19g of saturated fat which can sabotage the sternest fat burning efforts. “Limit your intake to those times when you’re trying to bulk up,” says Lovell.

What to eat with it

Tofu or chicken breasts. A study at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Chicago, found that when people flavored bland foods with the high-fat food they lost more weight because they were more likely to eat higher quantities of healthy food. That’s stealthy eating.

7. Lean beef

Protein content per 100g: 36g
Calories: 199
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fibre: 0g

The good

A 300g steak will provide you your RDA of zinc, which aids in post-exercise tissue repair and in the conversion of food to fuel. “Beef is one of the richest natural sources of the strength booster creatine which is a famously efficient muscle building aid,” states Lovell.

The bad

“It’s not a good post-workout meal as it takes too long to digest, leaving your muscles hanging for their protein fix,” explains Lovell.  A 100g steak will give you 30% of your daily cholesterol limit so only eat it once or twice a week if you have cholesterol problems.

What to eat with it

Greek salad. “Steak can take a long time to digest, leaving you feeling full for ages so if you’re trying to lose weight its best to pair it with a low-calorie, nutrient-dense option like a salad to stave off weight gain,” says Lovell. The enzymes in the salad will aid digestion and help you absorb more of the protein in the steak.

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