High Protein Foods
In this article we provide a list of high protein foods to assist athletes to meet their protein requirements and aid muscle growth.
As discussed throughout this chapter athletes and bodybuilders require higher amounts of protein to reach optimal muscle mass and peak performance. To assist athletes to reach their daily requirements of protein the following table helps to summarise more than 60 high protein foods. To benefit readers we have also included a number of good vegetarian sources of protein, which are often overlooked.
Note: Given the difference between brand name products readers are encouraged to use this information as a guide only and check food labels for accuracy.
List of High Protein Foods
Source: Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie Fat and Carbohydrate Counter, 2006.
Once you have determined how much protein you need, the above table can help you to create a diet that contains high protein foods to assist you to meet your daily requirements.
It should be noted that whilst the foods above generally contain high amounts of protein, a number of them also contain a high percentage of saturated fat (eg full cream milk, cheddar cheese, bacon etc) and therefore these foods should only be consumed in modest amounts to prevent complications associated with rising cholesterol and heart disease.
In the past, athletes and bodybuilders were encouraged to eat a large portion of dairy products as they contain whey protein, which is arguably one of the best sources of protein for muscle growth. Additionally because dairy products are typically high in calories they can assist athletes to gain weight and / or assist weight maintenance.
Whilst dairy products can assist in both muscle growth and weight gain, full cream dairy products are also high in saturated fat. Diets high in full cream dairy products have been associated with a significant increase in blood lipids and in particular LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. A diet high in saturated fat also makes athletes feel sluggish, reducing the quality of their training sessions. To overcome this, all athletes (and the adult population in general) should switch to low fat dairy products, which contain a higher protein content and less fat. Additionally lean cuts of meat (either fat removed or sources of game meat)are also recommended for the same reason (reducing saturated fat).
This is not to say that all fat should be removed from high protein foods, eating oily fish for example should be encouraged as the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish are an important nutrient that reduces inflammation, assists recovery and aids muscle growth. For more information refer to the article on foods for muscle growth.
High Protein Foods for Vegetarians
In the above table there are a number of vegetarian food sources of protein. Whilst there are some high protein foods that are plant based (in particular legumes such as peanuts, lentils, beans and chickpeas), proteins found in plant foods are generally not as complete as those found in animal foods such as meat and dairy. Therefore as a general rule vegetarians are encouraged to eat greater amounts of foods that contain plant proteins to ensure that the meet their body's structural requirements. Additionally given that soy is considered the most complete of the plant based proteins, vegetarians should consume soy based products on a regular basis.
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These articles will provide you with the necessary tools to start a successful gym training or bodybuilding program. These principles are only the beginning. Remember that discipline, knowledge and consistency are the keys to achieving your goals. Good luck!
Over the coming months we will be developing this chapter. Please visit our blog and subscribe to our rss feed such that when new articles are added to this chapter you will be notified.
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