Essential Guide to High Protein Foods: Boost Muscle Growth and Fat Loss


What is Protein?

Protein plays a pivotal role in shedding extra pounds and maintaining a well-balanced diet. Amino acids are the foundational elements of protein. Out of the 20 amino acids, our body can only produce 11. The remaining nine, termed as essential amino acids, must be sourced from our diet.

Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins: What’s the Difference?

Complete Proteins: Protein sources such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, contain all nine essential amino acids. Therefore, they are called whole proteins or complete proteins.

Incomplete Proteins: Protein sources such as nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes do not contain all essential amino acids and are called incomplete proteins. They have to be paired with other foods to make them complete.

Incomplete Proteins: Combinations of Protein Foods

Food pairing with complementary proteins is a strategy to ensure that you are consuming a variety of foods that together provide all the essential amino acids needed by your body. Combining different plant-based protein sources allows you to create complete protein meals that support your nutritional needs.

Here are some examples of food pairings for complementary proteins:

  • Beans and Rice: A staple in many cultures, this combination provides all essential amino acids. Legumes like beans, lentils, or chickpeas are typically low in the amino acid methionine but high in lysine. On the other hand, grains like rice, wheat, or corn are low in lysine but rich in methionine. Combining beans and rice creates a complete protein source that provides all the essential amino acids.
  • Hummus and Whole Wheat Pita: A protein-rich snack that’s both tasty and nutritious. Hummus, made from chickpeas, is a good source of lysine. Pairing it with whole wheat pita, which contains methionine, creates a well-rounded protein snack or meal.
  • Peanut Butter on Whole Grain Bread: A balanced protein source, especially with whole-grain bread. Peanut butter is rich in lysine and arginine while whole grain bread provides methionine. Combining these two creates a balanced protein source, especially when choosing whole-grain bread over refined versions. Combining whole grain bread with pumpkin seed spread.
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  • Quinoa Salad with Black Beans: A unique plant-based protein meal. Quinoa is a unique plant-based protein as it contains all essential amino acids. Combining it with black beans, which are rich in lysine, creates a complete protein meal. Add vegetables and a vinaigrette dressing to make it a nutritious and satisfying salad.
Quinoa Black Bean Salad Recipe (Link on Image)
  • Vegetables and Whole Grains: For instance, Broccoli paired with whole grain pasta.

3 Non-Vegetarian Protein Sources

Fueling Your Body with Animal-Based Proteins

Non-Vegetarian Sources
Food Item Quantity Protein Content
Whey Protein 1 scoop 25 g
Chicken Breast 100g 30 g
Whole Egg 1 6 g

9 Vegetarian Sources for Muscle Growth

Plant-Powered Protein

Vegetarian Sources
Food Item Quantity Protein Content
Plain Greek Yogurt 100 g 8 g
Paneer 100 g 25 g
Low Fat Milk 100 ml 3.8 g
Soya Chunks 100 g 52 g
Tofu 100 g 17 g
Rajma 100 g 9 g
Lentils 100 g 25 g
Chickpea 100 g 20 g
Daliya 100 g 7.1 g


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Why Protein Bioavailability is Crucial for Your Health?

After consuming proteins, the body breaks them down into essential amino acids which are then absorbed by the body. This digestion process starts in the stomach, and the peptide bonds holding the proteins are broken down. But some proteins break down easily and are absorbed more quickly than others. Protein bioavailability suggests how nicely the meal’s protein may be utilised with the aid of digestive enzymes.

Animal proteins have high bioavailability and are easily absorbed and then the body can use a high percentage of these amino acids. For example, soy protein is less absorbed by the body whereas protein from eggs is more bioavailable, which means more protein from eggs is available for use by the body.

Whey Protein: Whey is the finest source of protein. Whey Protein Isolate is top of the list of good-quality proteins as this is the purest form of whey. Absorption is extremely quick.

PDCAAS: Evaluating Protein Quality

Understanding the Importance of PDCAAS in Protein Evaluation

PDCAAS is a way to evaluate the quality of protein. The maximum PDCAAS value that a protein can achieve is 1.0, indicating that the particular protein will provide 100%  of all the amino acids. Protein quality shows both the content of amino acids in a protein source and its bioavailability.

4 High-Protein Vegetarian Recipes by Fitness with Nidhi

Delicious Ways to Boost Your Protein Intake with Fitness with Nidhi

  • Overnight Tiramisu Oats
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  • Chilli Soya
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  • Veg Kebabs
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  • Soya Rice
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7 Signs You are not consuming sufficient protein

The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This recommendation is based on the average sedentary adult’s needs to prevent deficiency.

Those with regular physical activity or higher energy needs may require more protein to support muscle repair and growth. It is often recommended to consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.54 to 0.91 grams per pound). 

Athletes, bodybuilders, or individuals engaging in intense resistance training may benefit from higher protein intake to support muscle recovery and synthesis. Recommendations for this group typically range from 1.4 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 0.64 to 1.0 grams per pound). 

If you are not following the RDA guideline for protein, it can lead to

  1. Brittle nails and thinning of hair, dry and flaky skin
skin transformation of fitness with nidhi client
  1. Swelling
  2. Mood Swings
  3. Hunger pangs
  4. Weakness and fatigue
  5. Slow healing of injuries
  6. Getting sick often

5 Signs You Are Consuming Too Much Protein

While protein is an essential nutrient for our body, consuming excessive amounts of protein may have certain signs or symptoms. Here are some signs that you may be eating too much protein:

  1. Digestive Issues: Consuming excessive protein can lead to digestive discomforts such as bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhoea. This is because protein requires sufficient digestive enzymes and water to break down and be properly absorbed.
  2. Dehydration: High protein intake can increase your body’s water needs. If you’re not adequately hydrating, it can lead to dehydration. Signs of dehydration include dark urine, dry mouth, fatigue, and dizziness.
  3. Kidney Strain: Excessive protein intake can strain the kidneys, as they are responsible for filtering waste products from protein metabolism. Over time, this may lead to kidney issues or worsen existing kidney conditions.
  4. Bad Breath: The breakdown of excess protein can produce ammonia as a byproduct, which can result in bad breath or a strong, pungent odour.
  5. Weight Gain: While protein is important for satiety and weight management, consuming too much protein can lead to weight gain if it exceeds your daily energy needs. Excess protein is converted into fat and stored in the body.

7 Protease Rich Foods for Protein Absorption

Protease is an enzyme that helps in the digestion and breakdown of proteins in our body. While protease is naturally produced in our digestive system, consuming foods that contain natural protease enzymes can support digestion. Here are some foods that are known to contain protease or have protease-like properties:

  1. Pineapple: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is a mixture of proteases. Bromelain is known for its protein-digesting properties and is commonly used as a meat tenderizer. Fresh pineapple or pineapple juice can provide natural protease enzymes.
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  1. Papaya: Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which is a potent protease. Papain is often used as a meat tenderizer and is also found in some digestive enzyme supplements. Ripe papaya or papaya juice can be consumed to obtain papain enzymes.
  2. Kiwi: Kiwi fruit contains an enzyme called actinidin, which has proteolytic activity. Actinidin can aid in protein digestion and is known for its tenderizing effect on meat.
  3. Ginger: Ginger contains various enzymes, including proteases, such as zingibain. These enzymes can assist in breaking down proteins and improving digestion.
  4. Sauerkraut: Fermented foods like sauerkraut contain enzymes, including proteases, that aid in the fermentation process and may help with protein digestion.
  5. Kimchi: Kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish, contains enzymes that can assist in protein digestion, including proteases.
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  1. Miso: Miso, a fermented soybean paste commonly used in Japanese cuisine, contains enzymes, including proteases, which contribute to its fermentation process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much protein can be taken in one meal?

20-30 g of protein in each meal is sufficient which helps with protein synthesis throughout the day. It will be easier for our body to carry out the process and not consume too much in one meal. Well, this is a general recommendation. Protein intake varies according to individual goals.

Can I gain weight by overeating protein?

Yes, the body will use the amount required and in case you are consuming too much with no physical activity, protein will ultimately turn into fat.

Will protein powder become denatured after cooking?

Protein can tolerate a certain amount of heat. But yes, they do get denatured but the body will absorb the nutrients in the same way. It’s similar to cooking chicken.

Will a high-protein diet harm my kidneys?

The study says it’s harmful to only those with chronic kidney disease and they should avoid large quantities of protein.

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