The Pros of Protein

Monday, January 30, 2017

Protein is one of the most important parts of your diet. Required to build everything in your body from muscle and bone to skin and hair, protein is also a key component for growth and repair. The protein that you eat is digested and eventually broken down into smaller building blocks called amino acids, which your body can then use to build new proteins. What many people don’t know is that while our bodies can create most of these amino acids, there are nine “essential amino acids” that we have to get from our diets, either from animal or plant foods.

How much protein do you need?

If you’re over the age of 19, it’s recommended that you get at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight each day.  This number may increase depending on your age, activity level, and health. A simple calculation that you can use[1] is:

Step 1: Weight in pounds ÷ 2.2 = weight in kilograms

Step 2: Weight in kilograms x 0.8 = Minimum Daily Protein requirement in grams

Where can you get it from?

Protein is found in a wide variety of foods. Good sources of protein (see chart below for types of foods and amount of protein in each) include meats, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds. It’s important that you have a source of protein with each meal and snack to help you feel full and satisfied longer because it takes longer to digest protein than a meal or snack of carbohydrates. If you find it difficult to get enough protein in your diet each day, a simple, quick solution is to try a nutrition drink like BOOST® High Protein, which includes 15g of high-quality protein and only 240 calories.

Protein sources
Type of food & serving size Approx. grams of Protein2
Lean Beef, cooked - 75 g 25 g
Chicken breast, cooked - 75 g 21 g
Salmon, cooked - 75 g 17 g
BOOST® High Protein 15 g
Greek Yogurt 1/2 cup 13 g
Lentils, cooked - 1/2 cup 9.5 g
Glass of Milk - 1 cup 9 g
Cheddar cheese - 30 g 7 g
Nuts/seeds - 1/4 cup 7 g
Eggs - 1 large 6 g

Another good source of protein that many people often include in their diet is protein powder (such as whey protein).  It is important to note that some protein powders do not contain additional nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. BOOST® High Protein contains 26 vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D, to help meet your daily nutritional needs.

Protein is important for every organ and tissue in our body, so the next time you’re planning a meal or ordering at a restaurant, be sure to include a source of protein. Your body will thank you!


This article has been sponsored by BOOST, but all comments and opinions are my own.

Dorothy Lyons
Registered Dietitian
Dorothy Lyons is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy living. Her experience includes private and corporate nutrition consulting, clinical nutrition, teaching in higher education, nutrition communications, and working with chefs and culinary experts. Dorothy holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, with majors in Human Biology and Psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition and Food from Ryerson University.  She completed her dietetic internship at Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto and is a member of the Dietitians of Canada as well as the College of Dietitians of Ontario.