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All meat is going to be an excellent source of protein: Beef, chicken, pork, and even fish. Chicken breasts are the best sources of protein at 31 grams of protein per 100 grams of chicken. Chicken has all the necessary amino acids and breast are also low in fat.
Meat: The best sources of protein
When compared to all other protein sources, basically any meat will come out on top in terms of protein quality and content. One of the largest benefits of meat is that it is a complete protein. In fact, any animal protein source is.
This means that all meats contain every essential amino acid in sufficient quantities for optimal protein synthesis.
Let’s look at the different meat sources individually to see just how much protein is packed into some of our favorites.
Protein content and calories per 100g:
- Skinless Chicken Breast: 31g protein, 165 calories, 75% protein
- Pork Chop: 28g protein, 250 calories, 49% protein
- Bacon: 37g, 541 calories, 28% protein
- Ground Beef: 19g protein, 224 calories, 34% protein
- Veal: 19g protein, 197 calories, 38% protein
- Salmon: 23g protein, 146 calories, 62% protein
- Shrimp: 20g protein, 106 calories, 75% protein
- Steak: 28g protein, 252 calories, 44% protein
The Winner: Chicken Breasts
When we look at the percentage of calories that come from protein, we find that chicken breasts and shrimp are roughly about 75% protein which is very high. However, if you need to eat a lot of protein fast, chicken breast wins weight wise. There are 31 grams of protein in 100 grams of chicken, while there are only 20 grams in shrimp.
If you are wondering, water makes up the additional weight of shrimp. That explains why there is more weight to shrimp but fewer calories.
Animal meat compared to plant sources
All of these meats have a very high amount of protein. Even ground beef is 34% protein. The only meat that drops below 30% is bacon, which is due to the super high fat content.
To get a better picture, let’s compare these meats to lentils, a great plant protein source. One serving of lentils (1 cup) has 230 calories and 19 grams of protein. This makes it 33% percent protein, which is just below ground beef.
One of the best plant protein sources is slightly lower than one of the lowest animal protein sources.
We also need to consider that all of the meats have all the essential amino acids in sufficient protein synthesis quantities, making them true, complete proteins.
Questions about protein in your diet
Is there a protein source better than meat?
Egg whites are an amazing source of protein. When it comes to straight-up protein content, egg whites are a better source than meat as they are almost 100% protein. However, you must separate the whites from the yolk.
What are some ways to make sure I eat enough protein?
Using a protein powder is probably the most efficient way to make sure you can hit your target for total protein intake. Make sure to include at least 20-25 grams of protein per serving. This may need to be higher according to your needs.
What’s the right amount of protein in a day?
Get 0.8 grams of protein powder per kilogram of body weight and 1.4-2.0 grams per kilogram if you are an active athlete.
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