Phone: 03 8822 3723

Everything You Need To Know About Protein For Great Health

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 07 June 2016
Hits: 6467

Recently we covered a great article about the importance of eating more greens, and we also discussed why saturated fat is in fact good for you! Apart from people eating too much sugar one of the biggest obstacles to people needing help with cancer, diabetes and chronic injury is adding muscle. To add muscle you need to complete strength training program, but you also need to eat enough protein to repair the damaged muscle tissue and enable the muscle to grow. Without enough good quality protein you will eat your own tissue to repair yourself! Meaning you will not get the rewards you are looking for! If your goal is to just lose weight and look good adding muscle is just as important for adding muscle increases your metabolic rate helping you to shed the excess fat and kilos more easily. Lastly protein helps to keep blood sugars and hormones under control stopping the food cravings from kicking in and ruining all of your health and fitness efforts. To help get your head around all these factors here is an article put together by our Exercise Physiologist Trainer Nathan Fejes as he is very passionate about nutrition, and especially the value of protein. Enjoy.

You may be thinking whether you should be eating more protein?

  • Less protein?
  • Will too much protein give me health risks?
  • What will happen if I don’t eat enough protein?
  • What are the best sources of protein?

This article should answer most of your questions relating to eating proteins for health. A little bit about my story, in my late teens once I became into my health and fitness I began exercising 4-5 days a week to increase my muscle mass through weight training, my approach with my dietary intake was eating approximately 55% carbohydrates (pasta, rice, fruits, veggies) and 45% of protein/fat foods (meats, dairy, seafood), however, eating only this lower amount of proteins in my diet made me feel very inconsistent with my energy levels having my highs and lows, I could not get rid of my gut, and I always felt sore after workouts not allowing me to recover as effectively.

As I educated myself more on other methods of nutrition and healthy eating I began to change my ratio of eating to approximately 35-40% carbohydrates and 60-65% protein/fat foods. I now to this day still go by this way, and for me I have more consistent energy levels, recover a lot better from workouts and have lost my gut. Just because it has worked for me very well, does not mean it will have the exact same effect for you, everyone is different, however, my goal for you is to describe to you how protein intake is essential for everybody’s health and majority of people do not eat enough of it!

What Are The Best Sources of Protein?

Protein is a food source which promotes recovery and rebuilding of cells in your body mainly for your organs and muscles, which is why it’s important. An easy approach to knowing which foods have more protein in them are foods that have come from things with eyes, examples are meats, fish, eggs and dairy, others are nuts & legumes.


As the pictures above show that if you eat a good variety of high quality protein you will add muscle much more easily. All of the following sources of protein have essential amino acids (EAAs) which are proteins that your body does not have, which is essential for recovery! The only ways to get these essential amino acids are through these foods. The more variety of protein you have in your diet the better! It is good to rotate with these certain meats, having more whiter meat compared to darker / red meats.

  • Fish & Seafood: not only does seafood contain your EAAs, however, contains omega-3 fats which is healthy for your bodily functions and balances out your fat intake ratio of Omega-6 : Omega-3.
  • Eggs: these are a great source of protein that can be easy to prepare and can add variety to your diet through fried, scrambled, poached, boiled etc. It also has a good source of HDL cholesterol, which balances out your total cholesterol levels.
  • Whiter meats: another good source of protein, which include a variety of poultry (chicken, turkey, duck), they help with keeping you full and satisfied
  • Whey protein: don’t be alarmed, this won’t make you as big as a bodybuilder! They are a by-product of dairy, which they body absorbs very quickly. Taking this with water or milk immediately before / after workouts helps with recovery due its nature of immediately sending the protein to your muscles for immediate recovery.
  • Red meat: Darker meats like your beef, lamb and kangaroo. These are an excellent source of protein and contain a lot of iron and vitamin B also, however, in moderation. Minimize these source of foods to 2-3 servings a week.  Too much is risky for your health and can cause chances of cancer and heart problems., as these foods contain high amounts of a by-product called TMAO which can encourage fatty plaque deposits, however, this is not caused by the fat of the meat! Don’t be alarmed, don’t avoid them! Just be cautious of the quantity.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Eat?

There are health detriments to eating not enough protein, and eating too much protein throughout your daily eating. Eating too much protein can cause problems of dehydration, weight/fat gain, and stress on your kidneys, too little protein can cause hunger cravings, weight/fat gain, high blood sugar, pre-diabetes, and fatigue. So how much should you consume??

According to the CDC’s protein recommendation on average for an adult between 40-70 grams of protein a day is recommended. This amount is like having 3-4 servings of 100g piece of chicken or salmon a day, which ideally isn’t that much! To go more technical you first have to find out your total fat mass / fat-free mass (using a DEXA scan is ideal), for example, if you’ve found that you had 20% of body fat you then have 80% of fat free mass, if your body weight is 80kg multiply this by 0.8 (the 80% fat free mass) and then you are recommended to consume approximately 64 grams of protein per day. Again, this number can vary slightly (-+10g) depending on your activity levels, stress levels, therefore, are hard way of quantifying the exact value.

What About Protein Around Workout Sessions?

Protein is a must after completing workouts as after a workout your muscles are damaged and need something to repair it, the only way to repair a damaged muscle is protein intake. Approximately 20-30 grams around this period is ideal, which is a scoop of protein shake, a small serving of meat / cutlet, or a big glass of milk.

Other methods will help with recovery such as carbohydrates intake, cold baths, stretching, cool downs etc, however, these do not repair muscle damage, but only recovery the muscles. You could either consume the protein immediately – 30 minutes after a workout, or some of it before and the other after, both ways work well.

Other sources of protein besides meat? If you’re limited with meat or are a vegetarian, the best sources of protein from there are eggs and dairy products as they still contain the EAA’s (essential amino acids), if you’re vegan the other sources of proteins include tofu, raw nuts, peas, quinoa, beans and chickpeas are your best bets for a higher protein intake.

Proteins prevent hunger cravings & control blood sugars! Again, as mentioned earlier, not eating enough protein increases your risk for diabetes as it’s the only form of food that directly balances out blood sugar levels. The most common problem I see with people coming in to see me each week is; low protein – fat daily eating. This hunger craving of low protein – high carb diet causes excessive blood sugar spikes, therefore damaging your insulin and increasing your chance of diabetes, which can also lead to cell mutations of cancer to occur in the body.

Research shows that over consumption of red meat and processed meat can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by as much as 30%. We advise eating more fish and chicken and rotating red meat every 4 days. The key to understand here is that Protein foods are a great source to keep you full and satisfied throughout the day, as it sends chemical reactions sent to your brain to say you’re full, where carbohydrates do not, but can increase cravings instead!


In summary, protein is essential for muscle recovery after workouts, which is found primarily in meat products mentioned earlier. It will control your hunger cravings, blood sugar levels, and therefore, reduce your body fat and chances of diabetes and cancer. However, too much protein can lead to problems within your kidneys, dehydration and weight gain. If your protein intake is enough to keep you satisfied, giving you consistent energy levels and you stick within the guidelines of not having too little or too much per day, this will be ideal for your quality of life, health and fitness goals.

For more ideas and information on specific topics I may not have covered in detail be sure to check out our INDEX PAGE on the website that has over 300 of our best articles. These are all sorted into categories for quick reference so you can find what you are after more easily. You can also subscribe to our FREE fortnightly newsletter by clicking here.

If you live in Melbourne and feel you need specific help with your exercise program please feel free to reach out to me for help and we can set you up with your individualised program. 

About The Author

Nick Jack is owner of No Regrets Personal Training and has over 18 years’ experience as a qualified Personal Trainer, Level 2 Rehabilitation trainer, CHEK practitioner, and Level 2 Sports conditioning Coach. Based in Melbourne Australia he specializes in providing solutions to injury and health problems for people of all ages using the latest methods of assessing movement and corrective exercise.

Additional References:

  • Obesity Paradox - By Carl J. Lavie M.D.
  • Athletic Body in Balance - by Gray Cook
  • How To Eat, Move & Be Healthy by Paul Chek
  • Heart foundation
  • Precision Nutrition 
  • Nutrition & Physical Degeneration - By Weston A Price
  • Big Fat Lies - By David Gillespie