Protein is the health ingredient of the moment: it’s the hunger-curbing secret behind popular low-carb diets and is what helps keep us strong and lean.
Yet we’re told to eat less meat to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
So how can we get the protein we need? While animal sources such as steak and cheese are the most concentrated sources, plants also provide good quality protein.
The surprising ways to get your essential daily 50g serving of protein: For example, while a large avocado is packed with other nutrients it has only 3.7g of protein, whereas a portion of chips has even more
Good, but not perfect: A large avocado is packed with other nutrients it has only 3.7g of protein – which is less than you’d get from a portion of chips
Indeed, Public Health England’s latest dietary guidelines list plant proteins ahead of animal sources for the first time (the protein group is now labelled ‘beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins’) in recognition of the fact that lower meat diets are better for us and more environmentally sustainable.
Proteins are made of amino acids, eight of which are essential and must be in our diet as the body cannot create them.
Amino acids build muscle, make hormones and produce the enzymes that facilitate all our biological reactions.
Studies also show protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
‘In the past, plant foods tended to be underestimated as protein sources as they generally contain relatively lower levels of total protein and essential amino acids than animal sources,’ says Helen Bond, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.
Hunger-suppressing: Although deemed an indulgence, chips can be more effective for diets
Treat yourself! 220g baked (around 22 chips) of McCain Chips offer 6.6g protein (3g per 100g)