In this article, I'll demystify how much protein you really need, debunk common food myths, and guide you through protein-rich foods. Eating well shouldn't feel like solving a complex maths problem – it should be straightforward and enjoyable.

But before we get going, I want to bust some myths about food:

Eat little but often. Wrong!
If we don’t give our intestines a break they can't complete their repair cycle.
Don’t beat yourself up if you got this one wrong, in a recent survey I commissioned across the UK (with more than 2,000 adults selected at random), more than half also believed in the ‘little and often’ myth. Not surprising because the huge snack and confectionary brands want you to believe it too!

Eat a ‘balanced diet’. I’m not surprised if you abide by this one, because our government recommends a balance of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. But their advice leans heavily towards the very thing that makes us overweight, fat, and obese: carbohydrates. Again, you’re not alone. In a UK-wide survey we commissioned, 68% of people believed the same falsity about the balance diet.

You must consume CARBS. Bulls**t. While we need to eat protein and fat to survive, the human requirement for carbohydrates is a big fat zero. If this were not the case, Eskimos – and indeed ancestral English folk in winter – would not survive.

Fasting is dangerous. Wrong! If it was dangerous, our distant ancestors, who regularly went from feast to famine, would have all died out, and you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Even today, fasting is regularly undertaken by various cultures and religions.

Skipping meals and fasting slows down our metabolic rate. The complete opposite, in fact! It speeds up your metabolic rate. Do you think if cavemen didn’t catch any food one day, Nature would slow down their energy supply? If that were the case, they’d be even less likely to catch anything the next day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Nope! We call it breakfast because it ‘breaks the fast’. Because of our circadian body clock (the 24-hour biological clock), the first meal we consume when we wake up causes a bigger insulin surge than if the same meal was consumed later in the day. And insulin surges cause us to pile on the pounds. Once again, you’re not alone if you got this one wrong. In a survey a few years back, 65.5% (2 out of 3) of the 2,000 people surveyed in the UK said you should eat breakfast.

Eat 1g of protein per 1kg of ideal body weight. This fact isn’t completely wrong, it’s just far too generic to be applicable for every single person.

You can only absorb 25g of protein per hour. It is commonly believed that the human body can absorb only a limited amount of protein per meal, typically estimated to be between 20 and 30g. However, this notion oversimplifies the complexity of protein digestion. The rate at which different protein sources are digested varies. For example, whey protein is known for its rapid absorption, whereas casein is digested more gradually. Notably, while there is a threshold that the amount of protein the body can utilise for muscle synthesis at any given time, excess protein is not merely discarded. Instead, it is repurposed for other bodily functions or stored. To optimise protein utilisation, a balanced approach is advised. This includes distributing protein intake evenly throughout the day and incorporating protein into every meal, a strategy commonly recommended to enhance muscle growth and facilitate repair.

Not all of the untrue conventional wisdom above is relevant to the topic of this article. I simply wanted to illustrate the point that there is so much misinformation out there that you should not take anything at face value regarding food. If someone gave you nutrition advice 150 years ago, it was probably sound and uncorrupted.
But today, with around 80% of the food consumed in the UK being provided by fewer than seven companies, it’s all about corporate greed. Money. Wealth over health. Bullshit upon layers of more bullshit.
Even most of the research and corresponding newspaper headlines are funded by the very same people who want to brainwash you and addict you to their food-like substitutes.

That said, I have once again ventured off-topic because so few of their products contain much protein. Why? Because protein is expensive.

What is protein?

Nearly all ingredients of virtually everything we eat are made up of carbohydrates, fats, and/or proteins. These three substances are known as macronutrients – derived from the Greek word ‘macro’, meaning large.

Most natural foods are made up of a combination of just two of these macronutrients.

If the food (or drink) is derived from something that once had a face, it is made up of protein and fat – the exception being the small amount of carbohydrate present in eggs and milk. If the food came out of the ground, it generally consists of protein and carbohydrates.

Note how EVERYTHING has protein! This is because protein is the building block of life.

A few exceptions to the two-macronutrient rule are nuts, seeds, milk, and avocados, which feature all three macronutrients. There are also a few foods made of just one macronutrient: table sugar (although it’s less a food, more poison) is made up of just carbohydrate, and oils such as coconut and olive are made from just fat.

What do macronutrients do?

In all humans and animals, all three macronutrients can carry out energy-related roles:

Carbohydrates Fats & Proteins

Let’s turn our attention to protein. (If you want to learn more about fats or carbohydrates, I have written plenty of articles about those, too.)


Protein comes from the Greek word ‘prota’, meaning ‘of primary importance’. All proteins get converted into amino acids inside the body.

Our body can make all but nine of these amino acids, and these nine are extremely important for our health. That’s why they’re called the ‘essential proteins’, and we must make sure they form part of our diet. Without consuming these, the ability for our body to repair itself and rebuild cells and organs will be compromised.

Did you know that every five or six years, you and I become an almost entirely new person?! Our skin is constantly being regenerated and our entire outer layer is replaced every single month. Our complete skeleton is regenerated every 10 years or so. Our lungs are ‘replaced’ every six weeks, our liver in less than six months, and our tongue’s 9,000 taste buds are rejuvenated every 10 days.

Our body, cell by cell, day by day, is in a state of continual repair, rebuild or replacement … or at least it should be.

These acts of replacement, regeneration, and rejuvenation are fuelled by one thing and one thing only: what we eat and drink. Hence the saying ‘we are what we eat’. If we eat junk food, our new body parts will be created by junk and will not match up to the cells they are replacing, and that’s what causes ageing. Rubbish input equals rubbish output. Or ‘garbage in, garbage out’ (GIGO) as computer scientists say. However, if we eat the right proteins and fats, then we are going to make some pretty good body parts, lose weight, and delay the ageing process – all at the same time!

So how much protein should you be eating?

We know we need protein to repair and grow, but the amount each individual needs will depend on their own goals.

Let’s look at one more piece of info and then we will get to the answer.

1g of carbohydrates = 4 calories

1g of protein = 4 calories

1g of fat = 9 calories

Let’s assume you burn about 2,000 calories of energy per day and that you decided to cut right down on carbohydrates because you were concerned about diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc., or you chose not to eat them because you realised they always turned into pure sugar once digested. This means you need to get most of your energy from fat and protein. That’s great, because both are critical to survive and thrive. Let’s say you manage to cut your carbs to 10% of your daily food intake, meaning 90% of your energy now comes in the form of fat and protein. That means you need to consume about 1,800 calories per day in the form of fat and protein.

Interestingly, we have different enzymes for breaking down each macronutrient: amylase for carbs (along with maltase, sucrase, and lactase), pepsin for proteins, and lipase for fats. All humans have their own individual cocktail of these enzymes. Your natural levels of lipase vs pepsin will determine whether you want a lot more fat in your diet than protein, and vice versa. Mind you, if you’re following a ketogenic or carnivore diet, normally the split will be around 50 to 60% fat, 5% carbs, and the remainder made up of protein.

Now let’s look at some real-word scenarios. All these assume you are burning 2,000 calories per day.

You are looking to lose weight. In this case consume less than the numbers above.

You want to lose weight but also gain muscle. Eat less overall, but make sure each meal has at least 20 to 25g of protein.

You want to get shredded, lean, have a six pack. Work your ass off in the gym, add some cardio and really focus hard on getting plenty of clean protein.

You want to gain weight. Eat more fat and protein, and add some carbohydrates … in fact plenty of carbohydrates.

So now you know what to do, what do you think of the following three pieces of advice from experts in recent online articles?

  • ‘Eat 3g per kg of your ideal body your weight’
  • ‘Consume between 0.8g to 1.1g for each pound you see on your bathroom scales’
  • And my favourite, ‘stop obsessing about protein, if you want to lose weight eat less and move more’.

Complete nonsense, hey? It is complete nonsense because it ignores your biochemistry, age, sex and, most importantly, what you personally are trying to achieve.

And one more thing before we wrap up. While all calories are not equal by any stretch of the imagination (I mean, how can we compare a calorie from, say, chemically laden Nutella to a calorie from broccoli or a lovely breast of duck?), if we were to simplify calories for weight loss, 1lb of stored body fat is 3,500 of stored energy, a.k.a calories.

Let’s say you burn around 2,500 calories on average per day and you want to burn a pound of your body fat per week (there is no such thing as losing fat, you have to burn body fat for energy – it’s biology), that means you need to have a calorie deficit of around 500 calories per day. By now you realise that carbohydrates aren’t your friend when trying to lose weight, as they screw up your weight-management hormones, so you decide to eat about 2,000 calories per day; half of which you have decided you want to get from protein. Then, in this case, I am delighted to present my list of my preferred sources of protein below, which I have made as relevant as possible by looking at the portion sizes we get from UK supermarkets.

  1. Chicken Breast – One of the most popular protein sources. A typical breast will weigh between 120g to 200g. A 150g breast will have 36g protein (1.7g fat, zero carbs, and a lot of water).
  2. Turkey Breast – Extremely similar to chicken, it's lean and high in protein. A typical breast will range from about 100g to 210g. A 150g breast will have 36g protein (3.3g fat, zero carbs, and a lot of water).
  3. Duck – A flavourful poultry option. A 200g breast will have 34g protein (10g fat, 2.6g CARBS – stop feeding ducks bread, it’s not their natural diet!).
  4. Lamb – Lamb is an excellent source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. A 150g serving of shoulder will have 26.7g protein (18g fat). A 150g portion of leg will have a little more protein: 29.7g less fat too (12.6g).
  5. Pork Loin – Lean and high in protein. While they come in various sizes, the average is around 125g per loin. Let’s round that down to 100g, which provides 20.3g protein ( 8.8g fat, 0.6g of carbs). Pork shoulders are lower in protein (18g) and much fattier (16.2g). But, if you are avoiding fat and going all out on protein, then a fillet works best. This has 22g protein but very little fat (1.9g). Conversely, if you want to consume  more fat than protein, go for pork belly. A 100g serving will provide 26.8g fat and 15.9g protein. And, if you want it more 50/50, then gammon provides 16.2g protein and 14.4g fat.
  6. Beef – Offers high-quality protein along with important nutrients like iron and zinc. A 200g serving has on average between 40g to 50g of protein. Since there are so many different forms of beef, I’ve summarised them in a table for you:
      per 200g per 200g per 200g per 200g
    Beef Type Protein Fat Carbs typical serving
    Rump 40.6g 20g 0g 255g
    Roasting Beef 51.6g 13.6g 0g 250g
    Sirloin 43.2g 25.4g 0g 227g
    Mince 39.6g 29g 0g 200g
    Mince (lean) 43.6g 9.6g 0g 200g
    Medallions 44.8g 4.6g 0g 170g
    Fillet 42g 14.8g 0g 300
    Ribeye 37.6g 39.6g 0g 227g
    Stewing Steak 42.6g 12.8g 0g 200g
    Tomahawk 41g 39g 0.3g 120g
    Corned Beef 50g 27g 0.1g 200g
  7. Tuna (Canned) – A convenient, high-protein food. A 110g can, which is 93% fish (the rest is water) has 25g protein.
  8. Salmon – Not only rich in protein but also in Omega-3 fatty acids. A 100g oven cooked fillet contains about 25g protein and 15.5g fat (less than 0.5g carbs). The nutrition is also similar for raw smoked salmon and also when you buy it precooked in the supermarket (they normally boil it, not bake it, but check the label in this instance because they often add sugar).
  9. Eggs – A versatile source of protein. One medium egg typically has 6.3g protein and 4.5g fat; a large egg has about 7.4g protein.
  10. Greek Yogurt – (full fat, because it's pointless buying anything else!) is packed with protein. A 200g serving offers about 7.4g protein, double that in fat (15g), but also 8.4g of carbs.
  11. Nuts – A convenient snack and a good source of protein. I choose 50g, as that is what a typical pack of peanuts is. Below is a table of the most commonly consumed nut varieties.
      per 50g per 50g per 50g per 50g per 50g
    Nut Type Protein Fat Fibre Carbs Calories
    Peanuts 12.8g 23 4 8 280
    Almonds 10g 24 6 11 287
    Pistachios 10g 23 5 14 280
    Cashews 7.8g 20 2 15 276
    Walnuts 7.7g 31 3 7 326
    Hazelnuts 7.35g 29 5 8 313
    Brazil Nuts 7.19g 30 4 6 327
    Pine Nuts 6.6g 29 2 7 331
    Pecan 4.6g 34 5 7 345
  12. 100% Peanut Butter – Three tablespoons (45g) offer about 12g protein, 21.9g fat and 5.4g carbs.
  13. Shrimp – Low in calories and high in protein. An 85g serving contains about 18g protein.
  14. Chia Seeds – High in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Two tablespoons (28g) contain about 4g protein.
  15. Cheese – The two main types of protein that are found in cheese are casein (approximately 80%) and whey (the remaining 20%). Casein comes in two forms: A1 and A2. Cows typically produce A1 (especially those genetically bred); others animals such as goats and sheep produce A2. Why is this relevant? Because people who have an allergy or are sensitive to cheese often have an issue with casein A1 but are fine with casein A2. (Hence why they could eat goat’s cheese but not cheddar cheese.) I have listed the most popular types of cheese in the table below, citing which animal milk they use.
     1oz (28g)  1oz (28g)  1oz (28g)  1oz (28g)  
    Cheese Type Protein Fat Carbs Calories Source
    Parmesan 11 8 1 120 Cow
    Romano 9 8 1 110 Sheep (but sometimes cow or goat)
    Mozzarella 8 5 1


    Goat or Buffalo
    Swiss 8 8 1.5 110 Cow
    Gruyere 8 9 0 115 Cow
    Cheddar 7 9 0 110 Cow
    Raclette 7 7 0 99 Cow
    Edam 7 7 0 90 Cow
    Brie 6 8 0 95 Cow
    Goat 6 8 0 100 Goat
    Blue or Roquefort 6 9 0 100 Cow
    Camembert 6 6 0 95 Cow
    Halloumi 6 6 1 85 Goat, Sheep or Cow
    Paneer 5 5 1.5 70 Cow or Buffalo
    Feta 4 6 1 75 Sheep
    Cottage 3 1 1 28 Cow
    Ricotta 2 2 1 30 Cow (or other)
    Philadelphia 1.5 6 1.2 64 Cow
  16. Whey Protein Powder – One scoop (30g) usually provides about 20–25g protein.
  17. Sardines (canned in Brine) – Small, oily fish high in protein and Omega-3s. A full can (120g) has about 21g protein (8g fat, zero carbs).
  18. Mackerel (canned in brine) – Another oily fish rich in protein and Omega-3s. While you can buy it fresh, for convenience, I have detailed it in a can. A full can (120g) offers about 16g protein (14g fat, zero carbs).
  19. Cod – A lean white fish, high in protein and low in fat. A 140g fillet has about 25g protein (1.3g fat, zero carbs).
  20. Haddock – Another white fish, known for its high-protein content. A 90g serving contains about 19g protein (less than 1g fat and carbs).
  21. Anchovies – Small, oily fish often used as a flavour enhancer. A quarter of an average pack weighs 43g, containing 8.6g protein (7.6g fat and less than 1g carbs). Around 20g serving provides about 5 grams of protein.
  22. Kefir – A fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt. A 250g serving contains about 8.5g protein (5g of fat, but 12g carbs).