One of the benefits of protein foods is that it keeps you full, which is helpful for when you're trying to lose weight. But it's not just any amount of protein. Specifically, you should aim for about 30 grams of protein per meal to help you control your appetite.
Image by Kurt Thomas Hunt.
Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, and Director of Nutrition for PEAK Performance in New York City, explains on his blog that it takes at least 30 grams of protein at each meal to draw out protein's high satiety effects. As a side note, 30 grams is consistent with the number I came across during my research, such as this article in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, for our protein post a few weeks prior.
We're still not sure what exactly is in protein that "triggers" this, but 30 grams seem to be the sweet spot. One idea is that eating 30 grams per meal reduces ghrelin, one of the hunger hormones that tells us it's feeding time. When you have less ghrelin, you're less likely to be hangry.
In real world terms, 30 grams of protein translates to about:
- One fist-sized portion of chicken breast (113.40g or so)
- One and a half containers of those individual servings of Greek yogurt
- Five whole eggs or eight egg whites
- One whole block of tofu
- Two cups of cooked black beans
- One scoop of protein powder
- Four cups of low-fat milk
- One and a half cups of mixed nuts
Those are just some examples, but I want to emphasise that you wouldn't only eat those protein sources in those specific amounts (especially because there are also carbs and fats). The idea is to mix and match from a variety of sources, having the total protein in your meal add up to 30 grams.
Protein Isn't Making You Full [Mike Roussell]