Paleo Protein: How to Meet Your Protein Needs the Primal Way

Paleo Protein: How to Meet Your Protein Needs the Primal Way

Protein is for everyone, but what about protein powder? Often associated with athletes, protein powders are widely marketed towards those with high physical demands. However, everyone needs sufficient protein daily for optimal health, not just athletes. This post will explore protein’s essential role, how to calculate your protein needs, and how to choose paleo-friendly protein powders.

What is Protein? 

Protein is an essential nutrient needed daily. Along with carbohydrates and fats, it is a macronutrient, which means we need it in larger amounts compared to micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Macronutrients provide the energy our bodies need to function.

Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are over 20 different amino acids, nine of which are essential and must be consumed through our diet because our bodies cannot store excess protein or amino acids. Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins may lack one or two.

Protein is crucial for all parts of your body, including muscles, bones, skin, hair, enzymes, blood, and hormones. It supports bone and muscle mass, aids in healing, and maintains a strong immune system. Adequate daily protein intake can also help you feel fuller longer, aiding in weight management.

Amino acids

How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day? 

An average person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This means if you weigh 70 kg (154 lb), you need 56 grams of protein daily. A person weighing 90 kg (198 lb) needs 72 grams of protein each day.

Certain individuals, such as pregnant or breastfeeding women and older adults, may need more protein. Physically active individuals or athletes also require more protein for muscle repair and growth, aiming for 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 70 kg athlete, this means 84-140 grams of protein daily, while a 90 kg athlete needs 108-180 grams.

Animal Protein Sources

How Much Protein is in Food? 

Protein-rich foods include meat, eggs, seafood, and plant-based sources. Many plant foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, and even some vegetables and fruits also contain protein. Here are protein amounts in some common foods:

  • 33 g protein in 4 oz of sirloin steak
  • 30 g protein in 4 oz of grilled sockeye salmon
  • 28 g protein in 4 oz skinless chicken thigh
  • 22 g protein in 4 oz ham
  • 6 g protein in 1 oz of dry roasted almonds

Animal proteins are complete proteins, while most plant proteins are not. However, consuming a variety of plant foods daily can ensure you get all essential amino acids.

Plant protein sources

While lentils, black beans, quinoa, and rice are not considered strict paleo, they are excellent sources of plant-based protein. Including them can provide variety and nutritional benefits for those who choose a more flexible approach to their paleo diet.

Choosing Paleo-Friendly Protein Powders 

Protein powders are convenient for meeting protein needs, often containing added vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients. Here’s a look at some paleo-friendly protein powders:

Egg White Protein Powder

Egg white protein is a complete protein, rich in all essential amino acids. It is an excellent option for those avoiding dairy and soy.

Collagen Protein Powder

Collagen is a primary protein in the body, essential for bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Collagen supplements, including protein powders, are animal-based and align well with the paleo diet.

Beef Protein Powder

Made from hydrolyzed beef, this protein powder is another paleo-friendly option, providing all essential amino acids without dairy or soy.

Pea Protein Powder

Pea protein powders are a great plant-based option, rich in eight of the nine essential amino acids. To get a complete protein, pea protein can be mixed with rice protein.

Rice Protein Powder

Rice protein is hypoallergenic and contains all essential amino acids, though it is low in some. Combining it with pea protein can provide a complete amino acid profile suitable for a paleo diet.

Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp protein powder is a great plant-based option for those following a flexible paleo diet. Made from hemp seeds, it is rich in essential amino acids and omega-3 fatty acids, supporting heart health and reducing inflammation. Though low in lysine and leucine, it is highly digestible and contains fiber for better digestion and satiety. Opt for organic, non-GMO hemp protein to ensure high quality.

Protein Blends

Protein blends, such as those combining hemp, pea, and goji, offer a well-rounded nutritional profile. These blends provide a complete amino acid profile, as each protein source complements the others’ deficiencies. Hemp protein adds omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, pea protein is rich in most essential amino acids, and goji provides additional antioxidants and nutrients. These blends are ideal for those following a flexible paleo diet, ensuring you get a diverse range of nutrients while meeting your protein needs. Choose high-quality, organic blends for the best results.

Meeting your protein needs is crucial for good health. While many can get enough protein through a varied diet, protein powders offer a convenient supplement, especially for those following a paleo lifestyle. Choose high-quality, paleo-friendly protein powders to complement your diet and support your health goals.

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