Protein is essential for the maintenance, repair and building of muscle and connective tissue. It also plays a role in elevating your metabolic rate. Many dieters aim to increase their protein intake while keeping carbohydrates to a minimum, with the Atkins Diet being an example. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to build strength and lean muscle mass will also require a protein-rich diet. However, extreme high-protein, low-carb diets can cause health problems such as kidney failure and high cholesterol.
Egg whites are the purest form of protein available, consisting of a 60:1 protein to fat ratio. Like other animal-derived protein sources, eggs are a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids your body needs.
Red meats, poultry, game and fish all contain a high protein content, have a complete amino acid profile and are free from carbohydrates. Stay clear of breaded meats as these contain carbohydrates. Sausages and burgers also often contain wheat as a padding ingredient, and some processed deli meats also contain carbohydrates.
Most dairy products contain a high protein concentration while remaining low in carbohydrates. Milk and natural yoghurt are a great source of protein, yet the sugar content means there is a small amount of carbohydrates. Cheese also contains a small proportion of carbohydrates. Some processed cheeses contain more carbohydrates and less protein.
There are few non animal-derived proteins suitable for a vegan diet, with soybeans the only real option offering high protein without few carbohydrates. A half-cup of mature yellow soybeans contains 14.3g of protein and 8.5g of carbohydrates. A half-cup of edamame soybeans contain 11.1g of protein and 10g of carbohydrates.
Whey Protein Powders
Powdered whey, derived from milk, is a bodybuilder's best friend. To promote lean muscle growth, it is recommended to consume 1g of protein for every pound of body weight every day. This means the average man needs to eat 170 to 200 grams of protein, a difficult task from food products alone. Whey protein offers a convenient way to boost your protein intake without increasing your carbohydrate intake.