Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: July 27, 2022

Apart from being a dedicated carnivore, I’m also an avid gym-goer. My bodybuilding fitness routine always has me maximizing the protein amount I eat pre and post-workout to bulk up well. But which meat tops the list with the highest protein?

I interviewed a dietician friend to get expert advice on which meat has the highest protein.

Today I'll share my findings and give you great pointers on maximizing your protein consumption.

Let's jump straight into it.

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Meat is a rich source of high-quality protein, Vitamin B12, and iron.
  • Healthy eating of meat gives you heme iron that is easily absorbed than non-heme iron and helps with anemia.
  • Chicken breast, turkey, lean ground beef, and liver are some of the best meats with high protein content.

Meat As a Good Protein Source

A variety of raw meat laid out on a table

Protein is found in almost every other part of the human body, including bone, muscle, and skin. It is the building block of enzymes, which fuel several chemical reactions, and animal foods, particularly meat, are a good source of this protein.

Meat has complete protein because it serves all the essential amino acids you need for good health. Complete proteins in meat are also natural, so no protein supplement or boosters are required to produce them. High-quality protein, such as meat and poultry, has been demonstrated to be more beneficial than other protein diets in preventing muscle loss as we age.

Besides high protein, meat also has heme iron, which prevents anemia because your body absorbs it better than non-heme iron in plants and vegetables [1].

10 High Protein Types Of Meat

If you want to add high-protein foods to your meal plans, consider trying these ten meat types with the highest protein and amino acid content.

1. Chicken Breast

Close up shot of chicken breast

With different cuts such as breasts, wings, drumsticks, and thighs, chicken is a good protein source famous among fitness fanatics. Its high protein and low saturated fat content help with muscle building and fat loss.

Seeing as chicken has different cuts, the various parts also have different protein contents.

One chicken wing has 6.5 grams of protein per 100g chicken thigh. One chicken breast contains 55g of protein, equivalent to 32g per 100g meat breast. As for the chicken drumstick, you get 14gg of protein or 27g per 100g of meat [2].

It's worth noting that cooking skinless chicken breast could reduce the amount of protein or fat you end up eating.

Now depending on your healthy eating or fitness goals, you might want to go with the cut that gives you the right protein and saturated fat amount per serving.

2. Beef Skirt Steak

Skirt steak, cut from muscles around the diaphragm region, gives you roughly 25g per 100g of lean beef serving which translates to about 2.5g per 1g of steak. If you're looking for a nutrient-packed and flavor-dense bite, roast beef skirt steak is the way to go.

Since it's cut from a working muscle, it can be a tough piece of meat, which is why it would help if you cut it against the grain to break down those hard meat fibers.

3. Turkey Breast

Turkey breasts on a wooden plate

Delicious roasted turkey breast gives you about 29g per 100g serving size, which is more than ½ of the daily value (DV) recommended protein for an adult.

To get the most protein, add extra turkey slices to your meals. This also helps to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet.

The lean protein in ground turkey helps us feel fuller for longer and also helps repair torn muscles after an intense workout.

4. Pork Chops

For every 100g of baked or grilled pork chops, you get a decent 24g of proteins. 4 ounces of lean pork chops with bones contain roughly 23.8g of protein, while boneless ground pork chops of the same serving give you about 30.7g of the same.

Because pork meat has a lot of fat, I recommend cooking with the least amount of oil or, better yet, slightly fat spray your baking sheet or skillet before cooking.

5. Tuna

Tuna steak on a table

Tuna is one such protein load with 100g giving you 29g of enough protein with fewer calories and fat levels, lowering your saturated fat intake.

As a fatty fish, 3 ounces of tuna serves you roughly 20g of tuna protein, which is great for building muscle.

Tuna is also rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as A and B. If you’re using canned tuna, always read the labels to find out how much protein is in each serving can.

6. Liver

As nutrient-dense meat, a 100g beef liver contains roughly 180 calories, including more minerals and vitamins than other steak cuts.

This dark meat is also low in fats, with roughly 25 percent of the liver calories coming from fat compared to 60 percent fat level in other meats.

Eating a sizable liver amount has a satiating effect.

7. Shrimp

Shrimp is heavy in protein and low in carbohydrates, calories, and fat. Cooked shrimp has 13g of protein and just 61 calories in three ounces (86 grams).

Apart from protein, it also contains loads of choline, vitamin B12, zinc, and niacin.

8. Dried Fish

Dried fish is a rich protein source with a lower calorie count than other meals like steak. 100g of dried fish meat has around 79% protein and 290 calories.

One ounce of dried fish can give you about 19g of protein. It's also a rich source of zinc, calcium, and selenium [3].

9. Beef Jerky

If you want a healthy, nutritious paleo diet snack, ground beef jerky is your best serve as it has excellent protein and fewer carbs and fat. One ounce of ground beef jerky gives you 9.5g of protein and about 100g of calories.

10. Elk

Elk is a better beef as it's packed with all the suitable proteins your body needs. You can get an easy 23g of protein from a 3-ounce elk serving size.

This is the healthiest cooked meat choice if you want to maintain a healthy weight throughout your fitness journey.

The Amount of Meat Protein You Really Need

A person eating with chop sticks

Protein is essential because it contains the amino acids your body requires to function optimally. A high protein diet can help you lose weight by decreasing your appetite and improving your satiety.

You can estimate your protein foods consumption in two ways:

  • Specify a percentage of your overall caloric intake
  • Get a precise quantity of grams of your daily protein intake

The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein requirements is 0.36g/pound or 0.8g/kg of body mass [4]. Highly experienced gym-goers may gain from additional animal proteins (more than 3g/kg each day).

However, approximately 2g protein per 1kg daily is adequate for your muscle growth if you're just starting.

“Protein consumption varies depending on gender, age, and exercise levels, but we need at least 10% energy from protein.”
- Rose Carr, Senior Nutritionist 

4 Ways To Increase Your Meat Protein Intake

A person looking at a tablet with vegetables around

Here’s how you can maximize the amount of protein:

  • Add protein to your meal plans: Don't wait until dinner time to start consuming protein; include processed meats in your other meals during the day. If you can, try snacking on protein-packed foods from time to time.
  • Consume your protein first: Eat the meat protein first, particularly before the carbs, when enjoying a meal. Protein stimulates the synthesis of peptide YY (PYY), a stomach hormone that promotes feelings of fullness and satisfaction [5].
  • Prepare your meat in advance: You have to plan ahead of time so that you have meat within reach to make an easy snack. Get quality meat that you can pre-cook and refrigerate. This could be a great and easy addition to your veggie-pumpkin seeds salad, rice, and other whole grains.
  • Increase meat portion per serving: Eating more protein gives you enough to last throughout the day. Ensure you don't overeat it to avoid overworking your metabolism.

FAQs

Which Meat is the Healthiest?

The healthiest meat is the liver. Particularly beef liver.

How Do You Know If You Are Lacking Protein?

You will know you lack protein when you feel weak and more fatigued.

How Can I Get 75 Grams of Protein a Day?

You can get 75 grams of protein a day if you consume proteins from different sources.

How Can I Increase My Protein Levels?

You can increase your protein levels by eating more proteins from different protein sources.

How Can I Absorb More Proteins?

You can absorb more proteins by eating acidic foods, such as grapes, blueberries, and lemon.

What Happens If You Eat Too Much Protein?

When you eat too much protein, the excess is stored as fats.

Get The Protein You Need

Even though you might want to increase your protein intake, it’s always best to consult a nutritionist to calculate your protein needs and how much protein you should really consume. Remember to check the quality of the meat you buy too.

If you’re looking for healthy protein options, always buy meat from trusted sources. I’ve been ordering mine from ButcherBox, which offers 100% sustainably sourced cuts, hormone and antibiotic-free. Transparency and good practice ensure that I always get fresh cuts of chicken, beef, and pork, packed with vitamins and abundant in protein.


References:

  1. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/746/2
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583546/
  3. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87559129.2020.173
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30678628/

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