High Protein And Low Calories

About protein and calories

What is protein?

Protein makes up most of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs, including muscle, bone, skin, and hair. Protein helps to make enzymes that power countless chemical reactions and haemoglobin which carries oxygen around the body. 

There are twenty fundamental building blocks, known as amino acids, that are used to create proteins. Our bodies have to produce amino acids,  every time we need them since we cannot store them, and it does this in two ways: either from scratch or through the food you eat.  Our bodies can make most amino acids, except for nine. These are called the ‘essential amino acids’ and they must be obtained through your diet.  

Essential amino acids Non-essential amino acids

Aspartic acid
Glutamic acid

What are calories?

Calories are a unit of measurement for the energy content of food and beverages. Food gives the body energy, which is released during digestion as it is broken down. Cells require energy to do all of their tasks, including synthesising proteins and other compounds required by the body. It is possible to use the energy right now or to store it for later use. Our bodies store extra calories as body fat, and when we consume more calories than we use we will eventually gain weight.

According to the UK recommendations for average-built healthy adults, people assigned female at birth (AFAB) require about 2000 kcal a day, while people assigned male at birth (AMAB) require about 2500 kcal a day.

High protein with low calories foods

  • Nuts – Nuts such as almonds, cashew, peanuts, and pistachio make you feel full because they are high in protein and fibre. Eating nuts in moderation, during the day can satisfy your hunger and replenish your energy. Mixed nuts contain about 20 grams of proteins per 100 grams
  • Beans – Beans are a good source of dietary fibre, which helps to absorb body moisture and break down fat, which prevents fat from accumulating. Approximately, 100 grams of kidney beans contain 25 grams of proteins
  • Green vegetables- Vitamins and minerals (potassium, magnesium, iron, etc.), dietary fibre, and natural antioxidants are abundant in green vegetables. They contain low calories and can be combined with high-protein foods to make a high-protein, low-calorie meal (e.g. A green salad with tuna, meat, or eggs)
  • Dairy products – Calcium-rich dairy products help with bone growth. Consuming low-fat, high-quality dairy proteins will speed up your metabolism and increase the amount of fat you burn
  • Mushrooms – Mushrooms have very few calories (25 kcal per 100 grams) and about 3 grams of protein. They are a kind of fungus and are fantastic in soups and as a meat substitute in burgers.  
  • Oatmeal – Whole grain oats contain about 12.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. Large amounts of dietary fibre are also present in oatmeal (12 grams per 100 grams), which helps to increase satiety and speed up metabolism
  • Eggs – High-quality proteins, essential amino acids for human growth and development, vitamins, and other trace elements like potassium, salt, magnesium, and phosphorus are all abundant in eggs. A large egg contains only about 80 calories and approximately 6 grams of protein.
  • Chicken breast and other lean meat – The foundation of several nutrients that the human body needs for a healthy immunological function, muscle growth, and hormone secretion, is in meat protein
  • Cottage cheese – There is a large amount of protein in this dairy product (about 11g per 100g). A healthy supply of calcium and other nutrients is also provided
  • Nut butter – Even though nut butter like peanut butter is high in calories, a portion-controlled serving can supplement a person’s diet with unsaturated fat and a good amount of protein (24 grams per 100 grams). If someone wants to consume nut butter healthfully, they should only consume those without added sugar or oils
  • Greek yoghurt – Greek yoghurt has 15 - 20 grams of protein in every 170-gram serving, compared to only 9 grams in a serving of normal yoghurt. This is due to the process used to make Greek yoghurt, where the liquid whey is removed,  leaving behind a more concentrated product that is richer in protein
  • Tuna – As one of the best low-calorie foods available, seafood is an excellent source of dietary protein. The majority of tuna options are canned. Depending on the type of tuna fish you use, the fish has about 20 g of protein per 100g serving
  • Whole wheat and cereal staple food – Cereals have a relatively low glycemic index, slow digestion in humans, and are high in dietary fibre. Whole wheat flour provides 15 grams of proteins per 100 grams

Benefits of high protein with low-calorie foods

  • Reduces appetite and hunger level – Your body responds to the three macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and protein in various ways. Protein makes you feel fuller after eating less.1 This is partially brought on by protein-lowering ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Additionally, It raises hormone peptide YY levels, making you feel full. These effects on hunger can be intense. In one study, people who were overweight AFAB who consumed more protein consumed 441 fewer calories per day without consciously reducing anything.2 Substituting some  of your carbs and lipids with protein, by making your portion of potatoes or rice smaller, and including more meat or fish can suffice
  • Increases muscle mass and strength – Your muscle’s primary building material is protein. Therefore, consuming enough protein will help you keep your muscle mass and encourage muscular growth when you engage in strength exercises. According to numerous research, eating a lot of protein can help build muscle mass and strength.3 Make sure you are eating enough protein if you exercise, lift weights, or are trying to build muscle
  • Good for bones – People who consume more protein have a lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures and tend to maintain their bone mass better as they age. A simple strategy to help stop that from happening is to eat lots of protein and keep active
  • Lessens cravings and a desire for late-night snacks – Normal hunger is different from a food craving. Possibly preventing them from happening in the first place would be the best way to deal with them. Increasing your protein intake is one of the best preventative strategies.4 In one study of obese individuals, adding 25% more protein to the diet decreased cravings by 60% and the need to snack at night by 50%
  • Increase fat burning and metabolism – You can temporarily increase your metabolism by eating. This is because your body needs calories to digest and utilise the nutrients in meals. But not all foods are equal in this sense. Protein has a thermic effect that is substantially larger than that of fat or carbohydrates: 20-35% compared to 5-15%.4 It has been demonstrated that eating a lot of protein speeds up metabolism and increases calorie expenditure
  • Decreases blood pressureHeart attacks, strokes, and chronic renal disease are all largely brought on by high blood pressure. Interestingly, studies have found that eating more protein lowers blood pressure. Increased protein reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading) by an average of 1.76 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading) by an average of 1.15 mmHg in an analysis of 40 controlled studies5
  • Help in maintaining weight loss – Many people who raise their protein intake tend to lose weight rapidly because a high-protein diet speeds up metabolism and causes a natural decrease in calorie intake and cravings. A high-protein group shed 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories in a 12-month research of 130 overweight individuals on a calorie-restricted diet6
  • Not harmful to healthy kidneys – Many people have the false belief that consuming a lot of protein is bad for your kidneys. Those who already have renal disease can indeed benefit from limiting their protein intake. Kidney issues can be extremely severe, this should not be taken lightly. High protein intake, while potentially harmful for those with kidney issues, has no bearing on those who have healthy kidneys. In reality, many studies show that persons without renal illness may consume substantial amounts of protein without suffering any adverse effects7
  • Aids your body’s self-repair after injury – Your body may heal after being harmed with the aid of protein. Numerous studies show that increasing your protein intake after an accident can speed up your recovery8
  • Maintain your fitness as you age – Your muscle begins to weaken over time as you age. Age-related sarcopenia, one of the leading causes of frailty, bone fractures, and a decreased quality of life in older people, is the most severe case.9 One of the best strategies to slow down age-related muscle degradation and avoid sarcopenia is to consume more protein. Exercise is also essential, and strength training or lifting weights can be very beneficial


What is the importance of protein in our health?

Protein is present in every human cell. An amino acid chain makes up the basic building block of proteins. For your body to repair damaged cells and create new ones, you need protein in your diet. Children, teenagers, and pregnant people need protein for healthy growth and development. Protein is necessary for your body to function correctly and remain healthy.

Your organs, muscles, tissues, bones, skin, and hair are just a few parts of your body that include different types of proteins. A protein is a vital component of the processes that allow your blood to transport oxygen throughout your body. Additionally, proteins aid in the production of antibodies that fight against diseases and infections and promote the growth of new cells.

What is the importance of calories in our health?

Our bodies require energy to keep us alive and ensure that our organs are operating appropriately. We give our bodies energy when we eat and drink. Daily activities, such as breathing and jogging, cause our bodies to expend that energy. Calories don’t harm your health, your body requires calories for energy. However, consuming too many calories and not expending enough through exercise will result in weight gain. 

Are high protein with low calories foods good for diet?

Yes, it certainly has its advantages. However, it depends on factors such as one’s build, physical activity level, and medical conditions. Just be sure that the diet is “High protein” and not “All protein” or “Too high protein”. Fruits and vegetables are still required for a balanced diet.

How much protein and calories do we need every day?

You should get between 10% and 35% of your calories from protein. Therefore, if you require 2,000 calories, 50 - 175 grams of protein, or 200 - 700 calories, will suffice. For a typical sedentary adult, the suggested dietary allowance is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Things to remember

  • Determining their specific protein requirements, which will depend on their body weight
  • Creating weekly meal plans
  • On a low-calorie diet, you should typically consume 800 to 1500 calories per day
  • Finding and utilising high-quality proteins that include at least 20 to 30 grams of protein
  • Eating well-balanced meals that include both plant-based and lean animal sources of protein in the diet
  • Maintaining a food journal to keep track of the amount and types of food that you consume


Changing to a high-protein, low-calorie diet can assist with weight loss and toning objectives. The importance of living a more balanced lifestyle is rising as consumers emphasise the nutritional advantages and practical uses of food. It’s general knowledge that eating a diet rich in protein and low in calories helps one feel good after a meal and supports people who lead busy lifestyles.

A person can easily enhance their protein intake by selecting the proper high-protein, low-calorie foods. In the long run, this straightforward choice will help the person maintain a healthy body weight and improve overall endurance.


  1. Halton TL, Hu FB. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004 Oct;23(5):373–85. Available from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2004.10719381
  2. Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005 Jul;82(1):41–8. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S000291652329507 
  3. Bosse JD, Dixon BM. Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 8;9:42. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518828/
  4. Leidy HJ, Tang M, Armstrong CLH, Martin CB, Campbell WW. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Apr;19(4):818–24. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4564867/
  5. Altorf – van der Kuil W, Engberink MF, Brink EJ, van Baak MA, Bakker SJL, Navis G, et al. Dietary protein and blood pressure: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2010 Aug 11;5(8):e12102. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920332/
  6. Evans EM, Mojtahedi MC, Thorpe MP, Valentine RJ, Kris-Etherton PM, Layman DK. Effects of protein intake and gender on body composition changes: a randomized clinical weight loss trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Jun 12;9:55. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407769/
  7. Manninen AH. High-protein diets are not hazardous for the healthy kidneys. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. 2005 Mar 1;20(3):657–8. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/ndt/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ndt/gfh645
  8. Frankenfield D. Energy expenditure and protein requirements after traumatic injury. Nutr Clin Pract. 2006 Oct;21(5):430–7. Available from: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1177/0115426506021005430
  9. Rizzoli R, Reginster JY, Arnal JF, Bautmans I, Beaudart C, Bischoff-Ferrari H, et al. Quality of life in sarcopenia and frailty. Calcif Tissue Int. 2013 Aug;93(2):101–20. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3747610/
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Jaya Choudhary

Bachelor of Dental Surgery, MBA-HA, India

Jaya is a Dental surgeon with MBA in Hospital Administration. She has 2 years of
experience with exposure to both clinical and non-clinical work environments and a strong
passion for medical writing and educating the public about health and wellbeing.

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