Foods with protein: All useful, but also risky

Lebensmittel mit Eiweiß: Allseits nützlich, aber auch risikoreich

A healthy body is the top priority for many people. There are many factors involved, such as sport, psyche and, of course, nutrition. More and more people are therefore paying attention to their protein consumption and trying to increase it. However, a distinction should be made between vegetable and animal protein.

Eating a high-protein diet has a variety of benefits. However, you should not overdo it here, because: Excessive protein consumption can also have side effects. The right dose leads to success. But not only the dose, other circumstances also play an important role in protein consumption. You can find a thoroughly researched basis for foods with protein here!

the essentials in brief

  • Protein is responsible for many things in the body. Among other things, areas such as the muscles, bones, cartilage, nails, hair, digestion, but also the defense against pathogens fall within the area of ​​responsibility of the protein. Foods with protein are therefore unavoidable!(1)
  • In addition to carbohydrates and fat, protein is one of the three main nutrients. It provides us with energy for the day, which is why a sufficient dose per day is also extremely important for the immune system and hormones. Everything that works in our body.
  • Since protein (aka proteins) also boosts metabolism and fat burning, they may even help you slim down. Another factor for this is the long feeling of fullness of protein. Last but not least, a third of the proteins are burned in the same form. Pretty handy! (2)

Foods with protein: what you should know

There is already protein in many products these days. Special protein shakes are also very popular with athletes, as they directly serve to build muscle after ingestion in the form of sport. But in certain situations you should think carefully beforehand about which foods with protein you buy. Because even if protein is indispensable, consumption should not be exceeded. Already more than two grams per body weight per day can be negative for your body.

So how to consume protein correctly and in which situations you should rather do without the macronutrient, we explain here.

Which foods contain a lot of protein?

Protein is present in a variety of foods today. Many people already pay attention to their daily protein content in their daily routine and it is a strict part of their nutrition plan. Therefore, most people also pay attention to the products that contain the most protein to cover their daily needs. You can find a ranking of the food groups that have the most protein here:

  1. Meat
  2. Fish
  3. eggs
  4. Dairy products
  5. legumes
  6. nuts and kernels
  7. whole grains

You can find a ranking of the foods that have the most protein here:(3)

Groceries Calorie content in g / 100 g Calories from protein in %
Poultry meat, fried 29 90
dried meat 51 82
Beef fillet, fried 29 85
Salmon, smoked 23 57
chicken egg, raw 12 34
Low-fat quark, 02% fat 10.6 71

The resulting dishes also have a lot of protein. In the morning, a glass of milk with yoghurt and chia seeds, for example, is enough. At lunchtime we continue with a ginger and spinach soup, with turkey or a light salad. Finally, you can treat yourself to something heartier in the evening, because this particularly promotes fat burning and metabolism . Here you can prepare any meat or fish dishes, but cheese can also be used here. If that's not enough for your daily protein content, you can boost it with protein shakes.(4)

How Much Protein Should I Consume Daily?

You can't say that in general. This can vary depending on body weight and age. However, the German Society for Nutrition recommends, for example, a value of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults and adolescents. Older people, on the other hand, who are over the year 65, are recommended a value of 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.


Correct use of foods with protein can lead to good muscle building in the long term. (Image source: Łukasz Dyłka / Pixabay)

Infants and children especially need more protein as these groups are still developing. Babies in particular grow enormously due to the high protein intake. You need an increased protein requirement per day in order to rebuild cells and to gain more energy. Infants need 2.5 to 1.3 grams (depending on age) per kilogram of body weight per day. Children only 1.0 - 0.8 (depending on gender and age) per kilogram of body weight per day. Athletes and pregnant women also have an increased protein requirement.(5)

Muscle building is promoted by a correct protein content per day. But beware! Too much is not good either. In the course of this article, we will also tell you what the consequences of an overdose of protein in food can be.

What must be considered during pregnancy when it comes to foods with protein?

Of course, every pregnant woman knows it: You always eat for two. This also applies to foods that contain a lot of protein. A value of 80-100g per day tends to be calculated here. A balanced and healthy diet with regard to the protein value should therefore be a good direction for a healthy baby.(6)

Above all, foods whose protein comes from animal origin and contains the necessary " amino acid " are more recommended than vegetable protein. Daily protein is also recommended for vegetarians and vegans. However, it is up to you which foods you eat during pregnancy. We have already listed a number of them for you above.(7)


A balanced protein consumption not only helps you, but also your unborn child! (Image source: Free-Photos / Pixabay)

A healthy pregnancy is a good pregnancy. So stick to the diet tips mentioned!

What must be considered by allergy sufferers when it comes to foods with protein?

In principle, it is important to distinguish between those who are allergic to milk protein and those who are allergic to chicken protein. The terms speak for themselves. Those allergic to milk protein can be further divided into whey proteins alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin. There is also the allergen casein. Most people are allergic to all three substances. The following foods must be avoided:

  • Quark
  • Cheese
  • yogurt
  • milk chocolate
  • All cow's milk products

Also, milk protein allergy sufferers cannot tolerate soy. Therefore, soy milk should also be carefully tested here. Alternatively, products such as goat's or sheep's milk can be used, but vegetable products such as oat, almond or coconut milk can also serve as a substitute for the original dairy products.

Chicken protein allergy sufferers must avoid any products with egg. Even the smallest amounts can have an unpleasant effect on the body. Therefore, do enough research on what you buy from your supermarket retailer for foods with protein. Among other things, you should avoid these products:

  • Baked goods and pasta containing egg
  • pancakes
  • Ice
  • breading
  • Cake
  • mayonnaise
  • Fried and scrambled eggs

As always, there are alternatives for this. So-called egg substitutes have the same properties as the real ones. For example, they can be used to bind or loosen cakes or desserts. Unfortunately, making fried or scrambled eggs is not possible with the egg substitute.(8)

What are the possible side effects of eating too much protein?

Protein can provide beneficial benefits to the body in many ways. It can have a healthy effect on the body and help in the construction of all parts. But let's not forget: it's still, like fat, a nutrient. If we overdo it with our needs, the body has to fall back on other possibilities.

Excess energy

Once you eat protein and exercise, the proteins help you lose weight and turn the stuff into muscle. However, if you consume too much protein and, in the worst case, do not exercise afterwards, your body will simply store the accumulated proteins as fat.

Too much protein can make you fat!

In the best case and depending on the amount of intake, the excess energy can also be stored in the energy reserve. However, this is also rarely the case, especially if there is insufficient exercise.

damage to the kidney

As mentioned above, protein in food is also responsible for the supply and development of the organs. As a rule, this means that an adequate diet of protein has a positive course for the organs. In the case of an illness or an allergy, however, protein can cause damage.

A completely healthy kidney has minimal chance of damage.

Problems can arise, especially if you have a previous kidney disease. Ammonia is metabolized into urea in the kidneys. This is then transported with the blood to the kidneys and finally excreted with it. If the kidneys are weak, the protein can cause problems when it is converted.

problems with digestion

Proteins have a lot of benefits. But also disadvantages. A disadvantage here is, for example, that they have little fiber . These can be found in fruits or vegetables, but not in foods that contain protein. In the worst case, this can lead to constipation. A balanced diet should therefore be a basic requirement. (9) A blunt intake of protein is therefore not recommended, but rather a successful balance with fruit, vegetables, whole grain products and nuts.(10)


So if you have problems with your digestion, this could be due to a protein value that is too high. (Image Source: Darko Djurin / Pixabay)

So pay attention to your protein content so that it does not increase too much and you always stick to a certain level. Even if many people want to build muscle quickly, for example, this is rather counterproductive.

What is the difference between animal and vegetable protein products?

While there are differences between each type of protein, in general it doesn't matter which type of protein you access if the other type doesn't currently exist. Of course, what speaks for itself is the background taken into account, for example whether someone has a certain allergy or is also pregnant. Overall, however, a protein should have a high biological value, i.e. it should be very similar to the body's own proteins.

Animal proteins are easier to process than plant proteins. The result shows that these have a higher biological value than the vegetable ones . This includes meat, fish or milk. Vegetable protein products, on the other hand, can achieve just as high a value as animal protein products with a clever combination of nuts, oatmeal or hemp, as well as chia seeds or legumes.

In contrast to vegetable proteins, however, animal proteins still have some disadvantages. First, you're not actually contributing to less meat eating, and second, some meat products carry saturated fat or cholesterol with them. Ultimately, this means that you can suffer from heart or circulatory diseases. A rather low meat consumption should also be a prospect for the long-term future, because the production of meat consumes a lot of water and energy.(11)

What alternatives are there to conventional foods with protein?

In this article you have already found some alternatives for allergy sufferers. However, if someone does not want to eat protein for other reasons, there are alternatives for this as well. In principle, however, natural protein in food is more recommended than the alternatives listed here, since protein is (in most cases) more natural.

  • Egg substitute powder : To replace conventional eggs or to resemble the consistency, there is egg substitute powder. Normally, the powder is made from powder forms that contain starch from corn or potatoes, but also flours such as lupine, tapioca or locust bean gum.
  • Agar-agar : Agar-agar is also a very commonly used means for protein. It is an alga that beats like egg white. Only a little water wiped with agar-agar results in an almost identical consistency as from the egg.
  • Bean or chickpea water : Can also be whipped like egg whites and can therefore be used in the same way.

There is also the option of completely dispensing with egg whites in certain recipes. However, this should only be the case in emergencies or bottlenecks, since protein originally also contributes to the correct form of the dish. So if protein is not included, your dish can end up very dry or hard.(12)


In many ways, protein is a healthy nutrient that, when dosed and used judiciously, nourishes a sensible body. Not only external phenomena such as hair, nails or muscles are strengthened by protein, but also the internal organs and your general health will thank you for a balanced protein consumption.

However, the right choice of food is subjective, as tastes differ. Whether as vegetable or animal protein, both are good-natured and serve their purpose. The alternative to other options is only good advice for allergy sufferers. Too high a dose of protein can also have disadvantages, so always keep an eye on your protein content!


    Shivakumar N, Kashyap S, Kishore S, Thomas T, Varkey A, Devi S, Preston T, Jahoor F, Sheshshayee MS, Kurpad AV. Protein quality evaluation of complementary foods in Indian children. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 May 1;109(5):1319-1327. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy265. PMID: 30920607; PMCID: PMC6499502. Source Guide values ​​for energy intake from carbohydrates and fat, German Society for Nutrition e. V., Bonn, January 2011 Source Protein-containing foods, Moritz Pohl, September 3rd, 2020, Source Lu ZX, He JF, Zhang YC, Bing DJ. Composition, physicochemical properties of pea protein and its application in functional foods. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(15):2593-2605. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2019.1651248. Epub 2019 Aug 20. PMID: 31429319. Source Protein Source Nutrition and energy requirements during pregnancy, Dr. medical Katja Flieger, Dr. medical Arne Schäffler, 07/10/2017 Source Proteins during pregnancy, April 1st, 2016 Source Protein allergy: Everything you need to know, September 4th, 2019, Maja Seimer Source Paper K, Tong TY, Appleby PN, Bradbury KE, Fensom GK, Knuppel A, Perez-Cornago A, Schmidt JA, Travis RC, Key TJ. Comparison of Major Protein-Source Foods and Other Food Groups in Meat-Eaters and Non-Meat-Eaters in the EPIC-Oxford Cohort. nutrients. 2019 Apr 11;11(4):824. doi: 10.3390/nu11040824. PMID: 30979052; PMCID: PMC6521004. Source Too much protein: How the body reacts to an overdose of protein, August 28th, 2018, Julia Poggensee Source Comerford KB, Pasin G. Emerging Evidence for the Importance of Dietary Protein Source on Glucoregulatory Markers and Type 2 Diabetes: Different Effects of Dairy, Meat, Fish, Egg, and Plant Protein Foods. nutrients. 2016 Jul 23;8(8):446. doi: 10.3390/nu8080446. PMID: 27455320; PMCID: PMC4997361. Source 30+ ways to substitute eggs in recipes, Edda, 11/24/2020 Source
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