Eating enough protein in your diet can mean the difference between being built like a bus or skinny as a twig. A look at high protein foods for building muscle.

So you want to pack on some serious muscle? Well you’re going to need to start eating a lot of protein. Protein forms the base for all muscle development, without it nothing in your body would grow. How much protein you consume every day can mean the difference between being built like a truck or skinny as a twig.

In this article I’m going to go through all the main protein sources in-depth. I’ll cover how much protein is in each source, what makes the source of protein unique, the biological value and the other benefits the source of protein may have for your body. The aim of this article is to give you a better understanding of these protein sources and how they can help you pack on some pounds.

Biological Value

I will be listing the biological value (BV) of each source of protein so it’s important that you understand what BV is. Biological value is the actual amount of protein that is left in the body for protein synthesis. Basically, this is how much protein your body can actually use for building muscle. The biological range of proteins is between 50% and 100%. The higher the BV value the better. All the protein sources I mention in this article have very high BV values.



High Protein Food Chicken
BV value: 79
Protein: 7 grams per ounce (25%)

For many years chicken has been the staple of any muscle building diet. Chicken, in its boneless and skinless form, contains around 25% protein. It has a high BV value of 79. Chicken is often very dry when cooked. You can spice chicken up by adding seasoning, salsa, spices or a low fat sauce.

Chicken is a good choice for any meal at any time of the day. I recommend you eat at least 1 portion (150-300 grams) of chicken every day. Make sure you buy skinless chicken as the skin is very fatty and high in cholesterol.


High Protein Food Fish
BV value: 83
Protein: 7 grams per ounce (25%)

Fish is not only a good protein source and great for building muscle, it’s also very good for overall health. Fish is full of essential fatty acids and Omega-3s. Fish, like chicken, is about 25% protein but has a slightly higher BV value of 83. Fish is very versatile and can be cooked in any number of ways.

Probably the cheapest way to get fish into your diet is by eating tuna. Tuna comes canned and is very cheap. The downside is that it has a very “fishy” small and taste. This can usually be neutralized with some lemon, spices or sweet n sour sauce.


High Protein Food Beef
BV value: 80
Protein: 7 grams per ounce (25%)

Beef is an excellent protein source containing approximately 25% protein. Beef also has good amounts of vitamin B-12, zinc and iron which are essential for keeping your body healthy and building a strong immune system.

There are many different cuts of beef available as well as ground beef (or minced beef). The main thing to look for when purchasing beef is lean cuts. The fat on meat adds extra calories to your meals which are not the best idea if you’re looking to build lean muscle.

You should aim to include beef in your diet at least 2-3 times per week. This will ensure you have enough amino acids in your body to create the right environment for muscle building.


High Protein Food Eggs
BV value: 88-100
Protein: 2.8-3.5 grams per ounce (11%)

Eggs come in at number two on the “best protein sources” chart behind whey protein. Eggs have an extremely high biological value and are very high in Omega-3 acids. Omega-3 acids may increase the effectiveness of your immune system, helping you recover faster from your muscle building workouts.

Almost all the protein in eggs is contained within the egg white. Eggs often get a bad rep for being high in cholesterol. But eggs are only high in cholesterol if you eat them whole. The cholesterol is contained in the egg yolk, not the white.

Egg whites don’t taste very good so it’s ok to mix a few whole eggs some egg whites. For example: 2 whole eggs with 4 egg whites. Whole boiled eggs are extremely good as you can easily separate the white and yolk. Hard boiled eggs also contain no additional fat from cooking as they are cooking in water within their shell.

Dairy Products

High Protein Food Dairy
BV value: 80
Protein: Varies in different dairy foods
Most daily products are a good source of protein. The downside is, some are also very high in fat. Probably the two best dairy sources of protein are cottage cheese and skim milk. These products are not on low in fat and high in protein, but they also an excellent source of calcium. With every serving of cottage cheese or skim milk you will receive about 150mg to 350mg of calcium. Calcium is essential for building strong bones and preventing bone-related diseases. Calcium has also been said to play a significant role in muscle contractions.


The protein found in milk is composed of approximately 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey, which results in milk's high biological value, and digestibility. Most skim milk varieties contain about 3.5 percent to 5 percent protein. So from a 250ml glass of milk you can get up to 15 grams of easily digestible protein.


Each of the protein foods I’ve mentioned in this article have their own individual benefits, there is no “best protein for muscle building”. If you want to create the optimum environment within your body for building lean muscle you need to eat all these protein sources.

Another point I must emphasize is you need to be consuming your protein at the optimum time. What does this mean? It means feeding your muscle when they need it and keep protein levels high throughout the entire day. You must split your protein intake up throughout the day into 6-7 meals. Also make sure you get a big hit of protein directly after your workout.

Finally, don’t forget about carbs and calories. You need to eat carbs to grow and ensure you have enough energy to power through your training sessions. Eating excess calories is the key to growing, if you’re burning more than you’re eating you’re not growing!

Discuss the this article with the author and others on our Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness Forum.

Posted on: Sun, 08/23/2015 - 06:03

The point is , not entire proteins intake will be many percent of protein intake will go thought muscle?

Nikolay @ Organ...
Posted on: Wed, 09/16/2015 - 08:55

Usually around 30% of the protein we consume is absorbed by our muscles, you probably figure where the rest is going :)

Posted on: Fri, 03/08/2013 - 04:52

very informative, thanks ..

Posted on: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 08:54

I find it difficult to take an article seriously when it hasn't been proof read.

Posted on: Mon, 07/02/2012 - 14:55

No-one mentioned chick peas and and the various beans packed with usable amino acids???

Posted on: Sun, 01/22/2012 - 20:14

can I gain weight by drinking protein drinks like muscle drinks like the body builders drink.

Posted on: Wed, 02/15/2012 - 20:57

You likely will not gain a substantial amount of weight by drinking protein shakes. You want to specifically look for weight gainers, ones that are marketed towards people who are underweight/need to gain weight. You can optimize your own weight gain shake by mixing ground oats, peanut butter, a little sugar (there are different sugars for different types of exercises), protein powder (whey protein isolate/casein, the former being for a quick release of protein and the latter for slower release), chocolate powder (optional). Generally you want a good mix of protein, fat & carbs in good amounts. I would suggest you mix it with WHOLE milk (3.25% MF or higher) for a more potent effect.



Posted on: Sun, 01/22/2012 - 20:09

I have a 22 year old daughter that has had 4 open back surgerys and now they say her muscles are detiorating what can she do to build muscles they say she might have to have her hardware put back in thanks mrs don armstrong,

Cyril Hudson
Posted on: Mon, 01/02/2012 - 17:12

I am 69yrs old ex military always kept reasonably fit,marathons triathlons,gym etc.Play golf three times a week.
I now find I am losing strength and power, would appreciate some advice on how to regain the above ie. food, supplements etc

Reuven Rosenberg
Posted on: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 18:47

If beef is 25% protein, what's the other 75%?

Posted on: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 08:01

need advice on slowing down my metabolism..
19 5'9 67kg

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 10/25/2011 - 09:57

Hi Josh,

If you have a hard time gaining focus on more food and less cardio.

Posted on: Thu, 01/12/2012 - 02:23

1 of the best ways to not really slow it down, but balance it out, is to eat every couple hours, that way your metabolism is constantly working. But only eat til ur satisfied. Not full. It takes a few hours for ur body to digest everything, so what ur doing is topping it off every couple hours. Another way to gain is to drink a weight gainer or protein shake before you sleep.

Posted on: Mon, 10/24/2011 - 12:10

So Chicken is 7gramms of protein per onuce, is that raw or cooked?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 10/24/2011 - 14:16

I don't think the difference between raw and cooked is substantial.

Posted on: Wed, 10/05/2011 - 13:29

hi there
<MY question is i have seen Jay Cutller saying for bodybillding muscles need carbohidrade and protean you didn't mention anything about carbohidrade, the info about protean is very good and so helpful for all Can you please give your view about carbo... .!

Posted on: Tue, 09/13/2011 - 11:04

Listen I need help on body building I'm 6' tall and only 163 lbs but I want to join wrestling like prowrestling but when I workout I don't see any results after I let my body relax how can I build with high metabolism and ADHD plz help thanks

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2011 - 12:25

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eat to maximize muscle gains. Here are some articles that can help:

Vipul chitlangia
Posted on: Tue, 06/28/2011 - 03:05

Good article........what are the high bv protien food for vegetrain person except milk?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 09/30/2011 - 12:25

Hi Vipul,

This would be a good question for the forum:

Posted on: Mon, 06/20/2011 - 10:59

I have been sick for the last 4 years unable to walk. Now, I'm walking again and eager to start exercising. but I feel like my muscles are dying on me and since I am in my Early fifty's, I wonder if I can reactivate my muscles once again. Anyone?

Posted on: Thu, 07/14/2011 - 18:47

Its never too late to build muscle. And you are only in your fifties. Even people in their nineties can build muscle. Its a fact.

Donna Phillips
Posted on: Fri, 02/10/2012 - 16:16

Hey Hugo, I also have been sick for about 8 years, I lost my muscle and could barely walk after 4 major surgeries, I use and recommend 7 minute workout, check out my blog at join7minuteworkout I show my progress...I am now walking with a spring in my step and have good muscle tone, I hope this helps you : )

Posted on: Fri, 02/04/2011 - 18:33

You didn't mention that heating foods by cooking them unfolds proteins, bends and damages amino acids, making them unusable and a toxic burden to your eliminatory system.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sun, 01/24/2010 - 18:41
Posted on: Sun, 01/24/2010 - 17:13

ok i've been workin out for about 3 years now and im building muscle but not as much as i'd like if you have any good routines for building more muscle thanks

Posted on: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 01:14

i need d tips of regular diet for body growin .i am 55kg &my hiegt is 5.5

Posted on: Sun, 08/07/2011 - 13:55

Dude you are the same height and weight as me when I started lifting I suggest that you invest in a good mass gainer ,eat until you feel like vomiting and train INSAINE!!!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 13:55

Generally 7-8 hours is a good number to shoot for, and 8-9+ is optimal.

Posted on: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 13:35

thank you so much for the question is how many hours of sleeping does my body need to grow well?...Iam 30 years old and I have started body building for two months,,,can you suggest a suitable schedule to follow

Posted on: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 23:10

please send me more tip on healthy food to help gain n build muscle!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 12/11/2009 - 05:45

Z...It generally also means you're not adding muscle.

Posted on: Fri, 12/11/2009 - 03:34

Good advice, and very interesting.

However, eating more calories than you're burning means you're getting fat.

Posted on: Mon, 12/07/2009 - 06:03

high protaine food iwant, please send me good advaise.