Wondering whether there’s enough protein in your diet? Studies show it’s very important.

Too little protein may lead to an insatiable desire to eat according to a growing body of evidence supporting the ‘protein leverage theory’.

“Research seems to show that animals, including monkeys, rats, locusts, caterpillars and humans, have a set point of protein they need for good health and reproduction,” says David Raubenheimer, a professor in nutritional ecology at the Charles Perkins Centre.

“In humans, we may keep eating until we reach that protein set point and if we don’t get enough, our bodies don’t switch off our hunger hormones, which causes us to keep craving food.”

Though the best level of protein is still being researched, studies suggest it may be around a quarter of your daily energy intake.


» Eat some form of protein at every meal, such as fish, lean red meat, lamb or beef, skinless chicken breast, eggs and pulses, such as lentils and chickpeas.

» If you’re ravenous between meals, choose a protein-rich snack such as a chicken drumstick or a small tub of plain yoghurt with a little fruit.

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