Why Your Source of Protein is Misleading You

More protein – the two words I utter the most when doing a dietary analysis…

I’ve outlined the importance of protein, how to plan it out and how to eat more of it here.

But when it comes to some sources people still seem a bit confused.

So now I will provide you with the tools to figure out if something is a “good” source of protein, or a less than stellar form.

What it comes down to is, do a majority of the calories come from protein, or do they come from fat or carbs?

For example –  100 grams (3.5 oz) of chicken breast

  • 165 calories
  • 3.6g fat (x9 = 32 cals from fat or 19.6% of the chicken calories from fat)
  • 0g carb (x4 = 0 cals from carbs)
  • 31g protein (x4 = 124 cals from protein or about 75% of calories from protein!)

Not sure where the other 5% went, but this is enough to prove the point 🙂

Obviously a GREAT source of protein!

But what about peanut butter? We have heard this from many people that “peanut butter is a great source of protein!” Lets look:

1 serving = 2 Tbsp.

  • 200 calories
  • 16g fat (x9 = 144 cals from fat or 72% of cals from fat!)
  • 6g carb (x4 = 24 cals from carbs or 12% of cals from carbs)
  • 8g protein (x4 = 32 cals from protein or 16% of cals from protein)

While peanut butter DOES have some protein, I would not classify it as a good source because it has twice the grams of fat as protein AND is made up of 72% fat, so it would really be a “high-fat source that contains protein”

Same thing goes for most cheeses, nuts, other nut butters, and high-fat meats/processed meats like sausage/brats…sorry folks 🙁

Another common one I see discussed in Quinoa…the magic grain that no one can pronounce.

100 grams of Quinoa

  • 120 calories
  • 1.9g fat (x9 = 17 cals from fat or 14% of cals from fat!)
  • 21.3g carb (x4 = 85 cals from carbs or 71% of cals from carbs!)
  • 4.4g protein (x4 = 18 cals from protein or 15% of cals from protein)

Again, Quinoa is a grain, that has SOME protein in it (not much – but more than other grains) – but it most definitely is NOT a good source of protein. It is a carb that has some protein in it.

Same thing goes for rice, any veggies (EAT YOUR VEGGIES!) and actually beans (although they have a good amount of protein, so are a decent source for non-meat eaters!)

So what are good sources:

  • Any lean animal meats/fish/poultry (low-fat, low processed meats)
  • Eggs (do have more cals from fat than protein – so like mixing with egg whites)
  • Egg whites
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Greek Yogurt (unflavored is best for pure protein)
  • Tofu
  • Protein Powders (try to minimize supplemental protein)
  • Protein Bars (try to minimize supplemental protein)

Hope this clears some things up – now, get your protein up!

Stay healthy my friends,

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