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Sources of Protein for Healthy eating

Updated on November 07, 2016

Some of the Best Protein Sources

All Proteins are not Created Equal

I personally have been into fitness, muscular development, certified personal training and physical therapy for well over twenty years now. I have tried pretty much every diet known to man. I've also tried every weight training and cardiovascular routine, fat burners, supplements and food protein sources under the sun. Are all proteins the same? In a simple short answer, absolutely not. Which protein sources are best? Is there even a such thing as a better protein? What sets the ratios of protein? All of these questions are asked on a regular basis. When I say ratio, I mean the types of protein and their biological value in a days given diet. Since now we know that all proteins are in fact not created equal. Depending on the source, the protein grams will vary, the fat and creatine content will vary, and the BV (biological value) and amino acid (organic compounds that are critical of the body's processes) profile will also vary. Back in the day it was always thought that eggs were the "super food" and had the highest biological value of all the proteins and was even commonly referred to as the "perfect food". Now that science has advanced and is constantly changing, the BV (biological values) testing standards have been vastly improved and updated along with the advancement of science. Now we are able to isolate whey from milk, which comes out as having an even higher overall value than that of eggs. Even though some proteins rank a lot better than others, eating a variety of proteins is always important in a healthy, balanced diet.


Classic French Omelette

Classic French Omelet

  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon Freshly ground Black Pepper, divided
  • 4 large Eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Butter, divided

Preparation of Classic French Omelet

  1. Combine a dash of salt, pepper and two eggs in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk until just blended. (do not over beat). Heat an 8 inch non stick skillet over medium heat. Melt 1/2 teaspoon of butter in pan; swirl to coat. Add egg mixture to pan. Cook for 60 seconds (or until eggs appear as soft, scrambled eggs, center will still look wet).
  2. Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Tilt pan while stirring to fill any holes with uncooked egg mixture. Run spatula around the edges and under the omelet to loosen it from the pan. Push one end of the omelet up onto the front lip of the pan and roll the other end toward the lip to close the omelet. Turn out onto a plate, seam side down.
  3. Repeat these steps with the remaining salt, pepper, eggs and butter.

Biological Values of Proteins

When you start looking at the values of all the different protein types, some of these numbers can actually be a little misleading. It's imperative that you learn/know everything about the particular protein type that you consume and how well your body responds to it. Your daily diet/eating habits will determine whether or not you will reach your desired fitness goal, as it is 80% of it obtaining that goal. If a healthy, balanced diet is not the main number in your fitness goal equation, you are just like a mouse in a wheel going around in circles and getting absolutely nowhere. No matter how many times a week you are in the gym training. This is why you need to learn your own body and understand the amount of each macro nutrient it requires on a daily basis to obtain the goal you are attempting to accomplish. Basing your caloric intake on someone else's diet/body is basically useless because your body's metabolic processes are not the same as theirs. Knowing the branched chained amino acid profile and the creatine content per ounce is also extremely important in selecting a protein type to achieve your desired weight training/fitness/weight loss goals. Learn what your caloric intake and macro nutrient break down numbers are and depending on your fitness goal, whether it's weight loss or muscle gain, understand how much you need to increase or decrease that number to see the results you are looking for.

Classic French Omelette

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: One Omelette
Calories 160
Calories from Fat99
% Daily Value *
Fat 11 g17%
Saturated fat 4 g20%
Unsaturated fat 2 g
Carbohydrates 1 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 13 g26%
Cholesterol 377 mg126%
Sodium 279 mg12%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Rating the Classic French Omelette

Cast your vote for Classic French Omelette

Complete versus Incomplete

What is a Complete Protein

When you hear the word essential, no matter what word it precedes, be it essential vitamins, minerals or whatever the case may be, what this means is that it's something that the body is incapable of producing on it's own and depends on your daily eating habits to provide it with these things. With that being said, there are 9 essential amino acids that need to be present for a protein to be considered complete (lysine, valine, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, threonine, histidine). Complete proteins are derived from some kind of animal. Vegetables, breads, and fruits are not complete proteins. So vegetarians and vegans must supplement their protein consumption with different kinds of proteins in order to not become deficient in some or all of these essential amino acids. Being that too much red meat can be bad for you, meat eaters/animal lovers should have a variety of different proteins sources as well, to stay on the safe side.

Protein Sources & Biological Value

Whey - 100
 
 
Whole Egg - 99
Beef - 80
Wheat Gluten - 64
Cow's milk - 91
Casein - 80
Rice - 59
Egg whites - 88
Chicken - 79
Wheat - 54
Fish - 83
Soy - 74
Beans - 49

Building a Complete Protein

Best overall Protein Supplement

There are a multitude of other supplements that attempt to replace protein or at least be comparable to it. Most supplements will/do give you the desired results you want if they are used correctly, however there are a lot of company's that do not use quality ingredients, take short cuts to keep the product economically cost effective and may not produce the desired affect as a more expensive, quality product would. I'm not saying that just because something cost more means it works better, just know the contents of what you are taking and determine if it's worth the cost that's paid for it. Unfortunately there is only one way for you to learn/know how well they work or if they work regardless of their price. You have to try them. Everyone's body is different and will react differently to differing ingredients and supplement types. Currently, I am personally supplementing Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey, and highly recommend you give it a try. Pound for pound, dollar for dollar or however you want to slice it, Whey protein isolate is the best protein supplement on the market. It has more purity than Whey concentrate. Some of the concentrates that are on the market can contain anywhere from 30 to 80% protein, versus whey isolate which consistently contains 90% protein or even higher. In layman's terms, this means you are getting more protein than any other ingredient per scoop/per shake/drink. Whey Isolate is not only more pure, but the body absorbs it much better than the concentrates, casein and any of the other protein types. So when you're in the building/gaining stage and your eating more, less of the protein you consume will be excreted or stored as fat, as the body cannot store protein. In training goals, whether it be for body building, fitness, or just for general weight loss and health, the idea is to incorporate training, nutrition, and recovery for the best possible gains and maintain health. The Isolate is a little more expensive, but well worth the money. Taking creatine, nitric oxide, fat burners and other pre-workout supplements will enable the big lifts, the excessive energy, intensity and pumps that you can see and feel. But the bottom line is, all the training in the world will get you zero gains without proper nutrition. Whey Isolate provides your muscles with what they need better than any other single supplement.

Some of the better Non-Meat Protein Sources

Other Protein Types

There are other foods that can provide you with an adequate supply of protein outside of the animal proteins. A variety of vegetables like Spinach, Kale and Sprouts, many different kinds of nuts, seeds and legumes, or even tofu can give you a good amount of daily protein. Feeding your body is like a science and you will need to learn what works for you as an individual. Don't be concerned about what anyone else is doing or what supplements they are taking. Even the bodies of identical twins are going to differ from one another. Some people like eating protein prior to working out, some people prefer after and many do both. Theoretically it is absolutely necessary to consume protein up to 90 minutes after any given workout. This meal is the foundation of the repair, rebuild and recovery of the body overnight and the glycogen stores for the following day. When you drain the body of it's resources, you have to feed it to replace all of them. Hydration is also important factor for getting nutrients back to the muscles. Once you have learned how to feed your body efficiently and keep it running at an optimum level, your fitness goals will come a lot easier and obtained much faster.

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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I had no idea wheat was considered protein. Great information on this post and I love the chart of sources. That gives me other choices to consider when choosing protein. Thanks for the share.

    • prospectboy profile image

      Bradrick H. 3 years ago from Texas

      Very detailed and informative article on protein. I've been hearing a lot about eggs whites as of late, and how they are more healthier than regular eggs. I hear that they have less cholesterol than regular eggs. I'm thinking about giving them a try. Anyway, enjoyed reading this. Great info again. Voted up, rated useful, and shared on Facebook.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Thank you for saying everyone's body is different and what works for one person might not for another. That is the beauty of the human body; every body is different. Awesome hub.

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 3 years ago

      Useful information. thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Dr. Dick Mueller 3 years ago

      Remember your Flavonoids via the daily requirements of Fruits and Vegetables! Our product has 90% absorption of nutrients into cells.

      http://youtu.be/HGD-doiz2OE

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 3 years ago

      Very informative and useful article. The table makes it easy to understand the different values of proteins. Thanks for posting it.

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