Identifying Unhealthy Proteins And Why You Should Avoid Them
Believe it or not, bad proteins exist.
It’s not often talked about because bad fats and carbohydrates tend to get a worse rap from the public and tend to be a little more detrimental to health and performance.
But bad sources of protein can have the same negative effects on riders. For that reason, it’s best to avoid them as much as possible. But to do that, you need to know what they are.
This article will show you why specific protein sources are bad and give you a basic overview of three of the most popular sources of bad protein.
What Are Bad Proteins?
As I mentioned in an earlier article, it’s not the protein itself that is bad. Almost all natural types of protein are inherently good. It’s other factors within the source itself that makes it a poorer option.
Some bad protein sources are fairly obvious (meaning, you’ve heard of them before), while others might not be. Most sources tend to have low amounts of protein per serving size, contain other harmful ingredients, or have questionable production methods.
They typically fall within three major categories – fatty meats, certain nuts and grains, and chemically produced foods are bad proteins.
Protein from Fatty Meats
I think it’s safe to say that it’s pretty obvious why this is a source of bad proteins (Hint: It’s in the name).
Fat cuts of meat typically have higher amounts of protein than other sources. However, they also have very high amounts of saturated fats. And saturated fats can be very bad when consumed on a regular basis – raising LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and potentially causing heart attacks and other diseases.
As far as performance is concerned, too much fat intake can deplete energy stores and promote weight gain.
Some specific examples of these cuts of meats include:
- Fatty cuts of chicken (thighs, legs, etc.)
- Red meats with high-fat content – rib eyes, roasts, etc.
- Fatty fish – salmon (in excess)
- Whole eggs (w/ yolks) (in excess)
Specific Nuts and Grains
For the most part, nuts and whole grains are excellent sources of protein. But there are always particular exceptions.
The nuts and grains most often considered to be bad protein sources are deemed so because they either don’t offer enough protein to warrant regular consumption (grains) or contain too much fat per serving size (nuts).
Two prime examples of these types of protein sources include:
- Quinoa: Everyone’s been singing quinoa’s praises for the past few years – calling it a super food – but as far as protein is concerned, you could do better in the grain department. You’d be better off eating whole grains instead (cheaper and more protein). Side note: The exportation of quinoa is destroying the health of Bolivian natives.
- Almonds: While you should be careful with all nuts you consume, almonds have some of the highest levels of fat per serving. They’re still a good source of protein, but you want to make sure you don’t over-indulge.
Chemically Produced Proteins
This category consists of protein powders, bars, shakes, and the like. And it’s also on my “good” protein list. Here’s why…
There are two major camps in regards to chemically produced proteins – the “Yes” camp and “No” camp. I agree with the “Yes” camp that protein powders are ultimately great sources of protein.
However, I want to make sure you’re fully informed.
There’s one overriding reason why people don’t like chemically produced proteins. It’s because they’re not natural. They are man-made, and as a result, people can’t trust them.
I can understand the argument, but I don’t necessarily agree with it.
If anything, I would recommend this:
- If you’re not on a budget and want the convenience of using a protein powder without worrying about the potential effects of it being chemically produced (and don’t care if it tastes good), then you should try Nutiva’s Hemp Protein. All manufactured proteins have their benefits and drawbacks, but I won’t get into that here.
This video will show you a great recipe for easy homemade protein bars.
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