Identifying Good Sources of Protein
It’s normal to hear nutrition experts talk about good and bad fats and carbs. But it’s a rare occurrence to hear them talk about good protein and bad proteins.
I guess the public isn’t too concerned with where they get their protein from, just as long as they get it. And as far as natural protein is concerned, none of it is terrible for you. The “bad” stuff comes in other forms.
See, just like with all other nutrients, not all sources of protein are created equal. There are those sources that give you additional benefits (the good guys) and other sources that can damage your overall health (the bad guys).
In this article, we’re going to talk about the “good guys” – what makes a protein source good and three of the better sources of protein (hint: one is controversial).
What Makes a Good Protein Source?
Good protein sources tend to have one or both of the following characteristics:
- Contain larger quantities of protein per serving size.
- Contain very few (if any) other possible health downsides.
The more of these “good guy” protein sources you can consume, the better of your muscles, body, and overall performance on the track will be.
In general, three major categories are popular for having quality protein sources: lean meats, plant-based proteins, and protein powders.
Good Protein From Lean Meats
Meats, in general, are known for having high levels of protein. However, they’re also notorious for having high levels of saturated fat. And as you probably already know, saturated fat is not good for you.
So, how do you still get the benefit of getting such a high concentration of protein without taking in as much saturated fat? You consume meats that contain less fat.
Good protein foods include:
- Chicken breasts
- Egg whites
- Lean cuts of red meat (round and loin cuts)
- Lean fish (including salmon because of its “good fat” content)
Plant-based proteins (like beans, whole grains, etc.) have their own particular set of advantages and disadvantages in regards to protein.
The most significant disadvantage is that they tend to be on the lower end of the “protein-content-per-serving-size-scale.”
That’s why it’s best to incorporate these protein sources into a diet that also includes lean meat proteins.
Typical examples of plant-based protein sources include most types of the following:
- Whole Grains
Protein powders have been publicly praised and criticized by the masses. That’s why you’ll often see them on opposite sides of the “good and bad protein” lists.
But there’s one thing you can’t deny about protein powders… they pack an insane amount of protein into small serving size. They’re also easy to prepare and are very convenient.
Additionally, they’re a crucial contributor to most athletes’ ability to get their recommended daily serving of protein.
And that’s why I have them listed as good proteins.
If you’re curious, some nutritionists think these protein powders (and bars and shakes) are dangerous sources of protein because they’re chemically produced. While I admit that it’s always best to get your grams of protein from natural sources, it’s not always the easiest thing to do.
Not to mention, that same chemical engineering used to create some of those powdered proteins also allows for the creation of proteins that are better absorbed and synthesized within the body.
Some of the higher quality sources of protein powder include:
- Optimum Gold Standard 100% Whey
- Champion Nutrition
- BSN – Syntha 6
- Complete Nutrition V-Core Vantage
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