Protein 101, Part 3
The Better Life Experts | January 27, 2009

Which foods contain the best proteins in a daily diet?


The best sources of animal (complete) proteins are:

· Fish and other seafood, i.e. tuna, salmon, flounder, bass, etc.

· Lean meats, such as lean pork and beef

· Poultry, turkey, de-skinned

· Skim dairy foods and cheeses, i.e. milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, string cheese, etc.

· Eggs and Egg Substitutes, i.e. the white of an egg is 100% protein


The best sources of vegetable proteins (incomplete and must be combined) are:

· Beans, peas, and other legumes, i.e. red, black, white beans.

· Nuts and seeds, i.e. walnuts, cashews, etc.

· Whole grains, i.e. oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa, etc.


Now for an example of how I could apply this information to my own protein needs. Remember, I calculated that I would need 56 grams of protein per day. Additionally, I am a vegetarian. I do eat eggs and some dairy, but no meat. So, where and how am I going to get my protein needs met? Here are some possibilities:


1 cup cottage cheese = 28 grams protein

½ cup Egg Beaters = 10 grams protein

1 cup black beans in soup = 15 grams protein

1 cup brown rice, cooked = 5 grams protein

½ cup tofu with stir fry veggies = 20 grams protein

2 Protein Bars (snacks) = 15 grams protein each bar


How much protein is there in the foods (not vegetarian!) I eat every day?


On an average, here is how to get 7 grams of protein per serving:

1 ounce of meat, fish, or poultry

1 whole egg

¼ cup tuna in water pac

½ cup cooked beans, peas, etc.

2 tablespoons nut butter


On an average, here is how to get 8 grams of protein per serving:

1 cup skim milk

1 cup LITE yogurt

1 ounce string cheese

1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese


I hope this information helps and does not confuse you. Now you know why dietitians walk around with a calculator in hand. And why you can trust BLI to help you get the right amount of nutrients in the foods you eat every day.

Can too much protein in the diet cause any health problems?

This question has come up frequently over the past years due to the general public’s love of the “high protein diet.” And the answer is yes, if too much is consumed and if one has some serious health challenges, too much protein in the diet can cause health problems.


Things you should know about excess protein in the diet:

· Excess protein intake that is not utilized in the body will be stored as fat.

· Without sufficient exercise (here’s the key!) the fat stored in the body due to excess protein consumption will result in excess fat on the body.

· For some people, excess protein may result in osteoporosis (due to an increase in the loss of urinary calcium) and kidney problems including kidney stones and gout.

· Excess protein can lead to dehydration because protein metabolism requires extra water for synthesis and the elimination of by-products.

In general, we are able to get the amount of protein we need from a healthy diet alone. There is no need to consume additional amounts of protein in the form of food, pills, or supplements. The flip side of protein excess is protein deficiency. Without sufficient protein, the body doesn’t have the fuel or the building blocks necessary to survive for very long. When the body experiences protein deficiency it is forced to break down it’s own muscle tissue in order to survive. Ironically, although this is more commonly seen in third world countries where protein deficiency is widespread, we now see it more and more in developed countries because of dieting or crash dieting in order to lose weight.

The most important fact to remember when it comes to healthful eating and living, is that one must strike a balance of good fats, good carbohydrates, and good proteins for a good life. And it is also important to remember that exercise plays a very important role in a healthy lifestyle. One cannot sit around eating Protein Bars all day long, propped up in front of a television or behind a computer and expect to have a healthy and fit body. The body doesn’t work that way! Sorry, guys! You’ve got to get up and move that body! And feed it well!

This concludes our series about protein and why it is essential to get the right amount in our diet on a daily basis. Remember, better choices in what you eat will lead to better health and a better life.

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