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I’m making an effort to eat more of a variety of lean protein (boneless, skinless chicken breast has always bored me *yawn*, and there’s only so many hard-boiled eggs I can eat). Did you know that turkey breast completely dominates in the protein department?

Some protein values to scratch your head over:

Skinless turkey breast (94% protein)
Shrimp (90% protein)
Red Snapper (87% protein)
Skinless chicken breast (63% protein)
Lean pork chops (62% protein)
Eggs (34% protein)
Cheeses (28% protein)
Legumes = lentils, peas, & beans (27% protein)
Fatty Hamburger (24% protein)
Whole Milk (21% protein)
Nuts (10% protein)

Eggs, beans, cheese, etc. don’t hold a candle to lean meat and fish in terms of protein content. Protein = boosts metabolism = weight loss = lowers cholesterol level = GOOD.

Okay, one more interesting thing to note about protein. (Don’t you just find this fascinating? I do!) This goes along with the whole boosting metabolism concept. In order for the body to obtain energy from protein, it must spend almost 3x more energy than it needs for either fat or carbohydrates. This is due to the much higher DIT (dietary-induced thermogenesis) associated with protein (basically it takes a ton more energy for the body to digest & metabolize protein than either carbs or fat). So eat more protein and you have a higher RESTING metabolism! Yes, that’s right, you can boost your metabolism without even considering exercise.

8 Responses to “Protein lesson of the day”

  1. stardo says:

    i’d definitely throw soy on that list. i’d also say that exercise is just as crucial as a diet in a healthy lifestyle. you’ll also find that the “american” diet is very high in protein, much higher actually than it needs to be. it’s not the addition of protein, but rather the reduction of carbohydrates and sugars that we need to focus on. smaller, but more filling, portion sizes spread throughout the day is key. finally, rich fibrous foods will also go a long ways in a good diet.

    i haven’t been the walking example of any of these points the past few weeks, with large portions of restaurant food every day. i’ve gained 5 pounds while my parents were here, which is about 35 pounds too many. a healthy diet will be key to reaching my goal, but mostly i need to get off my tush and get active. i’ll see immediate results from exercising… i’ll see long-term and healthier results from a combination of diet and regular exercise. i’d imagine you have those bases covered, what with the yoga or tai-chi or the gym membership.

  2. stardo says:

    and i realize soy is a bean, but it is probably one of the top 10 healthiest foods you can eat, so i think it deserves its own category.

  3. admin says:

    Soy is a legume, which I made sure to mention on the list…However, I did look soy up, especially for you, and soy beans do pack a whopping 35-38% protein, as compared to regular beans which fall in the range of 20-30%. Still NOTHING compared to the lean meats and fish. And as to whether soy is one of the “top 10 healthiest foods”…I would tend to disagree. Sure there’s tons of research saying that it’s good for you, but there’s plenty saying it’s bad as well. Soy is just a food, like any other. It has its beneficial properties, but is by no means the panacea that the soy industry would have you believe (who, by the way, funds all the research promoting soy…just like the dairy industry funds all the milk ads :P) Here’s something I pulled off a website:” On the downside, soy is difficult to digest and contains a substance that makes it harder for iodine to get to the thyroid gland. Soy also contains phytic acid and other substances that make it difficult to access the nutrients contained in the beans. In addition, soy is present in a majority of processed foods in this country, as soybean oil, soy protein isolate, soy flour, etc. Because we eat it so much, it has become a common allergen.” Soy allergy is one of the most common allergies worldwide. And for those of us who can’t digest it, soy is just not cool.

    And I wasn’t denouncing exercise, at all. (I am the last person on earth to say exercise is bad for you!) I was just saying there are things (besides exercise) that you can do to adjust your metabolism. And we all know how important metabolism is in maintaining weight.

    Also, you mention that the American diet is “much higher [in protein] actually than it needs to be.” Not true for two reasons. First of all, there is no such thing as too much protein. It is actually impossible to overeat pure protein. The body has clear limits, determined by the liver’s inability to handle excess dietary nitrogen (released when the body breaks down protein). For most people, this is about 35% of your normal daily caloric intake. If you exceed this amount for a long period of time, your body would protest – with nausea, diarrhea, abrupt weight loss, and other symptoms of protein toxicity. So you would KNOW if you were eating too much protein. And besides, so long as you balance your diet out with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and good fats and oils, you will NEVER have to worry about getting too much protein. Secondly, I don’t know what source you’re getting your information from, but protein makes up only 15 percent of the calories that most Americans eat. This should be much higher – between 19 and 35 percent. So most Americans are only getting about half the protein they need, which can contribute to weight gain, high blood cholesterol, insulin resistivity, and many chronic diseases.

    And by reducing carbohydrates (and fats), aren’t you in essence increasing the amount of protein in your diet? I’m confused. What else is there to increase by the reduction of sugars/carbs/fats? Doesn’t “smaller, more filling meals” mean more protein, fewer carbs? You are right about one thing though, the average American diet consists of WAY too much carbs and sugar. Think about the average American breakfast – cereals, oatmeal, toast, bagels, hashbrowns, pancakes, waffles, danishes, donuts, coffee+creamer, (maybe some fatty bacon or sausage, and eggs). And that’s the most important meal of the day! No wonder we are an obese nation.

    And while we’re on the whole high-protein meat vs. high-carbohydrate vegetarian diet debate, here’s another point to ponder. Protein satisfies your appetite far more effectively than either carbohydrate or fat — there are plenty of experiments which I could list which will support this. In one study, women who were restricted to a high-carb vegetarian casserole for lunch consumed 12 percent MORE calories at dinner than the women who ate a high-protein meat casserole for lunch. So protein reduces hunger between meals, and causes less overeating throughout the day. Less overeating = less weight gain.

  4. stardo says:

    i would tend to agree with your opinion of protein. the only disagreement point would be that americans don’t get enough. they may not get enough in proportion to other things like carbs/sugars, but that is what i was talking about with regards to reduction of that sort of intake. i’ve no doubt that a diet that is high in protein is a good one, for exactly the reasons you state; you are essentially preaching to the choir.

    i only raise the point about protein intake because the first thing people worry about when you turn vegetarian is “how are you going to get enough protein?” they don’t realize that 1) animal meat is not the only source of protein (and arguably not the best source of protein, given the drawbacks associated with it) and that 2) a lower intake of protein will not kill you.

    i wouldn’t advocate eliminating carbs and sugars, especially if you *do* intend to be active in your exercise. i’d also stress that fiber-rich foods are key to a high-protein diet, but such diets are too new of a phenomenon that i would say that you are bound to run into perhaps some complications later on from an over-active colon. i think it is safe to say that we can do our best to stay healthy given what we know and that people will ultimately have health problems regardless due, in large part, to genetics and random disease.

    that being said i could be hit by a bus tomorrow driving to work whether i’m in tip-top shape or hideously over-weight, so i tend to not become absolutely obsessed by these things.

    that said, while no one food is a magic food, i would point again to soy, as well as spinach, brocolli, tomatos, oranges, and strawberries as some of the healiest foods you can eat. my favorite breakfast is 2 scrambled eggs (made with soy milk), 2 veggie sausage, a glass of water, and an orange. apparently green tea is supposedly good for you too.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How much protein in Crabs? Grandpa and I are getting ready to hit the bay and clean up on them. G-ma

  6. admin says:

    Hey Grandma! Crabs are 86% protein. So get your fill of them! Save some for me :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    You got it Honey! Love you! Gma

  8. Anonymous says:

    i’m jealous.

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