Many of you found last week’s article helpful with your food choices, so here’s another resource that may help you with your food selection. (If you haven’t checked it out already, click here for last weeks article which includes a comprehensive list of foods in order of caloric density).
Let’s talk protein.
If ever there was a superfood, protein is it. It keeps you fuller for longer, repairs muscle, bone, skin and nails and is an important part to any balanced diet – but when it comes to choosing your protein sources, it can sometimes get confusing. There are various factors that should be taken in to account when choosing your proteins. Here, they are narrowed down simply to three of the most important points.
1. Restrictions and sensitivities
Any food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities should be factored in straight off the bat – there are simply too many good choices for protein to be eating things that make you feel crook. It could be worthwhile taking a food intolerance/sensitivity test, especially if you suspect you might have a certain food intolerance. Insensitivities can often manifest themselves through skin irritations, irregular bowel movements or overall poor gut health.
2. Complete protein sources
Proteins are comprised of individual amino acids – the building blocks of larger protein molecules. There are 20 different amino acids that can be further sub-categorised as essential or non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that we have to get from our diet as the body can’t make them like it does with non-essential amino acids. In order for a protein to be considered “complete”, it must contain all 9 essential amino acids. These are:
Animal foods, such as red meat, pork, game meats, poultry, eggs, fish, other seafood and many dairy products are complete protein foods. Some vegan complete protein sources include buckwheat, quinoa, spirulina and hemp.
It’s also important to note that choosing complementary incomplete proteins (two or more protein sources eating in combination to make up for the absence of certain essential amino acids) is another great strategy, especially for those who don’t eat animal products. An example of this might be beans in combination with rice or nuts.
3. High protein content relative to fat and carbohydrates (high protein-to-calorie ratio)
If your goal is to minimise fat, this is probably the most relevant point of all. Choosing foods that have high protein to calorie ratio will be instrumental in reaching your protein goal without going overboard with total caloric intake. Below is a list that orders common foods containing protein in order of percentage protein per calorie. Numbers will vary based on cuts of meats, brand of manufacturer and other variances from batch to batch.
Foods In Order Of Percentage Calories From Protein
Tuna in water (95.2%)
Chicken breast (88.4%)
Egg white (88%)
Kangaroo steak/mince (88%)
Cod fillet (85.6%)
Whey protein blend (80%)
Beef fillet steak (78.4%)
Turkey breast (78%)
High protein greek yoghurt (70%)
Pork loin steak (66%)
Cottage cheese (62%)
Turkey mince (60%)
Sardines in brine (50%)
Organic Tofu (44.4%)
Soy milk (36.4%)
Black beans (28.8%)
Lite milk (28%)
Baked beans (23.2%)
Peanut butter (16%)
Hope this helps!