Get the Skinny on Protein
Are all proteins created equal?
No. The method for determining the quality of a protein is called the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). This score compares a protein’s amino acid quality based on both the amino acid requirements of humans and their ability to digest the protein. The highest value a protein can have is 1 and the lowest is 0. For example, eggs have a high PDCAAS since they contain the perfect balance of the nine essential amino acids (phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, lysine, histidine). These amino acids can not be produced by the body. Other examples of foods with a high PDCAAS score are casein (milk protein), soy protein, whey (milk protein), beef, soybeans, chickpeas, black beans and legumes.
With so many sources of protein available today (protein bars, shakes, powders, etc.), how do you choose the right one for your workout?
There are a variety of proteins that would be appropriate to have before a work out. In general, try to have a combination snack that has both carbs and protein, such as an apple and almonds or blueberries with a piece of cheese. If you don’t have time to prepare a healthy snack before or after your workout, it is perfectly okay to occasionally have a protein bar or protein shake. When choosing your bar, shake, or powder consider that they are not all the same. Some may be high in sugar or artificial flavors, sweeteners, and sugar alcohols. So always read the label to know what you are getting. Carefully read where the protein is coming from such as casein, whey, or soy.
What are the best proteins for building muscle?
The best way to build muscle is to eat a high protein food after working out. Choose proteins that are lower in sugar and fat such a Greek yogurt and hummus. When trying to build muscle the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a protein intake ranging from 1.4 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. Each individual’s protein needs can vary depending on their health status. People sometimes have a misconception that more is better, which is not necessarily the case when it comes to protein. Keep in mind that having too much protein can put stress on our kidneys.
What are the best proteins for losing weight?
Choose proteins that are lower in fat and calories. For example, chicken breast and fish are lower in calories and fat than beef, although they may all have approximately the same amount of protein per ounce.
What are the best sources of protein for vegetarians?
Examples of good protein sources for vegetarians come from plant based foods such as soy and beans. Additionally, these plant based sources are high in vitamins and minerals, and fiber; and low in cholesterol and fat. Furthermore, legumes can be a great source when consumed with a grain such as quinoa or rice. This combination of legumes and rice makes a complete protein. A complete protein means it contains the 9 essential amino acids mentioned in the first paragraph. Grains, nuts, and seeds can also be added to a meal to increase protein intake.
Is there an optimal time to consume protein to get the most out of a workout?
It’s best to have a small snack 30 to 60 minutes prior to working out. This snack is usually higher in carbohydrates, lower in fat and low to mid-range on protein. Post workout, have a snack within 30 minutes of finishing. This snack should be high protein and mid-range carb to optimize muscle building and repair.
At Fresh ‘N Fit, we offer many dishes that are high in protein. Rather than sizing our portions based on 1200 or 1800 calories, our Paleo menu’s portions are based on the amount of protein they have in them. The standard serving offers 5 ounces of protein, while our beast portion offers 8 ounces. Try our new Fall menu today and save 10% off your first order with promo code BLOG10.