Best Sources of Protein: High Protein Foods

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Maria Lorenz
Join me on my "I Fit and Healthy" journey! Maria is an Upstate New Yorker interested in all things healthy-living related! She started the "I Fit and Healthy" Blog to document life and her pursuit of healthy living. By day she work in digital media and advertising. By night she’s a first-rate wife and mom of two crazy little girls! She is self-proclaimed addicted to her iPhone/iPad and always on the hunt for the latest health tools and fitness gadgets.

I receive many questions from people asking me about different brands and varieties of protein powders. A good protein powder (which is not easy to find) could be a valuable addition to any diet, but the best protein comes from good ol’ meat and fish.

Carbohydrate management remains a popular topic amongst athletes and people struggling with weight issues. However, the main point of attention seems to be on the amount and composition of carbohydrates in a given diet plan, while the protein is mostly mentioned in passing.

Are all carbohydrates created equal? No, they are not. Is all protein created equal? With a few exceptions, the quality of ingredients in protein powders varies a lot, which is why it could be a challenge to find a good protein powder.

In order to get enough protein it is a good idea to eat some animal food at almost every meal. The problem is that eating too many fatty meats can erase any benefits that you receive from protein.

The key here is to choose lean sources of meat. Of course, you have to eat fruits and vegetables as well, because they provide numerous health benefits. But there is one other reason to get your carbs from fruits and vegetables – “rabbit starvation”.

“Rabbit starvation” is a form of protein toxicity that occurs when your liver cannot eliminate the nitrogen caused by too much protein in your system. To prevent this condition, your body needs either carbohydrates or dietary fat.

When it comes to commercially available meat products, it is best to purchase those that are grass-fed. They contain a good balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats. I believe that one of the aspects of a successful diet is a variety of food choices.

Nobody can follow a diet on a skinless chicken breast and broccoli. Therefore, it is a good idea to know just how much protein contains in meat and seafood, so that you can broaden your list of acceptable protein sources.

For example, skinless chicken breast is often mentioned as a great source of protein. While it is a good source of protein, it contains 63% of protein and 37% of fat, which puts it way down the list when compared to other food sources. Let’s take a look at some numbers.

The Worst Sources of Protein (% Protein – % Fat)

Hot dog 14-83, Bologna 15-81, Pork sausage 22-77, Bacon 21-78, Salami 23-75, Beef ribs 26-74, Pork ribs 27-73, Eggs 34-62, Chicken thing 36-63, Ham lunch meat 39-54, Pork Shoulder 45-55. [source: USDA sr18]

The Best Sources of Protein (% Protein – % Fat)

Skinless turkey breast 94-5, Shrimp 90-10, Orange roughy 90-10, Pollock 90-10, Lobster 89-5, Red snapper 87-13, Dungeness crab 86-10, Buffalo 84-16, Venison 81-19, Halibut 80-20, Clams 73-12, Lean pork tenderloin 72-28, Veal 68-32, Chicken liver 65-32, Lean beef flank steak 62-38, Salmon 62-38. [source: USDA sr18]

This is not a complete list, but if you are looking to get the most protein out of common food sources, it should give you a pretty good idea of where things stand when it comes to protein.

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