Supplements Part 3: Protein

 

Protein is the most sought after macro-nutrient ever by gym-goers and exercise fanatics.  And, in its own right, it makes sense for building muscle.  Many scientific studies have supported the idea that more protein is needed as higher intensity exercise (like weight training) increases.  Other studies have refuted the effectiveness of added protein.  In my professional opinion, I believe that extra protein is needed to supplement increased exercise and to aid muscle repair and grown.  But it’s more than simply increasing the intake amount of protein.  It all depends on your exercise and your goals, which affects your nutritional make-up completely.

If you are looking for a way to increase your protein intake, what are the ways to do that?  The most popular solution is a protein supplement in the form of energy bars and protein powder (for shakes).  Here are the pros and cons about protein supplements and also my personal list of protein rich food sources.

Protein Supplements/Sources–

PROS:

  • easy, quick, and convenient to consume
  • relatively inexpensive (food vs. powders in bulk)
  • simple protein supplements supply just protein without the extras (food source proteins is often paired with fat)

CONS:

  • others can have extra additives put in (like high fructose corn syrup and trans fat = READ THE LABEL)
  • relatively expensive (food vs. protein bars)
  • taste/texture
  • isn’t paired with other nutrients whole foods may offer

Food Sources of Protein–
If you’re like me and on a budget, then you can try getting your protein from whole foods. I prefer whole foods because they offer more nutrients than just protein (like carbs, fats, water, vitamins, minerals, fiber etc): more bang for my buck in that regard.  Here are some great food protein sources to include in your diet.  As always, I encourage a balanced meal.  Try some of these suggestions to add more variety!  Just one word of caution.  Protein is often found in foods with fat as well.  If you are concerned about consuming too much fat, look for leaner/lower-fat versions of these:

  • milk/dairy (great source of whey and casein protein)
  • peanut butter
  • nuts/seeds
  • soy products (soy milk, tofu, etc)
  • lean meats/fishes
  • jerky
  • avocados
  • cheese/yogurts
  • eggs
  • beans

Happy and healthy eating, friends

Thomas Ngo
Dietetic Intern
NASM Certified Personal Trainer

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