Taking a Closer Look at High Protein Foods
By Damien Maze
So you want to pack on some serious muscle? Well you’re going to need to start eating a lot of protein. Protein forms the base for all muscle development, without it nothing in your body would grow. How much protein you consume every day can mean the difference between being built like a truck or skinny as a twig.
In this article I’m going to go through all the main protein sources in-depth. I’ll cover how much protein is in each source, what makes the source of protein unique, the biological value and the other benefits the source of protein may have for your body. The aim of this article is to give you a better understanding of these protein sources and how they can help you pack on some pounds.
I will be listing the biological value (BV) of each source of protein so it’s important that you understand what BV is. Biological value is the actual amount of protein that is left in the body for protein synthesis. Basically, this is how much protein your body can actually use for building muscle. The biological range of proteins is between 50% and 100%. The higher the BV value the better. All the protein sources I mention in this article have very high BV values.
THE PROTEIN SOURCESChicken: BV value: 79 Protein: 7 grams per ounce (25%) For many years chicken has been the staple of any muscle building diet. Chicken, in its boneless and skinless form, contains around 25% protein. It has a high BV value of 79. Chicken is often very dry when cooked. You can spice chicken up by adding seasoning, salsa, spices or a low fat sauce. Chicken is a good choice for any meal at any time of the day. I recommend you eat at least 1 portion (150-300 grams) of chicken every day. Make sure you buy skinless chicken as the skin is very fatty and high in cholesterol.
Fish: BV value: 83 Protein: 7 grams per ounce (25%) Fish is not only a good protein source and great for building muscle, it’s also very good for overall health. Fish is full of essential fatty acids and Omega-3s. Fish, like chicken, is about 25% protein but has a slightly higher BV value of 83. Fish is very versatile and can be cooked in any number of ways. Probably the cheapest way to get fish into your diet is by eating tuna. Tuna comes canned and is very cheap. The downside is that it has a very “fishy” small and taste. This can usually be neutralized with some lemon, spices or sweet n sour sauce.
Beef; BV value: 80 Protein: 7 grams per ounce (25%) Beef is an excellent protein source containing approximately 25% protein. Beef also has good amounts of vitamin B-12, zinc and iron which are essential for keeping your body healthy and building a strong immune system. There are many different cuts of beef available as well as ground beef (or minced beef). The main thing to look for when purchasing beef is lean cuts. The fat on meat adds extra calories to your meals which are not the best idea if you’re looking to build lean muscle. You should aim to include beef in your diet at least 2-3 times per week. This will ensure you have enough amino acids in your body to create the right environment for muscle building.
Eggs: BV value: 88-100 Protein: 2.8-3.5 grams per ounce (11%) Eggs come in at number two on the “best protein sources” chart behind whey protein. Eggs have an extremely high biological value and are very high in Omega-3 acids. Omega-3 acids may increase the effectiveness of your immune system, helping you recover faster from your muscle building workouts. Almost all the protein in eggs is contained within the egg white. Eggs often get a bad rep for being high in cholesterol. But eggs are only high in cholesterol if you eat them whole. The cholesterol is contained in the egg yolk, not the white. Egg whites don’t taste very good so it’s ok to mix a few whole eggs some egg whites. For example: 2 whole eggs with 4 egg whites. Whole boiled eggs are extremely good as you can easily separate the white and yolk. Hard boiled eggs also contain no additional fat from cooking as they are cooking in water within their shell.
Dairy Products: BV value: 80 Protein: Varies in different dairy foods Most daily products are a good source of protein. The downside is, some are also very high in fat. Probably the two best dairy sources of protein are cottage cheese and skim milk. These products are not on low in fat and high in protein, but they also an excellent source of calcium. With every serving of cottage cheese or skim milk you will receive about 150mg to 350mg of calcium. Calcium is essential for building strong bones and preventing bone-related diseases. Calcium has also been said to play a significant role in muscle contractions. The protein found in milk is composed of approximately 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey, which results in milk's high biological value, and digestibility. Most skim milk varieties contain about 3.5 percent to 5 percent protein. So from a 250ml glass of milk you can get up to 15 grams of easily digestible protein
VARIETY IS THE KEY TO OPTIMUM RESULTS
Each of the protein foods I’ve mentioned in this article have their own individual benefits, there is no “best protein for muscle building”. If you want to create the optimum environment within your body for building lean muscle you need to eat all these protein sources.
Another point I must emphasize is you need to be consuming your protein at the optimum time. What does this mean? It means feeding your muscle when they need it and keep protein levels high throughout the entire day. You must split your protein intake up throughout the day into 6-7 meals. Also make sure you get a big hit of protein directly after your workout.
Finally, don’t forget about carbs and calories. You need to eat carbs to grow and ensure you have enough energy to power through your training sessions. Eating excess calories is the key to growing, if you’re burning more than you’re eating you’re not growing