First Do No Harm

Protein Sources

Perhaps you've seen the following meme online:

Perhaps you even believed it. Personally, I felt the numbers were shocking, and since I've been fooled before, I figured spending two minutes looking for the actual numbers wouldn't hurt. So I went to the USDA's web and database of common foods and discovered the following:

  • 100 calories top sirloin steak has 11.08 grams of protein.

  • 100 calories of raw broccoli has 8.29 grams of protein.

Being curious, I set out to find where the people who created this meme got their numbers, and the first site I found had written an absolutely perfect rebuttal to this meme called:  “Broccoli has more protein than steak”—and other crap.  

It's written by Adele Hite, MPH RD. RD means Registered Dietician. The article is just perfect. So, instead of quoting her, you can go read it. I'm going to spend the rest of this article talking about getting protein from vegetable sources. 

Most nutritionists seem to agree that your daily requirement of protein is based upon your ideal weight, and that, ideally, you should consume 1 gram of protein for every pound of that ideal weight. For example, if your ideal weight is 160, then your daily requirement for protein is 160 grams.

Your minimum requirement is .3 grams per pound, the average (consumption) is .5 grams per pound, and if you're a body builder, you might want to increase that to 1.3 to 1.5 grams per pound.

No matter what anyone tells you, meat and fish are the best ways to get your protein, especially meat and fish that were not factory farmed. Factory farming has so many problems that it would be insane to start listing them here. You don't need the chemicals and the earth does not need the pollutants.

The following spread sheet lists foods (other than meat, poultry, and fish) that contain protein, and they are listed in the order of the greatest amount of protein per 100 grams of that particular food.

The columns are pretty self explanatory, although I should point out a few things:

Column 3 is the percent of protein per 100 grams of food. Because we are using 100 grams, the math is much easier for us oldsters, and we've listed the percentage as a decimal.

For example, Whey Protein is listed as 0.64, which means 64% (protein per 100 grams of whey protein). And because of the 100 gram amount, that translates to 64 grams of protein; thus there are 64 grams of protein in 100 grams of whey protein and in 100 grams of whey protein, 64% of that is protein. 

Just remove the decimal point to get the grams of protein per 100 grams of food.

The next column is important for dieters; it is Calories per Gram of Protein. Here is where you look for more bang for the buck. Whey protein stands out in this area. The next column is the percent of carbohydrates per 100 grams, and to count the carbs, again just multiply by 100. For example, .20 is 20% and becomes 20 grams of carbs. (Ain't working with 100 easy?)

You will note that the food with the highest fat is Chia. This should not bother you because the fats in chia are high in Omega-3s.

Food (100 grams) Calories Protein % Cal/Gram P Carbs % Fat Water
Whey Protein  400.00 0.64 6.25 0.20 5% -
Chia Seeds 486.00 0.17 28.59 0.42 31% -
Sun-Dried Tomatoes 258.00 0.14 18.43 0.56  2% 28%
Soybean Sprouts 125.00 0.13 9.62 0.09  7% 71%
Winged Beans 148.00 0.12 12.33 0.28  1% 59%
Lentil Sprouts 106.00 0.09 11.78 0.22  0% 69%
Baby Lima Beans 132.00 0.08 16.50 0.25  0% 67%
Grape Leaves 93.00 0.06 15.50 0.17  1% 76%
Garlic 149.00 0.06 24.83 0.33  0% 61%
Dried Seaweed (Nori) 306.00 0.06 51.00 0.81  0% 13%
Ensure Plus® 141.00 0.05 28.20 0.20 5% 70%
Green Peas 77.00 0.05 15.40 0.14  0% 81%
Wasabi Root 109.00 0.05 21.80 0.24  0% 71%
Succotash (Corn And Limas) 115.00 0.05 23.00 0.24  1% 70%
Beans and Rice   151.00 0.05 32.83 0.24 4% 65%
Quinoa (cooked)   120.00 0.04 27.27 0.21 2% 72%
Alfalfa Sprouts 23.00 0.04 5.75 0.02  1% 93%
Broccoli Rapini 33.00 0.04 8.25 0.03  0% 93%
Straw Mushrooms 32.00 0.04 8.00 0.05  0% 91%
Spinach 34.00 0.04 8.50 0.05  1% 90%
Portabella Mushrooms 35.00 0.04 8.75 0.05  0% 91%
White Mushrooms 44.00 0.04 11.00 0.06  0% 90%
Bitter Melon  34.00 0.04 8.50 0.07  0% 89%
Brussels Sprouts 41.00 0.04 10.25 0.08  0% 88%
Podded Peas 52.00 0.04 13.00 0.09  0% 87%
Peas And Onions 70.00 0.04 17.50 0.14  0% 82%
Asparagus 24.00 0.03 8.00 0.04  0% 93%
Chives 30.00 0.03 10.00 0.04  1% 92%
Broccoli 28.00 0.03 9.33 0.05  0% 92%
Turnip Greens 29.00 0.03 9.67 0.05  0% 92%
Cauliflower 32.00 0.03 10.67 0.06  0% 91%
Parsley 36.00 0.03 12.00 0.06  1% 90%
Oyster Mushrooms 43.00 0.03 14.33 0.06  0% 91%
Collards 36.00 0.03 12.00 0.07  0% 90%
Shiitake Mushrooms 48.00 0.03 16.00 0.08  0% 89%
Kale 50.00 0.03 16.67 0.10  0% 87%
Artichokes   47.00 0.03 15.67 0.11  0% 86%
Peas And Carrots 53.00 0.03 17.67 0.11  0% 86%
Sweet Corn 108.00 0.03 36.00 0.25  1% 71%

This next spread sheet is the same one, but listing the foods according to Calories Per Gram of Protein, from the lowest to the highest. This order can be confusing because though Alfalfa Sprouts are the lowest in the list (fewest calories per gram of protein), you would have to eat nearly two kilograms of Alfalfa Sprouts to get the same amount of protein that is in 100 grams of Whey Protein.

Food (100 grams) Calories Protein % Cal/Gram P Carbs % Fat Water
Alfalfa Sprouts 23.00 0.04 5.75 0.02  1% 93%
Whey Protein  400.00 0.64 6.25 0.20 5% -
Straw Mushrooms 32.00 0.04 8.00 0.05  0% 91%
Asparagus 24.00 0.03 8.00 0.04  0% 93%
Broccoli Rapini 33.00 0.04 8.25 0.03  0% 93%
Spinach 34.00 0.04 8.50 0.05  1% 90%
Bitter Melon  34.00 0.04 8.50 0.07  0% 89%
Portabella Mushrooms 35.00 0.04 8.75 0.05  0% 91%
Broccoli 28.00 0.03 9.33 0.05  0% 92%
Soybean Sprouts 125.00 0.13 9.62 0.09  7% 71%
Turnip Greens 29.00 0.03 9.67 0.05  0% 92%
Chives 30.00 0.03 10.00 0.04  1% 92%
Brussels Sprouts 41.00 0.04 10.25 0.08  0% 88%
Cauliflower 32.00 0.03 10.67 0.06  0% 91%
White Mushrooms 44.00 0.04 11.00 0.06  0% 90%
Lentil Sprouts 106.00 0.09 11.78 0.22  0% 69%
Parsley 36.00 0.03 12.00 0.06  1% 90%
Collards 36.00 0.03 12.00 0.07  0% 90%
Winged Beans 148.00 0.12 12.33 0.28  1% 59%
Podded Peas 52.00 0.04 13.00 0.09  0% 87%
Oyster Mushrooms 43.00 0.03 14.33 0.06  0% 91%
Green Peas 77.00 0.05 15.40 0.14  0% 81%
Grape Leaves 93.00 0.06 15.50 0.17  1% 76%
Artichokes   47.00 0.03 15.67 0.11  0% 86%
Shiitake Mushrooms 48.00 0.03 16.00 0.08  0% 89%
Baby Lima Beans 132.00 0.08 16.50 0.25  0% 67%
Kale 50.00 0.03 16.67 0.10  0% 87%
Peas And Onions 70.00 0.04 17.50 0.14  0% 82%
Peas And Carrots 53.00 0.03 17.67 0.11  0% 86%
Sun-Dried Tomatoes 258.00 0.14 18.43 0.56  2% 28%
Wasabi Root 109.00 0.05 21.80 0.24  0% 71%
Succotash (Corn And Limas) 115.00 0.05 23.00 0.24  1% 70%
Garlic 149.00 0.06 24.83 0.33  0% 61%
Quinoa (cooked)   120.00 0.04 27.27 0.21 2% 72%
Ensure Plus® 141.00 0.05 28.20 0.20 5% 70%
Chia Seeds 486.00 0.17 28.59 0.42 31% -
Beans and Rice   151.00 0.05 32.83 0.24 4% 65%
Sweet Corn 108.00 0.03 36.00 0.25  1% 71%
Dried Seaweed (Nori) 306.00 0.06 51.00 0.81  0% 13%

This final spread sheet lists the foods according to the amount of carbs (per 100 grams of food), from lowest to highest.

Food (100 grams) Calories Protein % Cal/Gram P Carbs % Fat Water
Alfalfa Sprouts 23.00 0.04 5.75 0.02  1% 93%
Broccoli Rapini 33.00 0.04 8.25 0.03  0% 93%
Asparagus 24.00 0.03 8.00 0.04  0% 93%
Chives 30.00 0.03 10.00 0.04  1% 92%
Straw Mushrooms 32.00 0.04 8.00 0.05  0% 91%
Spinach 34.00 0.04 8.50 0.05  1% 90%
Portabella Mushrooms 35.00 0.04 8.75 0.05  0% 91%
Broccoli 28.00 0.03 9.33 0.05  0% 92%
Turnip Greens 29.00 0.03 9.67 0.05  0% 92%
Cauliflower 32.00 0.03 10.67 0.06  0% 91%
White Mushrooms 44.00 0.04 11.00 0.06  0% 90%
Parsley 36.00 0.03 12.00 0.06  1% 90%
Oyster Mushrooms 43.00 0.03 14.33 0.06  0% 91%
Bitter Melon  34.00 0.04 8.50 0.07  0% 89%
Collards 36.00 0.03 12.00 0.07  0% 90%
Brussels Sprouts 41.00 0.04 10.25 0.08  0% 88%
Shiitake Mushrooms 48.00 0.03 16.00 0.08  0% 89%
Soybean Sprouts 125.00 0.13 9.62 0.09  7% 71%
Podded Peas 52.00 0.04 13.00 0.09  0% 87%
Kale 50.00 0.03 16.67 0.10  0% 87%
Artichokes   47.00 0.03 15.67 0.11  0% 86%
Peas And Carrots 53.00 0.03 17.67 0.11  0% 86%
Green Peas 77.00 0.05 15.40 0.14  0% 81%
Peas And Onions 70.00 0.04 17.50 0.14  0% 82%
Grape Leaves 93.00 0.06 15.50 0.17  1% 76%
Whey Protein  400.00 0.64 6.25 0.20 5% -
Ensure Plus® 141.00 0.05 28.20 0..20 5% 70%
Quinoa (cooked)   120.00 0.04 27.27 0.21 2% 72%
Lentil Sprouts 106.00 0.09 11.78 0.22  0% 69%
Wasabi Root 109.00 0.05 21.80 0.24  0% 71%
Succotash (Corn And Limas) 115.00 0.05 23.00 0.24  1% 70%
Beans and Rice   151.00 0.05 32.83 0.24 4% 65%
Baby Lima Beans 132.00 0.08 16.50 0.25  0% 67%
Sweet Corn 108.00 0.03 36.00 0.25  1% 71%
Winged Beans 148.00 0.12 12.33 0.28  1% 59%
Garlic 149.00 0.06 24.83 0.33  0% 61%
Chia Seeds 486.00 0.17 28.59 0.42 31% -
Sun-Dried Tomatoes 258.00 0.14 18.43 0.56  2% 28%
Dried Seaweed (Nori) 306.00 0.06 51.00 0.81  0% 13%

What Can We Learn From This?

Personally, what I learned was that someone's been telling me a lot of lies for a very long time. One of the lies was that Beans & Rice supply just as much protein as meat. When I was looking for the amount of protein in different foods, the lists I found never included beans and rice. So I had to go look it up. It was a terrible disappointment. I'd heard that one since college.

Sweet corn didn't surprise me, though. It's not that high in protein while pretty darn high in calories per gram of protein, because of the high carbs and amount of natural sugars.

I've never had broccoli rapini, but I'm sure my Sicilian relatives have.

Mostly what we've learned here is, because we don't have four stomachs (like our bovine friends), we don't get much protein from plants. I love my salads. Nobody will ever stop me from eating organic veggies or making my whey protein drinks when I'm out exercising, but facts are facts and the best sources of protein is meat, poultry, and fish. Oh...and worms, snakes, lizards, and bugs. Bugs, by the way, are kosher for the Jewish people during times of famine. And if you ever go to survival school, you will be taught to eat bugs.

What I've Left Out: Nuts & Cheese

We've left these out for a reason: they are highly concentrated foods packed with a lot of calories. Sure, some cultures eat nuts after a meal and their heart attack rates are much less than ours. The oils in nuts are very healthy for us; many are high in omega-3s. But these same cultures also crack their nuts open one at a time, while sitting around the table talking. In our culture, we buy our nuts already cracked open, and if you eat more than a handful, you're getting an awful lot of calories.

For example, here are the calories and protein in different nuts (all at 100 grams).

Nut Calories Protein
Peanuts 563 25.19
Walnuts 654 15.23
Cashews 553 18.22
Macadamia 718 7.91
Brazilnuts 656 14.32

As you can see, getting your protein from nuts isn't quite as efficient as getting it from whey protein. The reason for this is the amount of fat. Sure, the fats are good for you, but in moderation. Macadamia nuts have the least amount of protein, but that's because they're 76% fat. Again, very good fats (including those omega-7s in Cardia-7), but again, too much of a good thing isn't good at all.

The same thing goes for cheeses, especially fake cheeses (American and soft melting processed something).

Cheese Calories Protein
Cheddar 403 24.9
American 330 16.86
Monterey 373 24.48
Gouda 356 24.94
Roquefort 369 21.54

You're getting more bang for your buck here comparing the protein per calorie in cheese over nuts, but again, lots of fats, and these are not your "best" fats. A very little goes a long way when considering highly concentrated foods.

Velveeta, by the way, came in very close to its cousin, American cheese, both of which really don't qualify as cheeses.

However, fat free Kraft Singles® have 22.7 grams of protein to only 148 calories. Personally, I don't eat over processed food filled with chemicals and genetically modified ingredients.

Note:

If you have Microsoft Excel and want to add to this sheet or simply play with it, you can download it by RIGHT clicking on it and saving it to your computer: veg_protein.xlsx

If you do add to it, please send us a copy: info@mnwelldir.org.

Update

I've recently added the "Number One Doctor Recommended Meal Replacement" to our spread sheet. It's called Ensure®. In fact I used Ensure® Plus because it's supposed to be so much better for you than regular Ensure®. So let's compare it to a few others on the list.

Food (100 grams) Calories Protein % Cal/Gram P Carbs % Fat Water
Ensure Plus® 141.00 0.05 28.20 0.20 5% 70%
Succotash (Corn And Limas) 115.00 0.05 23.00 0.24  1% 70%
Beans and Rice   151.00 0.05 32.83 0.24 4% 65%
Quinoa (cooked)   120.00 0.04 27.27 0.21 2% 72%

At first glance, Ensure® Plus seems to be just like, or even better, than these other sources of protein. That is, except in the fat department where it's one percent higher than Beans and Rice. That isn't much. Calories per gram of protein isn't bad. Beans and rice have more calories. And the number of carbs is lower than any of these others. So, why would I have a problem with this product?

Ensure® Plus will spike your blood sugar faster and higher than anything else on this list. In the ingredients, listed first (after water) are processed sugars: Corn Maltodextrin and Sugar. And the fats are the types one would never put in their bodies if they read labels and actually cared about their health: Canola Oil and Corn Oil. The protein comes from Soy, which healthy people avoid (only fermented soy products are allowed in a healthy body). And finally, we are told it contains "natural and artificial flavors." Natural, by the way, has no real definition or meaning established by the FDA or FCC and artificial things are safe to be eaten by artificial human beings.

At a site called Calorie Count (there is an app for your phone here too), they gave Ensure® Plus an "A."

This just grinds my gears. The stuff shouldn't even be consumed. Well, maybe after a hard workout when you can spike your sugar to feed your hungry muscles. Why is it people treat all calories the same? This is ludicrous. When it comes to HEALTHY NUTRITION, a calorie is not just a calorie because they each come with a cost. And your body has to pay the prices of "bad" calories.

Soylent

The only thing left for us to compare and contrast is the latest food substitute: Soylent.

It arrived with a flourish by the media. It was funded by "crowdsourcing," which is the latest way to get investors to supply funding for your research. It was designed to be a high protein drink for vegetarians and vegans.

Here are the ingredients (note, the ingredients they want us to focus on are on the left; the actual ingredients are on the right):

Maltodextrin (carbs)
Oat Powder (carbs, fiber, protein, fat)
Whey Isolate (protein)
Grapeseed Oil (fat)
Potassium Gluconate
Salt (sodium)
Magnesium Gluconate
Monosodium Phosphate
Calcium Carbonate
Methylsulfonylmethane (Sulfur)
Creatine
Powdered Soy Lecithin
Choline Bitartrate
Ferrous Gluconate (Iron)

 

 

So, what is wrong with this? Fake food and fake nutrition.

First off: Sucralose, artificial flavor, and a host of synthetic vitamins. The wrong kind of vitamin D and the wrong kind of vitamin K. Crap, crap, crap.

Maltodextrin? Soy? Gum Acacia? (That last one will give you gas.) Canola oil? Fish oil??? Does anyone know how sensitive to heat and light fish oils are?

The ingredients are the cheapest stuff they could find. In the food industry, profit is the bottom line.

I would not feed this to a starving dog.

 

 


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