So what makes a protein good or bad? That is a common question that many people do not know the answer to. Protein is very important to the body because our bodies need it to build strong cells, bones and skin.
However, unlike carbohydrates, our bodies are not able to store protein so we need to make sure that we eat enough protein to provide our body with the energy that we need. However, all proteins are not created equally. So, what makes a protein bad or good? The answer is simple; the amount of saturated fat content.
If a protein is high in saturated fat, it can raise your cholesterol to unhealthy levels over time. Over time this can lead to heart disease if uncontrolled. The average adult needs between 40 to 65 grams of protein in their daily diet. While this is not a whole lot and most Americans already consume this much protein, most people do not eat enough of the good proteins that our bodies need.
Good Protein Choices
There are plenty of sources of good protein that you can eat every day to provide your body with the healthy protein it needs.
- Lean Meats – Lean meats are a great source of protein that is low in saturated fat. If you want to keep your heart healthy while still giving your body what it needs then lean proteins such as turkey, fish and chicken are a great choice.
- Soy – Soy proteins are another great form of protein that is low in saturated fat. These high protein foods are a great choice for vegetarians and come in a variety of delicious varieties such as veggie burgers, and nuggets. Soy milk is another healthy alternative that is rich in protein and low in saturated fat.
- Dairy – While dairy products may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of protein; some dairy products have loads of protein. However, choose your dairy products wisely as some dairy products have more fat content than others.
- Beans & Nuts – All beans and nuts are low in saturated fat and rich in protein making them a great choice for any meal or healthy snacks. Garbanzo beans, chickpeas, and all varieties of seeds are a great protein source for a healthy diet.
A good way to cut down on the amount of saturated fat that you consume from your protein sources is to plan out your meals ahead of time and shop appropriately. While you will still get the protein that your body needs from all types of protein the additional saturated fat that you consume can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol over time and may contribute to weight gain as well.
Leaner cuts of meat are always the better choice to provide you with the heart healthy protein that your body needs. Avoid processed meats such as bologna, salami and hot dogs as well as steak, chicken with skin, and most red meat. And remember moderation is the key to a healthy diet!