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In an effort to find the best source of protein for losing weight, burning fat, and losing some inches off of that belly I compared sources of protein on three different levels. I learned a lot through these comparisons so I’m pretty sure you’re going to learn something new in this video.
For the first comparison I compared the bioavailability of various different protein sources. Bioavailability is a representation of the percentage of just how much our bodies can make use of certain protein sources. Basically our bodies can use and absorb certain protein sources better than others. According to the bioavailability index we got whey protein at the top, followed by whole eggs, cows milk, egg whites, and fish. Now just because our bodies can absorb a lot of the protein from milk, assuming your not lactose intolerant that is, doesn’t mean that milk is the solution to fat loss. This is just one very important comparison that has to be drawn because the best sources of protein for fat loss should also help you maintain muscle mass. Obviously it’s going to be tough getting enough protein from peanuts because it’s so low on the bioavailability scale.
For the next comparison I wanted to see which protein sources spike insulin the highest. Yes protein can spike insulin levels in your body just like carbohydrates can. Most people don’t know that protein is insulinogenic, but it is and some protein like whey protein can really spike your insulin pretty high. You may be wondering why is this important. Well it’s important because the most significant factor in fat storage is the level of insulin in the blood. Insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy. There was a study done by David Mendosa, in which they tested 38 foods and found that glycemic and insulin scores were highly correlated. However whats interesting is that protein-rich foods and bakery products elicited insulin responses that were disproportionately higher than their glycemic responses.
In case you don’t know the glycemic index is a number associated with a particular type of food that indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose. So it makes sense that these two numbers would correlate because if something spikes your blood sugar you need a spike in insulin to bring the blood sugar levels back down. But certain protein sources seem to not have this correlation. This study found some foods such as meat, fish, and eggs that contain no carbohydrates, just protein and fat (and essentially have a Glycemic Index value of zero), still stimulate significant rises in blood insulin. The insulin index is a new area of study so this is not one that I have a direct answer to, but it’s interesting to note that whey protein can spike your insulin levels very high. The insulin will funnel the blood sugar to the liver where it can be stored as fat. This doesn’t mean that whey protein is awful for you when trying to lose weight, it just depends when you have it. If you have a random whey protein shake in the middle of the day or for breakfast it may not help you with weight loss, especially if you have it with fruit or milk. However, if you have that directly after a workout the insulin spike can help you funnel the glycogen to your muscles rather than ultimately ending up in your fat cells.
For the last comparison, I compared the macronutrient splits in different sources of protein. This will help us see how much protein we are getting for a given amount of calories. Remember that insulin is what stores fat not fat. So just because we have fat that comes with a protein source doesn’t mean that it’s bad for fat loss. In fact fat is necessary to produce many of the important hormones that we need for optimal fat loss. I want to just compare a couple different sources of protein starting with chicken breast and cod fish. Chicken breast, cod, and other low fat fish is made up of 93% protein, 0% carbs, and 7% fat. Beans are made up of 25% Protein 72% carbs and 3% fat. Eggs are 29% Protein 2% carbs and 69% Fat. As you can see each of these sources that I picked leans more heavily toward one macronutrient than the rest. Cod and Chicken breast leans heavily toward the protein macro. Whole eggs are mostly made up of fat and beans are mostly made up of carbs. When looking at protein sources in this way you can say that beans are a good source of carbohydrates that are high in protein, but they mainly provide carbohydrates. The same goes for eggs except that they are mainly a source of fat.