The 5 Worst Protein Sources You’ve Been Eating

Before we begin, I want to address my last post and the controversy it stirred amongst the brommunity. I stated that one of the most common fitness myths is that weight gain and loss is simply calories in and calories out. This statement created a stampede of offended bro's leaving some humorous comments on my post. [For your reference, that post is HERE.]

Now, I will confess, not backing that statement up with hard evidence was a little short sided. I could lecture you with hours of data, but nobody would ever read it because a wordy article about science is about as enjoyable as masturbating with sandpaper.

These comments have put me in a strange predicament because, honestly, I give so few fucks about those dumb uniformed comments. However, I know some of my readers may have called into question the credibility of the article because of these people.

So, instead of a response, I decided I would simply provide some evidence from unreliable sources like Harvard, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and The Journal of the American Medical Association.

[Note*  The scientific studies are in the articles posted below.]

Harvard's latest study, in the NY Times, on the outdated science of calorie counting: HERE

The Journal of the American Medical Association, in the Wall Street Journal, on 3 different diets with the same caloric intake that produced very different results: HERE

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition's study reveals how calorie restriction is just as harmful as starving yourself over multiple years: HERE

Gary Taubes speaking to Google with multiple references and studies on why calorie counting is poor science. HERE

Good Calories Bad Calories – Award winning fitness book. HERE

It's up to you guys, the evidence is right there. As for my life, I would rather challenge the status quo than blindly follow it.

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” – Henry David Thoreau

What were we talking about? Oh yeahhhh protein quality.

Protein is a pretty common topic amongst the fitness community because it is the number 1 macronutrient involved in fitness gains and losses. Two weeks ago, we discussed how protein powders can vary greatly based on the quality and company that produces it.

Well guess what, the same goes for protein sources that you get from food. In order to understand this better, we need to backtrack a little bit and explain what protein actually is.

In the simplest way I can put it, protein is a molecule that is composed of one or more chains of amino acids. These chains of amino acids are the actual building blocks of protein and muscle recovery. There are 8 essential amino acids and about 12 nonessential ones (depending on the study).

Think of those amino acids like cars to a train. While a train with one car is has a small amount of force, a train moving at that same speed with 20 cars attached is much more powerful. 

The same goes for your protein- the more amino acids and wider the amino acid variety, the more powerful that protein becomes. The different foods you eat have different amino profiles and, therefore, the quality of your protein can vary greatly.

What's cool is that at a website called the USDA will rate a foods amino acid profile for you.

While I was going through some of the common sources for protein, I found some pretty shocking statistics.

The scores are between 1-160

Bad Protein Sources:

1. Nuts

Rating: 55-70

The reason you should be eating nuts in the first place is for the fats. Almonds and peanuts have tons of good fat in them and are not to be feared. That being said, the fitness community often talks about how nuts are a good source of protein (I probably said it before I knew better). They are not. Actually, saying that nuts are a good source protein is the equivalent of saying chicken flavored dog food is as nutritious as eating chicken. 

2. Ground Beef

Rating: 84
When I found out about this, I was pissed. I was poor as Greece at the time and thought I found the holy grail of cheap protein, turns out there's a reason it costs 3$ for a pound…

3. Ribeye

Rating: 94
If you love steak, this can be another blow to your ego. Do fret broseph; steak makes a comeback on our top 5 list.

4. Sausage

Rating: 103
Probably not that surprising, but worthy of being mentioned. Eating a phallic shaped object stuffed with mystery meat was never a good idea anyway.

5. Quinoa

Rating: 106
People are all over quinoa's balls lately and its time to leave him alone. He barely makes it into the triple digits and is a mediocre source of protein at best.


The Best Protein Sources:

1. T-Bone

Rating: 154
It's now science that the T-bone steak is the manliest thing you can eat. This was strange to me at first because the Ribeye is a part of the same animal. However, it makes sense that- if the flavor and quality of the meat can change based on its location on the animal, so can the amino acid profile.

2. Canned Tuna/Salmon/Cod

Rating: 148
“Fish meat is practically a vegetable.” – Ron Swanson. I would never disagree with Ron, but make sure these fish are a big part of your diet.

3. Egg Whites

Rating: 145
Egg whites are cheap, easy to make, and a very high quality protein. The yolk is fatty, but not that bad for you depending on your diet.

4. Turkey

Rating: 142-145
Slap it on a sandwich or make some turkey chili. Grab it from the deli, though, because I'm roughly 99.9% sure packaged Oscar Meyer turkey is less nutritious than the real thing.

5. Pork Chops

Rating: 144
Pig Sooie. Yes, Chicken was unqualified for the top 5 with an average rating of 136. 

Finally, know this bros, I want to help you guys out. It would help me to know what topics you're interested, so, if you got something you would like me to write about, put it in the comments below.

See you next week, bros,
Alex Nerney – Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Lord of Broscience.

For more sexually charged food references follow me on twitter HERE and for all the fitness information you possibly need, you can find it in my book: Fitness In College- A College Guy's Guide To Getting Ripped.