All About Protein

Many of us are aware of the benefits of protein – it’s ability to slow release of blood sugar, enhance muscular recovery, assist with weight loss, and perhaps most importantly, make our meals more interesting and tasty! Here are several recommendations for your protein intake.  These recommendations are taken straight from a nutrition lecture that I give to many of my online clients enrolled in nutritional plans with Greenfield Fitness Systems.

1. Ensure that protein sources are lean:

  • Leanest

Skim milk, soy milk
Plain, fat free yogurt, cottage cheese
Egg whites
White meat tuna in water
White meat skinless poultry
95% lean ground beef/turkey
non-fried fish/seafood
trimmed beef, pork tenderloin
beans, peas, lentils

  • Second Choice

2% milk
low-fat cheese, yogurt
whole eggs
dark meat tuna in water
dark meat skinless poultry
85% lean ground beef/turkey
turkey bacon/sausage
trimmed pork chops/lamb
nuts/seeds/peanut butter

  • High Fat

Whole milk
Regular cheese
Ice cream/frozen custard
75% lean ground beef
fried chicken, fish, seafood
bacon, sausage, bologna
hotdogs, pepperoni, salami
beef or pork ribs
untrimmed steak
burgers w/ cheese

2.  Ensure adequate protein.  Look at grams of protein per serving on all packaged food.  Recommendations for regular activity: 0.5-0.7 grams per pound. Recommendations for athletes, weightlifters and very active individuals: 0.7-0.9 grams per pound.

3. Go organic on eggs, and limit consumption to no more than 4 eggs a week (females) or 7 eggs a week (males). Modern western diet tends to load our bodies very high with omega 6 fatty acids from vegetable oils, while providing only very low intakes of omega 3 fatty acids.  Organic eggs have a much better ratio of omega 3 fatty acids to omega 6 fatty acids, helping bring you back into equilibrium for proper formation of hormones and cell membranes. Do not overcook eggs, as this can degrade the fragile proteins. And cholesterol? Consume eggs in moderation, but realize that they contain a high degree of lecithin, a cholesterol degrading enzyme that helps your body naturally digest the cholesterol in eggs.

4.  Limit intake of dairy proteins, as allergens, hormones, and biotics from the modern dairy industry can interfere with your normal cellular metabolism. Consume non-sweetened dairy only, as opposed to “Key Lime Pie” or “Strawberry-Banana” flavored yogurt.

5.  Limit shellfish and peanut consumption.  They tend to have high levels of metabolism decreasing toxins.

6.  Eat preservative-free and low-sodium deli meat, and prioritize grass-fed organic beef or buffalo.

7.  Avoid high intake of soy, as most individuals are allergic, even if they don’t know it. Soy has several health risks, and can cause weight gain, especially in females. The best soy products to consume are tempeh, miso, and patto.

8.  Fish and seafood are allowed, but only in moderation due to mercury and other toxins. Twice per week for maximum consumption. Since you’re limiting fish, attain your omega-3 fatty acids from capsules or supplements.

9.  Nut consumption is allowed for your protein sources, but the majority of nut intake should be from flaxseeds and walnuts, which have more favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratios for weight loss.  Be cautious, because nuts are very calorically dense. A serving is a very small handful.

10.  Limit bean and legume intake, since they can have a significant effect on your insulin levels. They must be combined with other protein sources, like nuts, if they are to be the main protein part of your meal.

11.  Limit consumption of protein from powders, drink supplements, bars and packaged products to 1 (maximum) per day. Natural protein sources are better absorbed, and better for you!

If you need more help with nutrition, Greenfield Fitness Systems offers both a comprehensive monthly nutritional coaching program, as well as a more moderate 3 day analysis of food intake.  Both options are available at

Until next time, train smart,

Ben Greenfield

If you’d like a FREE newsletter and weekly audio podcast from the author of this article, simply visit For more personalized online fitness coaching, fat loss, human performance or nutrition consulting, you can also visit Greenfield Fitness Systems at

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