Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Getting enough protein? part II


In the previous post we discussed sources of lean protein and which sources were best when we consider the amount of carbs and fat those sources provide. So I got to thinking that I wanted to show you a comparison of nuts and seeds and how they compare to each other based on 100g serving size. Of course this is for comparison purposes only, bear in mind that you would not typically use 100g of Hemp hearts per serving and for a smoothie you would only use 20 - 30 g of whey powder in a smoothie.( If you had 30 g or about 2 tablespoons of whey powder in your smoothie, it would provide about 28g of protein in addition to any other protein found in other ingredients. (See photo) There is 0.3g of carbs in 30 g of whey isolate powder as long as it is unsweetened and unflavoured.

In comparison it is not unheard of to grab a hand full of mixed nuts which weigh approximately 30 g. In this case you would be getting 6.3g of protein and 16.8g of fat and surprisingly, 5.4g of carbs. (see photo)

In these illustrations I am not differentiating between "good" and "bad" fat. 

For the purposed of illustration, If I typically use 10g (about 2 teaspoons) hemp hearts in my yogurt. (see photo) That means that I am getting 3.4g of protein and 4.5 g of fat which comes with 1.25g of carbs. This is not including the nutrients found in the yogurt and additional foods added to the meal.

So if we look at numbers only, whey isolate protein wins hands down, but typically you don't just have protein powder and water, right? Usually we add almond milk, hemp milk, or regular milk and some fruit and greens. All of which will contain natural sugars, fructose, and carbs. Bear in mind if your protein powder is not whey isolate, if it is not unflavored and unsweetened and the percentage of whey isolate is not 90 % of more, then all bets are off. That will change the equation considerably.

This comparative discussion serves to make us aware, so that we don't fool ourselves into thinking that we are getting a lot of protein when actually you are having less than we think. Lentils yields 9g of protein per 100g serving. I have not included beans in this equation. Beans did not even make it on to the nutrient dense foods list when I did my research, but interesting enough there was one ingredient that showed up that surprised me: Spirulina. Thanks to "The Free Dictionary" this is what the definition of Spirulina is:


  1. Filamentous cyanobacteria (genus Spirulina) that form tangled masses in warm alkaline lakes in Africa and Central and South America.
  2. The substance of such growths dried and prepared as a food or food additive, which is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals.
To continue our comparison, Spirulina has 58g of protein per 100g of weight, that means that in 1 tablespoon ( 7g) you get 4g Protein.  Read this to find out some interesting facts on Spirulina and its origins. The premixed green "smoothie" that I buy and add to my unsweetened and unflavored whey powder has Spirulina in it.

Grams of protein

Grams of  Fat
% of daily calcium

% of daily Iron
Price per 100g
Carbs per 100 gram
Sugar per 100g gram
Unflavoured unsweetened Whey Isolate powder
 (90 %)
Mixed nuts unsalted, roasted (no peanuts)
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin Seeds (Raw)
25g- 29g
Hemp Heart seeds

For those who need a quick and ready source of protein consider that a can of tuna (about 165g) contains 42g of protein. So for comparison purposes, that yields 25.4g of protein per 100g.

In conclusion you need to bear in mind what your nutritional requirements are in conjunction to what you are trying to achieve. Taste and convenience is also a factor. When you look at your protein sources from now on, look at just how much protein you are getting, check out the numbers. It is easy to fall into the trap of just assuming we are getting what we need, it is all relative and we need to compare and be aware. Who knew that Spirulina would be so high in protein?

I hope this has been helpful to you, and I would love to hear your feedback. You can Email ME by clicking here. 
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Melony Teague a freelance writer and columnist and motivator who lives in Canada with her husband and two young children.
Founder of "Secrets of Body Transformation from the Inside Out" 
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