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The Fit 5: Protein Sources

Our fitness expert answers your questions about protein sources and their function.

For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Twitter and Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Marc Perry, C.S.C.S., ACE-CPT, and founder of Built Lean, answers questions about everything and anything related to protein sources and their function.

1) Protein Ingredients — asked by Adrian Garcia What are key ingredients to look for in a protein supplements?
“The qualities of a protein supplement range from digestibility, to purity, to whether or not it's from an organic source. Here's a quick checklist you can use when evaluating a protein supplement: 1) Contains a high amount of protein (20+ grams per serving) 2) Very little to no artificial sweeteners 3) No hormones 4) Immunoglobulins (beneficial components) 5) Minimization of lactose 6) Tastes palatable Most whey protein isolates pass this checklist, but some are more palatable than others. Start out with the whey protein isolates and see what powders you like the most.”
2) Protein and Stomach Issues — asked by Bobby LeBrasseur Which protein sources are lightest on the stomach? A friend of mine stopped taking whey because it didn't agree with him.
"If your friend was drinking a ready-to-drink shake or whey protein concentrate, he likely had a bad reaction to the lactose or sweeteners. Whey protein isolate is a more filtered type of protein that will likely not cause any digestive issues. Aside from protein supplements, Greek yogurt and eggs are among the lightest complete protein sources that are typically easy to digest. While Greek yogurt has some lactose, the culturing process breaks down the lactose into glucose and galactose, which are two sugars that are easily absorbed even by those who are lactose-intolerant."
3) Morning Protein Sources — asked by Big Rage Cruz What are the best proteins for in the morning?
"Any complete protein can work well in the morning, but these are among the best: 1) Eggs 2) Greek Yogurt 3) Whey Protein Shake (if you have no time) 4) Turkey/Chicken Sausage (lean variety, organic if possible) Depending on your digestion, you could emphasize eggs and yogurt, or if you don't have any issues, you could opt for meat in the morning."
4) Protein Types — asked by Robert Pell Casein protein vs. Isolate protein vs. Whey protein—what's the best for when and how much is over-doing it?
"Whey Protein - is a byproduct of cheese production that is fast digesting (within one hour) and a complete protein source. Whey is the most popular protein supplement especially for post-workout shakes because of its fast digestion. 1) Whey Protein Concentrate - is generally the cheapest form of whey protein, which still has a high protein percentage ranging from 55-89% of its weight. The rest of the concentrate is made up mostly of fat and lactose. 2) Whey Protein Isolate - is a more filtered to keep the beneficial qualities of the concentrate while increasing the protein concentration to 95% with minimal lactose and fat. 3) Whey Protein Hydrolysate - is even more filtered than the isolate, with 99% of its weight coming from protein. Hydrolysate is the most expensive whey protein, fastest digesting, and generally the least palatable of the three. Casein Protein is also a complete protein, which comprises 80% of the protein in milk, but it is slower digesting (6-7 hours). Because of its slow digestion, many people take casein at night before going to bed so that the protein can release into the blood stream as they sleep. An alternative to casein is ingesting whey protein with a fat source like almond butter to slow down the rate of digestion. There are other protein supplements such as rice, hemp, peas and soy commonly used by vegetarians who want to boost protein intake, but whey is superior because it is a complete protein."
5) Protein in Pork — asked by Lorin Bosoc Why isn't pork included in diet as a protein source? There are lean cuts of pork to buy, so why not eat pork as a protein source?
“The meat from pigs is controversial for both religious and scientific reasons. Most religions condemn the eating of pig meat for the following reasons: (1) pigs eat anything, even garbage, (2) pigs digest food very quickly (in less than 4 hours), which means the toxins from the poor diet can seep right into their fat stores, (3) can cause trichinosis, a parasitic disease caused by the ingestion of undercooked pork containing roundworm larvae (but this is much less common now after stricter regulations), and (4) it's a fatty animal with high cholesterol levels in the meat. So the pig is viewed as "unclean" and not fit for humans to eat by most major religions. With that said, if a pig is fed a cleaner diet, the pork is prepared in a marinade and cooked thoroughly, pork is supported by research to be safe for human consumption. You may also consider trimming the fat to reduce calories and cholesterol levels."

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