Good vs Bad Protein – What’s the Difference?

With the rise in weight loss diets like the Atkins diet, and weight loss surgeries that have popularized high-protein meals, many people know that they should be eating more protein to lose weight.  What they don’t know is that there are good and bad proteins, and to actually lose weight, you have to know how to differentiate between the two types of protein.

Why is Protein Good for Us?

There are a few reasons why protein is good for us.  It uses the principles of thermogenesis to build heat and energy, which burns off a healthy percentage of the calories consumed in protein-packed meals.  Meals with the right kind of protein will cause the body to work harder to digest it.

Good proteins also help to build muscle.  The muscle that you build does more than help you look great in a bathing suit.  Muscle helps the body burn more calories throughout the day.  Protein will stop the body from breaking down its own tissue, too.

When a person pares down on the starch and carbohydrates in their diet, they’re releasing the storage of fat, which is burned as fuel instead of muscle.  While that makes it sound as if you should pack on the protein, it still contains calories and there are still bad proteins we need to discuss.

Proteins That are Bad for Us

meat bad protein

First, let’s talk about when protein can be bad for us.  A good protein is one that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in saturated fats.  It has a base in good nutrients like amino acids and vitamins.

Proteins that are bad will have too much fat, sodium, and preservatives.  This can be found in meat like sausages.  Not all meat is good protein for your diet.  A greasy burger from a fast-food restaurant would loosely be considered meat, but there are better choices to be had when it comes to protein.

For example, if you had a choice between a greasy burger with mayonnaise and white bread, or a salad sprinkled with chunks of chicken, the chicken is the better choice.  Meat products with a high amount of grease are loaded with saturated fats, which is never a good choice at all.

Good Proteins

fish

Eggs

It can be tough to find the good proteins among the bad, so we’re going to help you make some good choices.  Eggs are a great way to add protein to your diet, as long as you’re eating them in moderation.  Eating eggs every day is a great way to add a ton of cholesterol into your system.  Each egg has 6 grams of protein, which is a good choice for breakfast a few days a week.

Salmon

While we mention salmon as a food choice, many types of fish are loaded with protein.  When it comes to good versus bad protein, you can eat fish and not really worry about the bad fish choices.  You should only have fish a few times a week to avoid adding tons of mercury to your body.

Lean Meat

You can eat a healthy burger, but make sure it’s made with lean ground beef.  An even better option is using ground turkey as a substitute.  It still has a good amount of protein for your weight loss.  Turkey and roast beef slices are good proteins, too.

Yogurt

Greek yogurt has almost 3 times as much protein as its plain counterparts.  It’s full of vitamins and calcium, which is good for the body, too.

Bad Proteins

sausages bad protein

Sausages

Not all meat is good for your body.  While it does have protein, most processed meats have too many bad ingredients in them like flavorings and preservatives.  There are also saturated fats and sodium in processed meats.

Protein Shakes

While not all protein shakes are bad, many of them have preservatives and artificial ingredients added to them.  If you want to add protein shakes to your diet, use them as a meal replacement and ensure that they have as little added preservatives as possible.

Processed Protein Bars

A simple item to grab is a protein bar.  They do have a huge amount of protein in them, but they are filled with sugar and tons of calories.  There can be as much as 400 calories in some protein bars, which is what you should be eating for an entire meal.

Conclusion

While eating protein is great for losing weight, you want to ensure that it’s a good protein that isn’t filled with fats or added sugars. It can be a bit confusing at first, but lean meats and protein-filled yogurts are a simple step to get more protein into your daily meals.

Jeanette Kierstead

About the Author

Jeanette Kierstead