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Is There Such a Thing as Bad Protein? The Startling Truth Can Help You Avoid These Unhealthy Foods!

You need protein in order to help build muscle. But believe it or not, not all protein is created equal. As scientists and medical specialists continue to learn more about human nutrition, we're starting to get a better idea of what people should - and more importantly, shouldn't - be eating. Today, we're going to talk about the bad proteins that you should try and avoid at all costs. We will also offer up some practical solutions to replace the bad proteins in your diet.

Protein

Avoid These Deadly Proteins Before It's Too Late

The first thing we want to discuss is the difference between complete & incomplete proteins. But before we have that conversation, we need to talk about essential and non-essential amino acids. An essential amino acid doesn't just mean that it's important - it means that the body cannot synthesize it on its own. You can only get essential amino acids from your diet. And if you don't get them, it could have disastrous health consequences and hinder muscle growth. Non-essential amino acids, on the other hand, can be synthesized by the body if your diet is rich in certain other amino acids.

The essential amino acids that you must get from your dietary protein include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Lysine
  • Leucine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Methionine
  • Tryptophan
  • Threonine
  • Valine

Complete proteins contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins, on the other hand, do not contain any essential amino acids. The more complete proteins you can consume in your diet, the healthier you will be. Unfortunately for the vegans and vegetarians out there, most of the world's complete proteins come from either animal products or animal flesh. This is especially true with red meat, dairy products, and fish.

Knowing the difference between incomplete and complete proteins is only half the battle. In order to choose the right protein, you also need to look at the quality. Low quality protein is going to have the least nutritional value and may even be unhealthy. Processed meats are a good example of this. Hot dogs and sausages are two of the biggest problem children in this category. It's difficult to know whether the hot dog you're eating is a complete or incomplete protein because these foodstuffs are so processed then it's difficult to know where the meat comes from. Some DNA tests have even shown as much as 2% human protein content in certain hot dogs!

Sausages and processed meats like bacon aren't much better. While you have greater surety that you know where the meat comes from, that's about where it stops. Any sort of cured meat like bacon or sausage is going to contain a significant amount of salt as a preservative. People get enough salt in their diet as it is, so reducing it where you can with uncured protein is a step in the healthier direction.

No matter how lean or complete the protein, you're basically ruining it if you turn around and deep fry it. The deep frying process can add unhealthy trans fats to the meat. I can also create a situation where you are combining a lot of carbohydrates (from the breading) and saturated fat (from the meat and/or oil), which contributes to heart disease when you consume the two together.

Lastly, you want to avoid as many phytoestrogen proteins as you can from your plant protein sources. Soybeans and other soy products are notoriously high in these exogenous estrogens which are bad for your health. In men, phytoestrogens lower testosterone levels and cause a feminization of the male body. In women, some cancer experts believe that higher estrogen levels from phytoestrogens could potentially contribute to estrogen related cancers like breast cancer and ovarian cancer, to name a few.

Try These Healthier Proteins Instead

When it comes to animal protein, you want the animal it comes from to be living it's most natural life. This means making sure all of your beef, goat, sheep, and other farm animal products come from grass-fed livestock. The grain-fed diets which are given to most commercial livestock dramatically shorten their lifespan but fatten them up very quickly - so can you imagine what eating that type of meat is doing to your body? With grass-fed animals, you don't have to worry about this.

And it's not just meat, either. Milk and other dairy products (butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.) which come from grass-fed animals are also much healthier alternatives compared to mass produced dairy products harvested from grain-fed animals. The reality is that most of the dairy products you buy from the store are highly processed, bastardized versions of the dairy products you should be eating. If you can get fresh milk from a local farmers market and start to make your own cheese and yogurt, that's your healthiest option. But we understand how expensive and time-consuming that can be. If you don't have the means, make sure the products you get from the grocery store say "grass-fed" on the label. Also, look at the nutrition information very closely. Yogurt manufacturers are especially bad about adding tons of sugar and chemical thickeners in order to make processed yogurt taste better than it naturally does. You want to avoid that type of protein at all costs!

You should follow a similar rule when purchasing fish and other seafood products. Wild caught fish, especially fish like salmon and tuna which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, provide some of the cleanest protein you can get from the sea. Farmed fish tend to be much less healthy because they are cultivated in a small, crowded, enclosed space where they are treated with dangerous antibiotics and basically swimming in their own filth. That's why you want to focus on eating as much wild caught fish as you can afford.

For the vegetarians and vegans out there, you can follow an animal-friendly diet and have your complete proteins, too. Quinoa as a particularly tasty and affordable complete protein. You can also get essential amino acids from nuts, seeds, and even legumes. Not only are these healthy proteins which are low in phytoestrogens, but they contain lots of healthy fiber which is great for your gut health.

Your muscles, skin, nails, hair, and connective tissues are all synthesized from protein. If you're not getting healthy protein in your diet, it can cause premature aging and muscular atrophy. In order to maintain strong, healthy muscles and a youthful appearance, you want to eliminate all the dangerous proteins from your diet and eat more of the healthy ones for a better, happier life.