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The 5 Best Protein Sources for Building Muscle


Weight Loss Experts continuously debate over which diets are best: “low carb” or “low fat”. I am not sure which side is currently winning and frankly I don’t care. In my opinion, the macronutrients that are most important to weight loss are proteins.

Benefits of Protein

Protein benefits weight loss in many ways:

  • Building muscle
  • Boosting metabolism
  • Slowing digestion
  • Decreasing hunger

The most important of these is building muscle.

How to Build Muscle

To build muscle you basically have to accomplish three things:

  • Strength train to break down old muscle fibers and encourage your body to replace the old muscle fibers with even more new muscle fibers.
  • Eat enough calories to discourage your body from using your muscle fibers for energy.
  • Eat enough protein to provide your body with the building blocks it needs to repair old muscle fibers and build new muscle fibers.

Protein Sources

The best protein sources are:

Whey – Whey protein is one the two major proteins found in the milk of humans and other mammals, such as cows. This means that nature selected it as one of the best proteins to help babies grow, and babies grow very fast. Whey is digested and used quickly, making it the perfect post-workout protein. It has all the amino acids you need, tastes okay. Try Nature’s Best Isopure, 8.8 Lbs., Strawberries & Cream.

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Casein – Casein protein is the other milk protein. So, nature also chose casein to aid in the growth of newborns. However, casein is digested and used slowly, making it a decent post workout protein, but an excellent before bed protein. It has all the amino acids your body needs, and also tastes okay. Try Met-Rx Protein Plus, 2 Lbs., Vanilla.

Egg Whites – Egg yolks are good for the body in moderation, but egg whites are far better. Egg whites have all the amino acids you need and can be fairly inexpensive if you buy whole eggs and separate them yourself. Another, benefit is you can cook them, adding your own flavor and other ingredients. Boiled egg whites are also very portable.

Soy – Soy protein is the ideal choice for vegetarians. Soy is the only plant that has all of the amino acids your body needs. Soy also has many health benefits include protection against heart disease and many cancers.

Skinless Chicken Breast – For those of you who just want meat, skinless chicken breast should be ideal for you. Skinless chicken breasts are extremely lean especially if you remove all visible fat. They can be very inexpensive if you get them on sale or at a warehouse type store, such as Costco’s. They are muscles themselves, so they obviously have the amino acids you need to build muscle. Skinless chicken breasts also taste great when they are well prepared. I like my chicken breast, well seasoned, grilled, with hot sauce on the side.

To lose weight and keep it off, you must eat an adequate amount of protein. When choosing protein sources, start with whey, casein, soy, egg whites, and skinless chicken breast.

Dr. Kalvin Chinyere is a weight-loss expert and ex-fat man. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and the main contributor at Dr. Kal’s Blog

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About the Author

Dr. Kalvin Chinyere is a physician, weight-loss expert and ex-fat man. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and the main contributor at Dr. Kal’s Blog.

Community Thoughts (45)

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  1. ChipNo Gravatar says:

    Dr. Kal, I’m curious if you have read the book “The China Study” (Amazon link) and if so, what’s your opinion on the topic. I try to stay away from Whey because it IS so easily absorbed by the body, which can include hungry cancer cells.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

    • Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

      I have never heard of whey increasing the risk of cancer. Whey is a protein in human breast milk and cow’s milk. We consume it on a daily basis.

      The increased prevalence of cancer in our society has more to do with people living longer than it has to do with whey protein.

      • ChipNo Gravatar says:

        I’d suggest checking out the book. It made me rethink the way I look at animal protein.

      • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

        Ah, that’s why you are the resident Doctor at Fat Man Unleashed.

      • Whey is most certainly not part of human breast milk. Whey is a waste product made from milk during the making of cheese. It is not related to human breast milk. Whey often contains hidden MSG or monosodium glutamate, an excitotoxin, responsible for numerous health problems.

        Yes, they’re good sources of protein, but are not protein sources that are good

        stick with eggs for your protein.

        Avoid Whey and Casein

        My two cents

      • there is cancer by taking the milk and whey just because of the medicine. the medicines which we inject to the cow. like Oxytocin and Thyroid. These drugs produce more amount of milk produce more benefits in business by getting more more milk. But the Oxytocin and Thyroid still present in milk and after drinking this milk cause to the tumoric response and cause misleading effects in body. Thanks. I am pharmacist

  2. ChipNo Gravatar says:

    Hmmm, WordPress seems to have eaten my previous comment. I was going to ask if you have read the book “The China Study”.

    I try to avoid Whey because it IS so easily absorbed by the body. In the book they cite that whey protein promoted cancel cell growth in mice that had been given liver cancer – that the whey mice died faster than other mice who had been given other kinds of proteins. I’m wondering if this latest Whey/health craze is contributing to increased cancer occurrence in our society. What do you think?

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Chip, Israel here. That is very interesting and I will do some research on that. Dr. Kal, any info on what Chip is talking about?

  3. MichelleNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not familiar with casein protein. Where can we find this type of protein? This is a great post showing the different kinds of protein someone can consume. Many people I know aren’t familiar with the different choices out there. It’s not just beef and chicken anymore.

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      I agree, Dr. Kal hooked it up. Casein can be purchased where ever nutrition products are sold. You can ask for casein protein, or just click this protein link.

  4. What do you think are the best sources of whey protein? Are the powders effective? Thanks.

    • Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

      The powders are very effective. Designer Whey makes great whey protein that is inexpensive. I’m lactose intolerant so I prefer Nature’s Best IsoPure.

      • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

        I get the one at Sam’s Club. It’s made by EAS and is low cost, has good grams of protein per serving, and mixes easily with a spoon.

  5. Great post; a healthy balance of protein is definitely one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle, fat loss, and muscle building.

  6. Great post Israel. What do you suggest for the perfect protein shake? I’m taking whey right now mixed in with about 120ml of water, a banana and frozen fruit. Do you have a personal recipe for yourself?

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      I have 2 blends. One is for a snack and one is for a after workout shake. The snack shake consists of milk, whey and glutamine. I stir it up with a spoon and it fills me up.

      For the post workout shake, I take water or green tea, add a couple scoops of whey protein, some glutamine and some creatine. Tastes funky, but I like funky.

  7. Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

    I really like Muscle Milk. It has a great combination of both whey and casein protein.

  8. YuraNo Gravatar says:

    Dr. Kal, I’d like to know your opinion on these two sites/articles:
    wholesoystory.com/
    wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53327

    I’ve been eating plenty of soy for protein (I’m a vegan and an athlete), but these articles got me thinking of switching to other beany stuff.

    Care to clarify on the points in the 2nd link?

    Thanks.

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      Wowsers. “Research is now showing that when you feed your baby soy formula, you’re giving him or her the equivalent of five birth control pills a day.” I used to drink Silk soy milk a few months back but stopped after reading that consuming too much soy can deliver estrogen into my system, raising the levels and estrogen in my body AND the risk of breast cancer.

      Dr. Kal you thoughts por favor……

      • Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

        Everything I have ever read in the past states that the estrogen like compounds in soy do not cause feminization or increase the risk of breast cancer in men. However, I would be really pissed if they were wrong, which is another reason I stay away from soy.

    • Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

      Both the articles and the site were very interesting. If what they are saying is true, we should all eat and drink less soy. However, until I read the studies myself, I’ll have to go with the FDA’s recommendation and they say it is safe.

      Truth be told, I don’t eat or drink soy, because I don’t like the way it taste.

      • YuraNo Gravatar says:

        Technically, it says that only soy consumed by pregnant women can harm the baby and make a male less masculine. Consuming soy as adults doesn’t lead to any hormonal/behavioural changes.

        Hasn’t FDA previously discreditized itself by giving wrong advice in the past to hold to its recommendations so dearly?

        Well, thanks for paying attention. Do reply to this thread, if you find anything interesting, please – I’ve subscribed to comments via email :)

      • YuraNo Gravatar says:

        Oh. Almost forgot.

        Dr. Kal, when you said that soy has all the necessary amino acids, did you mean absolutely every acid or just those that can be found in plants? I heard/read that animal protein has some of the acids, required by the humans, too.

        Thanks a lot for the advice :)

        • Dr. KalNo Gravatar says:

          Soy is the only plant I know with all of the essential amino acids or the amino acids are body can not produce on its own. However, you can get all of your essential amino acids by combining plant proteins without using soy.

        • However, you know that you don’t have to eat all the plants (combine them) at the same sitting right? as long as you eat them during the day or over a few days you’re fine. They don’t have to be eaten at the same meal. The body stores them and then uses them when it needs to.

  9. NicoNo Gravatar says:

    With the soy industry being big business (220 mil tons of soy produced per year worldwide), I have a very hard time to rely on health and nutritional advice from a governmental instance like the FDA, which clearly has proved itself uncapable to provide unambiguous dietary advice. (cf. Food Politics, Marion Nestle).

    I much more prefer to listen to what authorative scientists have to say about the subject. I’m talking about well respected and objective scientists who aren’t paid by the food industry to glorify a certain product. I’m talking about scienstist like Walter Willett, currently one of the most respected epidemiologist in the field.

    http://www.in-cites.com/scientists/cli-20-aug2005.html
    => He’s the second most cited scientist in the field of clinical medicine in the last decade.

    This is what I learned from reading willett’s take on soy in “Eat, drink and be healthy”:
    - It’s not certain if soy prevents cancer or increases the risk of cancer! Different studies say different things and the positive research results get the most media attention. (I wonder why? $$).

    @ Yura, I find it very hard to take an article serious that has a heading like that :-) . But your concern is justified. There are plenty of other reasons to reconsider your protein sources. Tofu made from soy really isn’t that special and could possibly even be hazardous (testicular cancer? Alzheimer?? … these side effects are all still uncertain but very possible).

    About Fatman’s article, I learned something which I thank you for Isreal. My knowledge about protein is extremely flawed, mainly because I have never really cared for weightlifting. (even though I know I should because it has many health benefits).

    Never ever did I eat or drink a protein shake, whey or any other protein supplements. All my protein lovin’ comes from chicken! Mighty tasty this stuff is.

    Greetings,
    Nico

  10. IsraelNo Gravatar says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone that has commented and helped enlighten me, and I hope others. This is precisely one of the reasons why I love blogging. .

  11. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    Casein is more anticatabolic than it is anabolic.

    Seems like fish should have made the list.

  12. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    i heard the casein can casue cancer i take it twice a day which means i’m going to get cancer i find it hard to belive that people will still buy and shops still sell it does anyone know?

  13. BoomerNo Gravatar says:

    Read the comments, the ones about whey causing cancer to grow faster if you already had it scared me, I’m not saying it causes or fights cancer but I just wanted to add this link to show though some say it increases the speed of cancer other feel it helps fight off or protect from cancers

    http://www.criticalbench.com/whey_protein_fight_cancer.htm

    don’t kill me for stating that, like i said I’m stil i nthe middle with the idea just wanted to throw a site that favors the other side.

  14. SachinNo Gravatar says:

    I have heard that protein shakes damage your liver, is this true? And I need to know how much chicken should I eat to lose that little bit of fat around my stomach and build muscle?

  15. RommelNo Gravatar says:

    Dr. Kal, i am in need of some advice. i am a little slim, what foods can i eat to build a bigger, stronger body. And how much should i eat per day and at what times for better, faster results. i just bought a set of weights to aid in building my body. what can i do to pack on those pounds at a faster rate ?

  16. DannyNo Gravatar says:

    Is it ok for pregnant women to use protein shakes and take on extra whey?

    Could there be an issue with the protein either affecting the baby or the unborn baby? I ask because i know a female weight lifter who is still taking the shakes and she is 2 months pregnant.

  17. JasonNo Gravatar says:

    What about fish. That is a great source. Egg whites are not worth it. When you look at the price and the grams you get out of it, I don’t think it is a wise choice. Eat the who egg.

  18. GordonNo Gravatar says:

    I just want to stress that to much protein is just as bad as to little. It’s about balance in your diet.

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