If you think the 30-odd grams of protein in your meat pie means it qualifies as a legitimate post-gym snack, think again.
Sure you’re getting a solid hit of your favourite macro but you’re also getting a sizable slice of fat, carbs and kilojoules that could sabotage your winter weight loss goals.
So, just cut out the junk, right?
That’s a start but it’s not the whole story. To lose extra flab you also need to increase your protein intake from quality sources, according to new research from the CSIRO.
An analysis of results from the CSIRO Healthy Diet Score survey of almost 200,000 adults, showed people with low-quality diets obtained eight times more of their protein from junk foods than people with high-quality diets – and were more than three times as likely to be obese.
“Everyone’s protein needs are different, and not all foods that contain protein are good for you,” says CSIRO Principal Research Scientist Professor Manny Noakes.
So what constitutes a bad protein source? The aforementioned pies, as well as serial offenders such as burgers, pizza with processed meats, chicken nuggets, sausages, cakes, ice cream and biscuits. Together, these foods were the second highest contributor to protein intake for people with low diet scores.
In contrast, leaner people who tended to have higher-quality diets ate protein sourced from healthier whole foods, including chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, milk, cereals, nuts and yoghurt. Astonishingly, junk food only accounted for approximately three per cent of their total protein intake.
Three per cent? That’s tough for even the most disciplined of dieters, right? Well the kicker here is that by increasing your hit of healthy protein you curb your appetite for the crap stuff, says Professor Noakes.
“Higher protein healthy meals help to control appetite and can help to reduce the urge to indulge in junk food,” Professor Noakes said.
A recent CSIRO review found support for the recommendation to eat at least 25 grams of protein at each main meal to help control hunger and enhance muscle metabolism.
Here’s your high-quality protein hit list:
1 Egg 6g
150g cooked fish 36g
150g Beef 40g
Handful Nuts 6g
150g Cheese 35g
Cup cooked legumes 16g
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