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Picking the right protein: The pros and cons of different protein sources

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MILWAUKEE -- We've all heard that eating protein can keep us fuller longer. But, with so many products on the market, how do you know what's best? Fitness athlete and nutrition expert Brenna Schwartz joins Real Milwaukee with the pros and cons of several protein sources.

The average person needs about 1/3 of your body weight in grams of protein.

  • If you weigh 150 pounds, you need about 50 grams of protein.
  • If you are very active working out 5-6 times per week, you might need up to 80 percent of your weight in grams of protein.

Why do we need protein?

  • Weigh Loss - increased feeling of 'fullness,' boosts metabolism
  • Muscle Recovery/Muscle Building
  • Immune System

Category 1: Food Protein Sources - Meat, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts, beans, tofu

  • Ideally your first source of protein should always be food.
  • Try to buy grass-fed, organic, free-range options when you can.

Category 2: Protein Bars, Cookies & Muffins

  • Widely available at grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations.
  • Some provide lots of protein, up to 20 grams.
  • There are vegan and vegetarian options.
  • However, you MUST check the label. These can be high in calories and sugar.
  • Some have as much sugar as a candy bar.
  • You also want to watch out for serving size - there might be 2 or more serving per bar.

Category 3: Protein Shakes

  • Also very convenient, drinkable protein.
  • There are even plant-based options if you`re vegan, although plant proteins are not considered 'complete' protein.
  • Like the bars, you really need to check the labels, as many are high in sugar and high in calories.
  • If you are consuming a lot of calories with your protein, it could lead to weight gain.
  • Another reason to check the label - the list of ingredients can be long and filled with chemicals. Some even contain canola oil.

Category 4: Protein Water

  • Protein water is a newer concept. It`s high-protein, low-calorie and low-carb.
  • Very convenient and accessible. Protein2o is available at Pik N Save, Woodman`s, Walmart, Target.
  • Because the ratio of calories to protein is low, it helps to build lean muscle.
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