Choosing Different Sources of Protein

image001 (2)I just got back from a trip to NJ with my daughter, Ella.
I was there speaking. She came with me, stayed with my parents, and when I was done each day I’d go and hang with them, have dinner, and head back to my hotel.

It was a blast. She had fun with her grandparents, and I got to play with some of my childhood toys (they may or may not have been WWF (now WWE wrestling figures).

I digress …

On the way back from our NJ mission we were eating in the airport and I overheard a person at the table next to us telling the person he was with about the BEST protein source out there.

I wasn’t paying attention, until I heard this statement. (From what I gathered, he was trying to get the other person involved in a multi-level marketing or “pyramid” sales firm).

As we sat and enjoyed our food — an omelet, some fruit, smoked salmon and oatmeal … their conversation to our left got me thinking.

Eggs are often touted as such.

But let’s take a step back for a minute. All proteins are made up of amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Some proteins — like animal based protein — have a nice variety of all essential amino acids and are called “complete proteins.”

Of course, you can’t go wrong with wild salmon, which abounds in healthful omega-3s and vitamin D as well as complete protein … while beef, chicken, turkey, and other animal meats also provide complete protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

Plant proteins are usually missing one or more amino acids and are called “incomplete proteins.”

When I first started school it was taught that incomplete proteins had to be eaten at the same meal to “count” – more recently, research proved that the timing didn’t matter as much as the overall variety within each day.

The key is that you are eating a variety of different sources; each is unique and has advantages.

Back to the point about eggs. Eggs are in fact a fantastic source of complete protein. They’re also one of the cheapest forms of protein, gram for gram, giving you the most bang for your buck.

The other message I’ve been saying for a while when it comes to different protein choices, when it comes to animals and fish is, “The fewer legs the better.”

In other words, wild fish (no legs), then chicken and turkey (2 legs), followed by beef and pork (4 legs), though there’s certainly a role for each in the diet and each have their unique benefits.

Sure, all are great and all have different nutrient profiles, but the ones with less legs are traditionally a bit leaner and when it comes to fish, like salmon, they can also be loaded with healthy fats.

That’s a good thing.

And tossing in some other proteins throughout the week is smart, too:

• Beans
• Nuts and nut butters
Whey protein
• Some whole grains like quinoa
• Chia seed

Variety is key!

About the Author.
Dr. Christopher Mohr, PhD RD is a nutrition spokesperson and consultant to a number of media outlets and corporations including the The Dairy Council, SOYJOY, and Nordic Naturals. He is a consulting Sports Nutritionist for the Cincinnati Bengals and is also the Sports Nutritionist for Under Armour’s TNP Training Council. Through his company Mohr Results, Inc., he works with all types of individuals from soccer moms to collegiate and professional athletes. He often appears on TV as a nutritional guest expert, including an appearance with Chef Emeril Lagasse and another on the Montel Williams Show. He was the nutrition expert for the NY Times Bestseller, “LL Cool J’s Platinum Workout” and worked closely with Fitness Celebrity Denise Austin to create the entire nutrition component of her latest book.  He is on the Advisory Board for Men’s Fitness Magazine and has written over 500 articles for consumer publications, such as Men’s Fitness, Weight Watchers, Men’s Health and Fitness, to name a few. Dr. Mohr has Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University and University of Massachusetts, respectively. He earned his PhD in exercise physiology from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. To contact Chris, visit his website at