Eating Real Food Instead of Protein Powders

My article last week on Vitamin D in real foods instead of supplements got re-tweeted due to popularity so I think a similar article is called for.

We all agree protein powders have an edge for convenience. Some are RTD (ready to drink), and some just require cold water and a shaker.  I usually add low-fat or fat-free milk, unless I am taking Proglycosyn.

Jeremy Wariner was seen eating ribs, sausage, baked potato with sour cream, cheese, and brisket at a local deli, and quoted “I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and as much as I want”.  Man, are you jealous?

Like Fish and Milk, natural food sources have extra benefits beyond powders. Beef has iron. Fish has Taurine, Omega 3 oils, and B12.  Dairy products have calcium.

The trouble with Omega 3 fatty acids is it’s hard to find it in foods other than Fish and oils. (more on that in a separate article)

Lyle McDonald, author of the The Protein Book covers all these topics (and more!).  He presented in our 2009 BC Strength Fitness and Conditioning Conference that focused on Recovery and Regeneration.

Protein and Other Content in Real Food

There are many factors you should consider when choosing protein. Sadly, people just look at the number of grams (and calories). Grams is simply not enough!

For example, cottage cheese is a favorite pre-bedtime snack among bodybuilders for its high content of “slow acting” casein protein while being relatively low in fat.  I used to eat cottage cheese with a small teaspoon of jam to make it go down easily Smile

Below is a list of considerations which doubles as the legend for the chart that follows.  Choose the right food source for your needs.

  • Protein content refers to the percentage of protein in terms of total calories
  • Digestibility refers to the amount of protein actually absorbed by the body from the gut
  • Speed of digestion is exactly that
  • Protein quality refers to the overall protein quality (related to the amino acid profile and other issues)
  • Amino acids lists any specific amino acids of particular interest to a given source
  • Micro-nutrients lists specific micro-nutrients of interest specific to given foods
  • Fat content is exactly that
  • Fatty Acids refers to the dominant fatty acid or any interesting fatty acids in a given protein source

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • Not sure where I read this. Could have even been on this website! I have moved away from fat-free milk to lowfat milk. My reasoning (based on what I read) is that Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so if there is no fat in the milk, how can you absorb the Vitamin D? Just my two cents.