T Nation

More Protein Please!


So I came across yet another food pyramid based on wheat, bread, pasta, and well... basically shit. Other than being totally disgusted and outraged that retards are still suggesting these as building blocks to a "well-balanced, nutritional diet," it actually triggered a question.

Why DO some foods have more protein than others? Yeah, it's sounds like a basic "duh" question... "Well, they just do!"... but really... Why? For example: Cottage Cheese. (On more than just a molecular/chemical/whatever level) Why is something so simple naturally packed with great protein? Is it processing, aging, just the fact that it's dairy? Can one use this information to create more variety in protein sources?

The obvious answer is add insert supplement here to the diet, but what other options are possible? Forgive me if this is one of those retarded questions but any thoughts or article suggestions pertaining are appreciated?


All cheeses, cottage cheese included, are made by adding rennet to raw milk. The chymosin causes the milk to coagulate, more specifically it seperates the casein and whey, the casein along with calcium and fats become curds, some liquid, fats and the whey remain (once upon a time cottage cheese was called curds and whey).

This results in a casein-dense, and calcium-dense food product. The coagulated product can be left as is (as cottage cheese) or the curds can be seperated from the whey and pressed in a form to remove excess moisture and form a cheese wheel. To my knowledge there is little nutritional change caused by aging, however different processes and different raw products used in the process may affect the nutrient values of the food.

I am not entirely sure what you mean by this, care to elaborate?


eggs have alot of protein because its basically one nucleus and proteins play a vital role in dna/rna synthesis, so there is alot of protein in that huge nucleus.


Actually, cottage cheese (and some other cheeses) are made through acid coagulation. This type of coagulation does not preserve the calcium. It precipitates in the whey, which is discarded. Take a look at the calcium content of a half-cup of cottage cheese and one ounce of cheddar cheese, which is made using rennet. You'll see the difference.


Please don't tell me that you think decades of scientific study on nutrition can be discounted because of the opinions you read on sites such as this one.

There is a difference between eating for health and eating for body composition. While the two systems often coincide, there are nonetheless important differences.

Recommendations for grains are higher than those for protein foods such as meat because (1) grains provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, that many protein-rich foods do not, (2) our bodies utilize protein very efficiently; we really don't need boatloads to be healthy, and (3) no one knows for sure the effects of excessive protein consumption in the long run.

Yes, protein is important, especially for athletes. However, so are carbohydrates, and they are important for many legitimate reasons that go beyond "ideal" body compostition goals.


Most of the protein in eggs are in the white. It is there to nourish the growing egg. Proteins in the yolk are mostly lipoproteins (lipovitellin and lipovitellinin).


My bad, I grew up raising and milking goats and making cheese out of that, just figured the science held since the coagulated product looked and for the most part tasted like cottage cheese. I actually might have to look into this acid coagulation stuff, thanks for pointing it out.


The Whey was never discarded its always had use. Some years back it was used (and still is) as a mothers milk replacement for both piglets and veal calves. Certain other amino acids (more for bovines) were chucked in to the mix along with vitamin and mineral mixes but not always.

Drying whey liquid using a spray drier also produces sweet whey powder long used instead of milk powder in the bakery business.

The fluid whey excess due to progress in food processing has many more uses these days, using filtration methods you can create 90% whey protein concentrate from whey fluid from cheese manufacture.

They also make WPC-34 a milk replacer out of it which replaces the formulas made with spray dried milk powder and hydrogenated vegetable oil. Whey protein isolate can also be made from the whey excess and that ends up in amongst other things sports supplements and similar.

The lactose which is discarded from whey powders manufacture ends up in coffee whiteners, puddings and other bakery ingredients.


Several food science books I have sitting on my bookshelf in particular Nutritional Biochemistry by Brody published in 1994, say that your average large egg weighs about 50g and protein is about 12% total of that.

But note that for a 50 g egg mass wise, 33g is contributed from the white and 17 g are contributed by yolk. That means that the white is only 9% protein while the yolk is 18% protein of any given egg.

The Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology, by Bender which was published in 1975 provides the following info....

Whole egg (per 100 g)

12 g protein

Egg white (per 100 g):

11 g protein:

Egg yolk :
17 g protein

Just thought I'd present some facts.


Not discounted... but seriously re-evaluated in most respects. I'm not foreign to the nutritional value of carbohydrates and the use of protein in the body. I'm a huge advocate of healthy portions and variety of BOTH in every meal, however I do have a problem when essentially the 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta are considered "balanced" by only 2-3 servings of the protein group, 2-4 of the furits and 2-5 of the veggies.

If I were eating according to the minimums of the pyramid:
- 3 cups of pasta/6 slices of bread/6 oz. cereal
- 2 whole peices of fruit
- 3 cups of cooked veggies
- 4 oz. lean meat
- 2 cups of milk

I just doubt that I'd be getting enough protein in order to effieciently metabolize all the carbs I would be eating.

In a survey from the associated press (1998) "People stay at the proper weight if they eat only the amount of food needed to fuel their physical activity. Americans now generally eat far more than they need and exercise far less than they should..." Also from that survey around 54% of American adults were overweight and that the percentage has increased by around 1/3 in the past 20 years.

From USAToday article: "A new survey by the NPD Group, a leading market research firm based in Rosemont, Ill., shows that about 62% of adults and 34% of children are overweight or obese, a percentage that has been virtually the same since 2001, says NPD vice president Harry Balzer."

the whole article is here: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-10-03-weight-trends_x.htm

In my opinion, sure signs that "decades of scientific study on nutrition" should be re-evaluated. Not trying to bash the evolution process of science and scientific thinking... just trying to think beyond what's already been said...

Could you explain please? I'm not quite sure what you mean.


OK, its true that most Americans are overweight, but that has nothing to do macronutrient ratios. It has to do with the increasingly sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. If your average person ate the sample diet that you gave and performed half an hour or more of physical activity per day, then it would be hard to believe that they would be overweight. So, it seems to me that your argument still needs to be backed up. Why, specifically, do you think that a pyramid based on whole grains is not ideal?

The fact remains that there has never been a study which has shown any benefit of consuming excessive amounts of protein (even for strength athletes). If there was, then every bodybuilding article would quote it.

I think its also important to think about where this protein obsession came from. I may be a cynic, but I don't think it is a coincidence that the number one money-making supplement (protein) is also the one that everybody seems to want more of (and the one that is advertised most aggressively). I think of it like the driver in golf. As far as your game goes, its the least important club in terms of improving your score, but its the best selling club, so companies advertise the hell out of it, and therefore people are obsessed with it.

I really think that eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to cover your need for vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients is much more important than loading up on protein. Muscle building isn't as simple as protein->muscle, because your body as a whole has to be operating at its highest potential.


What are we calling excessive ?


The food pyramid also is a federal thing...therefore big businesses have a heavy hand in telling the government to be careful of what foods they talk about...just something to keep in mind.


Actually, carbohydrates are hardly neccessary. In fact, you need almost none if you are sedentary. I'm quite sure if you took the average American's diet and replaced every grain product with vegetables they would be healthier.


Agreed. It always revolves around money and politics. And what's best for the government isn't necessarily best for us.


Definitely. I believe that carbs from bread, pasta and rice is not necessary in any way. However, fruits and vegetables are very important and are the only carbs you really need/should consume (in most cases - obviously, post-workout allows you to consume more carbs).

If you follow Berardi's advice/teachings, then you know that he recommends vegetables with EVERY meal (or fruit in place of some). But he is not big on the rice, pasta, bread and other grains. Sure, he includes them with some meals (mainly post-workout), but he stresses fruits and vegetables first.

As for the protein topic, it's apparant through years of "hands on" experience and even some recent research, that more than the RDA's recommendation of 50 grams per day is beneficial. And for athletes and bodybuilders, higher protein content has many beneficial aspects to better body compensation, higher metabolic rates, and other benefits.

Good topic Stacey. Now, I know what you were doing for so long last night that prevented me from getting enough sleep. :wink:


I would have to say that the food pyramid is a general guideline for people who eat really bad. I do disagree with regards to the amount of meat consumption is way too low for everyone ( in regards to protein intake). The truth is, most people eat way too many carbs. If the foodguide were too have higher meat consumption it would be able to work out fine, but depending on the person and goal. The guide is a general guideline, but I dont follow it, I just make sure to get enough fruits and veggies, and if you are to eat bread or pasta make a good choice in regards to it. The bread I eat has 6 grams of fiber per 2 slices, and is quality stuff, though I dont overdo it, say 2 slices a day max. In regards to pasta, I have been eating the whole wheat stuff which has about 9 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein per serving. I even found a pasta that has 27 grams of protein and like 19 grams of fiber per serving! I was quite impressed with it, although I find the first one, more than plenty for my body to digest. I take a small serving of pasta with a big amount of lean ground beef and homemade pasta meat sauce and I am satisfied. I think if you chose these options you wouldnt be too bad off, depending on your goals.


You're right. "Discarded" was a poor word to use. What I meant was that the whey is not used in the cheese-making process.


While the yolk may have a higher percentage of protein than the white, those percentages are not based on the whole egg - only the yolk and white, specifically. Thus, because the white makes up nearly 60% of the weight of the total egg, whereas the yolk contributes about 30%, in the end, the white still contains more total protein.


I understand how such a setup looks very unbalanced - I, myself don't always eat 6-11 servings of grains - but it is that way based on the needs of the body in regards to all nutrients, fiber, and total calories. It's a "best fit" guideline for the average American. Certainly, indvidual differences may alter what are the optimum amounts of servings, but those differences certainly don't warrant drastic changes to the recommendations.


Be careful of blaming Amercians obesity and health problems on scientists. Just because the recommendations are there does not mean that everyone followed them.

For instance, bodybuilders. To many, their extreme leanness looks fantastic. However, it is neither healthy nor maintainable. For some people, getting to a certain leanness that they desire is not optimally healthy for them, and neither is the diet required to get that way.