For many people, their protein intake anxiety almost instantly sanctifies any food item with high protein content as an epitome of health and nourishment without even realizing the ill-effects or harm it may have caused to the world around them. To put the ‘Protein Anxiety’ in figures, it is surprising to see that in the year 2017 alone, over 64 million searches were made on Google relating to protein or its sources. On the other hand, adding fuel to the fire are the infinite number of Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to protein intake and products, followed by hundreds and thousands of fans relying on false information offered by them.
Consumers suffer intense anxiety and big brands are cashing in every rupee by launching ‘Protein-Rich’ product often. The market is full of products such as Protein Bars and Protein Shakes offering a wide variety of options for the obsessed. However, meat and animal-derived products remain the most popular sources of protein for consumers globally.
To understand the obsession better let us understand what exactly is protein? In laymen’s terms, Protein along with Carbs and Fats are macronutrients which are vital to sustain life. Proteins are building blocks of muscle mass, aid metabolism, keep one full, and help the immune system stay strong. Protein is commonly found in Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dairy Products such as Milk, Cheese and Yogurt, Beans, Legumes such as Lentils and Chickpeas, Seeds and Nuts, and Eggs. On average, 2 to 3 servings of protein are required by men and women aged between 19 to 50 years daily.
Protein from animal products remains the most popular source with Eggs, Chicken, Salmon, and Tuna topping the charts. They are readily available, keep one satisfied for longer, and offer a range of dishes across several cuisines. Dairy Products derived from animals such as Cheese and Milk also account for the major source of protein worldwide.
Is Protein derived from Animals Healthy?
In a study conducted by Harvard University, it is found that rather than the amount of protein it is the source which makes an immense amount of difference to an individual’s health. The study also concluded that eating red meat and processed meat can result in several diseases and even premature death. Protein derived from animals can cause Heart Diseases, Cancer, and Diabetes in addition to poor Bone Health and Weight Control.
It may surprise many of us that in 100 grams each of Chicken and Nuts, Nuts contain 33 grams of protein whereas Chicken comprises of 30 grams. It is also interesting to know that 4 ounces of broiled sirloin steak contains 33 grams of protein but also constitutes 5 grams of saturated fat in comparison to a cup of cooked lentils which provides 18 grams of protein, 15 grams of fibre, and no saturated fat at all.
Protein from vegetarian sources is healthier, boosts metabolism, and reduces the risk of fatal diseases. This can be found in Soy, Nuts, Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, and Cereals in addition to Grains, Hemp, and certain fruits such as Avocados.
Money Matters – More bang for your buck
While Chicken, Steak, Cheese, and Yogurt are one of the most expensive sources of protein (and they are animal-derived!), Lentils, Chickpeas, and Peanut Butter are the cheapest. At the current market rates, 100 grams of protein from Peanut Butter costs only INR 167 whereas 100 grams of protein from Greek Yogurt (another healthy food in rage) will set back for INR 541!
Similarly, if we look at Almonds, though they are vegetarian, 100 grams of protein costs INR 500 to 700 and Chickpeas or Oats roughly cost INR 200. Well to sum it up, peanut butter here is the surprising winner.
Peanut Butter – Affordable, Delicious, and Fulfilling
Peanut Butter is one of the richest sources of protein for people who refrain from sourcing the macronutrient from animals. It is rich in protein and heart-healthy fats in addition to Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Iron, and Potassium. Not only this, peanut butter remains one of the cheapest sources of protein, keeps the stomach fuller for longer, and is delicious to eat.
According to a Healthline.com study, 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter offers 8 grams of protein and can be paired with fruit, oatmeal, or smoothie for an instant protein boost. The study also concluded that people who include Peanuts and Peanut Butters in their diet are very less likely to develop Diabetes or Heart Diseases.
It is also crucial to understand that the healthiest peanut butter is made from just peanuts with no added salts, oils, or sugars. Peanut butter with such additives can comprise of sodium and high amount of calories.
At Peepal Farm, we make 100% natural peanut butter with no salt, sugar, or oils and with utmost love and care on a traditional wood-fired stove. So while you enjoy it with a toast, fruit, or on its own, you can be rest assured that it’s affordable, protein-packed, healthy, and vegan!
Order yours at peepalfarm.org
Authored by Saket Kohli