Saturday, March 5, 2011

More Protein? Greek Yogurt and Whey Powder

The "Fuel" chapter of Friel's Training Bible suggests one should observe their calorie needs and eat 25% of those calories from protein sources. Fair enough.

I started using My Fitness Pal to help in that regard. To my surprise, I only eat about 60-80g of protein a day. Even on workout days where I get to eat another 500-1500 calories over my baseline, I have trouble breaking 125g. This amounts to being about 9-15% of my daily calorie intake.

While I've made some changes in my diet to consume more protein (packing some tuna, cottage cheese, string cheese, etc. with my lunch), I still fall 20-40g short almost every day.

I have noticed that with more protein comes less overall hunger. I have a sneaking suspicion "low carb" diets work by shocking your body into telling your brain that you're full on 800-1000 calories a day. But that's neither here nor there...

I did some research and asked some questions, the responses from everyone included "greek yogurt" and "whey powder".

I have been hesitant to try whey powder. I tried it in the past and could not stick with it because it tasted so horribly awful.

On top of that, I'm not really a big fan of nutritional supplements in general, but in the quest for more protein without inconveniencing my carbohydrate-loving family, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. I picked up some "NNW" peanut butter and chocolate flavored whey powder from the grocery store. It was the least expensive variety and it is also marketed by a company in Gretna, Nebraska. Inexpensive + Local = Win.

The flavor of NNW is pretty light compared with the chocolate twinlab stuff I bought years ago, but not so light it's rendered tasteless. I tried some with a cup of skim milk and was pleasantly surprised.

I also bought four varieties of Greek Yogurt to test out/review this week.
  • Yoplait Greek
  • Dannon Greek
  • Anderson Erickson Greek 
  • Athenos Strained Greek
All of these are plain and fat-free. The Yoplait and Anderson-Erickson come in 6oz containers. The Dannon is a smaller 5.3oz container. The Athenos is a 2-serving 16oz tub. The protein content of each varies between 17 and 23g.

Why "plain" Greek yogurt? Simple: the flavored varieties of Greek yogurt are loaded with sugar. If I'm eating a dairy product with that much added sugar, it better be served over a split banana, drenched in chocolate syrup and topped with a maraschino cherry. Just sayin'.

Here is what I would choose in order of taste:
  • Anderson-Erickson
  • Dannon
  • Athenos
  • Yoplait
Yoplait is mouth-puckeringly sour. I would imagine that mixing it with ripe fruit would be pretty tasty.

I'm going to wait a couple of weeks before deciding whether or not the added protein is beneficial.

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