The Protein / calorie Ratio, Your Patner in the War Against Kilos
You probably already know about the two most important nutritional concepts for losing weight: reducing the amount of calories ingested, while preferring foods with filling nutrients, especially fiber and protein. As a matter of fact, have you ever heard about the protein / calorie ratio?
This ratio can give you a quick idea of the amount of protein contained in a food in comparison to the calories it provides. To calculate this ratio, you simply have to divide the quantity of proteins (in grams) by the total amount of calories. Therefore, when we want to lose weight, we have to prefer meat cuts, poultry, fish, meat alternatives, and dairy products that present a higher ratio, because they will keep us satisfied for longer.
However, this tool is not without limitations! For example, some kinds of fish such as trout, herring, salmon, and mackerel, as well as nuts and seeds, have low ratios. This is because they contain more unsaturated or “good” fats. So we should not systematically eliminate them from our nutrition, or we may see a dramatic drop in our good cholesterol blood level! The same goes for legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), because they are rich in carbohydrates and fiber.
To conclude, here is a chart that classifies all different sources of protein according to their protein / calorie ratio1. Why not print it to display on the fridge? You can even calculate the ratios of the brands and products you usually buy (ex: Greek yogurt, puddings, granola bars, etc.), and compare them with the foods listed on the chart.
1. Inspired from: Health Canada. 2008. Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods. Online. < http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/pdf/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/nvscf-vnqau-eng.pdf >. Page viewed on October 25, 2012.