If you are on the path of body building, there are some basic ingredients for it: 1) Workout 2) Rest and 3) Diet. Working out is up to you. It doesn’t take any money from your pocket. Same is with “rest”. But, one thing which is not entirely in your hand and which is guided by the money in your wallet is your diet. If you just want to bulk up, you can go with high carb diet with some protein.
And, if you desire a lean muscular body, then it is necessary to add more amount of protein, then usual, in your diet. Even if you are non-vegetarian, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your are getting enough protein. In all probability, it will be less then you should have.
For most of the people, some extra measures should be taken in order to fulfil the requirements of protein. But, it is equally true that many people can’t buy protein without shaking up their entire budget.
Hence, in this article, we will look at different sources of protein and how much each gram of protein costs you from that particular source. We will also talk about some popular whey protein brands and how much their gm/$ ratio is. This will give us a good reference point.
Some whey protein brand with gm/$
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard
You can get 5 pound(2.3 kg) of ON for $57 on amazon. It gives you total 74 serving and each serving has 24 grams of protein in it.
24X74 = 1776 gm
Protein/$ = 1776/57 = 31 grams
BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder
BSN provides you with 2.91 lb whey powder for $28(amazon). It has 28 servings and each serving has 22 grams of protein. That means, for $28 you get 616 gm of protein.
Protein per $ = 616/28=22 grams, which is clearly less than ON.
MuscleTech NitroTech Protein Powder, Whey Isolate + Lean MuscleBuilder
MuscleTech gives you 3.97 lbs(1.8 kg) of whey for $47.5. The entire container has 49 serving and each serving is of 37 gm. Out of which 30 gram is pure protein. Therefore, the total amount of protein present is 1470 gm.
Protein/ $ = 1470/47.5= 31 gram.
It is almost equal to ON gold standard, but much greater than BSN SYNTHA-6.
Now, if you are someone who doesn’t like the idea of entertaining an artificial way to build muscles or you are afraid that whey protein can have some side effects. Then, below we discuss some natural cheap source of protein with their protein/$ ratio.
Cost comparison of the natural protein sources
Egg is the most wonderful source of not only protein, but healthy fats, vitamin B-12 and much more. If you are using egg as a primary protein source, then you must have at least 8 eggs per day. The thing here is that, for 2-3 eggs a day there is no problem in consuming the egg yolk, but eating egg yolks of 8 eggs can be disastrous.
A whole egg contains approx 6 gm of protein, out of which 60% is in the egg white and rest 40% is in the yolk. So, 3.6 gm per egg white.
Let us take the average cost of one dozen egg to be $ 1.8. So, for one egg you have to pay $ 0.15. For $1 you can get around 6 eggs.
Protein/$=6X3.6= 21.6 grams
When using egg as a protein source for body building people tend to eat only the white part of the egg. This can be problematic. It is seen that only eating the white can make your hair weak and brittle. Many people go around this problem by eating egg yolk from one egg. It is a good strategy and eating 2-3 more egg yolk also shouldn’t be a problem, unless you are on a strict fat free diet.
Chicken breast is also a very good source of protein, but unlike egg you don’t have to throw anything away. On average chicken breast(bone-less) will cost you $ 2.3 for 450 grams.
That means, for $1 you can get, around 200 gram. And, per 100 gram of chicken breast you get 23 gram of protein. So, for 200 gram, you’ll get double of that.
Protein/$ = 46 grams
It is much higher than eggs or even the best whey protein. Although, the best way to eat chicken breast is boiled. But, eating boiled chicken even with rice can be frustrating, especially when you are on a low sodium diet.
Although, chicken is considered one of the safest source of non-vegetarian protein, it does have some side-effects. A regular consumption of chicken makes you immune to the anti-biotics. These chicken are exposed to lots of antibiotics and when you eat them you get a share of those too. The use of antibiotics can vary from country to country and from farm to farm.
Many of you might not have heard about soya chunks. It is made from soya flour. And, every person who is into muscle building should know about it. Reason being, its high protein content; around half of the weight is protein, i.e, for every 100 gram you get 50 grams of protein. Soya chunks by Nutrela is available in Amazon for around $2.5(200 gram). So, for $2.5 you’ll get around 100 gram of pure protein.
Protein/$ = 100/2.5 = 40 grams
So, for one dollar you can get 40 grams of protein. The best thing about it is the fact that it is 100% vegetarian and as it is prepared using beans, even vegans can eat it.
It is believed by many that soya is responsible for decreasing the level of testosterone in your body and increasing the level of estrogen(female version of testosterone). That is why, male body builder tend to avoid it. But, that theory is not very viable, as a person needs to have an insane amount of soy in order to see some fall in the level of testosterone. Read latest content on soya for better judgement.
Quinoa which is basically a seed, but widely considered as a grain. Although it is a plant based protein source, but it contains complete protein profile. What it means, is that people with plant based diet doesn’t consume all type of amino acids. Some of these amino acids are only available in foods from animals. But, Quinoa provides a mixed portfolio of amino acids. It contains lysine too.
100 gm of Quinoa contains 13 grams of protein. The price of Quinoa can vary from company to company. In general, organic Quinoa you can get 4 lbs(1.81 kg) for $19.5. So, for $19.5 you’ll get 234 grams(18X13) of protein.
Protein/$ = 234/19.5= 12 grams
So, as you can see, although Quinoa is a good source of mixed amino acids for vegetarian, but it is not viable if you are a non-vegetarian. It can’t be used as a primary source of protein, even for vegetarians, although it can be taken in small amounts in regular intervals, in order to fulfil various amino acid requirements.
Quinoa can cause severe stomach pain in people. The reason behind this can be the fact that it contains high level of fibre in it. A body which is not use to of so much fibre finds it hard to digest which can cause severe indigestion and stomach pain.
Pork is considered one of the best protein sources, because it contains almost all the essential amino acids. Eating pork enhance the recovery speed and helps in building muscles faster. Pork meat can come really handy when you are on a low carb diet. It contains 0.00% of carbs. If your doctors have advised you to stay away from red meat then you can switch to pork.
100 grams of pork contain 23 gram of protein. You can get 450 grams of boneless pork chops for around $4.2. So, for each dollar you are getting 107 grams of pork chops.
Protein/$ = 25 grams approx.
Although pork meat is a good source of both micro and macro nutrients, but along with those it can be filled with pathogens also. These pathogens can be very harmful to your health and can cause diseases like E. coli infection and Trichinellosis.
Oats is considered a very good source for complex carbs and it also provides a good amount of protein. For every 100 gms of oats, you get 17 gm of protein. You can get 18 ounce(half kg) of Quaker oats for $2.78. Therefore for $1 you get 183 grams of oats.
Protein/$ = 30 gm approx.
Since, the amount of carbs is also large, using oats as the primary source is not good. But, if you want to include carbs in your diet, instead of some simple carb source like bread, you can have oats. Oats is the best food when you want to increase muscle mass while decreasing fat.
Oats can be hard to digest for some people, which causes bloating. A good way to get around this problem is by starting with a small quantity and increase as your body starts getting used to it. Lots of people tend to under-cook it as well, which can cause brain fog. It is somewhat a state of being high. Google it.
Beef is a very nutritional food, apart from protein it contains Selenium, B-6, B12 and a good amount of saturated fats. If you don’t add additional oil to it, this amount of fat is actually good for your body. Saturated fat helps your body to produce testosterone which in-turn helps build muscle. On top of that, beef contains a good amount of creatine. For all those who don’t know, creatine helps you to enhance your performance in the gym. Although, creatine supplement is available in the market, but that would mean extra bucks out of your pocket.
100 gm of beef contains 27 gram of protein. The cost of 450 grams of beef is around $4. So, for a dollar you can get 112 grams.
Protein/$ = 30 grams
The red meat has been associated with cardio-vascular disease for a long time. Until recent time, the logic that was given for this connection was the amount of saturated fat present in beef. But, the latest studies tell a different story. Your body breaks down a compound, carnitine, present in beef to make trimethylamine-N-oxide, which is responsible for clogging up your arteries.
If you like starting your day with bread toast or you like raw sandwiches, then peanut butter can be your best friend. Peanut butter has good carbs to protein ratio, hence it is best food to start your day with. It contains around 19 gram carbs and around 25 gram protein per 100 grams. 40 ounce(1.13 kg) of peanut butter can cost you around $5. So, a 40 ounce container contains 25X11 = 275 gm of pure protein.
Protein/$ = 275/5 = 55 grams
Although, peanut butter is cheap and is a good source for protein and micro nutrients, it does have its side-effects. For example, it contains a cancer causing agent which can induce colon cancer and the oil present in it can be responsible for clogging up the arteries. Although, it can be used once in a while when you bored of eating eggs or some other regular protein source.
Wheat germ is another plant based source for healthy carbs and protein. As the wheat germ has the husk intact it is a good source for complex carbs. You surely need to include it in your diet, if your plan is to gain muscle mass and decrease fat. 100 gm of wheat germ contains 27 grams of protein. You can get 120 ounce(3.4 kgs) of wheat germ at around $13. So, for every buck you are getting 250 grams of wheat germ. Wheat germ is a vitamin-E rich food, which helps with maintenance of cell and prevents heart diseases. Plus, it contains Zinc in abundance, which is necessary if you want to have high levels of testosterone. You can eat wheat germ raw also. But, if you have a weak digestive system, it is better to roast it a little bit.
Protein/$ = 67.5 grams
The first side effect of eating wheat germ is that it contains almost double amount of carbs than protein. So, if you are on a low carb diet eating wheat germ as a primary source is not an option. Wheat has gluten in abundance, hence people with gluten sensitivity should carefully check on the amount of wheat germ they have.