How To Tell The Difference Between Protein And Fat

Is It A Protein Source or a Fat Source?

What’s a good source of protein? Peanut butter has protein in it right? How do I know if it is more fat or more protein?

You’ve probably asked yourself questions like these before. Food labels can be confusing. It tells you how many grams of fat and protein are in it, but what does that mean? When you’re working on eating a balanced macronutrient meal, it is important to understand exactly which foods are fat sources and which foods are protein sources. Here is how to tell the difference between the two.

Just Because it Has Protein, Does Not Make it a Protein Source

Did you know that Hostess twinkies have 2 grams of protein per serving? That counts right? Wrong. Just because the food contains protein, does not make it a protein source. Small amounts of protein are actually in a wide variety of food, especially those with anything that contain any dairy or nut product. Protein sources are determined by whether or not the majority of calories come from protein.

Food Label Math

The way to figure out how many calories come from protein and how many calories come from fat is a simple math equation. Protein has 4 calories per gram whereas fat has 9 calories per gram. Take the amount of protein in grams and multiply it by 4. Then take the amount of fat in grams and multiply that by 9. This will tell you how many calories come from fat and how many calories come from protein. If the number of calories from fat is higher than the number of calories from protein, it isn’t truly a protein source.

Let’s look at peanut butter, for example. One serving of peanut butter has 6 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat. This may look like a good enough amount of protein to make it a protein source, but we can’t stop there. We must figure out how many calories come from each by multiplying as shown below.

6 grams protein x 4= 24 calories from protein

16 grams fat x 9= 144 calories from fat

When 144 of the 200 calories per serving of peanut butter comes from fat, it is clear to see that this is a fat source, not a protein source.

The Power Is In The Knowledge

Now you know, in order to tell the difference between protein sources and fat sources, it is just a simple math equation. Multiply grams of protein x 4, then grams of fat x 9. This will tell you how many calories come from protein and how many come from fat. When the calories from protein are higher than the calories from fat, you can be sure that you are eating a true protein source. For more information about protein and fat, speak with a trainer today!


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