Protein: Almonds Have as Much as Beef?
According to the nutrition website nutritiondata.com, beef sirloin (bottom, tri-tip, separable lean only, and trimmed to zero fat) has six grams of protein per ounce. Blanched almonds also have six grams of protein per ounce, according to the same site. They also contain six percent of the RDA for iron, while the beef sirloin contains just two percent. The almonds, however, contain quite a bit more unsaturated fat, because the beef sirloin has been trimmed to zero fat. They have 14 grams of unsaturated fat per ounce, with one gram of saturated fat, but it is plant-based fat and not animal fat. (Not all beef products listed on the site contain six grams of protein per ounce–some have more.) This comparison merely provides an example of how some vegetarian foods contain adequate amounts of protein, and in some cases are equal to the amount of protein in meat. People who bash vegetarian diets, often start with saying they are lacking protein, and therefore must be inferior.
So instead of having three ounces of beef sirloin tri-tip for eighteen grams of protein, one could have three ounces of almonds. Actually this type of beef is somewhat uncommon compared to ground beef. A University of Wisconsin food safety sheet on reducing fat in beef says a popular form of ground beef contains seventy percent lean meat, and thirty percent fat. The point of reducing the animal fat is to protect the heart, as animal fat can contribute to heart disease. They cite one statistic saying in just one year the per person beef consumption in the United States was nearly sixty-five pounds.
A website for the U.S Dept of Agriculture says about 3.5 ounces of ground beef that is thirty percent fat, also contains 11 grams of saturated fat. Everyone needs protein, but we also need to limit the amount of saturated fat. For example, the American Heart Association says a female aged 31-50 who is sedentary, should get less than 16 grams of saturated fat per day, so just 3.5 ounces of ground beef (that is thirty percent fat) would be well more than half of the daily saturated fat allowance. Three ounces of almonds though, would be only three grams of saturated fat, and nearly equal in protein as ground beef might have seven grams per ounce, rather than the six per ounce from almonds.
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