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  • Writer's pictureHarshal

How To Use Data And Metrics To Make Better Protein Choices

Updated: Mar 20

Optimize Diet Using KPIs: 2024 Protein Source Rankings From Best To Worst


If you like making data-driven decisions, you might have found yourself puzzled while reading nutrition labels. Do you want to improve your health, but wonder what to eat more of and what to eat less of?


Friends often ask me which food is better to eat. But how do you compare apples vs oranges?


I’ve split this topic into 4 articles. I’ll post only one on Substack because you probably do not subscribe to my Substack newsletter for food data analysis.


Here is a custom GPT for you to query this.


The articles in this series:


I spent 5 hours 55 minutes (across 2023 and 2024) writing this series, hired 4 freelancers to gather data, and spent 1 hour 4 minutes to create the Custom GPT.

Sources of Protein, with a scatter plot overlay.
Sources of Protein, with a scatter plot overlay.

Process Of Comparing Food

Websites provide conflicting information about food. Some measure a food's nutrition per 100 grams, others per piece of fruit, and some per cup. I decided to make choices about what I eat based on data regarding macronutrients and costs.


So, I did these steps:

  • Cleanup data

  • Define goals

  • Identify metrics of success.

  • Quantify to rank


You can see more of the process for proteins here:


Goals Of Eating Protein

Goals and anti-goals for proteins.
Goals and anti-goals for proteins.

Goals for protein consumption:

  • Consume several grams of protein

  • Consume all essential amino acids (“complete protein” sources)


Anti-goals:

  • Consuming a lot of other macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates) along with the protein

  • Consuming calories over one’s calorie target for the day


Tertiary goals:

  • Spend less money for reaching the goals and against the anti-goals

  • Spend less time for the same


Metrics To Compare Protein Sources

I ranked protein sources based on these criteria, in descending priority order:

  • Lean protein index (LPI): % of calories coming from Protein

  • Cost: Price ($) per 100g protein

  • Completeness: complete or incomplete source of protein.


Comparison Of All Protein Sources

You can see the above on DataWrapper. Here it is in as a ranked list:

  1. Egg White (Dairy) - LPI 100%, €7.39 per 100g of protein

  2. ON Soy Protein (Supplement) - LPI 97%, €4.53 per 100g of protein

  3. ON Hydrolyzed Whey (Supplement) - LPI 92%, €5.30 per 100g of protein

  4. Tuna (Meat) - LPI 89%, €7.90 per 100g of protein

  5. Spirulina Algae (Plant-based) - LPI 91%, €13.80 per 100g of protein

  6. ON Casein (Supplement) - LPI 85%, €4.50 per 100g of protein

  7. Pea Protein Grandma's Pantry (Supplement) - LPI 83%, €7.26 per 100g of protein

  8. ON Whey Concentrate (GS) (Supplement) - LPI 82%, €2.92 per 100g of protein

  9. Chicken Breast (Meat) - LPI 75%, €2.95 per 100g of protein

  10. Prawns (Meat) - LPI 77%, €9.66 per 100g of protein

  11. Zero-Fat Greek Yogurt (Dairy) - LPI 68%, €1.38 per 100g of protein

  12. Soya Chunk (Plant-based) - LPI 60%, €1.35 per 100g of protein

  13. Moringa Drumstick Leaf (Plant-based) - LPI 59%, €1.77 per 100g of protein

  14. Pork (Meat) - LPI 58%, €3.37 per 100g of protein

  15. Beef (Meat) - LPI 61%, €4.21 per 100g of protein

  16. BSN Syntha-6 (Supplement) - LPI 48%, €5.21 per 100g of protein

  17. Hemp Seed Protein (Supplement) - LPI 49%, €7.48 per 100g of protein

  18. Tofu (Plant-based) - LPI 47%, €5.88 per 100g of protein

  19. Salmon (Meat) - LPI 43%, €6.90 per 100g of protein

  20. Whole egg (Dairy) - LPI 38%, €3.10 per 100g of protein

  21. Quest Bar  (Processed) - LPI 40%, €7.14 per 100g of protein

  22. Tempeh (Plant-based) - LPI 41%, €7.50 per 100g of protein

  23. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt (Dairy) - LPI 37%, €1.53 per 100g of protein

  24. ON Pro Complex Gainer (Supplement) - LPI 36%, €6.58 per 100g of protein

  25. Protinex (Supplement) - LPI 37%, €15.63 per 100g of protein

  26. Mozzarella Cheese (Dairy) - LPI 29%, €1.12 per 100g of protein

  27. Soybean (Plant-based) - LPI 32%, €1.94 per 100g of protein

  28. Low Fat Cow Milk (Dairy) - LPI 26%, €3.00 per 100g of protein

  29. Full-Fat Yogurt (Dairy) - LPI 23%, €4.16 per 100g of protein

  30. Cheddar Cheese (Dairy) - LPI 23%, €4.35 per 100g of protein

  31. Cottage Cheese (Paneer) (Dairy) - LPI 27%, €4.98 per 100g of protein

  32. Hemp seed (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 23%, €6.49 per 100g of protein

  33. Full-fat Cow Milk (organic) (Dairy) - LPI 21%, €3.09 per 100g of protein

  34. Ricotta Cheese (Dairy) - LPI 20%, €9.01 per 100g of protein

  35. Feta Cheese (Dairy) - LPI 21%, €17.68 per 100g of protein

  36. Chia seed (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 14%, €3.92 per 100g of protein

  37. Quinoa (Grain) - LPI 15%, €4.26 per 100g of protein

  38. Buckwheat (Grain) - LPI 15%, €4.53 per 100g of protein

  39. ON Serious Mass Gainer (Supplement) - LPI 16%, €6.73 per 100g of protein

  40. Pistachio (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 14%, €18.57 per 100g of protein

  41. Broccoli (Plant-based) - LPI 33%, €6.36 per 100g of protein

  42. Masoor (Whole) (Lentil) - LPI 28%, €1.26 per 100g of protein

  43. Moong (whole) (Lentil) - LPI 28%, €1.33 per 100g of protein

  44. Black Eye Beans (Lentil) - LPI 28%, €1.35 per 100g of protein

  45. White Peas (Lentil) - LPI 29%, €1.38 per 100g of protein

  46. Moong dal Chilka (Lentil) - LPI 28%, €1.88 per 100g of protein

  47. Urid Daal Gota (Lentil) - LPI 28%, €2.25 per 100g of protein

  48. Moong dal (Lentil) - LPI 28%, €2.79 per 100g of protein

  49. Kidney Beans (Rajma) (Lentil) - LPI 27%, €0.77 per 100g of protein

  50. Masoor Dal (Red Lentil) (Lentil) - LPI 27%, €0.81 per 100g of protein

  51. Chana  Dal (Lentil) - LPI 25%, €0.86 per 100g of protein

  52. Green Pea (Plant-based) - LPI 26%, €1.19 per 100g of protein

  53. Gungo Peas (Lentil) - LPI 25%, €1.38 per 100g of protein

  54. Urid Dal (Lentil) - LPI 26%, €1.53 per 100g of protein

  55. Chickpea (Chana) (Lentil) - LPI 25%, €1.58 per 100g of protein

  56. Urid (Whole) (Lentil) - LPI 26%, €1.92 per 100g of protein

  57. Toor dal (Lentil) - LPI 26%, €1.95 per 100g of protein

  58. Moth Beans (Lentil) - LPI 27%, €2.08 per 100g of protein

  59. Black Beans (Lentil) - LPI 26%, €2.50 per 100g of protein

  60. Red Chowri (Lentil) - LPI 24%, €2.80 per 100g of protein

  61. Butter beans (Lentil) - LPI 25%, €3.25 per 100g of protein

  62. Kala Chana (Lentil) - LPI 21%, €1.75 per 100g of protein

  63. Pumpkin seed (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 21%, €1.99 per 100g of protein

  64. Urid Dal Chilka (Lentil) - LPI 22%, €2.09 per 100g of protein

  65. Peanut (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 18%, €2.67 per 100g of protein

  66. Daria Dal (Lentil) - LPI 21%, €2.85 per 100g of protein

  67. Rose Coco Beans (Lentil) - LPI 20%, €3.27 per 100g of protein

  68. Nature Valley Protein Peanut & Chocolate (Processed) - LPI 21%, €9.77 per 100g of protein

  69. Wheat (Grain) - LPI 16%, €1.89 per 100g of protein

  70. Oats (Cereal) - LPI 14%, €1.98 per 100g of protein

  71. Sunflower seed (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 14%, €2.78 per 100g of protein

  72. Couscous (Grain) - LPI 14%, €4.13 per 100g of protein

  73. Peanut Butter (Unsweetened) (Processed) - LPI 15%, €4.48 per 100g of protein

  74. Ready Brek (Cereal) - LPI 13%, €5.28 per 100g of protein

  75. Special K Protein Plus Cereal (Cereal) - LPI 15%, €5.48 per 100g of protein

  76. Cashew Nut (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 13%, €6.08 per 100g of protein

  77. Almond (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 15%, €7.19 per 100g of protein

  78. Flaxseed (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 13%, €7.90 per 100g of protein

  79. Granola (Processed) - LPI 9%, €6.51 per 100g of protein

  80. Hazelnut (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 10%, €6.67 per 100g of protein

  81. Brazil nut (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 8%, €11.75 per 100g of protein

  82. Walnut kernel (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 9%, €14.40 per 100g of protein

  83. Kind Fruit & Nut Bar (Processed) - LPI 9%, €24.99 per 100g of protein

  84. White Rice (Grain) - LPI 7%, €1.52 per 100g of protein

  85. Raisin (Sultana) (Nuts, Seeds, Dry Fruits) - LPI 3%, €15.89 per 100g of protein

  86. Snickers (Processed) - LPI 7%, €21.93 per 100g of protein


Comparison Of Proteins Per Food Group

Similar comparison but within each group. Because we often will substitute one choice with another within same group. You can see the below on DataWrapper.


Data Sources

CustomGPT Thumbnail
CustomGPT Thumbnail

Here is the custom GPT for you to query this.


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