Protein Supplements: An Overview

Hey guys here is a light read on protein, nothing serious the article is targeted to those that use protein supplements, if you’re trying to do any of the points I have noted below, I suggest you keep reading if not look around and find yourself something you like, we have dozens of articles. So with that said scroll through and enjoy.

•Growing. A teenager needs more protein to fuel his workouts because his body is still growing and uses more protein in general.

•Starting a program. If working out is new to you and you’re trying to build muscle, you’ll require more protein than you normally would.

• Amping up your workouts. If you normally work out for half an hour a few times a week, but now you’ve decide to train for a half-marathon, your body will need more protein.

• Recovering from an injury. Athletes with sports injuries frequently need more protein to help them heal.

• If you’re going vegan. People who pursue a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle eliminate a number of common protein sources from their diet, including meat, chicken, and fish, and sometimes dairy and eggs as well.

In the past two decades, proteins have become much safer, more convenient, and a helluva lot tastier too. High protein foods and protein supplements are now ubiquitous across the web, on store shelves, and in the daily regimens of athletes. Why? Because research has shown consuming protein helps build muscle and, in some cases, burn fat too.

All proteins, however, are not created equal, which is why it’s important to understand the differences between them. Consider the list below then as your protein cheat sheet, allowing you to make more informed decisions the next time you’re perusing 1R’s protein selection.

Whey Protein

athletic bodyWhey protein is the undisputed king of proteins, and here’s why: whey proteins have the highest biological value of all proteins, which is a scientific way of saying they’re the fastest digesting, and best used, protein source in your body. Additionally, whey protein is loaded with Essential Amino Acids (EAAs) – including the three Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) that contain subcomponents (microfractions), all providing benefits above and beyond amino acids and elemental nitrogen.

But, as this type of protein is constantly becoming more refined, not all whey variations are the same. The most basic, and least expensive, form of whey is whey concentrate. Whey concentrate has the lowest amount of protein by volume (anywhere from 50%-85%) and is the least refined. Whey protein isolate, on the other hand, is a bit more expensive because it has much of the fat, lactose, and other undesirable elements, “isolated” out. This protein source ranges from 90%-95% protein by volume, and has been a staple in the sports nutrition industry since its inception.

In recent years scientists have developed a way to hydrolyze, or break down, whey isolate into its component parts for even faster digestion. This is called whey hydrolysate. It’s the purest and fastest digesting version of whey protein available, and thus the most expensive, but it has been shown to be the most effective for building muscle after workouts.

Casein Protein

About 80% of the protein in milk is casein. Often referred to as a “slower-acting” or, “time-released” protein because it is digested and absorbed at a slower rate than other proteins, casein proteins are especially useful before bed and during other prolonged periods without food. While they have a lower biological value than whey protein, casein delivers amino acids to your muscle tissue for up to 8 hours.

Milk Proteins

Milk proteins are dried milk with most of the fat and carbohydrates removed. Like regular milk, powdered milk protein is a blend of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein. That said, these forms of protein come with all of the lactose and other carbohydrates you may not necessarily want in your protein, which is why milk protein products are less expensive than whey and casein.

Camille Leblanc Bazinet hot crossfit girl

Egg Proteins

Ask any dietitian, “What’s the best source of protein?” and eggs will probably top their list. Most nutrition textbooks refer to eggs as the “gold standard” for protein quality, and with loads of EAAs, and some of the highest scores of protein quality, who am I to argue! In terms of digestibility, egg proteins lie between whey and casein, and are great both at meals, or any time you need protein throughout the day. And, for those with milk allergies, dairy-free eggs are a great alternative to whey, casein, and whole milk protein.

Blended Proteins

If you can afford just one type of protein, consider going with a blend. These products combine faster-, intermediate-, and slower-protein sources (i.e. whey, egg, and casein), to provide more sustained protein digestion than single source proteins like those discussed above.

Post Workout Recovery Proteins

Dave DreasPost workout recovery products are fast-acting protein and carbohydrate combinations specifically designed for immediate post-lift consumption, i.e. when nutrient needs are great and glycogen and muscle protein resynthesis are at their peak. Many post workout proteins contain both whey hydrolysate and supplemental ingredients like creatine, BCAAs, and glutamine to further aid the recovery and rebuilding process. While the fast digesting protein sources help build new muscle, the carbs shuttle the amino acids and protein to your muscle tissue faster, speeding up both digestion and use. Therefore if you’re trying to build strength and size consider going with a designated post workout recovery shake immediately after workouts.

As evidenced above, there are a variety of proteins to be found naturally in food, and through supplementation. Think through which ones you’re currently getting in your diet, which ones are missing, and you can close the protein holes preventing you from adding and retaining lean muscle mass. Ok so real quick before I lose you take a look at the best times to take certain protein.

When people ask ‘when is the best time to take protein?’ it’s hard to give a short and simple answer since in reality there’s optimal times to take many different types of protein and this is also dependant upon your training goals and whether you want to increase muscle mass, lower body fat or just recover from sport and training. Here we try to explain, in simple terms, when the best time to take certain protein powders is and how exactly it can help you, your body and your training goals.

The Best Morning Protein

Now firstly it must be noted that the following guidelines are quite general since various other factors must be taken into consideration when devising a nutrition routine and selecting the right protein. For instance certain food intolerances must be accounted for incase the athlete is lactose intolerant or perhaps they are performing semi-fasted cardio in the mornings therefore wouldn’t want any form of protein.

However generally speaking, most experts will recommend a quality whey protein powder first thing in the morning mainly because of its impressive Biological Value and great amino acid profile which ultimately ‘sets’ you up for the day. The Biological Value (or BV for short) of a protein is basically a measurement of its quality and is the amount of nitrogen (body protein in grams) replaceable by 100 grams of protein in the adult diet or put more simply the amount of protein the body is able to retain and use from the protein ingested. Now most sports scientists will argue the higher the Biological Value the better the protein, however this is debated to this day amongst the scientific community, but adopting this popular point of view it would make sense to start your day with whey protein with a high BV. The BV of
whey is roughly around 104, whilst the next best in terms of BV is whole eggs with 100, then milk with 91, casein 77, beef 80, soy 74 and then beans are 49. This is not to say that beef, beans and soy are not without their benefits, it just means that for first thing in the morning whey protein may be best based on the Biological Value theory.

protein powder

The Best Bed Time Protein

Another important time to consider having protein is before bed since you are about to fast for 7-9 hours whilst you sleep and what you eat before this will decide whether your nighttime becomes anabolic and helps your muscles recover or catabolic and detrimentally affects your muscles and recovery. This is why many experts recommend a slow releasing protein such as casein before bed time since studies show its slow absorption slowly drip feeds your body with amino acids throughout the night therefore ensuring your muscles repair and regrow far better whilst you sleep.

The Best Post-Workout Protein

Perhaps the most important time take protein is immediately following training. This is because you’ve just put your muscles under a lot of stress and created a stimulus for them to become faster, fitter or stronger, providing they have enough protein for them to recover. If they don’t have enough protein they simply won’t recover and your training may do more harm than good to your muscles.

Specifically regarding ‘muscular hypertrophy’ (the process by which muscles become bigger) scientists have shown that protein synthesis, the process by which the muscles use protein to regrow, is dramatically increased following strength training which is why your body can absorb more protein during this period compared to any other time of the day since your muscles have a ‘sponge-like’ quality because they are depleted from training. For this reason it makes sense to consume a fast absorbing protein that will get to the muscles fast like whey protein or soy protein because they will reach the muscles far quicker and begin the recovery process.

By Wayne Mutata C.P.P.S
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