Sunday, 19 June 2016

How to Choose a Perfect Protein Supplement


With so many protein powders on the market, how do you know which one to buy? Here are some simple guidelines to help you pick the perfect protein for your goals!
Protein has never been as popular as it is today, and I’m glad people everywhere are finally embracing the power of this mighty macronutrient. Protein is a critical building block that aids in the growth, maintenance, and repair of muscle, and there’s no denying its impact on strength, performance, and body composition. With so many protein supplements on the market, one of the most common questions I get asked is which one to buy.
When thinking about choosing a protein supplement, it’s worth noting that:
  • There are many foods packed with protein that you can creatively fit into your meals and snacks to meet your needs without having to rely on a supplement.
  • Real, whole foods—as opposed to protein powders, which are highly processed—are more natural to include in the human diet, so many people aiming for a diet that is closer to nature might not find supplements as appealing.
  • Unprocessed protein-rich foods also contain other vital nutrients needed by the body in their natural states, such as iron, zinc, calcium and B-vitamins.
  • The protein-rich foods you can buy at the store (meat, milk, eggs, soy products and more) are cheaper than almost any protein supplement.
  • And foods—as opposed to supplements and protein drinks—are regulated for safety. Recent independent lab tests (see Sources below) found that many of the most popular protein supplements were contaminated with heavy metals like lead, mercury and more—a byproduct of processing. That, coupled with the fact that supplements are truly the Wild West, when it comes to products (no regulation, no guarantee of potency as listed, not a lot of rules at all) means that you are putting a lot of trust into the company making the product you’re ingesting.


YOUR PROTEIN PROGRAM
There are several protein types to choose from, each with their own unique aspects and potential benefits. When it comes to protein powders, milk proteins, egg, and pea are among the most desirable.

WHEY PROTEIN

Whey is by far the most popular protein supplement because it has been shown to promote muscle growth and fat loss. It is digested and absorbed faster than other proteins, making it the ideal choice to consume either immediately before or after a workout.
Whey is approximately 20 percent of the protein in cow’s milk and has the highest branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) content, including roughly 11 percent leucine and 9 percent combined isoleucine and valine, yielding a 2:1:1 relationship.
CASEIN PROTEIN
Casein, the main protein you’ll find in milk, is a slow-digesting protein—especially when compared to whey. Depending on how much you consume, casein can take more than six hours to be fully digested and absorbed by the body, which makes this protein great for a sustained amino acid delivery to muscle.
Although it has a lower anabolic, or direct muscle-building effect, when compared to whey, casein is a good source of BCAAs as well as glutamine, which helps it reduce muscle-protein breakdown. Remember net gains in muscle protein reflect the imbalance between muscle protein synthesis and breakdown. Thus glutamine lends support more on the anticatabolic side. Because of its slow-digesting properties, casein is often recommended before bed or in between meals, either by itself or in blends with other proteins.

MILK PROTEIN

We know milk is great for dunking chocolate chip cookies into, but did you also know it’s great for speeding up recovery after an intense workout? Milk protein contains all of the essential amino acids in a natural 80/20 ratio of casein-to-whey blend, which allows for the fast and sustained release of amino acids necessary for muscle growth.
Milk protein isolates and concentrates are common in protein-powder blends, creamy protein ready-to-drink, and protein bars.

EGG PROTEIN

Eggs are making a serious comeback now that some of the long-held beliefs about their role in heart disease are being dismissed. The egg protein found in protein powders is mostly egg-white protein isolate, and is an egg-cellent alternative for people with milk allergies! Egg protein contains all the essential amino acids necessary for protein synthesis, and is easily digested by th body.

PEA PROTEIN

Perhaps not as well-known as its protein counterparts, pea protein is a great option for vegetarians and those with allergies to dairy and eggs. First, it is naturally fat- and cholesterol-free (it comes from a plant after all). Second, pea protein isn’t derived from dairy, making it appropriate for those who are lactose-intolerant. Lastly, it’s completely gluten-free, which can help individuals avoid gastric distress when supplementing frequently. Pea protein is farsuperior to other plant-based protein powders, which can be difficult to digest and are not well-utilized by the body.
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