Protein; not just for bodybuilders
Protein is key to manufacturing muscle and for generally leading a healthy life with far reaching and long lasting benefits. It is essential for tissue repair, maintenance and growth of new cells, has a direct impact on your metabolism, athletic performance and helps stoke your fat burning fires leading to greater fat loss results.
The biggest challenge with protein is actually hitting your macronutrient requirements. Whilst it is always preferred to achieve your macronutrient targets through a well-balanced, healthy, whole foods diet at times life takes over leaving us struggling to meet these requirements. The easiest way to do this is by introducing supplements to our daily eating plan, providing a convenient tool in achieving our macronutrient goals. They help to fill the nutritional gaps. Simply put protein supplements are a convenient way to provide high quality, fat free protein to your muscles post work out of between meals.
This can lead to a great deal of confusion as the world of protein supplements is a perilous place with its own foreign language. It is a multi-billion dollar industry growing exponentially each year; on average over $10 billion is spent globally on supplements by exercisers, athletes and general population.
Our focus here is to give a brief overview and supply you with the right information to help you avoid these pitfalls. There are many different types of protein products available, each with their own benefits. The important thing to remember is to try to select the one that is best for your specific goals and needs.
The majority of the market is made up of whey protein. Whey is a naturally occurring component of milk separated to make cheese and other such products. It is a considered a complete protein, high in B-complex vitamins, calcium, and other micronutrients, fast acting making it ideal for consumption after weight training. Whey can be further broken down (processed) into a number of different forms.
Whey Protein Isolate: The first is Whey protein isolate (WPI). WPI's are high in overall protein value, averaging 90% protein and 3% carbohydrate, with little variation. Being fast acting, it is a powerful post workout protein hit and highly recommended for lean muscle gain. As it is one of the most refined dairy based protein types it also has the lowest lactose value at 99.7% making it a safe option for those with lactose intolerances. Being one of the most refined protein types and with a higher production cost, it seems WPI's only downfall is its price as these are among the most expensive protein supplements on the market.
Whey protein concentrate: Whey protein concentrate (WPC) is one of the most basic forms of proteins and another by-product of dairy. With a lower concentration of protein, around 78% (and 5% carbohydrates) and slower rate of absorption, it is best used as a snack between meals to boost your daily protein requirements and provide a longer lasting protein release. WPC's are a more cost effective and a great starting point into protein supplements. WPI's, however have a higher lactose content and are sometimes more difficult to digest.
Calcium Caseinate: Calcium Caseinate or Casein protein is another milk derivative. Also a slow release protein taking between 5-7 hours to break down, it is best used as a high protein snack or in the evenings for sustained protein release. These are typically thicker more filling, again, better taken between meals and a great tool for combating cravings for high carbohydrate and fatty foods. Casien is also high in glutamine, a muscle building amino acid which helps to fortify the immune system.
Soy protein: Despite being low in amino acids, soy protein is still a complete protein and excellent source of quality protein. Particularly good for vegetarians, vegans and those sensitive to dairy, soy protein has a positive effect on cholesterol and has been found to assist in thyroid hormone production therefore increasing the metabolism and aiding in fat loss. It can be used post workout or as a inter meal snack, though not recommended in the evenings.
Pea protein: Pea protein provides another safe option for vegans, vegetarians, anyone following a restricted diet or with digestive issues. It is a complete protein source providing a solid array of both essential and non-essential amino acids. It is generally more concentrated then whey and is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels and works on sustaining satiety for longer periods of time.
Hydrolysed beef protein: Hydrolysed beef protein is the most expensive form of protein due to its extensive filtration and processing. It is also regarded as the highest quality and best protein available due to its near 100% uptake and fast digestion, absorption and synthesis rate. Hydrolysed beef protein is also non-dairy based, making it ideal for those with lactose intolerances.
This offers a brief overview of the different types of protein supplements available and to assist in making the right choice based of your specific goals and lifestyle. The key is to look out for is a product that is high in protein, low in carbohydrates and low in fat with a limited number of ingredients preferably originating from Australia or New Zealand as these countries have the highest quality control standards when it comes to livestock. Always bear in mind that supplements should be viewed as just that, supplements.
Written by Kyle Sewell*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.