How Does Protein Powder Work

How Does Protein Build Muscle

Does Protein Powder Work? (Spoiler: YES, but there’s a catch)

Every time you exercise, tiny muscle fibres are torn. Amino acids repair these muscle fibres and, through repairing, make the muscle grow bigger and stronger. This constant repairing is how exercise builds muscles they dont magically swell a little every time you do some weights. Protein is a vital part of the process.

Most People Can Get Enough Protein From Their Diet

One egg, one half-cup of chickpeas, or a small handful of nuts all provide roughly 6 grams of protein. A piece of chicken or fish the size of a deck of cards offers about 30 grams.

For many people, it is relatively easy to reach recommended amounts through their usual diet. On average, Americans consume 65 to 90 grams of protein each day.

Research suggests older adults and exercisers looking to support muscle growth may benefit from eating one-and-a-half to two times as much protein as the RDA. As we age we lose muscle, and research shows boosting protein may help increase strength and lean body mass. But unless you have a restricted diet, such as a strict plant-based or vegan regimen, this increase is often still achievable through food.

Though pregnant women have slightly elevated protein needs, they should consult an obstetrician or dietitian if considering protein supplements, as companies sometimes add potentially unsafe ingredients like ginkgo or papain to protein powders. Also, individuals with kidney disease often benefit from consuming marginally less protein than the RDA, and should talk to a healthcare provider before supplementing with protein.

The Big Three Protein Powders

Whey Protein

Whey is a liquid left over from milk once it has been curdled and strained and is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Whey protein powder is one of the most popular sports nutrition products in the world because of its availability, cost and effectiveness. Once consumed whey is rapidly digested, then absorbed by your digestive system so it gets into your bloodstream and your muscles very quickly, initiating the recovery and rebuilding process.

Whey protein powder comes in one of four forms: concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate and native. All four types are abundant in BCAAs, the amino acids that are essential for rebuilding and repairing the muscular damage caused by working out. Some whey products use one type of protein exclusively, typically a higher-quality protein source for a premium product, or an inferior type to keep the cost down. Other products contain different combinations of whey, as well as other sources of protein, such as casein or soy, again depending on the products recommended use or to reduce manufacturing costs.


Casein is the main type of protein found in dairy, making up around 80% of the protein content of cows milk. Whereas whey protein is rapidly absorbed by your body, making it the perfect post-workout protein source, you break down and digest casein much more slowly, over many hours, to give a slow and sustained release of amino acids into your bloodstream and then to your muscles.

Weight Gainer

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How To Use Protein Powders

If you calculate your protein intake and determine that youâre not getting enough for your athletic needs how can you best use protein powders to help you improve your performance?

First, ignore the conventional wisdom, which says to take protein powders immediately after a workout. âBefore, during, and after a workout, carbs are what your body needs. Theyâre what your body uses for fuel, and what your muscles run on,â says Lewin. âYes, protein is also important for recovery after a workout, but research shows that at that point, the body needs fuel with a 4-1 or 5-1 ratio of carbs to protein.â Since most protein powders have at least 20 grams of protein per scoop, youâd need about 80 grams of carbs to go with that scoop to get the proper proportion of nutrients!

For a better ârecovery drinkâ after a workout, Lewin recommends a fruit smoothie with yogurt or milk, or, surprisingly, chocolate milk. âA glass of chocolate milk is one of the best things for recovery,â she says.

So when should you use protein powders, if youâve determined you need them to get more protein in your diet? Throughout the day as a snack or meal replacement, says Lewin, but not in the immediate time period surrounding your workouts.

And donât forget, says Conn: âProtein powders are not really necessary if you have access to a normal, healthy diet.â

Show Sources

Barbara Lewin, RD, LD, dietitian and sports nutritionist, Ft. Myers, Fla.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Why Does Protein Powder Work

Does Protein Powder Work And Other Frequently Asked ...

Why does protein powder work? As mentioned before, protein shakes provide amino acids that are easily absorbed by your body. Researchers believe that their intake increases amino acid levels in the bloodstream, which in turn triggers a more significant response for muscle synthesis .

Do protein powders really do anything? When used correctly, protein powders can be effective to build muscle mass and provide more protein in your diet. However, the use of protein powder alone wont magically increase muscle mass, Bonci says. Its a combination of eating protein and carbs, as well as strength training, Bonci says.

What is the point of taking protein powder? Protein powder is a popular nutritional supplement. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones. Using protein powder may also aid weight loss and help people tone their muscles.

Why is powdered protein bad for you? It may be high in added sugars and calories. Some protein powders have little added sugar, and others have a lot . Some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories. The risk: weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar.

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Protein Powder: Benefits What To Look For And How To Use It

We explore the health benefits of using protein shakes as a sports supplement.

Protein powder might have once been the sports supplement reserved for body builders, but these days many health conscious people integrate shakes into their diet. So how does protein powder work, what’s the best way to consume it and what should you look out for?

We speak to Steve Hertzler, chief scientific officer of EAS Sports Nutrition, about the pros and cons of protein powder:

What I Personally Recommend

There are a few protein powders out there that meet this quota and the ones that do will have various kinds of protein listed on the nutritional label. Whey, egg, and casein are three kinds of protein that should be found in any acceptable blend on the market.

One product that Ive used extensively with great success would be BSNs Syntha-6. Its a great-tasting and high-quality protein blend that really helps maintain and promote lean muscle tissue.

Not quite as good as whole food, but when blended with whole foods such as fruit, peanut butter, and oats then it quickly becomes a viable and effective meal replacement.

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Norcal Organic Pea Protein

as of April 8, 2022 12:01 pm

It is made of an enzyme-rich plant and is enriched with protein. Also, it is free from gluten and lactose and contains higher branched-chain amino acids. Moreover, it is ideal for muscle growth and a balanced diet. You can make oatmeal, pancakes, shakes, smoothies, and others. It is good for tissues and bone development. Additionally, it has high-quality proteins and is good for the immune system.

What Whey Protein Wont Do

Protein Powder Explained (Does it Work?)

So we know what whey protein is intended to do, but what you need to know is that its not the ultimate solution for muscle-building. You cant just pound whey protein and expect to see massive muscle growth. Thats ESPECIALLY true if youre not doing a hardcore workout.

You see, your body responds to both the food you put into it and the energy you demand from it. Higher food consumption leads to an increase in stored body fat, but higher energy demands leads to more energy production.

Your body is highly adaptable, so it tries to respond to the demands you place on it. If you strain your muscles , it has to respond by increasing energy storage capacity. This is done by expanding muscle fiber size and increasing muscle fiber count. In simple terms, you get bigger muscles!

But that will ONLY happen if you demand more from your body. Lifting more weight than normalwhich you do through regular weightliftingis the key to increasing your muscular capacity. By pushing yourself beyond the limits of your strength, you force your body to adapt and increase energy storage. This leads to bigger muscles.

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Using Protein Powder Makes It Easy To Support Your Health And Wellbeing

What does protein powder do?

Along with carbohydrates and fats, protein is a macronutrient, and it provides the body with amino acids. Our bodies require 20 different amino acids, which are sequenced and folded to combine in almost endless ways to fulfil the many roles of protein in the body. However, a protein source is considered complete if it provides all of the 9 essential amino acids that cant be made by the body

Protein plays a central role in growth and development throughout the entire body. In addition to muscle growth, protein is essential to the growth and repair of virtually all cells and body tissues – from your skin, hair, and nails to your bones, organs, and bodily fluids. Protein also plays a role in crucial bodily functions like blood clotting, immune system response, vision, fluid balance, and the production of various enzymes and hormones.

Regardless of the protein source, the bodys first objective is to break dietary protein down into all its amino acids before sending them to the liver for processing and reassembling into the various kinds of proteins that go to work in the body.

Healthy weight management

Lean muscle growth

Post-workout recovery

Protein’s primary function is to build and repair cells, including the muscle cells damaged when exercising. On top of assisting with lean muscle growth, protein powder can help repair damaged muscles and tissues by increasing muscle protein synthesis.

Protein Shake Mistake #: Youre Making A Meal Of It

There are too many guys who think all protein is created equal and are swapping for shakes. Dont be one of them. It might be quick to take, but a high calorie smoothie is unlikely to fill you up and wont give you as many nutrients as a proper meal, says Baptie. Plus, a full course means your body has to work harder to break down the food so you use up more calories in the digestion process.

The Fix

If your busy work day makes it too tempting to trade in a meal for a whey shake, then prep your lunchtime the night before. Focus on things like fish, chicken, turkey, beef for the best protein. Theyve got far more nutrients to keep you full, says Baptie. Thats right, investing in some foil, Tupperware and a Mexican tuna salad could be a key step to a chiselled core.

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How Much Protein Do I Really Need

The truth is, those bodybuilding physiques that spring to mind for many women when they are considering whether to take protein powder, are shaped not by protein powder itself, but through hours of specific and intense training in the gym daily, a super restrictive diet, and often other supplements. Unlike men, most women do not have the same level of hormones specifically testosterone levels – that are needed for this kind of bulky, hyper-muscly look, so theres no need to worry that youll resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger.

When it comes to protein powder serving sizes, it really varies depending on the individual and their activity level, so its best to experiment with portions until you find the size that suits you best. As a general guide, if youre trying to lose a few kilos, take a 20-30g serving. If your priority is on building lean muscles, use 35g or more per serving.

If you dont have the time or energy to get your protein from meal-prepping a weeks worth of chicken breast, eggs and peas, protein powder offers a convenient means of getting the necessary protein into your diet. Women are more at risk of developing protein deficiencies, so keep in mind the recommended amount is roughly 1g/kg body weight per day of protein in your diet. Find out how much protein should I have for losing weight, gaining muscle or maintaining your current physique.

What To Look For When Buying Protein Powder

Does Protein Powder Work And Other Frequently Asked ...

With so many products on the market, it’s important to seek out quality protein. ‘Once you choose the right protein source, look for products from reputable manufacturers that are committed to quality and transparency,’ says Hertzler. ‘Treat protein supplements the way you would the other foods you put in your body: read the label carefully and make sure you know what’s in the powder and why it’s there.’

Hertzler recommends you look out for the following three things when shopping for protein shakes:

  • The first is making sure that the protein is high-quality, such as whey or pure milk concentrate and pure.
  • Secondly, keep an eye our for purity do all the ingredients have a purpose or are there unnecessary sugars or filler?
  • Lastly, focus on mixability and taste. You want a product that dissolves easily and tastes nice.
  • ‘All protein powders will tout the number of grams of protein per serving on the label, with typical numbers ranging from 15 to 30 grams,’ says Hertzler. ‘But it’s worth double-checking to ensure all of those grams are coming from the source you expect. For example, some whey proteins also contain creatine, which is a nitrogen-containing compound and may be mistakenly counted as protein during label claim testing, even though it is not protein.’

    He also advises avoiding unnecessary fillers or sugars. Make sure you’re not getting more than you bargained for in the form of added sugars.

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    Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Pea Protein Powder

    as of April 8, 2022 12:01 pm

    It contains the essential protein from organically sourced yellow protein. You may add it to your recipes, and it is a good option for post-workout recovery. It is also unflavoured and comes in a pouch that supplies the essential protein. Additionally, it is vegan and free from gluten, GMO, and other harmful toxins.

    Protein Boosts Your Metabolism

    Eating more protein can speed up your metabolic rate. Protein promotes the thermic effect of food . According to Helen West, RD, this phenomenon increases your metabolic rate by 1530%, compared with 510% for carbs and 03% for fats.

    Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions which keep your body functioning optimally. On the other hand, metabolic rate is defined as the number of calories you burn.

    Moreover, a high-protein diet, particularly when combined with strength training, can speed up your metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat. To facilitate this, protein powders add more protein to your diet.

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    When Should You Increase Your Protein Intake

    There are key situations where protein powders can be really beneficial to your health and your diet. You may want to consider adding more protein to your diet if youre doing any of the following activities:

    • Growing Teens who workout should especially consider protein powder or supplements. Often, these kids are doing adult-sized workouts, but their bodies are still growing so they need more protein in general.
    • Starting a workout program When youre increasing your workouts, your body will burn more calories, and protein is an efficient way to replace those calories.
    • Trying to build muscle Protein really helps with building muscle.
    • Recovering When youre recovering from a sports injury, in particular, your body needs to regenerate muscle tissue, and protein can fuel that process.
    • Going Vegan– Its possible to get plenty of protein without animal-based products, but as you get used to the transition, you may want to supplement with protein powder.

    The Benefits Of Whey Protein

    Does Protein Powder Work? | Protein Supplements VS Whole Foods

    Whey protein has numerous benefits. Some include:

    • It contains high-quality proteins that help you build muscle mass
    • Whey protein can be used as a meal replacement or between meals
    • Aids in weight loss and helps maintain healthy body weight by decreasing appetite
    • Helps to repair damaged muscle tissue
    • Provides a quick and convenient way of getting the recommended daily amount of protein

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    Protein Shake Mistake #: Youre Selling Yourself Short

    When it comes to protein powder, theres no such thing as cheap and cheerful. According to Baptie, if your shake contains a concentrate powder with a suspiciously low price and a long shelf life then youre forking out for something packed with fat and carbs. These are the best whey protein products you can buy.

    The Fix

    Whey Isolate protein. Its a touch more expensive, but when it comes to powder you get what you pay for. Due to its long refinement processing, isolate will give you a higher quality protein without the unnecessary additives, says Baptie.

    Not sure your current shake packs the right punch? Check one scoop of your powder contains at least 20-25 grams of protein. Drop below that and youll soon notice your wallet shrinking and belly fat bulging.

    Protein Powder Helps Satiate Hunger

    Consuming protein is the main reason that we feel full after eating. People who follow a plant-based diet need to be much more conscious about their sources of protein because its most commonly found in animal products like meat. While vegetables and fruits contain many other essential nutrients, they dont necessarily give us that feeling of fullness, which can cause discomfort and lead to the previously mentioned issues associated with protein deficiency.

    Using protein powder to make a shake in the mornings is a great way to satiate hunger and provide your body with plenty of energy for the day. Most people tend to eat a small breakfast, a medium-sized lunch and a large dinner, but the most effective way to help your metabolism to perform efficiently is by flipping this schedule. Eating a protein-heavy breakfast kickstarts your metabolism first thing in the morning and encourages it to burn fat instead of lean muscle.

    You also want to consume the most calories in the morning if you can because your body then has the whole day to burn these calories off as opposed to consuming a lot at night when people are usually more sedentary. Because your body slows down or stops many of its biological functions at night, youre not burning off fat and calories during sleep. This means when you consume a lot of food at night, your body is not metabolizing and converting it into essential elements throughout the night.

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