Factor #: Processing Method And Quality
Protein powders are created through various processing methods and come in several different forms, including concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates.
Lets look at each processing method in more depth.
Concentrates: Protein is extracted from animal or plant-based foods by using high heat and acid or enzymes. Concentrates are the least processed and can be 35 to 80 percent protein by weight.21 A protein percentage of 70 to 80 percent is generally the most common .
The remaining percentage is made up of carbohydrates and fats. So if you dont mind having some additional calories from non-protein sources, protein concentrate could be a good option for you.
Isolates: Protein isolates go through an additional filtration process, which reduces the amount of fat and carbohydrates, leaving 90 percent or more protein by weight. This makes them slightly faster-digesting, though there isnt evidence that this results in improved recovery, muscle growth, or fat loss.
Since isolates usually contain a bit less fat and carbohydrates than concentrates, they might be a slightly better choice for those who are carefully limiting their fat or carb intake, or who are willing to pay more just for potential extra benefit, even if not proven.
Whey, casein, and milk protein isolates may also be slightly better for people with lactose intolerance, since more processing removes much of the lactose.
Calculate Daily Protein Need
To determine your daily protein need, multiply your LBM by the appropriate activity level.
- Sedentary : multiply by 0.5
- Light activity : multiply by 0.6
- Moderate : multiply by 0.7
- Active : multiply by 0.8
- Very active : multiply by 0.9
- Athlete : multiply by 1.0
Based on this method, a 150-pound person with an LBM of 105 would require daily protein intake ranging from 53 grams, if sedentary, to 105 grams if athletic.
Protein Intake How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day
Few nutrients are as important as protein. Not getting enough of it will affect your health and body composition.
However, opinions regarding how much protein you need vary.
Most official nutritional organizations recommend a fairly modest protein intake.
The DRI is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
This amounts to:
- 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man
- 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman
This may be enough to prevent deficiency, but the amount you need depends on many factors, including your activity level, age, muscle mass, physique goals, and overall health.
This article examines the optimal amounts of protein and how lifestyle factors like weight loss, muscle building, and activity levels factor in.
Proteins are the main building blocks of your body. Theyre used to make muscles, tendons, organs, and skin, as well as enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and various molecules that serve many important functions.
Proteins consist of smaller molecules called amino acids, which link together like beads on a string. These linked amino acids form long protein chains, which then fold into complex shapes.
Your body produces some of these amino acids, but you must obtain others known as essential amino acids via your diet.
Protein is not only about quantity but also quality.
If youre eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy every day, youre likely getting enough protein.
Protein is important when it comes to losing weight.
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Protein Shake Mistake #: It’s Not Just About The Shake
It’s easy to poke fun at Jim Bro and his cronies chugging their third protein shake of the day, but know that they’re doing it for the sake of their strength. That doesn’t mean three shakes a day will work for you you can source the same amount of protein from a protein bar. Try to stick to one shake a day and vary your protein sources, even if you’re double-dipping in whey or vegan protein. Just make sure you look at the ingredients list.
“When youre looking for protein bars its important to consider the amount of saturated fats in each bar. Bars which contain more than 5g per 100g is considered high in saturated fats, explains Jenna Hope, , MSc, BSc . Additionally, whilst these bars are a convenient source of protein, many of them are made using artificial and highly processed ingredients.”
Protein bars “should be viewed as a convenient protein source or an alternative to a chocolate bar rather than a healthy snack, explains Hope. The artificial sweeteners can also contribute to cravings for sweet foods. Where possible opt for protein bars which contain fibre and natural ingredients.”
Can I Cook/bake With All The Protein Powders
Yes! Although most recipes will point you towards whey powders, you can use any of the above protein powders to make yummy protein-stacked pancakes, guilt-free protein cookies and so much more.
You dont need to chug down protein shakes everyday.
If you need some inspiration, check out our super tasty protein powder recipes.
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How To Choose A Protein Powder
Protein powders are popular choices for fitness enthusiasts looking to build and tone muscle while improving athletic performance.
Theyre also popular among people interested in supplementing their diet due to dietary restrictions or simply adding a healthy source of protein to it.
Protein powders can also be a quick and easy way to get protein when youre pressed for time.
Protein powders are made from various protein sources. To find the protein powder thats best for you, youll need to decide which ingredients would be best for your needs.
Animal-based protein powders include:
Meanwhile, plant-based protein powders often include pea, rice, and hemp.
Some blends also include other sources of plant-based protein, such as whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Look for protein powders that have as few ingredients as possible, ensuring to always check the labels carefully and look out for any additives, including sodium, sugars, or artificial colors and flavors.
Additionally, be sure to opt for protein powders that have undergone third-party testing whenever possible.
Athletes may also want to consider choosing a protein powder that has been tested for banned substances by organizations like Informed Sport.
Which Is The Best Protein Powder For Me
Picking a protein is entirely a personal choice, based on your goal and dietary requirements.
For example, its wise to choose a higher calorie bulking protein powder if youre looking to put on weight and muscle, whereas if you want to lose weight, a low-cal diet protein powder would be a lot more suitable.
Use our guide below to find out which protein supplement could help you reach your goals.
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Question #: What Other Ingredients Are In The Protein Powder
While sweeteners, flavoring, and thickeners are common in protein powders, some contain more than others.
There are exceptions, but you generally want to look for protein powders with fewer ingredients. That said, guidelines like look for foods with fewer than five ingredients dont necessarily apply to protein powders.
Heres a look at the most common ingredients in protein powders, plus how to make sense of them.
How Much Protein Do I Need
Before you can find the protein powder thats right for you , it helps to understand exactly why protein matters so much in the first place.
The main reason to use protein powder is to help you hit your protein goals.
Not getting enough protein can cause you to:
- lose muscle mass
- have skin, hair, and nail problems
- heal more slowly if you get cuts or bruises
- experience mood swings
- be more likely to break bones
To be clear, though, this isnt a concern for the majority of folks.
Most people eating the average Western diet arent protein deficient.
The bare minimum protein requirement is estimated to be 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. So at the absolute minimum, a 160-pound person needs about 58 grams of protein to prevent protein deficiency.
For reference, a palm of protein has about 20 to 30 grams of protein. So with 2 to 3 palms of proteinlike chicken breast, tofu, Greek yogurt, or legumesper day, youd be set.
But eating the bare minimum of protein is different from eating an optimal amount of protein.
Generally, most active people can meet their optimal protein intake by eating 1 to 2 palms of protein at each meal.
Unless you have a specific medical reason to keep your protein intake low, most people will benefit from eating more protein.
Why? There are plenty of reasons, including:
Read Also: How To Get More Protein Without Carbs
Beans Lentils Peas & Soy
Legumes beans, lentils, peas, seeds, and soy are a good source of protein and provide other essential nutrients. Yes, most are higher in carbs than the other foods on this list. However, theyre also high in fiber. Plus, as an excellent source of plant-based protein, legumes are perfect for vegetarian and vegan weight-loss diets.
One review of 21 trials found that people who included beans, lentils, and other legumes in their diet lost a small amount of weight without deliberately restricting calories.16
While soy is considered a complete protein, beans and legumes are low in one or more of the essential amino acids that you need to eat to stay healthy.18 The good news is, combining different plant proteins, such as beans and nuts, can provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids your body needs.19
Plant protein powder supplements are processed, so they lack the fiber found in whole foods. However, they are a good option for getting more protein with fewer carbs. For this reason, you may want to consider occasionally including plant protein powders if youre a vegetarian or vegan who eats keto or low carb.
Protein percentage range: 80% to 26%
Getting More Protein Into Your Day Naturally
If youre looking for ways to get more protein into your diet, here are some suggestions:
- Try a peanut butter sandwich. Remember to use natural peanut butter with no added salt, sugar or other fillers.
- Low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese is high in protein and can go in your scrambled eggs, casserole, mashed potato or pasta dish. Or spread it on your toast in the morning.
- Nuts and seeds are fantastic in salads, with vegetables and served on top of curries. Try toasting some pine nuts or flaked almonds and putting them in your green salad.
- Beans are great in soups, casseroles, and pasta sauces. Try tipping a drained can of cannellini beans into your favourite vegetable soup recipe or casserole.
- A plate of hummus and freshly cut vegetable sticks as a snack or hummus spread on your sandwich will give you easy extra protein at lunchtime.
- Greek yoghurt is a protein rich food that you can use throughout the day. Add some on your favourite breakfast cereal, put a spoonful on top of a bowl of pumpkin soup or serve it as dessert with some fresh fruit.
- Eggs are a versatile and easy option that can be enjoyed on their own or mixed in a variety of dishes.
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Protein From Whole Foods Is Ideal
Why is protein from whole foods superior? Mainly, its because it comes packaged with other nutrients: vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, zoonutrients, and so on, depending on the source.
No supplement will be able to imitate those combinations exactly, nor their synergistic effects. And when foods are processed to create protein powder, certain nutrients may be stripped, and others may be added back inwhich can sometimes be beneficial, and sometimes not.
Of course, protein powder does digest faster than whole foods. This would be an advantage if you were trying to quickly flood your muscles with protein after a workout.
This is an approach called nutrient timingor eating certain nutrients at strategic timesand it was all the rage in the early 2000s. But as research advanced, the benefits of slamming a protein shake immediately after a workout proved less important than we once thought.
Protein Powders Are Just One Weight Loss Tool
When it comes to losing weight, creating a calorie deficit is what matters most.
Once you establish a calorie deficit, there are some advantages to increasing your protein intake, which protein powders can help you do.
Increasing your protein intake helps you lose weight by:
- Increasing feelings of fullness: Protein helps you stay fuller longer, which can lead you to eat less and lose weight (
- 27 ).
That said, protein powders alone wont help you lose weight. They only make dieting easier by controlling your hunger.
There are several ways that increasing your protein intake benefits weight loss. While protein powders can form part of a larger dieting plan, they wont directly help you lose weight.
Factor #: Protein Quality
For many people, the quality of the protein source is the highest priority. When it comes to assessing quality, theres a lot of talk about complete versus incomplete proteins.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are sort of like different colored Legos. They can be put together in different ways to serve different purposes in the body.
In all, your body uses 20 different amino acids.
Seven of those amino acids are non-essential amino acids. Thats because your body can create those on its own.
There are also four conditionally essential amino acids, which are ones your body can make, but not always. For example, your body might have a harder time making enough of them when youre sick, or after hard athletic training.
The other nine amino acids are known as essential amino acids . Your body cant make these, so you have to get them from food.
This is important, because EAAs play key roles in building and repairing tissuelike musclebut also in building hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
Branched-chain amino acids , a subcategory of EAAs, are especially important for their role in muscle protein synthesis.
Muscle protein synthesis is the process your body uses to repair and build muscle after exercise. While muscle protein synthesis is much more complicated than just one amino acid, leucine plays an integral role in triggering the process, which makes it probably the most well-known BCAA.
We Need To Maintain Our Muscle Mass As We Age Because We Become Less Active And Frail
Most experts agree with Tipton that protein is best consumed in food instead of supplements. But there are some exceptions, such as athletes who find it difficult to hit their daily protein targets, points out Graeme Close, professor of human physiology at Liverpool John Moores University. I believe most need more than the recommended daily allowance, and theres good evidence to support this, he says. In this case, he says, a shake can be useful.
Another demographic who can benefit from extra protein? The elderly. Thats because as we age, we need more protein to retain muscle mass. But we also tend to eat less protein as we get older because our taste-buds begin to prefer sweet over savoury.
Emma Stevenson, professor of sport and exercise science at Newcastle University, is working with food companies to get more protein into snacks that the elderly are known to regularly buy, such as biscuits. We need to maintain our muscle mass as we age, because we become less active and frail, she says.
Close says the elderly should increase protein intake to around 1.2g per kg body weight.
Most people get more than their daily recommended allowance of protein from their diet
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Other Circumstances That Can Increase Protein Needs
Regardless of muscle mass and physique goals, those who are physically active need more protein than those who are sedentary.
If your job is physically demanding or you walk a lot, run, swim, or do any sort of exercise, you need to eat more protein.
Endurance athletes also need significant amounts of protein about 0.50.65 grams per pound of body weight (
This can help prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia, both of which are significant problems among older adults.
People recovering from injuries may likewise need more protein .
People who are physically active, as well as older adults and those recovering from injuries, have significantly increased protein requirements.
Very High Protein Diets Are Dangerous
Some fad diets promote very high protein intakes of between 200 and 400g per day. This is more than five times the amount recommended in the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The protein recommendations in the Guidelines provide enough protein to build and repair muscles, even for body builders and athletes. A very high-protein diet can strain the kidneys and liver. It can also prompt excessive loss of the mineral calcium, which can increase your risk of osteoporosis.
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Is Protein Powder Bad For You
The NHS says that evidence that the long term effects of consuming too much protein can lead to an increase in the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and can also worsen existing kidney problems.7
For the reason, the Department of Health advises adults to stick to the recommended daily intake of protein 55.5g for men and 45g for women.
The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
: 6 August 2021