You’re just getting into your new workout routine, you’ve got your gym gear, the new sneaks, a jazzy sports bottle, gleaming with an overall aurora of confidence and determination. As you’re getting stuck into your workout routine, you look around the gym and it comes to your attention that you seem to be surrounded by men all with protein shakes super glued to their hands. Well we all know why that is don’t we? Protein makes you big, muscley and bulky right?
Protein and protein shakes have developed a reputation in society for directly causing big bulky muscles that are only for men, and if girls want to lose weight, it’s all about eating like a rabbit and cutting those cals! But girls, this is a mega misconception that could not be further from the truth! You won’t become a body-builder by increasing your protein. Yes bodybuilders eat a lot of protein, but they also train extremely hard with mega strict diet and supplement routines. Those exercising regularly and intensely should be looking to get around 1-2 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight per day and even when in combination with lifting weights, females won’t build huge muscles because we don’t have the male hormone testosterone required to do so. Instead, you’ll be able to replace fat with very lean muscle that can create that desired toned body you’ve always wanted. So fear no more, here at Myprotein we are here to help everyone, male and female, to reach fitness goals and fuel your ambition! So find out here, why protein is an essential to any diet and an important asset that will help you lose weight, recover and transform your body!
Protein in the diet has so many benefits, with the strongest lines of evidence confirming that protein plays a fundamental role within weight and fat loss. You may not know this, but protein is well known for being the most filling macro nutrient in the diet, whereby it has been shown in both human and animal studies that protein consumption can suppress appetite and food intake much more than fats or carbohydrates, making you feel fuller for longer! This is good news girls- not only will you snack less, but like me you will no longer be haunted by that loud embarrassing rumble that seems to scream from your stomach at the most inappropriate times!
But the science doesn’t stop there! There is a huge range of evidence which suggests a high-protein diet can support fat loss, by making your lose weight primarily from fat tissue, so you can become more healthy and more lean. The reasons for these benefits can be explained the physiological and metabolic response to protein digestion in the body, whereby protein consumed in the diet can single handedly increase the rate of thermogenesis in the body- the fat releasing and burning process!
If you’re like many of my girl friends, you’ve been trying really hard in the gym, attending multiple fitness classes and doing what seems like never ending, mega intense workouts. As a result, you’re waking up the next day with aches and pains- walking around like the tin man from the wizard of oz! Yet you’re STILL not seeing any results! Well again, here’s where protein can swoop in and become the answer to your workout problems. Proteins are complex structured macro nutrients that are formed from a combination of small building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids cannot be produced by our bodies and they are essential to everyday function. There are many different amino acids that exist, but a few important ones in protein are leucine, iso-leucine and Valine. The availability of these amino acids and many others in the blood is critical for the metabolism of protein in the muscles; therefore it highly determines the conversion of fat to muscle and the rate of muscle recovery. By upping your protein intake you can speed up the recovery process within your muscles, resulting from a workout, which means you will not only feel less pain and stiffness the following day, but you’ll also start to notice results and changes a lot more quickly!
So now we’ve tackled the ridiculous misconception that protein should only be consumed by men and you now know the basics of why you should be taking protein and its many advantages. Right, its go time- time to buy some protein shakes! But type the key phrase “protein shakes” into Google and you’ll be overwhelmed with endless results of all sorts of different proteins, but how are you meant to know which one is which and which you should be taking? Here at Myprotein we can provide supply you with a range of different proteins with some absolutely amazing flavours, so it’s only fair we explain a few of the significant difference between them.
Let’s not lie, eating up to 2g of protein per kg of body weight is not easy, and this is where supplements such as whey protein can help! Whey protein is a protein you’ve probably commonly heard of, and most likely it’s what’s in those protein shakes you seen in the gym! Whey protein is mixture of globular proteins that is produced as a by product within cheese production from milk. In the development of whey protein, the fat is removed whereby the protein content is increased by removing lipids and other non-protein materials.
There’s a reason why whey protein is taken in the gym and after a workout. This is because, during a workout your muscles become torn, once torn protein synthesis occurs and muscle fibres can repair themselves. However, the rate of this repair is relatively slow on its own, and after a workout you’ve not only used most of your nutrient stores, but your muscles are also in desperate need of new fuel. Whey protein contains a high concentration of amino acids and therefore is critical for muscle repair and protein synthesis. Not only this, but due to its specific biological structure, whey is acid soluble in the body and so it is digested much more quickly than many other sources of protein, thus inducing a more immediate and greater rate of protein synthesis. This has been consistently shown in both human and animal studies, for example, two randomised studies, performed on humans, studied the appetite response and biochemical response after taking whey protein drink. The study showed that whey protein was not only more filling but it was also associated with greater levels of circulating amino acids in the blood and a greater rate of protein synthesis after consumption. There are a few different types of whey protein which all have similar functions including concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Whey protein concentrate consist of up to 89% protein, the shakes are milky in taste, have a low level of fat and typically have a greater level of carbohydrates in the form of lactose. Whey isolate is a protein that is processed further in order to remove more fat and more of the carbohydrate lactose, and therefore it contain 90% or more protein. Hydrolysate whey proteins are slightly different again, because these proteins are pre-digested. This means they are partially broken down so they are easier to metabolise and if you have food allergies, these types of whey tend to be less allergenic!
Therefore, post workout you need to pick the right shake for you with a high content of whey protein, with some carbohydrates that can get straight to work on repairing your muscles.
For those of you vegetarians and vegan gals out there, we’ve got you covered! Soy protein is a protein that is extracted from the soy beans of the soy bean plant, which despite being meat free contains all the essential amino acids that can support your muscle growth and repair! This clever plant can therefore deliver a good source of high quality protein, containing 60-70% protein that is digested at a similar rate to whey protein. Soy also has many other beneficial health effects, providing sources of vitamin E, B and many minerals such as potassium, iron and zinc.
Casein protein is one of the highest quality sources of protein that is predominantly find in milk! Milk contains a 80:20 ratio of casein to whey protein and when isolated casein forms a thicker consistency than whey. This is because casein protein is more insoluble in water than whey protein, it is digested in the body at a much slower rate than whey. Whey protein increases total body protein synthesis, but casein protein is scientifically known as the slow releasing protein that works by slowly releasing amino acids into the blood, stopping the breakdown of protein in body. Other than leading to a greater retention of muscle casein has a range of other benefits; casein also contains more calcium and therefore can help boost your protein intake and calcium intake for dental protection, healthy bones and muscles! Being of such a high quality means the protein in casein is more fully absorbed that other low quality sources, maximising your progress.
Because casein is more slowly releasing than whey or soy protein it makes sense that it should be taken at a different time. This time can be at any point of the day when you want to increase your protein intake, or for the most effective impact, the optimum time to consume casein is before bed. This is because other than being released slowly, studies have shown that during sleep casein protein is effectively digested and absorbed, causing a rapid rise in circulating amino acid levels which can be sustained throughout the entire night! It therefore prevents the breakdown of muscle as you sleep, aids overnight muscle repair and provides a positive protein balance in the body. Therefore a protein shake high in casein and low in carbohydrates half an hour before bed is perfect to keep feeding your hungry muscles even when your asleep.
There are many protein shakes on the market that are developed for specific times of the day; including our Myprotein breakfast protein smoothie and night time extreme. But you can easily develop your own using whey or soy protein and casein protein. For the best muscle conditions and anabolism it may even be ideal to combine these proteins since whey protein can enhance protein synthesis and casein can prevent the breakdown of muscle. So please don’t be scared girls! Get that protein and start to reap in the rewards of your hard work.
Tipton, K. D. et al. 2007. Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 292(1), E71-E76.
Tipton, K. D., et al. 2004. Ingestion of casein and whey proteins result in muscle anabolism after resistance exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36, 2073-2081.
Tang, J. E., et al. 2009. Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(3), 987-992.
Belobrajdic, D. P., McIntosh, G. H., & Owens, J. A. 2004. A high-whey-protein diet reduces body weight gain and alters insulin sensitivity relative to red meat in wistar rats. The Journal of nutrition, 134(6), 1454-1458.
Aoyama, T, et al. 2000. Effect of soy and milk whey protein isolates and their hydrolysates on weight reduction in genetically obese mice.Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 64(12), 2594-2600.
De Wit, J. N. 1998. Nutritional and functional characteristics of whey proteins in food products. Journal of Dairy Science, 81(3), 597-608.
Westerterp-Plantenga, M. Set al. 2009. Dietary protein, weight loss, and weight maintenance.Annual review of nutrition, 29, 21-41.
Hall, W. L., et al. 2003. Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite. British Journal of Nutrition, 89(02), 239-248.
Anderson, G. H., & Moore, S. E. 2004. Dietary proteins in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans. the Journal of Nutrition, 134(4), 974S-979S.
G, B., Pennings, et al. 2012. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 44(8), 1560-1569.
Scott, C. B., & Devore, R. 2005. Diet-induced thermogenesis: variations among three isocaloric meal-replacement shakes. Nutrition, 21(7), 874-877.
Le Leu, R. et al. 1998. Whey Proteins as Functional Food Ingredients. International Dairy Journal. 8(5,6). 425-434.Protein - A Woman's Best Friend by Mr Protein