Protein Guide: How to Choose a Protein Powder
Protein, Protein, protein… what’s the big deal about protein? Whether you’re new to fitness, a fitness fanatic or just looking for a way to improve your diet and achieve optimum health, we’re here to tell you why protein is so important and show you How to Choose a Protein Powder.
What is Protein?
Protein, carbohydrates and fat, what do they all have in common? – They are all macro nutrients! Macro nutrients are fundamental components of the diet that are broken down in a series of metabolic reactions to give us energy. Protein in the body is essential for a series of fundamental physiological functions, including helping to repair damaged cells and tissues and increase the development and the growth of muscle. All of the body’s muscles and tissues are made from proteins, whereby these complex biological structures are known as the building blocks of life.
What are the Benefits of Protein?
Protein appears to have gained a reputation as being only essential for those individuals who take part in regular, intense physical activity – with many people follow high carbohydrate and low fat diets. But really guys, this is simply not the case!
Protein is essential for the growth and development of all living beings, whereby the government recommends all adults should be aiming to consume 45-56g of protein a day- regardless of their activity levels. During physical activity however, the body’s demand for protein is increased, making achieving an adequate daily intake even more important to general health and wellbeing.
For individuals who actively participate in cardiovascular exercise, body building, endurance training and various other sports, the ability to be able to perform and achieve a healthy body and physique is highly dependent on protein consumption. During exercise carbohydrates are the body’s number one source of fuel, however, these stores are limited. Once used up, the body begins to breakdown protein from our muscles as an adequate source of energy – this process is known as catabolism. In order to prevent this process from occurring, a protein balance is required in the body, which simply means a balance between protein intake and protein breakdown. As a result the maintenance and growth of muscle relies entirely on the availability of protein in the body. Apart from allowing the body’s muscle to repair faster, protein is also known to keep you fuller for longer! -Making it a popular part of many weight loss diets and a suitable method to help control hunger.
How much protein do I need?
The body’s requirement for protein changes dramatically throughout the life course. For individuals taking part in regular physical activity, whether that be resistance and strength training, running or cycling, the demand for protein is much higher than for your average Joe. During strength training the body’s muscles are forced into protein breakdown, whereby the body can either metabolise amino acids into energy or use them to synthesise new protein. Following training, in order to synthesis new protein and promote muscle growth, a positive protein balance is required – and this is where protein supplements can help. How much protein you need depends on your weight, size and physical activity level however it is generally recommended you consume anywhere between 1g to a massive 2g of protein per kg of body weight. So drop the high carb low protein and low fat diet, these diets can be incredibly bad for health – especially when maintained over a long period of time. A deficiency in protein caused by poor nutrition can lead to muscle atrophy, fatigue and impaired functioning!
When Should I Take Protein?
To achieve the best results aim to consume around 20g of protein every 3 hours. Protein shakes are ideal for when you on the go- they are a quick, easy to make and mess free way to boost your protein intake. The most important times to take protein are:
– First thing in the morning- to restore the bodies nutrients after sleep.
– 30 minutes before a workout- with carbs
– Post workout- when the demand for protein from muscle fibres is at its highest
– Before Bed.
Which Protein Should I Use? There’s a Protein for Everyone
Protein can be found from various different food sources including fish, poultry, red meat, eggs, legumes, pulses, dairy and even some vegetables- however meeting large protein demands can often be difficult through the diet alone.
So now you know, protein is the must have supplement- but which protein product is for you?
Milk is made from two different types of protein- Whey protein and Casein. Whey protein contains all 9 essential amino acids and is known to be easily digestible and one of the fastest absorbing proteins around. Whey protein is the number one consumed supplement, whereby it’s fast action in the body makes it an ideal form of protein delivery when your muscles are most in need- after a workout or first thing in the morning. Myprotein Impact Whey comes in 40 different amazing flavours from pineapple to salted caramel and white chocolate. Our impact whey protein concentrate contains low levels of fat and low levels of carbohydrates with over 20g of protein per serving.
If you’re looking to consume some added carbohydrates with your protein our Diet Whey Protein contains a high concentration of protein with an added source of low glycaemic index carbohydrates. As previously mentioned, carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, whereby our carbohydrate stores become diminished after prolonged periods of cardio and strength training. If you’re regularly taking part in cardiovascular exercise it’s a good idea to restore your carbohydrate stores after training- our diet whey protein is perfect for individuals looking to increase their protein intake whilst only consuming essential amounts of carbohydrates. If you’re on the go, this supplement can be combined with other ingredients to form a handy through the day meal replacement.
Why would you choose whey isolate over whey concentrate? Whey protein isolate is known have a higher level of purity when compared to other whey proteins. This product contains very minimal fat and lactose with over 90% protein per serving. Whey protein isolate has been through several further intense processing methods in order to achieve a formula of the highest protein quality. If you’re sensitive to lactose, following a strict diet or looking for a premium high protein product whey protein isolate will get you the most for your money.
Micellar casein is the second protein derived from milk that is primarily known as a slow releasing protein- this means casein is ideal for individuals looking for a sustained protein release and to feel fuller for longer. By providing up to 24g of protein per serving and a complete amino acid profile, casein can help provide an anti catabolic environment in the body that can spike protein synthesis and contribute to the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass. However, micellar casein is different to whey protein and therefore should be taken at different times to whey protein.
What makes casein different?
Casein forms a micelle (globular ball) when mixed with liquid- this means casein gels together producing a thick consistency that is more slowly digested. When consumed, casein can provide our muscles with a good source of amino acids that can be taken throughout the day to satisfy hunger- or ideally taken at night. During sleep, the body can become starved of nutrients whereby consuming casein for a slow release protein can be ideal for recovery throughout the night.
If you’re still unsure about whether to chose whey or casein, why not get the best of both worlds and try a protein blend. Protein blends contain a range of proteins from several different sources, providing you with a sustained and tailored release of protein. These products contain a range of different proteins including whey and casein as well as added carbohydrates, making them an ideal post workout supplement for anyone taking part in intensive exercise. For example, Milk protein smooth is a blend of native casein and whey protein. This blend means milk protein has an excellent mixability and a good consistency that can give rise to a sustained release of protein and amino acids over long periods of time. Milk protein is ideal for consuming in between meals and before bed that can be consumed in simple shakes, or smoothies and yogurts.
Another option of animal protein is whole egg and egg white protein. Egg protein is incredibly easy to digest making it suitable for many different diets. Our egg white powder has a high protein content with over 80% protein per serving, with every 3.1 grams of Egg White Powder being equivalent to eating approximately 1 medium egg. Egg white powder has a low fat (0.1g) and carbohydrate content (1.3g), making this product an ideal choice for anyone looking to reduce body fat.
Pea protein is a plant-based protein that is 100% vegan friendly. One main benefit of pea protein is that it is hypoallergenic, gluten and lactose free- this means its ideal for individuals with food allergies such as lactose intolerance. Not only this, but Pea protein is highly digestible with a fluffy texture and low fat and carbohydrate content. Being low in carbohydrate means pea protein can be consumed on strict diets and it also provides some additional fibre. Pea protein isolate offers over 23g of protein, with an extensive amino acid profile including glutamic acid. Pea protein is inexpensive with a nutty taste, that’s great to use in baking- unlike whey protein. However, unlike whey protein because pea protein is plant based, it isn’t a complete protein source and therefore needs to be paired with other vegan proteins including brown rice or hemp protein.
You may be thinking brown rice is relatively low in protein …but through fermentation, filtration processing and enzymatic processing the protein and fibre from rice can be effectively separated and extracted from the rice whole grain. Like pea protein, a major benefit of using brown rice protein is it is free from dairy, lactose and gluten, so has hypoallergenic properties. With over 24g of protein per 30g serving, Brown Rice Protein is a great source of vegan protein that can help fill a macro nutritional gap and contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. However, again like pea protein, because brown rice is a plant based protein, so it also needs to be consumed with other forms of vegan protein.
Soy protein is a great source of protein to be consumed in moderation for individuals who are lactose intolerant. Our soy Protein Isolate is made from 100% NON-GMO defatted soy beans and processed to remove the fat and carbohydrate content to produce a product with over 90% protein. Soy protein also contains a comprehensive amino acid profile making sure you don’t miss out on recovery benefits, whereby of the plant based proteins soy is described as the most complete containing all essential amino acids.
Hemp protein is a high quality protein with a high rate of digestibility that is derived from whole raw hemp seeds. This high rate of digestibility means hemp protein can be more efficiently used by the body and is a great vegan source of protein. Hemp protein is lactose and gluten free with 15g of protein per serving. Hemp protein also contains added essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
A Take Home Message
After reading this protein powder guide hopefully you’ll be more in the know about which protein powder is best suited for you and your lifestyle. Remember, protein is not just for building muscle and protein alone won’t make you gain muscle or lose weight – this depends on other lifestyle factors and components of your nutrition.