Important functions of the body such as growth, repair of body tissues, boosting the immune system, and transporting nutrients in the body rely on Protein. Protein is often referred to as amino acid, however, protein is a macronutrient consisting of 20 different amino acids. About 11 of these amino acids can be produced by the body, the remaining 9 are derived from the things we eat such as eggs, fish and nuts.
Protein can also be derived from supplements known as Protein Powders. These can be used to supplement the 9 amino acids required in the body. A healthy adult is recommended to take 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight. However, those who practice intense training can take up to 1 – 1.6g/kg, and 2g/kg; this level is considered safe for long-term consumption. Protein powders which contain concentrated doses of protein made from a variety of sources can help whenever you need a quick boost of pure protein. It has a good number of benefits.
Here are some benefits of protein powders:
For those involved in intense training, protein powder taken after a workout session can help build muscles. According to a study, whey protein supplementation resulted in more lean muscle mass than soy and isocaloric carbohydrate in non-trained participants .
Consuming protein powder has been found to promote fat loss while preserving muscle mass in obese participants .
belly fat loss
Protein powder can also enhance belly fat loss. A 2015 study found that whey protein helped increase abdominal fat loss and lean muscle mass .
There is a cluster of conditions that can increase the risk of heart disease, it is known as Metabolic syndrome. Whey protein, which is a type of protein powder, may help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome .
Protein powders are made using different extraction techniques and processes depending on their type. There are basically 7 types of protein powders, they include:
Whey is the liquid part of the milk that separates after the coagulation process during cheese making. The most recognizable example is translucent water in a cup of plain yogurt.
There are two varieties of whey protein, the concentrated whey protein also referred to as Whey Concentrate and the whey isolate protein powder known as Whey Isolate. The concentrated whey protein powder typically contains 60-80% protein and the rest carbs, fats, and some lactose. Whereas the whey isolates protein powder, undergoes additional processing to make sure it has up to 90% protein, almost zero carbs, fat, and a minimal trace of lactose. For this reason, the whey isolate is considered to be the purest form of protein powder for athletes, muscle builders, and those with lactose intolerance.
Average macros per serving (Whey concentrate):
Calories: 119 carbs: 2 g fat: 1 g Protein: 23 g
Average macros per serving (Whey isolate):
Calories: 110 carbs: 1 g fat: 0.5 g Protein: 25 g
Egg white protein powder as the name implies, is made from egg whites. It is recommended for those with dairy allergies who may still want an animal-based protein supplement. It’s a high-quality protein; however, it may not increase satiety as other protein powders do due to the yolk (fat) being removed. Egg white protein is a rich source of BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) that plays a very important role in muscle growth and repair. It can be taken throughout the day because it releases protein slowly than whey.
Calories: 113 carbs: 1 g fat: 0 g Protein: 25 g.
Casein is a milk protein that digests slowly, releasing small and steady doses of protein for several hours. Similar to whey, casein is also a complete protein, and it’s what gives the white color of milk. The slow release of amino acids by casein provides better nitrogen retention and use by the body . Casein is not suitable to be taken after a workout and is better taken at night to optimize the growth and recovery period during sleep.
Average macros per serving:
Calories: 110 carbs: 1 g fat: 0 g Protein: 27 g
For those who are allergic to dairy, you can check out Hemp Protein Powder. Hemp Protein is a high-quality plant-based protein powder made from hemp seeds. It’s rich in essential amino acids, fiber, healthy fat, and minerals. Many people love the earthy taste of hemp seed protein powder and enjoy it in their shakes and smoothies. Other than being an excellent source of protein, hemp seeds also have many other health benefits: it is packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Calories: 110 carbs: 6 g fat: 3 g Protein: 14 g.
Soy Protein is another popular plant-based protein powder enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians, and those allergic to dairy foods. The US FDA recommends 25 g/d of soy protein, and most brands contain anywhere between 15-30 g per serving . Although it’s a complete protein and can help build muscles, it’s not as effective as whey protein.
Calories: 110 carbs: 1 g fat: 1 g Protein: 25 g
Brown rice protein is gluten-free and suitable for muscle building. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants and other nutrients. It has many health benefits, such as aiding in weight loss and improving liver damage .
Average macros per serving:
Calories: 100 carbs: 1 g fat: 1 g Protein: 25 g
7: Pea Protein | Hypo-allergenic and easy to digest plant-based protein powder
Pea protein powder is made from yellow peas. It’s a rich source of essential amino acids and iron. One study found that pea protein and whey protein produced similar performance and adaptation results after eight weeks of high-intensity interval training .
Average macros per serving:
Calories: 80 carbs: 1 g fat: 1.5 g Protein: 15 g
Choosing the best protein powder depends on what you aim to achieve and what you can tolerate. If improving your body composition, and muscle building is your primary goal, you might want to go for whey concentrate or whey isolate for best results. Go for soy if you’re a vegan and pea protein is excellent if you’re allergic to nut and dairy-based protein powders.
Make sure you know the ingredients before buying your protein powder because a lot of them can contain added sugar, hidden carbs, and other additives that you don’t want. A good quality protein powder will be packed with BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) such as leucine.
There are no strict guidelines regarding when you should consume your protein powder, however, it’s best if you can take it within an hour after your workout session. Mix it with water or milk, and follow the dosage recommended on your protein powder bottle.
Consider tracking your protein powder intake on a food diary or a weight loss because it will make it easier to identify any potential side effects. You may also want to do this if you’re trying to lose weight to avoid consuming too many calories.