With benefits like muscle gain, fat loss, and appetite control falling firmly under protein’s long list of health benefits, protein based supplements have hit the market in a big way in recent years, so you may be wondering whether you need to add one to your gym routine too.
But it’s not as simple as grabbing the first powder you find on the supplement aisle. From whey to hemp—and isolate to concentrate—protein powders aren’t created equally. Whether you’re trying to gain muscle, speed up post-workout recovery, or drop some pounds, here is the entire beginner’s guide to these supplements.
What Is a Protein Powder?
In essence, it is a condensed and powdered form of protein. It comes in a wide range of components and qualities and can be produced from either animal or plant sources. Typically, milk or water is added to protein shakes to create a thick, creamy, milkshake-like beverage.
Most people utilize these supplements for their convenience and speed. Making a protein drink at home is a quick and simple way to increase your daily protein consumption significantly without having to spend more time slaving over the stove. But, if you want to maximise muscle growth and replenish lost nutrients the right way, it’s important to use premium quality protein powders without nasty ingredients.
It’s especially crucial for children who are developing, expectant mothers, persons who are unwell or injured, adults who engage in rigorous exercise regimens, or individuals who want to grow lean muscle, yet find it difficult to satisfy their protein requirements because of their hectic schedule.
What Are the Different Types and Benefits?
The amount of protein per serving, flavour, price, and additives varies greatly amongst brands. Therefore, when choosing between different protein powders keep your hands off those that may include preservatives, fillers, and additives that increase solubility in addition to extras like sugar or artificial sweeteners and flavourings to improve taste.
Egg white powders: As its name implies the egg white powders are made from egg whites. They have a protein content of nearly 70% that of an egg, no cholesterol, but fewer vitamins. Egg white powder can be used in general baking in addition to adding protein to smoothies, particularly as a substitute for raw egg whites in meringues and frostings.
Whey powders: Whey is the liquid milk left behind after producing cheese. The 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own are all present in whey, which is also water-soluble for simple blending in smoothies. Whey is a complete protein. Protein concentration, protein isolate, and protein hydrolysate are the three main forms of whey protein available.
You may have noticed that collagen is not on the list of animal-sourced powders above. Although the majority of collagen is produced from animal materials like fish scales or eggshells, as well as the skin, bones, and hooves of cattle or pigs, it is not a complete protein.
Collagen by itself is not a protein smoothie, nor is it a post-workout energy booster. It is now a well-liked addition to hot coffee. Though the science is divided on these claims, it is praised for enhancing the appearance of hair, skin, and joints.
Hemp: Although hemp is produced from the ground seeds of the cannabis plant, it does not contain the psychoactive compound THC found in marijuana. Despite it being a complete protein, researchers are still examining how hemp compares to other complete proteins like whey and soy. Hemp powder is well-known for its nutty flavour.
Mixed Vegan blends: Any high-protein grain, rice, nut, berry, or healthy green can be turned into a protein supplement, from quinoa to cranberries. Look around for one that satisfies your dietary requirements.
Pea powders: Not a full protein, but still a plant-based option. For people who forgo soy and dairy, pea powder is still a decent source of protein. It has iron, which is a plus for vegetarians. However, many people don’t enjoy the taste of grass.
Soy powders: This protein is a complete protein derived from soybeans. Because soy has a very modest influence on decreasing cholesterol and contains heart-healthy omega-3 acids, soy powder is a hearty and nutritious option. It’s especially good for vegans and people who avoid whey because of their sensitivity to dairy.
How to Use Protein Powder + How Much Protein Do You Need?
Now that you’re familiar with the different types available let’s speak about how to use protein supplements to boost your health. It is most frequently consumed as a post-workout supplement to aid with muscle growth and recovery following exercise.
In addition, if you’re attempting to lose weight or just want to up your protein intake, you may also use it as a snack or a meal substitute. You can make a shake out of this powder and water, milk, or any other liquid of your choice. For an additional protein boost, it can also be added to smoothies, cereal, or baked goods.
According to the FDA, adults should consume 50 grams of protein daily. However, eating healthy and getting your protein from real foods is always preferable. In this regard, most dieticians agree that most people easily get enough calories from a typical diet.
For instance, you will meet or surpass your RDA if you eat a 6-ounce container of Greek yogurt, 15 to 20 grams of protein and a boneless, skinless chicken breast, 37 to 50 grams, on the same day.