Why you should use protein powder

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones. Not getting enough protein can lead to:

– Muscle mass loss

– Skin, hair and nail problems

– Slow healing if you get cuts, bruises, broken tissue

– Mood swings

– Brittle bones

Apart from avoiding the issues above there are plenty of other reasons to include enough protein in your diet:

– Appetite control

– Weight and body composition management

– Muscle growth or maintenance

– Improved immune function

– Faster exercise recovery

The ideal way to get protein is by eating whole foods mostly because they also provide essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. However, sometimes you don’t have time to prepare and eat huge meals and you don’t always have the appetite. So protein supplements can be very convenient when you need to “put” protein in your body but you are short on time and you don’t feel hungry. Not feeling hungry can really be an issue when it comes to feeding your body with enough nutrients – it is so much easier to drink something than to eat a massive chicken breast if you don’t have an appetite.

Animal sourced protein powders. These are well-studied which means they are reliable nutrient sources:

Whey protein is usually recommended for post-workout shakes because it’s an incredibly high-quality protein and fast-digesting.

Casein is often recommended as the best type of protein powder to have before bed as it digests more slowly.

If you are prone to digestive issues, the more processed variants of these proteins, such as isolates and hydrolysates, are usually easier on the stomach.

Egg white protein is a good option for Ovo Vegetarians. This is a milk-free protein source of complete protein.

(Complete protein or whole protein contains all the 9 amino acids necessary in the human diet. Animal proteins are complete – BWG note).

However there are differences in digestion and absorption among protein products but these are not the most significant factors. The most important factor is your total protein intake across the day.

Plant-based protein powders. If you are intolerant to eggs and/or dairy or you don’t consume animal sources of food for moral reasons you’ll be better off with a plant-based protein powder. Most plant-based proteins are not complete proteins.

Soy protein is effective for promoting muscle growth and it is a complete protein.

Pea protein is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic, and usually inexpensive.

Rice protein is also a good hypo-allergenic protein choice and tends to be relatively inexpensive.

Hemp protein powder is made by grinding up hemp seeds, making it a great whole-food choice.

Protein powder is not a nutrition essential. But it is a useful tool.

If your goal is weight/fat loss the best protein powder for you is one that is higher in protein and lower in carbs and fat. If you aim to gain muscle and you are struggling to get adequate overall calories a protein powder that is rich in carbohydrates can be helpful around workouts.

Photo credit: https://lyfefuel.com

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