Which Protein Supplement Is The Right Choice For You?
Protein is one of the important building blocks of nutrition that our bodies need to function fully. In recent years, protein supplements have become a popular choice for athletes looking to build muscle and add bulk to their physique.
The nutrients we consume daily are broken down into protein, carbohydrates and fats. Protein is contained in the likes of meat, poultry, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts, seeds, soya and legumes. It’s an essential part of our nutrition because it provides the body with 10-15% of its energy while also helping bones and muscles to grow and repair. A high protein diet will give you a boost in nutrients and calories, offering added protection and helping to boost muscle growth.
While most of us will get precisely the amount of protein we need from a normal diet, those who push their body physically often need and want more protein and indeed more carbohydrates, which are needed to fuel the body. Athletes, whether professional or amateur, look to protein supplements to give them an extra edge in competition.
Protein powder is a mix of whey, casein and milk-based proteins (with the fats and carbohydrates removed), giving the powder a high protein level while minimising how much fat and carbs are included. The powder can be used as a supplement or as a meal itself, usually mixed with soya milk to make a shake or with fruit for a smoothie. It’s often taken immediately following a workout or first thing in the morning.
There are several different types of protein you can use. The most popular is whey, a by-product of the cheese-making process that is quickly absorbed and digested by the body. Casein protein is rich in the amino acid glutamine that is good for endurance athletes and can also aid wound healing. Soy protein is popular with vegetarians and vegans and contains all nine essential amino acids. Another dairy-free and lactose-free protein comes from eggs and is high in lysine, an essential amino acid.