Protein acts like a basic building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. It is one of the most important component of every cell in the body. It is also used for making enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. It helps in repairing body cells and make new ones. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids. If a human body is deficient of protein, cells and tissues would not be able to function properly. Deficiency may lead to cataracts, heart problems, kyphosis, muscle atrophy, low energy levels and fatigue. Human body cannot store protein, the way it can store carbohydrates and fats therefore, right amount of protein is required to be supplied to the body from time to time to stay healthy. Common protein sources include meat, milk, fish, soy, eggs, legumes and nuts.
How it works !
Protein is converted to amino acids which are considered as building blocks. There are 20 different amino acids in all, and different proteins sources provide different combinations of amino acids in varying ratios. Since each high-protein food contains a different amino-acid profile, it’s important to eat a variety of protein sources to attain a good amino acid range. Eating chicken breast five times a day will not help and it is important to include cottage cheese, eggs, fish, plenty of legumes, nuts, and seeds, to get the required and desired ratio.
Daily minimum recommended requirement by National Institute of Health is 0.36 grams per pound for a sedentary person. Therefore, a person with average built will require around 60 grams of protein per day. However, the academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that bodybuilders require 1.4 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram, or about 0.63 to 0.77 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day which comes out to be more than 100 grams per day. However, an active person who works out daily, require around 130 – 150 grams of protein per day. Although choices of our diet should be able to complete the required amount of protein with complete range of amino acids but sometimes to get enough protein, supplements can be used to acquire the required numbers.
Protein Supplements – Whey and Casein
Protein supplements are available in the form of Whey Protein and Casein Protein. Whey Protein comes from cow’s milk, which is a rich source of the body’s essential amino acids, is digested and absorbed quickly. Due to its quick digestion properties, it is normally supplemented during Pre-workout and post-workout. Whereas, casein also comes from cow’s milk but is a slow-digesting protein source. It is normally taken before going to bed as it helps to release energy slowly and steadily during the rest period.
Who should take and who should avoid dairy based protein
Protein supplements are based on dairy products therefore, they are mostly safe to include in the diet specially for people who have active lifestyles like sports persons, athletes, boxers, bodybuilders etc. However, people with milk allergies or those who are lactose intolerant should avoid protein supplements based on dairy. They can look for plant based protein as an alternatives.
Benefit of using whey products
Traditionally, Whey protein is used amongst athletes and bodybuilders for its ability to promote muscle growth. But as new scientific studies are conducted, whey is being used in other applications as well. Some of these include; weight loss, cancer treatment, infant health, wound healing and the elderly. Practically everyone can benefit in some way from whey protein supplementation. People that need increased protein levels will get the most benefit out of supplementing with whey, and it includes:
- All levels of sports men and women (beginner to professional)
- Bodybuilders & strength trainers
- Endurance athletes
- Those on weight loss programs
- Individuals new to strength/weight training and vegetarians
Whey Protein supplements contain more branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and more leucine than any other source of protein. Several studies indicate that whey protein is beneficial for increasing muscle protein synthesis. There are many advantages of using Whey protein, some of the reasons are listed below:
- Lose fat, preserve muscle and manage stress
- Increase muscle size and muscle strength along with quick muscle recovery
- Reduce hunger and improve immunity
Medicated Benefit and advantages
Whey protein is also useful for improving various medical conditions like protein allergy, asthma, high cholesterol, obesity and weight loss, preventing allergies in infants, late-stage cancer, and colon cancer.
Categories – Whey Protein Supplements
Whey protein supplements generally fall into three categories;
- Whey protein isolate – the most pure form of whey protein
- Whey protein concentrate – not as pure, slightly higher fat & lactose
- Whey protein blend – a mixture of isolate and concentrate
How and why to choose Best Whey Protein Supplement
When it comes to choosing a whey protein supplement that’s right for you, there are two main things you need to take into consideration; budget and quality. Obviously, the more pure and high quality the product is, the higher the price tag. This is why whey protein isolate is the most expensive form of whey protein. But you get what you pay for, pure whey protein is literally zero fat, zero carbs and zero lactose. It’s the highest quality protein and will give you the most protein per serving with the least amount of calories. So if you have the money to spend, whey protein isolate is the best quality protein available.
Free of steroids etc !
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- Lemon, P.W. (1995). Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids? International Journal of Sports Nutrition, 5 Suppl., S39-61.
- Phillips, S.M. (2006). Dietary Protein for Athletes: From Requirements to Metabolic Advantage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 31(6), 647-54.
- Keri Marshall, ND, MS (2004). Therapeutic Applications of Whey Protein. Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 9, Number 2, 2004, 136-156