This is one of the leading questions we hear at Vitality Fitness. Not only what brand of protein should someone use, but what type of protein. There are so many brands and different types of protein, so it is hard not to be confused when making the choice. Protein Powder is one of many ways of getting your daily intake of protein. The first question you should ask yourself is: what is my fitness goal? Do I want to lose weight? Build muscle? Or maintain my current weight?
There’s still a misconception that less is more regarding weight loss, and eating calories. If you read our recent blog, Why you need protein, you see that we recommend eating it at least 5 times a day. If your body is not getting enough protein, then adequate recovery of your muscles is not possible, and you can risk losing muscle tissue, which will lower your metabolism. Get at least .7g-1g per pound of body weight per day in protein.
When you are exercising you are breaking the muscle down and then it rebuilds during the rest and recovery process. Protein assisting in not only repairing but the building muscle tissue in a process known as protein synthesis. The more you weight training you do, the more protein your body and muscles require to rebuild, repair, and get bigger. If your goal is to increase lean muscle, and say gain 5 additional pounds, with your current weight at 150lbs, you would want to eat at least 155 g of protein per day.
If maintaining a healthy bodyweight is your goal, then protein needs will be depending on activity levels, exercise intensity, and how often you weight train. The range of protein recommendations increases with maintenance as a goal, but should still be in the range of 0.5g-1 g per pound of bodyweight per day.
There’s many different reasons why people choose to include protein powder in their daily nutrition routine. Ideally you want to get all your calories from whole foods, but sometimes it’s hard with the daily demands of life to have the time to make something. If this is you, a good protein powder will definitely help in meeting daily needs. You can whip up a fruit smoothie for breakfast, hiding your vegetables in it, and drink it on the way to work as an example. Before you make your choice of protein powder, let’s dive into the different kinds of protein.
Whey Protein: This a milk based protein that is high in BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids, this chain is essential in muscle recovery and muscle building). If you have intolerance to dairy this one might not work for you. This is excellent for building muscle, repairing muscle, and maintaining muscle.
Rice: this is a hypo-allergenic alternative, as well as a vegan option. It does have a higher carbohydrate count and is usually paired with other vegetable protein sources to increase the protein content.
Pea: Naturally fat & cholesterol free, as well as gluten and dairy free.
Hemp Protein: High in Omega 3 & 6 and fibre. 100% plant based and easier on your GI track. Due to its higher fat results in higher calories, it is not optimal for weight loss.
Soy Protein: Is comparable to whey protein, with the same muscle building capabilities. It is suggested that soy protein be taken in moderation, as isoflavones (a chemical that resembles the hormone estrogen) have the possibility of creating a hormone imbalance, and increasing estrogen like affects in the body.
There is also the process of which the protein is extracted from its source. This is a little bit more technical but something to consider. So when looking at the labels (which in itself can be very confusing and overwhelming) here’s a little more information.
Concentrate – heat drying process and acid extraction resulting in 60-70 protein by weight. (i.e. for every 100grams of 60-70% is protein)
Isolates: Alcohol or water wash. Ionization technique then filtrating everything out but the protein. 90-95 weight of protein.
Hydrolyzed: Created by adding water, this enhances absorption and digestion.
When looking for a protein in powder always keep in mind what your end result is. If weight loss or maintenance is your concern, you don’t want to get a powder that is too high in calories. If your goal is to build muscle you also don’t want to choose a powder that has a low percentage of protein. Always read the labels. Check the calorie count, to see what the calories are comprised of, i.e. how much sugars, carbs, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals? Then check the ingredients, and ensure there is AT LEAST less than 10, preferably 5 or less.