The Types Of Protein You Should Be Taking
Protein is an integral part of our diet, and most people don’t get enough of it. Studies show that consuming a high-protein diet does wonders for metabolic health and weight loss. Protein is a macronutrient found in dairy, grains, animal products, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Macronutrients contain calories that are necessary to provide our bodies with energy. Protein is more filling than carbohydrates and fats helping to reduce hunger levels. It can increase strength and muscle mass in those who are physically active and lift weights. Eating more protein also reduces your risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Consuming plenty of protein enriched powders, supplements, and food will keep your body running properly.
What Are Protein Powders?
Protein powders go hand in hand with people who are health-conscious and are popular as a nutritional supplement. They’re concentrated sources of protein from plant or animal foods including rice, peas, dairy, or eggs. Protein powders are purchased over the internet, or at your local grocery or nutrition store. They come in plastic canisters or as ready-to-drink shakes. The three common forms of powder are soy, whey, and casein protein. The most commonly used is whey as it’s a complete water-soluble milk protein. Soy protein doesn’t dissolve well and can have an unpleasant taste. Protein powders make it convenient to supplement high-quality protein in your diet.
Types Of Protein Powder
Protein concentrates are extracted from food using acid or enzymes and heat. Generally, these provide up to 80% protein with the remaining composed of carbohydrates and fat. Isolate protein contains higher amounts of protein through an additional filtering process. Protein hydrolysates are created through further heating with enzymes and are absorbed more quickly by the muscles. Scientists believe that hydrolysates raise insulin levels more than concentrates or isolates. This is good news if you are looking to build muscle mass. Many protein powders are fortified with calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
Whey protein is found in milk, and it’s the liquid during the cheesemaking process that separates from the yogurt. It contains lactose which is hard for some people to digest. Whey is rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that play a significant role in stimulating muscle growth. BCAAs also aid in recovery after endurance and weight training. They are the vital amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine which make up over 35% of our body’s muscle protein. The body doesn’t make them on their own, so it’s important to get them from supplements. They support muscle mass, balance out hormones, help with digestion, and support neurological function.
Whey protein assists athletes with recovery from intense workouts while increasing muscle strength. Studies show that people who are either overweight or are normal weight can decrease fat and improve body composition by adding whey protein into their diets. Research suggests that it also promotes heart health and reduces inflammation.
Similar to whey, casein is also found in milk but is digested more slowly. It delays your bloodstream absorption of amino acids and slows down stomach emptying. When it interacts with stomach acid, casein forms a gel resulting in a gradual exposure of amino acids to your muscles. This process reduces the speed of muscle protein breakdown. Research shows that casein protein is more effective at improving body composition and strength compared to wheat or soy protein.
Eggs are one of the best sources of high-quality protein. Eggs do an excellent job at decreasing the appetite and leaving you feeling fuller longer. They also provide you with nine of the essential amino acids that the body can’t make on its own. If you aren’t an egg fan or have dairy allergies, you can get the same benefits from an egg protein powder. The powders are made from egg whites so you might feel fuller longer.
Vegans and vegetarians have made pea protein powder very popular. It’s made from a high fiber legume, the yellow split pea and is rich in BCAAs. Pea protein is plant-based making it an excellent alternative for those who are sensitive to eggs, dairy, or gluten. Pea protein is lower in calories compared to animal-based protein supplements. Due to the absence of milk-derived ingredients, plant-based proteins are gentler on the digestive system reducing bloating and stomach discomfort. It’s made by grinding dried peas into a fine powder. The fiber and starch are removed resulting in a concentrated protein supplement.
Another popular plant-based supplement is hemp protein powder. Hemp contains 20 amino acids and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a well-digested protein source that has vital poly-unsaturated fats and is high in insoluble fiber. Hemp powder is made through a mechanical process that doesn’t use processing agents or additives, unlike whey protein.
Mixed Plant Proteins
Some protein powders will include a blend of plant sources to provide you with all the essential amino acids. These sources are usually:
- Brown rice
- Flax seed
- Chia seed
Due to their slow digestion, plant proteins can limit the amino acids the body needs immediately after exercising. Many people blend mixed plant proteins with supplemental enzymes to help speed up absorption. Powder that is enzyme-supplemented is comparable to whey protein concerning the speed at which BCAAs appeared in the blood.
There are countless websites and places to get these different forms of protein. There are even essential oil companies like young living essential oils that make and sell various forms of protein from bite size snacks to powders.
All protein powders contain a concentrated source of quality protein to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Research proves that whey protein promotes muscle mass and aids in recovery. Not everyone will need to supplement with protein powder. However, if you weight train, it can assist you if you can’t meet your daily protein requirements from diet alone.