Pondering a Protein Powder?

Protein is one of three macronutrients used by the body for energy. Proper protein intake is also required for the body to properly mobilize stored fat for energy. Increasing your daily protein intake while on a resistance training program helps to increase lean muscle mass. Weightlifters and bodybuilders who have more muscle tissue tend to need more repairs via protein sources. However, everyone can benefit from having adequate protein in the diet. Protein helps to regulate blood sugar and metabolism as well as help you to feel more satisfied after a meal.

Not all protein powders are created equal. It can be difficult to find a good protein bar that does not have a lot of sugar or other unwanted additives, unless you are making them at home. There is also no shortage in options when it comes to protein powders, but the grab and go appeal makes them a staple in many daily routines.

Powder Basics

Whey

Whey proteins account for about 20% of the protein in milk. Whey protein is now the most popular protein supplementation source. Whey enters the blood stream very quickly and contains the highest level of the amino acid leucine, which helps to power through a workout and build muscle. This is the protein most effective at building muscle.

Casein

Casein proteins account for the remaining 80% of the protein in milk.  Casein is a slower digested protein that has a very “thick” taste, which makes it popular for weight gainers. Generally it can leave you feeling fuller longer, often being used as a meal-replacement product.

Egg White

Egg white protein has become popular in bodybuilding groups because of its beneficial amino acid ratio, making it a high-quality complete protein. Egg protein is also a good alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or have trouble digesting cow’s milk proteins.

Soy

Soy is another fast-digesting protein source but has only an average amino acid profile, making it less desirable for building muscle. Soy contains good amounts of glutamine and arginine, which may help support immune function, digestive health, and brain function. However, women with a history of estrogen-related cancers and men with lower testosterone levels may want to consider other options.

Plant

This is a 100% gluten free, lactose free protein source that is a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Plant proteins are very easy to digest and rich in amino acids, making it a good option for those with sensitive stomachs.  Plant protein tends to be less effective in bulking muscle mass, but it does provide a good dose of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

Goat

No other protein source has a higher bioavailability than goat milk protein. In addition, goat protein is very high in branch chain amino acids and offers a gut-friendlier alternative to whey or cow’s milk casein proteins. This source has been found to be a powerful prebiotic agent and is high in calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Final note on timing: If you have one shake a day, drink it first thing in the morning. After waking, your body is in a fasting condition. Consuming protein at this time decreases the rise in blood sugar and allows the body to use the amino acids to your benefit.

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