Protein Powder- Does it really help with gains?!?
Protein Powder- What is it, and should you use it?
Before we jump into protein powder, I just want to quickly talk about why it is essential to eat adequate protein. Below is an explanation I gave in another article just copied and paste into this one to save time:
When we say protein, most people think “muscles”. This is half true. Protein is responsible for cellular repair, not just muscle cells. Protein is responsible for our hair, skin, nails etc. Our bodies are constantly shedding and growing new cells, and it is crucial to consume enough protein to help with these processes.
Besides cellular repair, an essential job of protein is helping us feel fuller for longer. The reason for this is it takes time and energy for our bodies to break down the protein into amino acids.
When we don’t get enough protein, our bodies cellular repair process isn’t working as effectively as it can. From my experience, training plenty of different general population types, I usually see a lack of protein from females. More specifically stay at home Mums. Lack of protein maybe because being a Mum is a full-time job, especially when you have young children, add on top the normal day-to-day things that need to be done and your day can quickly pass by without eating anything.
Before we move on, the preferred source of protein through whole foods, if this is impossible due to factors we’re going to discuss in this article, then protein powder is the way to go.
What is it?
Protein powder isn’t some form of magic formula that when you drink, somehow gives you more or enhanced benefit as protein from other sources. Yet, that is how some people know it as. For a lot of general population gym goers, they don’t know much about protein powder, where it comes from and if they should use it. In this first part, we will answer the ‘what is it?’ question.
Simply put, protein powder is a processed form of protein. Generally, protein powders can be found from two sources- animal-based sources or plant-based sources.
The most common form of animal base sources is from cows’ milk. These are broken into two types: whey protein or casein protein. Cow’s milk, as a whole product, contains both whey and casein. They are separated and processed into their particular form. The difference between whey and casein protein is that whey is a faster-digesting protein, meaning our bodies will digest it quicker, than casein which is a slow-digesting protein. Whey protein is commonly found in two forms: Whey isolate and whey concentrate. You might also see company’s tact on words that mean fast, in front or before, the name isolates and they try and market it as ‘going straight to your muscle so you can repair the muscles straight after the workout’. Although this sounds amazing, it’s bullshit. Studies have shown that the difference in digestion between isolates and concentrates is less than 30 minutes, but they usually mark up the prices of isolates product. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend the extra few bucks on other things, not marketing gimmick. There are also protein powders that are a blend of both isolates and concentrate. These are generally done to help save manufacturers money.
Other sources of animal-based products include Egg white (which are just eggs minus the yoke), Collagen, Meat-based, and bone broth. I am not going to talk about them in this article as I want to focus on whey protein. I just wanted to add them for completeness.
Most animal-based proteins are complete proteins, meaning they have all the amino acids required by our bodies to function optimally. So, in regards to choosing an animal-based protein, pick one you think you’ll like! With regards to a particular brand, pick one that suits your budget and taste bud. A good thing with protein powder is there are so many available to us; we can just choose another one if we don’t like the taste.
As opposed to animal-based protein, where most sources contain all the required amino acids, some plant-based protein sources do not have all the amino acids needed. An excellent way to fill those gaps is to simply eat a diverse diet where you incorporate different foods, daily in your eating regime. To make it easier on you, I’ll highlight which protein sources are complete and incomplete.
Soy protein: is useful for promoting muscle growth, and is also a complete protein. Research has shown soy protein produces similar results as whey in regards to resistance training. Soy has gotten a rap due to earlier studies revealing consuming soy protein can affect our hormones. Long story short, current studies have debunked those myths, and further research should be done. But science wise, soy is all good, at the moment.
Pea protein: Is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic, and usually cheaper than other sources. Pea protein is, however, not a complete protein as it contains low levels of the essential amino acid methionine.
Rice protein: hypo-allergenic, inexpensive, but low in the amino acid lysine.
Hemp: Hemp is made from grinding up hemp seed, making it a whole-food choice. Also high in fibre and omega 3. However, it is incomplete as it is low in lysine.
Blend: most common forms. Combines different plant-based protein to form a complete protein source. As discussed earlier, most plant-based proteins are incomplete protein.
That’s a quick run-through of the common types of protein sources.
Should I use it?
The bottom line is if you are not getting enough protein from whole food sources, then you should use protein powder. Again, if you consume a Western Style diet, then you are probably getting enough. Below, I’m just going to highlight a few types of people who may benefit from protein powder:
- Busy people- No matter which source you get, protein powder is very convenient. Protein powder is an excellent way for busy people who usually go throughout the day not eating anything, to get in some protein.
- People who struggle to eat- Let’s face it, some peoples appetite can be non-existent at times. Taking in easily digestible food source may benefit these types of people.
- Anyone who can’t consume the required amount of protein per day through whole food sources.
Bottom line is everyone can benefit from protein powder due to the reasons I listed above and many others that may come up.
There will be other factors that are dependent on the individual that you need to take into consideration, such as:
- Protein source (which I covered above)
- Taste, and
- Allergens and intolerance
There are also plenty of protein brands out there. My advice is to have a good read of the nutritional information on the packet, take note of any added ingredients in the ingredient list and google the ones you don’t know or have never seen before. I use an Australian brand called Bulk Nutrients. They are an Australian based company and have very competitive prices per kilo of protein and shipping is also very affordable. I’ll link to their website down below.
Any questions, queries, or comments feel free to leave a comment or send me a direct message on Instagram @Bryan Bacaoat Fitness. Till then, train hard and be kind to others, peace!
Bulk nutrient website: https://www.bulknutrients.com.au
Facebook: Bryan Bacaoat Fitness