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Muscle Sport Magazine

The Power of Protein in Your Diet: Protein Types for Optimal Fitness

There are threemain micro-nutrients in food that we eat. Protein is one of them and arguably the most important one for good health and fitness.

Protein is used by many structures of the body, including muscle, to maintain and grow.

Naturallythe products in the table focus less on carbohydrates and fats, which are needed more for energy purposes.

How We Use It

So we get protein from food, but how do we use it to maintain the structure of our bodies?

Our bodies break down the nutrient into amino acids, which are just smaller molecules. While I recommend complete protein supplements, there are also amino acid supplements that focus on a few of the more used amino acids.

Many top athletes use whey powder supplements

Tohave enough protein (and amino acids) for optimal muscle building conditions, you should intake 0.5 – 1 gram per lb of bodyweight every day. If you work out a lot, you should be closer to the 1 gram mark than the 0.5 endsof that range.

Eating that much isn’t exactly easy. If you compare the cost of something like chicken or beef to a scoop of powder, the powder will be cheaper every time.

Another benefit of powders that isn’t always consideredis that they are absorbed quicklydue to being soluble in water, which means it is available to your muscles faster than if you get protein from food sources.

The Best Type of Protein Powder

If you didn’t know there were different types ofprotein before now, then I’m about to give you a crash course.

The type isn’t required to be on a nutrition label, but is very important for any athlete. Protein powders of different types will be composed of different sets of amino acids, and also be absorbedindifferent rates. Here are the most common types used in supplements:

  • Whey: The majority of supplements consist of whey. It is found and extracted from cow’s milk, but it is still okay for many people who are lactose-intolerant because most of it is taken out. The reason this is such a favoritetype is that it is the fastest absorbing type of protein. If you on a dietsuchas Keto you andif you want to add it into your diet,low-carb or keto protein powder such as shown here might be yourbest bet.
  • Casein: Milk is comprisedof two main proteins: whey and casein. Unlike whey however, casein is very slow-absorbing. It’s still a high-qualityprotein, it’s just not ideal for right before or after a workout
  • Soy: This is your best option if you are vegetarian. There are limited options if you can’t have animal proteins in your diet, and soy is the leading one. As far as absorption speed goes, soy is somewhere in-between whey and casein, and many professional bodybuilders use it.

Before I move on I want to touch on the differences between whey protein isolate (very common) and whey concentrate (less common). All of the products in the comparison chart above are whey isolate’s, and the reason for that is because it’s what most people would benefit from the most.

Whey isolate’sare almost pure protein, while with concentrates you’re paying for fats and carbohydrates from the milk as well. If you’re more worried about getting enough calories, then you may want to look into concentrates, but for now stick with the ones in the chart.

Who Can Benefit From Supplementation?

Most people can benefit from regularly drinking protein shakes, but some more than others.

People who require the most protein, namely active people, typically have a much harder time ingesting as much as they should for optimal health.

At the same time, there are those who aren’t active who merelydon’t like getting it from food sources very much and could benefit significantlyfrom good tasting shakes.

Something I alluded to a bit earlier when the subject of amino acids came up was that it’s better to have a complete variety of amino acids rather than just a few. All of the types of proteins discussed above are complete proteins, which means that they have all of the required amino acids for the body, which is a good thing.

Many questions typically arise as to whether or not gender factors into what product is best for you, and to address these issues.

Vegans/Vegetarians

I’m far from an expert on veganism or vegetarianism, but I do understand the needs of people with diet restrictions, for whatever reason. There are tons of very successful bodybuilders and athletes who use protein from non-animal sources. The most popular types for you if you have this limit are soy and hemp, although hemp does not have all the essential amino acids.

Don’t Most Powders Taste Bad?

If you were fortunate to try a protein shake when they first became popular in the 80’s, you probably just about threw up. In other words, they weren’t too good.

Since that introduction, the processes behind how they make protein powders have come a very long way and the taste has improved a fantasticamount. Even if you opt for an unflavored powder, you shouldn’t have any issues drinking it.

The other flavored powders often taste like milkshakes and it’s incrediblethat they are rightfor you.

Final Thoughts

If you have a limited budget for supplements,like most people, you have to pick one or two supplements to take regularly at most. In my opinion, protein should be the first one on that list for most people.

The only supplement that rivals it regardingeffectiveness is creatine, so if you stick with one of those two you’ll get great results.

You should now be armed with all the necessaryinformation to find the best protein powder for you.

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