Protein Demystified

Personalized Protein Powder

 

Is a protein supplement right for you? Most people can get a healthy amount of protein from the foods they eat with some planning. However, people who exercise regularly need a higher amount of calories and protein, especially within 30-60 minutes after workouts, and the convenience of protein powder or a ready-made shakes are often helpful to provide the protein needed to repair and build muscle. But with so many protein powders to choose from, how do you possibly make the right choice? Are all protein supplements created equal? Let’s discuss a few of the many options to choose from:

 

Whey Protein Concentrate, once considered waste during the cheese making process, is now seen for the beneficial protein that it is. Whey protein can be anywhere from 30-70% protein, with the other parts being fat and carbs. A small amount of carbs is likely necessary to help deliver protein to the muscles. As a nutritional supplement in the diet, whey protein offers an extra dose of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to the day. Depending on what you desire, there are a number of whey protein options to choose from:

 

  • The premium Whey Protein Isolate is considered the “high end” protein powder due to a refining process that removes lactose and fat, leaving up to 90% protein. Think of it as the most concentrated form of protein. This makes it the higher protein, lower carb option for protein supplements, optimal for muscle building, weight maintenance, and controlled blood sugars, among other benefits. It is also suitable for most people who suffer from lactose intolerance.

 

 

  • Grass Fed Whey Protein is derived from the milk of cows fed right! It’s nice to know the food that your food once ate was fresh, unprocessed, nutrient-filled grass versus the carb-loaded grain many cows are fed. Being grass fed means that the cows are allowed to roam around more freely than the more restricted grain fed cows that are often stuck in barns all day. This means they get more exercise, eat natural diets, and have less of an environmental impact. The feeding and activity differences of grass fed cows alter the nutrient profiles of the milk they produce, giving it a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids, important for decreasing inflammation, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which works as an anticarcinogen. These fatty acids are passed down to the whey protein through the fat content. Since all protein contains some fat, the higher the fat percentage, the more of these nutrients are present. While only a small amount of these fatty acids may be passed down, when it comes to nutrition, any amount is beneficial. In short, grass fed whey protein provides muscle promoting amino acids, improved immune support, and a better environment for us and the cows to live in.

 

  • Another option you can choose is the Organic Whey Protein, which is produced from organically raised cows. This is an optimal choice for people who are mindful of everything they put in their bodies and its impact on both their health and the health of the environment. Organically raised cows are treated humanely, and cannot be confined for an extended period of time or kept in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions. They also are as free as possible of artificial pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, and other manmade contaminants. Although not all grass-fed cows are organic, and not every organic cow is fed 100% grass-fed diet or allowed unlimited access to roam, there are often overlaps in these two categories.

 

Plant based protein powders are an optimal choice for vegans and stricter vegetarians. These protein supplements can also be a better choice for those who have a lactose intolerance or whey allergy. While animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids, a good protein powder will combine a variety of plant proteins to include all the essentials. The benefits of plant based protein reside in the makeup of the grains that form them. For instance, ancient grain mixes contain more fiber and less sugar than most whey products. This helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut, which beneficially impacts the overall health of your body. Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, which may mean a longer life for you to enjoy!

 

The type of protein powder you choose depends on your values of food, the environment, your budget, and prefered taste. The important thing to remember is to consume adequate protein throughout the day as well as at a time which maximizes its impact for muscle repair and growth: at least 45 minutes after weight-bearing exercise.

 

Type of Protein Powder Potential Benefits
Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Lower cost protein supplement
  • Higher carb percentage to help deliver protein to the muscles
Whey Protein Isolate
  • Higher protein, lower carb
  • Optimal for muscle building and weight maintenance
  • Can be safe for mild lactose intolerance
Grass Fed Whey Protein
  • Increased immune support
  • Lower potential for harmful steroids or antibiotics
  • Potential benefits for the environment
Organic Whey Protein
  • Lower potential for environmental contaminants passed down in food
  • Potential benefits for the environment
Plant-Based Protein
  • Optimal for vegans
  • Safe for lactose intolerance or whey allergies
  • Often provide increased fiber for gut health

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