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What are Protein Supplements?
In layman's terms, a protein supplement is better known as a nutritional supplement that can provide your body with extra nourishment outside of your daily diet. Since protein is an essential building block in every cell and tissue in the body, you may choose to take a protein supplement for a number of reasons.
- Many people use protein supplements to support their workout program and build lean muscle mass.
- Other people may use a daily protein supplement to increase protein intake and naturally improve energy levels.
- Even more popularly, protein supplements can be used as a weight loss tool when substituted as a healthy meal replacement.
The good news is that you don’t have to be a professional athlete to use a protein supplement.
Genesis Nutrition protein supplements are beneficial in that they can supply the body with the necessary building blocks it needs to create amino acids and build muscle mass. Conveniently, protein supplements can be used to improve daily nutrition if you find it difficult to get the recommended amount of daily protein for your body weight.
According to the Better Health Channel from the Victorian Government, the amount of protein you need every day depends directly on your weight, age, and health.1 This recommended amount, otherwise known as the RDI or recommended dietary intake, can be easily measured in grams per kilogram of body weight at:
- Adult men: 0.84 g/kg
- Adult women: 0.75 g/kg
- Pregnant/breast-feeding women and adults over 70: 1 g/kg
If you’re not meeting your RDI for protein, there’s something simple you can do about it! Read on for protein powder recommendations from the team at Genesis Nutrition Australia.
What are the Different Types of Protein Powders?
Protein powders are most commonly broken down into two different categories:
- Animal protein
- Vegetable protein
An animal-based protein powder is normally made with milk proteins like casein or whey, as well as egg white or goat’s milk protein. A vegetable-based protein powder may come from protein sources that include rice, soy, and pea protein.
Unless you are choosing a vegetable-based protein powder to fit within a vegetarian diet, animal-based protein powders are preferred across-the-board.
Many leading protein powders contain animal proteins like whey or casein. The Whey Protein Institute states that cow’s milk is made up of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein.2 However, whey is actually a by-product of cheese; it is the milk protein that is removed once cheese has been processed.
When it comes to protein supplements, whey protein is a popular choice because it provides a number of advantages compared to casein protein. Firstly, whey protein has a higher protein quality rating.2 It is also more soluble than casein, meaning that the valuable nutrients like leucine, isoleucine, valine, and branched-chain amino acids found in whey protein can be more readily used by the body.
Types of common Whey Protein Powders
- Hydrolyzed Whey Protein: Faster to digest and absorb than standard whey with lower amino acid content
SHOP > HYDROLYZED WHEY PROTEIN PRODUCTS
- Whey Protein Isolate: Purest form of whey; almost zero carbs, fat, and lactose.
SHOP > WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE PRODUCTS
- Whey Protein Concentrate: High amino acid content; higher in carbs and fat compared to whey protein isolate.
SHOP > WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE PRODUCTS
- Blended Protein Powders: Although this is not a "type" of protein, it is by far the most popular way in which protein powder is sold. Blends can vary greatly in their nutritional profile depending on brand and product - please refer to the ingredient panel. for more detailed information.
SHOP > BLENDED WHEY PROTEIN PRODUCTS
In comparison, casein protein takes longer to digest and fully absorb into hungry muscle tissue. For this reason, casein protein is most often recommended as a supplement taken at the end of the day or directly before bed since it can support muscle repair and recovery through slow digestion and absorption overnight.
Types of common Casein Protein Powders
- Micellar Casein Protein: Time-release casein for slow absorption of protein and amino acids.
SHOP > CASSEIN PROTEIN PRODUCTS
For vegetarians, a plant-based protein supplement like soy protein powder can still be a viable option. Soy protein contains all eight essential amino acids. Soy also provides isoflavones that can offer antioxidant protection and support heart health.
Types of Common Vegetarian Protein Powders
- Brown Rice Protein: Full of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
SHOP > BROWN RICE PROTEIN PRODUCTS
- Pea Protein: Quickly absorbing lean plant proteins.
SHOP > PEA PROTEIN PRODUCTS
- Soy Protein: Easily digestible vegetable protein; low fat and zero cholesterol.
SHOP > SOY PROTEIN PRODUCTS
- Egg White Protein:High Quality Protein source, almost zero carbohydrates and fat, easy digested.
SHOP > EGG WHITE PROTEIN PRODUCTS
What are the benefits of Protein Supplementation?
We’ve already established the fact that protein is an essential building block that supports healthy muscle growth in the body. When used properly, protein supplements can provide a long list of benefits that include:
- Weight Loss: Whether you’re hoping to hit a weight loss goal or maintain a healthy weight, a protein supplement could offer the help that you’ve been looking for. The reason? Out of the three macronutrients found in food - protein, fat, and carbohydrates - protein is the most filling for the body. When you take a protein supplement as a healthy snack or meal replacement, you will feel fuller for longer and may naturally eat less throughout the day.
- Appetite Control: In a recent University of Surrey study comparing whey protein to casein protein, study participants that consumed whey protein ate far fewer calories than the group that consumed casein protein.3
- Improved Exercise Performance: When you consume protein before physical activity and within a half hour of finishing exercise, it can aid in muscle recovery and growth. In particular, whey protein is known for building strength and lean muscle mass for both men and women.
- Increased Strength and Muscle Gain: Improve muscle recovery and increase muscle size. For women who are concerned about bulking up, rest assured that the female body doesn’t have the natural hormones needed to dramatically increase size. Instead, whey protein can be used as a supplement to help women achieve better results including increased strength, improved recovery, and an increase in muscle definition through weight training.
General Health: Depending upon your medical history and specific health condition, your doctor may recommend increasing protein in your diet. If you find it difficult to get the healthy protein you need day after day, a protein supplement can provide an ideal solution. Protein supplements are especially beneficial to the elderly who are often at risk for malnutrition and protein deficiencies.
If you don’t take a protein powder at the proper time and in the correct dosage, you could be wasting your money on a nutritional supplement. If you are taking a protein supplement to improve exercise performance and support weight loss goals, research from McMaster University supports that protein directly after exercise will yield the greatest results.4
The study compared a large 25 g dose of whey protein taken directly after exercise to 10 small 2.5 g doses over an extended period of time. Researchers concluded that when 25 g of whey protein were consumed immediately after exercise, they better supported muscle protein synthesis compared to smaller doses in the study.
To break it down for you, here are several options of when and how much protein you can consume throughout the day:
- Morning: A full dose of whey protein will provide the body with quickly absorbable amino acids after an overnight fast, along with a healthy breakfast.
- Lunch: For weight loss or maintenance, a full dose of protein can be consumed with a light lunch or as a meal replacement.
- Exercise: A full dose of protein can be taken before and after exercise for muscle fuel and recovery.
- After Dinner: Slow digesting casein protein can be taken before bed to support muscle growth with amino acids throughout the night.
1. "Protein | Better Health Channel." Home | Better Health Channel. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.
2. "Whey Protein Institute - Whey Protein Institute." Whey Protein Institute - Whey Protein Institute. Web. 26 Nov.
3. Hall WL, Millward DJ, Long SJ, Morgan LM. Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite. Br Nutr. 2003 Feb;89(2):239-48.
4. Pasiakos SM et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011; 94(3): 809-18
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