Monday, February 27, 2012

Supplement of the week: Whey Protein

The next supplement that I wanted to cover in the series is Whey protein. Protein in general is very important if you are working out, trying to lose weight, or just trying to live a healthier lifestyle. The average adult needs to take in a minimum of 0.5g of protein per pound of body weight per day, and a bit more if you are active. I know you are probably thinking, "I don't need protein, I'm not trying to get bulky like a man!" but that is not the case. Studies have shown that protein supplementation before or after a workout helps speed up muscle recovery drastically as compared with no supplementation. Also if you are on a "diet" or trying to change your lifestyle, protein supplementation is extremely important. I'm going to get into all of the details now.

What is whey protein?
Whey protein is a protein compound naturally found in cow's milk. It is derived from lactose. Whey proteins are complete proteins containing all essential and non-essential amino acids that your body needs to build and maintain muscle.

Protein intake from foods::
As we all know, the easiest way to get the right amount of protein is from the foods that we eat. Animal sources contain the highest amount of protein. The best food sources of protein are dairy products, eggs, meat and fish. Nuts and beans are good sources of protein as well. These foods can provide you with adequate protein intake for the day. However, we know that most people do not eat enough of these foods to get the right amount of protein. That is where supplementation comes in.

What does whey protein do?
Whey protein is one of the best forms of protein to take for supplementation. Its composition allows you to get a boost of protein because it is absorbed from the stomach very quickly. Protein in general should be consumed in small amounts throughout the day because at any given moment your body is building and repairing muscle-so it always needs protein! Whey protein can speed up workout recovery time, increase your metabolism and reduce post workout muscle breakdown.

Types of whey protein::
There are three main types of whey protein available: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and whey protein blend. 
Whey protein isolate: The purest form of whey protein available. It contains the highest amount of protein and the lowest amount of lactose, fat and calories compared with the other 2 forms. It is also the most expensive, but in my opinion it is worth the price!
Whey protein concentrate: This form is not as pure as the isolate form and contains higher levels of fat and more calories. This form of protein is great for people who want to increase their protein intake but are on a budget!
Whey protein blend: This form is a mixture of the concentrate and the isolate. The perfect combination.

How much??
Protein requirements vary depending on your lifestyle. The recommended daily value of protein is 50g per day based on a 2,000 calorie diet. So that means that the average person should get 0.4g of protein per pound of body weight. If you are trying to lose weight and you workout regularly, you will require a bit more protein. You should take in between 0.5 and 0.75 grams of protein per pound of weight. So, if you weigh 145lbs you should take in between 65 and 98 grams of protein per day. If you just want to maintain your lean muscle mass I would recommend staying towards the lower end of the intake range.

Trying to lose weight? Eat more protein!
Protein supplementation and protein rich foods also have a tendency to help you stay fuller for longer, ultimately curbing your appetite and preventing you from unnecessary snacking. Protein takes longer to break down once it gets into your blood stream. That prevents the extreme highs and lows that can occur for example when you eat foods very high in sugar or carbs. You won't experience that "crash" that you would when you get that sugar rush. It is the perfect food group to eat plenty of if you are trying to lose weight. For breakfast, try to incorporate some form of protein. A great example is an egg white omelette with chopped peppers and mushrooms, or even something as simple as 2 hard boiled eggs.

I am not a nutritionist or an expert in this field. I am simply providing you all with information that has helped me along in my journey to a healthier lifestyle. This is information that I have learned through my own personal research and from school. Never start any dietary supplement without speaking to your doctor first. This is especially important for pregnant or nursing women. Also, if you have any allergies to lactose consult your physician as well. Thank you all for reading. 


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