Protein Powder: Which whey to go?
Whether you’re a professional athlete or a casual gym-goer, protein can make all the difference to your performance, recovery and general wellbeing. Protein is integral for repairing and developing muscle mass, as well as for metabolising various biochemical processes that occur in the body. However it can be difficult to make sure you’re getting enough protein to match your goals, whether that’s building muscle or weight-loss. (That’s right, protein is important for weight-loss too!) So I’m going to start by talking about something I get questions about every day – Protein Powder.
So, whenever I recommend protein powders/shakes to people, this is one of the phrases I hear back most –
“Now this won’t make me build big muscles will it?”
Of course, on the flipside I hear this phrase –
“Yeah, I know need to start taking the protein powder to get big”
The truth is both these perceptions are wrong.
Protein Powder will NOT MAKE YOU BUILD BIG MUSCLES! If it did then Body Builders wouldn’t have to work so hard in the gym, would they?
Protein Powder merely offers a more convenient alternative to natural protein from sources such as eggs, meat, or dairy. Just because it comes in a big fancy tub does not mean that it is any better than naturally occurring proteins. In fact it is much better to consume protein as part of your meals.
There are a couple of advantages to protein powders, however, the first of which is convenience. Let’s fact it, it’s a lot easier to carry around powder or a pre-made shake than it is to pack a high protein meal and carry it around with you.
The second advantage is the ease with which they can be consumed. If you are trying to hit a specific daily intake of protein you can easily hit a wall. You can be staring down at your fourth chicken breast of the day thinking, “no way”. A protein shake can be a welcome break because it’s easy to drink and offers you a taste of something different at a time when you’re craving variety in your diet.
Protein for Building Muscle
If you are looking to build muscle, regular protein consumption throughout the day will provide your muscle tissue with a sustained supply of amino acids. This creates the optimum anabolic environment for muscle development. Protein shakes will NOT GET YOU BIG. However, they will help you to increase your daily protein intake, which in turn will help you to build
If your goal is to build muscle, it’s recommended that you consume 1-2 grams per lb. of bodyweight – so if you weigh 10 stone that’s 140-280 grams of protein per day.
Protein For Fat loss
Yes protein shakes can help you lose weight but don’t be fooled by manufacturer’s claims. There is no secret ingredient in protein shakes that will burn fat. Consuming more protein can aid weight-loss for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it may help suppress your hunger and appetite for hours after eating. Protein increases production of hormones like PYY and GLP-1, both of which help you feel full and satisfied. In addition, it can also help reduce levels of ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone”.
Increasing your protein intake will also increase your metabolism and help to maintain your muscle mass, all of which helps the fat-burning process. It’s true to say that your body burns more calories when you eat protein than when you digest either fats or carbs.
So how do you get from powder to consumable protein? Well powders can be consumed as a shake with just water which, to be honest, is not great. So why not try these other ways of adding protein powder into your diet.
- add 1-2 scoops of protein to frozen berries and a splash of water or low-sugar juice.
- ¼ – ½ scoop added to Fage Total Greek yogurt (0% fat), with chia seeds and berries makes a quick and tasty snack.
- Try protein porridge. Just tip 1 scoop into your oats when they are cooked.
- Protein pancakes. Add 1 scoop to oats, banana and eggs and cook.
The recommended amount of protein per day in order to aid fat loss is 1-1.5g per lb. of bodyweight.
Protein Powder For Kids
I get asked this question a lot of the time “is it ok for child to take Protein powder?“ The answer – “Of course it is”
I have to say that I find it a little bizarre that people give their kids sugary snacks and junk food without batting an eyelid and then panic at the thought of protein shakes.
The truth is these are the very kids that could really do with a protein supplement. As anyone who has to pay for new school uniforms will tell you, kids are constantly growing. Protein is the building blocks of that growth so it’s just as important, if not more important, for kids to get enough protein as it if for adults. Getting kids to eat anything they don’t like or are unfamiliar with can be difficult at the best of times, so a protein powder could be the missing source you’re looking for.
How Much protein does a child need
The guidelines vary as per the age of the child in question. A child aged 4-8 years should get 20–30 % of their daily calories from protein. Aim for half a gram of protein per lb. of body weight.
As an example a 5 stone child weighs 70 lbs. So half of 70 = 35gs Protein.
And you can be inventive with how you add protein into a child’s diet.
- Add a ½ to a full scoop into a smoothie with some frozen berries and low-sugar juice/water.
- Add some protein powder into homemade pancakes with oats, eggs and banana brings. I’d say stick with a protein flavour like vanilla to add a nice sweet taste to the pancakes and get that much needed protein in at the same time.
Protein is just one of the 3 food groups and used properly, in a balanced diet, it can bring you closer to the results, the healthy lifestyle and the wellbeing you’re looking for. Protein powders are neither a magic wand to get you what you want without the effort, nor a magic potion to be feared and shunned. Treat them as you would any other food and take a common sense approach.