Protein powders and weight loss shakes are becoming increasingly popular among fitness enthusiasts, bodybuilders and other types of athletes. They can help you with building muscle as well as energising you for workouts and other activities.
In this blog, we’ll go over the basic purpose of protein supplements as well as the role protein plays in our bodily functions.
What does protein do?
Firstly, it’s important to understand what protein is. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps us rebuild body tissue. It also provides us with the energy that we need to get through the day. When protein breaks down into amino acids, they play a crucial role in cellular repair and our overall immune response. Simply put, protein is needed by our bodies in order to grow, develop and stay healthy.
A lot of people come to understand the function of protein because of its contribution to muscle development. Every time you take part in resistance training, your muscles will develop micro-tears. When your body begins to repair these tears, the muscle fibres will regenerate and become just a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger than before. However, in order to rebuild muscle, your body requires an adequate amount of protein.
According to the Ministry of Health, the average male should take 0.68g of protein per kg of body weight and females should consume 0.60g per kg.
It should be noted that these numbers can change depending on your goals and your lifestyle. An athlete who is trying to build lean muscle, for example, would likely need to consume more protein than the numbers mentioned above.
Why protein shakes?
Unfortunately, a lot of people in Australia today struggle maintaining a healthy balanced diet with enough protein. According to an article from Deakin University, our diet struggles can be attributed to supermarkets promoting unhealthy products as well as being exposed to too much junk food at an early age. You can also argue that the fast-paced lives of most working adults make fast food and other unhealthy options that much more appealing.
Because of these problems, supplement shakes have become a popular method of getting our daily fix of essential nutrients. In order to optimise muscle development, a lot of people take a protein shake around 30 to 60 minutes after a workout.
Here are a few more benefits of consuming protein shakes:
- Helps with recovery after a hard workout
- Helps you meet your daily nutritional requirements
- Easy to prepare and consume
- Can be taken while on the road
- More cost-effective compared to most meals
Although both carbohydrates and proteins both have four calories per gram, proteins tend to be more filling and give you a feeling of satiety a lot faster. Ultimately, this can reduce your daily caloric intake and help you reach a healthier weight.
In addition, protein also helps you boost your metabolism. In short, your metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that converts the food that you consume into usable energy. These chemical reactions are what burns carbohydrates and, eventually, fat. Consuming the right amount of protein can do wonders for those trying to lose weight.
Types of protein powder
If you have certain dietary requirements or preferences, don’t worry. Protein powder comes in various forms.
Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. It has all the amino acids that our body needs and can be absorbed quickly. This is ideal for those looking for a quick recovery.
Casein is a dairy-based protein that is found in mammalian milk. Unlike whey, it gets digested in a slower manner. Because of this, it is often taken before bed time.
Soy is a great non-dairy alternative. It’s a complete protein, meaning it has all the amino acids that our body requires.
Proteins derived from hemp seeds are complete proteins but they also contain fatty acids. If you’re a vegan, hemp seed protein is a great alternative.
Depending on what type of protein you choose, the taste might differ. A lot of powdered protein products typically come in flavoured versions. Common flavours include chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. You can also add your own flavours by mixing the powder with milk or coconut water.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of protein supplements as well as the basics of protein as a macronutrient. If you have specific dietary requirements, we recommend talking directly to a product supplier and asking them about the contents of their powders.