All About Protein Powders

If you go to a gym or have people around you who are obsessed with fitness or something, you might have come around the term “Protein Powders”. Protein supplements or powders consumed in the form of smoothies or shakes or whatever kind you like are becoming a popular source of nutrition amongst the people. If you’re someone who is planning to get their hands on protein powders or someone who is a curious mind, well, here we are to give you an in-depth knowledge about the same.

What are Protein Powders?

Protein Powders are concentrated sources of proteins commonly extracted from animals or plant foods, such as milk, peas, meat, etc.

There are three common sources of proteins. They are:

Protein Concentrates: It is produced by extracting proteins from whole food using heat, acid or enzymes. They contain 70-80% protein and 20-30% fat and carbs. 

Protein Isolates: Protein Isolates are a filtered version of protein concentrates. It contains around 90-95% protein.

Protein Hydroslates: Protein Hydroslates are prepared by further heating and processing acids or enzymes that help the supplements to get absorbed in the body and muscles more rapidly. 

Types of Protein Powders

Whey Protein: Whey Protein is one of the two types of proteins that are found in milk. Whey is considered by many to be the ultimate source of protein due to its exceptional Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) profile and high biological value.  When your body converts protein, it breaks it down into amino acids. These amino acids help to repair torn muscle tissue and build new ones. The higher the amino acid profile of a product, the more effective it will be at helping to rebuild and create new muscle tissue and at helping you manage weight.

Whey Protein supplements generally fall into 3 categories: 

  • Whey Protein concentrate
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Whey Protein Blends

Whey Protein Concentrate typically contains 75% pure protein by weight and has a higher fat and lactose content than Whey Protein Isolate. In contrast, Whey Protein Isolate is processed to remove fat and lactose, delivering an outstanding 90% + pure protein by weight and literally zero carbs, lactose and fat. However, Isolate is also more expensive to produce than concentrate so to balance out the cost, Whey Protein Blends – combining whey protein isolate and concentrate – are increasingly popular in the whey protein powders market.

Casein Protein: Casein Protein is another kind of protein that is found in milk and milk products. Though it carries the same amount of amino acid like whey protein, the absorption rate of casein protein is significantly different.

Casein protein contains amino acid but along with it, it also contains carbohydrates, calcium and potassium which makes it a “complete protein”. 

Casein does not get dissolved in the water but that doesn’t make it a drawback. In fact, it is a gel-like substance that allows slow and efficient absorption of proteins into the bloodstream. A slow absorption rate facilitates a slow and sustained release of amino acids in the blood. It is helpful to curb hunger, promoting weight loss and strengthening tooth enamel.

Hemp Protein: Hemp Protein is an industrial by-product from hemp seed where seeds have extracted their oil and the remaining seed oil that is high in protein is converted into Hemp Protein. It is not a form of pure protein supplement as it contains 10% fatty acid and confers a relatively higher fiber content as compared to other types of proteins. 

Hemp protein is a protein that packs healthy unsaturated fats, fibers, antioxidants and minerals. It is a good choice for vegans but it isn’t as nutritious like other plant-based sources of proteins like Soy. More research is required to determine the quality of hemp protein, but it is good for someone who is looking for a plant-based protein.

Egg Protein: Eggs are loaded with a variety of beneficial nutrients. However, the nutritional value of an egg can vary greatly.

Egg whites are high in protein and low in calories, they contain over 67% of proteins found in eggs. The protein found in eggs is a high-quality one and is a complete one. It implies that egg proteins contains all nine amino acids that the human body needs to function at its best. It helps in curbing hunger which helps you to feel fuller for a long time. It helps you to maintain and build muscles if you are trying to lose weight. 

Mixed Plant Protein: Some protein powders contain a blend of plant sources to provide the body with all the amino acids that aids in proper functioning of the body. Plant-based sources include peas, brown rice, hemp, chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, alfalfa, artichoke, etc. summary more slow than creature proteins. Despite the fact that this may not represent an issue for some individuals, it can restrict the amino acids your body can utilize following activity. 

In an examination furnished, obstruction prepared youngsters with 2.1 ounces (60 grams) of whey protein, a pea-rice protein mix or a pea-rice mix with supplemental chemicals to quicken assimilation

Brown Rice Protein: Brown Rice protein is a protein supplement made from brown rice. The protein is extracted from Brown Rice by treating Brown Rice with enzymes through a special conversion process that causes the separation between carbs and protein. The enzymes are considered vegan and the processing of rice in this technique is considered a ‘raw food technique’. Once it is extracted, the protein is converted into a high-quality useful protein powder. 

Some individuals may be allergic to eggs, milk and soy, thus they may hesitate while consuming protein powders but brown rice protein is hypoallergenic which makes it a safer option for people with any allergies to consume it. Also, brown rice protein gets absorbed in the body easily and quickly. Brown rice is not a complete protein but contains essential amino acids vital for the body. Studies have also shown that brown rice protein promotes weight loss, reduces cholesterol and improves functioning of the liver which makes brown rice protein a perfect option for protein supplements.

Pea Protein: Pea protein is obtained by a rigorous process of drying and liquid phases. During the dry process, the outer shell of the pea is removed by a mechanical process. After milling, a flour containing soluble fibres, starches and proteins is obtained.

Being water soluble, pea protein is separated from starch and fibres by wet filtration and centrifugation. Pea protein is used for its high protein content and easy digestivity which is used particularly for children and food without lactose.

How To Use Protein Powders?

Here are a few ways by which you can use protein powder:

Shake: Try adding a couple of scoops of protein powder in chilled water, coconut water, milk or plant-based milk or just make a smoothie.

Oatmeal: Though oatmeal already has protein but you could still add a few scoops of protein powder in it.

Coffee: Add protein powder to your coffee for a more virtuous version of coffee concussion. 

How Much Should You Take In?

The minimum amount of protein that you should consume for building muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (for instance, if you weigh 200 pounds than the minimum amount of protein you should take in is 200 grams of protein for muscle growth). Any additional protein that exceeds the daily minimum for muscle gain just helps to speed up the healing process. Though there is a debate about the maximum amount of protein powder that can be consumed, we would suggest to keep it to a minimum. 

Advantages of Protein Powders

There are a lot of benefits of consuming protein powders, some on]f them are given below.

Increases Muscle Mass: The main reason why a lot of people consume protein powders is to gain muscle mass. This is one of the main functions of protein powders. Studies show that you will experience benefits upto 1.6 grams of protein per kilo of your body weight.

Managing Weight: Weight is a major concern for people these days. Protein powders could help regulate weight by improving satiety.  Protein naturally makes you feel fuller, which is why high-protein diets have been so popular in the past. The evidence shows that practicing a high-protein diet supplemented with fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains can lead to long-term weight control. 

Nutritional Requirements: An average human needs about 56 grams of protein in a day but most people do not reach that. This number also rises if they workout. When governments prepare dietary recommendations, they’re aimed at the average sedentary person, rather than athletes. It can be even more difficult for vegetarians and vegans to consume the necessary amount of protein every day. So, protein powder is a way to stay healthy by meeting your body’s needs. Athletes require this additional protein boost even more. Plus, it’s much cheaper than increasing your intake of meat.

Reduce Blood Pressure: The number one risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. Everyone knows that high blood pressure is a major problem across the entire country. There has long been links between lowered blood pressure and dairy products because of the role of ACE-inhibitors. That same link has been studied when it comes to whey protein. Current research on animals and humans have indicated that taking protein powder daily could reduce blood pressure by 4%. Despite the low number of studies, it’s highly likely that the link between lowered blood pressure and dairy products is also present.

Disadvantages Of Protein Powders

Protein shakes have a lot of positives, including convenience, portability, easily digestible nutrients and low calorie counts. But they also have plenty of downsides, ranging from subpar nutrition to serious health risks. 

Incomplete Nutrition: Protein shakes are designed to be heavy on protein, but that means they often fail at providing significant amounts of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Even if a commercial protein shake or supplement is fortified, it won’t offer the same kind or level of nutrition as whole foods. According to a study, whole foods always have the benefit over supplement products such as shakes, because they contain naturally occurring fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals and other protective substances that can’t be reproduced.

Health Problems: Protein shakes are unlikely to cause health problems on their own, but they could be harmful if you have them in conjunction with a high-protein diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, consistently exceeding daily protein requirements can lead to weight gain, high blood cholesterol, elevated heart disease risk and kidney complications. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also notes that most Americans get more than double the amount of protein they need and that consuming too much can raise the risks of cancer, osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Sustainability Issues: Nutritionist and registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky acknowledges that replacing some meals with protein shakes may be used as part of a successful weight loss strategy, but their use becomes less viable when used for the long term. You may develop nutrient deficiencies if you replace too many meals with shakes or you could regain the weight you had lost after you return to your previous eating habits.

Some – but not all – protein shakes have healthy ingredients, are free of contaminants and can act as nutritious meal replacements. Before you start drinking shakes, however, consider alternatives such as getting extra protein through a whole food snack or preparing meals ahead of time so you can eat them on the go. If you do turn to shakes, read nutrition labels carefully and avoid those that are high in sugar, cholesterol or saturated fat.

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