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The vast amount of protein powders on the market can make the task of choosing one daunting, but it also means there are probably several that will be suitable for your needs.
Read on to learn about some of the top protein powders. Based on your desired results and preferred ingredients, you can select the product that will work best for you.
What is Protein?
The word Protein is derived from the Greek word “Protas” which means “of primary importance”. This is because other than water protein is the most abundant substance in our bodies. Proteins (sometimes called polypeptides or peptides) are organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain.
Although over one hundred amino acids have been discovered, only twenty-two of these is considered standard amino acids or proteinogenic because they are naturally incorporated into protein. Of this twenty-two, twenty are encoded by the standard / universal genetic code. These twenty building blocks of protein are separated into two categories, essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are amino acids that the human body cannot synthesize from other compounds at a level needed for normal growth, and therefore must be obtained from supplements or food sources. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body using other compounds.
|The Essential Amino Acids are||The Non-essential Amino Acids are|
Benefits of Protein Supplement
1. Build muscle
The amino acids in protein are the principle means by which our bodies produce nitrogen for growth; therefore protein is essential to building muscle. Being the nutrient responsible for all our muscle growth and recovery needs it is of the utmost importance for any sports person to consume the proper amounts of high- quality protein at the proper times.
One of the main benefits of protein supplements is that they are manufactured to be digested much quicker that whole food protein sources. In addition to this rapid digestion, the amount of protein absorbed is also very high due to the makeup of the amino acid and the lack of lactose and fat.
Arguably the biggest advantage of a protein supplement is its convenience. Knocking back a protein shake or eating a protein bar is so much more convenient than preparing, cooking and tidying up after cooking a meal. Also, when out and about, having a shake or bar with you will stop you from indulging in many of the bad food choices on offer in many of the high street fast food restaurants.
4. Cuts out Unneeded Fat and Carbs
Protein supplements also offer a significant benefit over whole food sources of protein. Many of the good protein supplement are manufactured to provided the needed protein with a minimum amount of carbohydrates and fats which could be adding unwanted calories.
5. Maintaining an Anabolic State
Performing sports or working out regularly will deplete the bodies protein levels. By consuming high- quality protein either via your meals or through supplementation you will put your body in an anabolic state and develop more lean muscle mass.
6. Raise Growth Hormone and Insulin- Like Growth Factor 1 Levels
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7. Increasing Thermic Levels
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Consuming protein regularly in your diet has an impact on your immunity levels. Immunoglobulin is an antibody that is found in protein powder in concentrations of up to 15%, this immunoglobulin will help in suppressing the lymphocyte proliferative response to T cells.
9. Increases Fat Mobilization
If greater fat loss during dieting and less fat storage during periods of consuming excessive calories sound appealing, protein consumption is your answer. Consuming protein increases the hormone glucagon, which leads to greater fat mobilization while decreasing the number of the enzymes responsible for storing and making fat.
Very often a fact that is overlooked when discussing the benefits of protein is that people on higher protein diets feel fuller than other diets of the same calorie intake. This is because high protein foods and supplements slow the movement of all foods from the stomach to the intestines. With food staying in your stomach longer you feel fuller for longer. An added bonus of this is the slowing of carbohydrate digestion, which in turn slows insulin release creating a better environment for growth hormone release.
11. Lowers Blood Insulin Levels
One of the advantages of protein is when consumed along with carbohydrates your insulin response slows down, helping control energy levels and aids in the development of a leaner physique.
Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all associated with high blood sugar and excess levels of circulating insulin in the blood. So keeping insulin levels low is clearly important for your long term health.
Different Protein Sources
1. Whey Protein
If building muscle mass is your goal, whey protein will be essential due to its ability to be digested rapidly. Whey protein comes from milk. Whey is left over when milk coagulates, for example, during the process of turning milk into cheese the milk coagulates and whey protein is separated out.
There are several different types of whey protein, so which one you should choose depends on your goals. The main types are whey protein isolate, undenatured whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein and whey protein concentrate. Whey isolate has the highest concentration of protein in amounts of 90% plus. The other variations have a protein concentration in the range of 25%-90%.
2. Casein Protein (Calcium Caseinate)
Casein is the predominant protein found in cows’ milk, accounting for approximately 80% (the other 20% being whey protein). It is separated from milk by ultrafiltration. This processing technique is needed in order to prevent the destruction of caseins unique amino acid composition.
Casein protein is very slow acting, taking up to 7 hours to be fully digested. This is due to the casein molecules ability to form a clot in the stomach. This clotting ability enables an efficient nutrient supply by providing a slow release of amino acids into the blood stream.
3. Soy Protein
Soy protein is the only plant- based protein considered to be of high quality due to it containing all of the essential amino acids in the correct amounts needed for muscle growth and recovery. It is also very low or free of fat, cholesterol, and lactose.
Soy protein is extracted from the leguminous soybean plant by undergoing multiple processes. Firstly the bean is cleaned, conditioned, cracked, de-hulled and rolled into flakes. The soy oil is then removed from the flakes. Lastly, the flakes are then dried out to create defatted soybean flakes which form the basis of the major soy products, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate and textured soy protein.