What You Need To Know About Protein Powder

Sipping on Protein; With My Mind on My Muscles and My Muscles on My Mind

Among the things you need to know about protein powder are its role in muscle recovery, its sources, and its usefulness for the elderly

Protein Powder

If there’s one thing you know about gyms other than they’re the place that you go to work out, it’s that there’s people there drinking protein shakes. But what exactly is in those shakes, when should you take them, and why do you need them if you need them at all? Those are all great questions! Here’s what you need to know about protein powder. 

Protein Powder Aids in the Recovery Process

Protein powder aids in the recovery process.

The process behind muscle growth is known as hypertrophy. Lifting weights creates microtears in muscle tissue. During the recovery stage that follows, the muscles are repaired, leading to increased strength and mass. This repair process is improved when you drink a protein shake that’s made with complete protein powder, which means that it has all nine essential amino acids. The ideal consumption time is within 30 minutes of your workout. Make sure to check the label, though, because many powders contain added sugar, calories, and maybe even toxic chemicals!

Most protein powders come from dairy

Most protein powders are made from dairy.

Milk is the source of most protein powders. Casein and whey are the two types of protein found in milk. They can be split in two and digested differently. Additionally, there are three different types of protein derived from whey. Whey protein concentrate has very little fat or carbs; it’s between 30 and 90% protein. Whey protein isolate doesn’t have any fat or carbs in it, and it’s 90% protein. Whey protein hydrolysate is protein that’s already undergone partial hydrolysis, which is a prerequisite to protein absorption. It’s good that there’s so much protein to choose from because it makes it possible to accommodate low carb high fat diets or people who are lactose intolerant.

Meanwhile, casein protein gets digested at a far less quick pace. As a result, people suggest having a casein protein shake before going to sleep so that it can be absorbed over night. Recovery is one reason why you need sleep, so when you add casein to your bedtime routine you’re really taking your recovery game to the next level. Casein is important because it deters muscle breakdown while encouraging muscle growth. That’s good news all around!

Protein Comes From Many Sources

Protein comes from many sources.

If you don’t want your protein to be sourced from dairy there are many alternatives for you to choose from. Brown rice, pumpkin seed, pea, sunflower seed, sacha inchi seed, chia, and soy protein are all popular options. Vegan or vegetarian protein powders are often plant blends. That way you cover all your bases because sometimes one type of protein has something a different type of protein lacks. Pea protein doesn’t have a lot of the essential amino acid methionine, but it makes up for that by having a lot of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAAs provide energy for muscles and trigger muscle production.

How much protein you take depends on

How much protein you take depends on what kind of person you are.

"How Much Protein Do You Really Need?", asks U.S. News and World Report. The answer is a paragraph long! If you just want to eek it out, the recommendation is .36 grams of protein per pound of body fat. That’s far less than the 10 to 35% that’s advised to constitute one’s daily caloric intake.

If you’re hoping to make some gains and get swole, it’s said that you should take  .5 to .8 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Some worry that that’s too much protein, but, as Dr. Donald K. Layman professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois told U.S. News and World Report, "The only evidence that protein can be harmful to the kidneys is in people who already have kidney issues.

 Protein powder is very useful when doing the ketogenic diet. 

Protein powder is very useful when doing the ketogenic diet.

When 5% of your daily caloric intake is carbohydrates your body burns through all your blood sugar and you enter ketosis. That’s when ketone bodies become your primary source of energy. This is followed by elevated mood, focus, and energy because ketones are a more consistent fuel source than blood sugar. Additionally, ketones are made out of your body’s own fat, which translates into accelerated weight loss.

All of these benefits are worth the dietary restrictions, but those restrictions make it hard to find food when you’re on the go. Sure, there’s keto friendly fast food, but it’s still fast food. Enter protein shakes: a simple snack that can keep you going for a little bit longer till you get to better eating options.

When you’re doing the first month of keto, you’re going to want all the help you can get because after that first month you’ll be fat adapted. And if you’re wondering how to tell if you’re fat adapted, look no further than the symptoms of being in ketosis in general. One major difference is that if you slip up and consume too many carbs, your body returns to ketosis right after it  burns through all the carbs (as opposed to needing 1 to 3 days to return to ketosis).

 Older adults need protein.

Older adults need protein.

The older you are the more likely you are to experience illness or require additional medical care. That much stress on the body impedes protein digestion, so you end up absorbing less protein than necessary. That’s a real shame considering how important protein is for maintaining muscle mass, bone health, maintaining strength, and other basic functions. It’s for these reasons that the elderly need to go out of their way to consume more protein.

Roughly 30% of the proteins in our bodies are made out of collagen, which is why you should take collagen peptides. This supplement will contribute to bone health (restoring density and increasing strength), improv skin hydration and density, and preserve lean muscle mass! Of course, it’s not just the elderly that would benefit from collagen peptides. Your body begins to produce less collagen peptides when you’re in your 30s and production is even more significantly reduced beginning in your 40s. Luckily, a high fat low carb diet of whole foods supplemented with collagen peptides and protein shakes will make your entire body stronger!