Well, that depends. Your body absolutely needs protein. If your goals are to improve strength, build more muscle mass and tone up, then you will definitely need an increased amount of protein in your diet. This is where supplementation and using a protein powder comes into play. The fact that protein is the only macronutrient that isn’t constantly put on blast from popular dieting trends, shows that our culture is infatuated with protein and for good reason.
What Is Protein Powder Made With?
There are many different types of protein powder, that come from a variety of sources and ingredients. In its simplest form, protein powder either comes from milk or egg whites. The most popular type of protein powder is Whey. Whey is derived from dairy and is specifically sourced as a liquid by-product of the cheese manufacturing process. Other forms of whey also exist such as whey protein isolate, hydrolysate, and casein.
There are also plant-based protein options, that can be derived from a multitude of different ingredients such as pea, hemp, quinoa, sacha inchi, pumpkin seed, cranberry seeds, watermelon seeds, and brown rice. If you’re looking for an amazing protein powder, I recommended our delicious Whey Protein Isolate, which provides 26 grams of pure grass-fed protein per serving. For those that need a dairy alternative, I recommended PLANTPRO5, which has 21 grams of protein per serving.
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What Does Protein Powder Do?
Protein helps your body build and repair muscle tissue. This is why people are obsessed with drinking protein shakes. Protein is comprised of amino acids, specifically non-essential and essential amino acids, which are responsible for providing the fuel you need to adequately build lean muscle mass and recover faster after a strenuous workout. Protein powder essentially helps you maximize the hours you put in at the gym, by facilitating what’s called muscle protein synthesis, or the muscle-building process and decreasing the rate of protein degradation.
An ever-growing body of evidence has shown that drinking protein powder post or pre-workout, will help build more muscle, enhance the muscle-building process, optimize body composition, and increase satiation.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The amount of protein you ingest on a daily basis varies based upon several factors such as activity level, age, sex, height, weight, athletic goals, etc. However, the minimum recommended daily amount of protein intake to meet basic nutrition requirements is 0.37 grams per pound of body weight (or 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight) if you’re using the metric system. According to the FDA, the daily value for protein is 50 grams based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Remember when I said the amount of protein you need, depends on several factors? One of those factors is athletic goals. If your goal is to maximize your gym efforts, by building more muscle and increasing strength gains, then your protein requirements, and macronutrient requirements, in general, are going to increase. Most people don’t need to supplement with protein powder, considering activity level, and the amount of protein they get from their diet. But, if you’re trying to enhance your athletic performance, you’re going to need more than the recommended daily amount to max out your gains. That’s why it’s extremely beneficial to supplement with protein powder, pre or post-workout.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the optimal daily protein intake is 0.5-0.9 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you’re not sure how much protein you really need, follow the table below.
MINIMUM DAILY PROTEIN REQUIREMENTS
Do You Really Need Protein Powder?
Yes and no. You can easily get more protein from your diet through food sources such as eggs, chicken, beef, fish, beans, milk, cheese, nuts, and whole grains. However, if you’re wanting to increase your protein intake to meet your fitness goals and optimize body composition, protein powder is extremely effective and efficient. Not to mention convenience. When you’re busy, simply grabbing a bar, or drinking a protein shake, is an easy way to boost your protein intake without the hassle. Drinking a protein shake post-workout will also ensure you’re replenishing your body with the amino acids it needs to build and rebuild more muscle.
How To Pick A Protein Powder
The most important part when deciding on what protein powder to buy, is making sure it’s transparent, proprietary-blend free, and third-party tested. Make sure the manufacturer discloses the amounts of each ingredient and does not use a blend, so you know exactly what and how much of each ingredient you’re getting.
Next, pay attention to the other ingredients. Some protein powders will have dozens of ingredients and hidden sweeteners, such as dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and fillers. Sucralose, stevia, and monk fruit extract are all acceptable sweeteners, as they are recognized as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) ingredients by the FDA and have not shown any adverse effects through human toxicology reports. Despite the bad press, sucralose also does not have any negative effect on gut health.
Lastly, make sure the protein you’re buying has a high amount of protein per serving. Simply take the amount of protein in each serving and divide it by the grams per serving. This will give you an accurate number of how pure your protein really has. Look for 85-92% purity. Most quality protein powders will also add digestive enzymes, such as papain, protease, or pro hydrolase for better nutrient absorption.
Trying To Decide If You Need More Protein In Your Diet?
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We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.