About Protein Powders
There are questions today about how much protein is needed to build muscle, and how much is too much perhaps. Also questions about what sources are good, especially with the many protein powders available today. Out of the aisles and aisles of protein powders that are made today, which one is best for you? This post is going to tell you about what is in them. If you want to cut to the chase, and see what ones we recommend and why, go here.
People seem to be more and more conscious of their health and their diets. That is a good thing!
It has resulted in more and more products, with claims about which is the best. When you read reviews, even on places like Amazon, more than half are paid-for. How much can you trust what they have to say?
This post is designed to help sort through them. I have a related post with specific recommendations. The sources of protein in a powder are important to know when you are evaluating which one will work best for you. Most come from milk and mild products, but you can find them from pea and brown rice and other sources, too, if whey is a problem for you.
The most common are whey proteins. Whey protein in a bunch of forms: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate. Whey is a by-product of cheese-making.
Milk protein is made up of 80% casein and 20% whey. Casein is another less common milk protein product, mostly due to the taste.
For those who are very sensitive to milk and lactose, there are protein powders made of egg white, and peas and other vegetables. Soy protein powder is rarely seen anymore, as testing has shown it to be potentially health-hazardous. 90% of soy is from GMO (Genticially-Modified Organisms).
You can read about Vegan and Vegetarian Diets here. for those who do not want whey due to dietary restrictions, or preferences.
Whey-Based Protein Powders Are Most Common
Let's dig into the various whey protein forms for a moment. Whey Protein Concentrate ranges from 30-90% protein. It is the least processed of the whey alternatives, and so contains more bio available compounds, and also some lactose and fats with their nutrients. It has slower absorption into the body, so is good for hunger control.
Whey Protein Isolate is further processed to remove the lactose and fat. It is rapidly absorbed so good following, during or preceding a workout. Isolate is 90% pure protein.
The Whey Protein Hydrolysate is the most processed, called “predigested”, and is used in baby formula.
Casein is not as good tasting as whey protein. Its advantage is that it stays around, being slower to digest. Most athletes use casein at night to build muscle while they sleep. It is not good as a muscle restorative following a workout.
The best Casein comes from Jersey or Guernsey cows, and the cow source can be hard to identify because is causes less digestive inflammation. Most milk is not from those cows.
A safer bet is to use goat milk casein.
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How Much Protein Is Needed to Build Muscle?
Having the right amount of protein is very important for your health. For the average person, you can get all the protein you need from your daily diet. The average person needs 40-50% of your body weight in protein each day.
That means if you weigh 180 pounds, you need 70-90 grams of protein a day. So if you have 2 eggs and some lean turkey sausage for breakfast, a slice chicken breast sandwich for lunch and a 4 ounce steak and salad for dinner, you are there.
For the elderly who may not be able to eat that much without weight gain, due to lower metabolism and/or activity, it may be difficult to get as much protein as you should have, so you may want small supplements with a good protein powder.
If you are a workout maven, then you need more protein. How much protein is needed to build muscle should be about one gram for each pound of body weight.
That would mean 180 grams of protein, a little harder to get from your diet.
You may want to have a whey concentrate/isolate combo. It will
- get absorbed by your muscles after a workout,
- stick around to continue to help
- keep you full so you do not gain weight by eating unnecessary calories.
One big mistake many make who are trying to get buff and toned, is to consume too much protein. Teenage boys who are working out sometimes think if one scoop is good for you, then wouldn't 3 or 4 be better? It's important for your health to know how much protein is needed to build muscle, and when you are taking too much.
Consuming more protein than your body weight and activity level indicate leads to one of two things:
You excrete the excess
It gets stored as fat.
Your body can use what your body can use, and any more is either a complete waste of money or counter-productive as fat. In addition, excess protein puts stress on your kidneys.
For those who are seeking to lose weight, the recommendation is about 75% of your body weight in grams of protein. A protein meal replacement or supplement is a very good idea for weight loss.
It's hard to restrict calories enough to lose and still get what you need. To lose about a pound a week, you need to eat about 500 fewer calories.
To keep from feeling hungry all the time, and breaking your diet, you need protein. If you get less than you need, you will lose muscle mass instead of fat. A protein powder can be a big help. Check out our reviews of the best protein powders here.