Breaking Down The Basics
Let’s start with the fundamentals of muscle recovery and muscle growth. Muscles are made up of amino acids, and to build new tissues you need a combination of all the essential and non-essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids are amino acids the body can create on its own through various metabolic processes. Essential amino acids are those that must be consumed through our diet because the body cannot synthesize them.
Skeletal muscle is also always in a dynamic state of negative and positive protein balance. When we exercise, our muscles are broken down to release amino acids and are used to regenerate new tissue, act as energy substrates, or be used in the synthesis of enzymes, immune system components, or hormones. However, to shift the body into a positive protein balance , exogenous protein sources must be consumed.
That’s where protein powders or protein from food comes in! All animal proteins act as complete proteins that supply the body with all the essential amino acids needed to build new tissues. Some plant sources such as soy and hemp protein can also act as complete proteins, but animal-based proteins are the highest quality.
Therefore, you don’t need protein powders after exercise to help build and restore muscle tissues but you DO need protein.
Do You Need To Take Protein Powder If You Are Serious About Fitness
Protein, Protein, Protein. By this point, most of us are aware of protein’s muscle-enhancing benefits especially regarding exercise. But does attaining the highest levels of fitness require the addition of protein powders to your diet?For many, the answer is no, but for many, the answer is yes let’s explore whether a protein powder will help you with your fitness goals.
You don’t NEED protein powders. But you do NEED protein.
As a core subject matter of the NASM-CSNC and NASM-CNC course curriculum, protein is an essential building block for proper nutrition. Learn more below.
Navitas Organics Hemp Powder
In addition to offering 13 grams of hemp-based protein, Navitas Organic Hemp Powder is a good source of magnesium, iron, and fiber.
It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and all nine essential amino acids.
The powder is suitable for people who require gluten-free options and have digestive sensitivities.
Plus, it has an earthy, nutty taste with no chalky aftertaste and can be used as a flour substitute.
The powder also dissolves well, so it can be a delicious addition to smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods. You can even add it to dips, salads, and soups.
According to the companys website, Navitas Organics products are third-party tested to ensure quality and safety, though the name of the testing organization isnt disclosed.
Just keep in mind that its a bit lower in protein than other products on this list, which may be a drawback for some.
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Protein : Are Protein Shakes Good For You
Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps our body rebuild muscle and is an important part of daily nutrition .
You can get protein from any number of real food sources, and you should prioritize real food in your diet .
Here are some examples of protein-rich food:
- Chicken, duck, other poultry
However, there are PLENTY of instances where you might want to also supplement your food with a protein shake or protein powder :
- You struggle to consume the recommended amount of protein every day .
- You are a skinny person that needs to bulk up and need more calories in your daily intake!
- You are trying to lose weight and want to replace one unhealthy meal with a meal-replacement protein shake.
- You crave the convenience of a protein shake in place of preparing yet another meal.
In these instances, protein supplements or protein shakes can be awesome!
But donât just take my word for it. A systematic review of studies revealed:
âProtein supplementation may enhance muscle mass and performance when the training stimulus is adequate.â
Another study showed that among endurance athletes:
The addition of protein may help to offset muscle damage and promote recovery.â
What this means in regular people terms: If you are strength training correctly and eating the right way, consuming enough protein will help you build muscle and perform better!
Hell get there.
Enough proteinâ in this context can include protein supplements and protein powders.
You still need to:
Get The Most From Your Protein Powder
Here are a few things to consider:
- To recover after exercise, an athlete or avid exerciser should consume protein within 60 minutes of a workout. Thats when your muscles are most responsive to the use of protein for the repair and growth process.
- To control your weight, its best to consume a steady supply of protein at each meal and snack to help keep you full.
Although theres no magic number for how much protein toconsume at one time, its best to aim for at least 3 ounces or 20 grams ofprotein per meal.
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Meanwhile, if your smoothie is a stand-in for a full-fledged meal, she advises shooting for getting between 25 to 30 grams of protein in your glass. Most brands of whey protein, the most popular kind out there, come with a scoop that typically measures out an ounce of powder and provides 20 to 25 grams of protein. If you mix it with milk, kefir, or yogurt, youll get some additional protein there. She notes that adding in some nuts, nut betters, flax, hemp, or chia seeds can add healthy fats to your meal to help keep you full for a full four to six hours, while mixing in some veggies and fruits , will help you hit your carbohydrate, vitamin, and mineral needs.
WHAT KIND OF PROTEIN DO YOU NEED?
Before you get sucked into the whole whey/casein/soy/pea/rice/hemp debate, dont. Whey, which comes from cows milk, has been shown to be more effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis, its affordable, and in my opinion tastes the best,” says Fear. “So I recommend whey protein unless a client has a reason not to use it.”
How Do I Choose A Good Kind Of Plant
Look for one that has a blend of different plant proteins. Plant-based protein powders are often looked down upon because of their lower content of an amino acid named leucine. A combination of plant proteins can make plant-protein powders comparable to the quality of animal protein powders. That being said, a protein powder with just one type of plant is cool too. It may not have as much amino acid variety as others, but it can be an acceptable option as well. Especially if you consume other protein-rich foods throughout your day.
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How Do You Use Protein Powder For Weight Loss Meal Replacement
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get more protein in your diet, protein powder can be a great option. You can use it to make a healthy meal replacement shake or smoothie. Just mix it with water or milk, add some fruit or vegetables, and enjoy.
Protein powder is also a great way to boost the protein content of your favorite foods. Add it to oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt, or baked goods for an extra protein boost.
When using protein powder as a meal replacement, be sure to include other nutrients like fiber and healthy fats to make it a complete meal. A shake or smoothie made with just protein powder and water is not a balanced meal.
Here are some tips for making a healthy protein powder shake or smoothie:
Use water or milk instead of juice.
Add fresh or frozen fruit for sweetness and extra nutrients.
Mix in a source of healthy fats like nut butter, avocado, or flaxseed oil.
Add a handful of spinach or other leafy greens for an extra nutrient boost.
Does The Dietitian Recommend A Protein Powder
Yes and no. Protein powders are great for people who dont enjoy many traditional protein foods. Many vegans enjoy using protein powder in addition to other plant-based proteins to increase variety. Protein powders are also great for people undergoing cancer treatment, those with mouth issues as powders dont require chewing, or those with increased protein needs. But, what about the average person like you and me? I like to use protein powder for ease and convenience, but I do not rely on it daily. I recommend using protein powders in meals that usually dont have a lot of protein in them, like pancakes, waffles, and oatmeal. Adding protein to these carbohydrate-rich foods can help manage hunger levels, stabilize blood sugar, and keep you satisfied longer. Protein powders also make a great addition to smoothies when you dont have another protein source to add to them. If you are tight on money, you dont need to invest in protein powder. You can just as easily add eggs, cottage cheese, or Greek yogurt to waffles, pancakes, smoothies, or oatmeal to increase the protein content without shelling out money on a powder. Bottom line? I recommend them to people who want to try them and can afford them. But its certainly not a requirement even if you work out. Even if you want to build muscle.
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Should You Take A Protein Supplement
Most women, even those who are training hard, can meet all of their protein requirements for muscle recovery by including regular portions of high-quality protein in their daily meals.
A 2015 systematic review conducted by the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine found that for untrained participants, taking a protein powder supplement in the initial weeks of resistance training, had no effect on muscle strength or lean muscle mass.
As training duration, frequency and volume increase, a protein supplement may promote an increase in muscle size, strength, endurance and power.
In 2020, the Harvard School of Medicine advises that protein supplements are a processed food that may contain additives, sugars, flavours and other chemicals. Further, protein supplements arent regulated in most countries, which means that the claims on the label are the manufacturers claims safety and labelling of the products isnt monitored and any claims are not generally independently verified.
A 2018 study by a non-profit group called the Clean Label Project found that protein powders can also contain other contaminants that contribute to adverse health outcomes.
According to a 2019 literature review by the Louisville School of Medicine in the US, protein supplementation should be a short-term solution to meet training demands, and should not replace long-term healthy eating habits.
Whats The Best Protein Supplement To Buy
When it comes to buying a protein powder or picking a protein shake, youâre going to encounter a few options:
1) Whey protein is the most popular, readily available, and cheapest protein supplementation out there. Whey contains all the essential amino acids, and is one of the byproducts of milk that has been curdled and strained. It comes in both âconcentrateâ and âisolateâ forms. Whey is more quickly absorbed by the body compared to its counterpart casein, which makes it a great solution right before/after a strength training workout.
2) Casein protein is the other byproduct of milk and also contains all essential amino acids. Because itâs more slowly absorbed by the body than whey, many people consume casein before bed assuming itâll result in improved muscle growth during sleep! However, this study shows that total consumption of protein during a day is more important than protein timing!
3) Egg protein powders are made from, you guessed it, the protein in eggs â which means they may be a great alternative if you canât use whey or casein for whatever reason.
Quick recap: whey and casein proteins both come from milk, and both can help rebuild muscle. Whey is more readily absorbed by your body and is usually less expensive than casein, which makes it our preferred form of protein for cost and ease of consumption.
Personally, I prefer whey. I find casein protein less palatable, and it doesnt mix as well.
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Protein Powders Are Convenient But Unnecessary For Most
If you are a healthy adult considering supplementation, you should determine whether your goal is to improve muscle mass, as most research is centered on enhancing muscle growth and strength. Older adults may benefit from increasing protein slightly, regardless of their exercise routine however, for most of us, resistance training is more effective than simply supplementing with protein.
For those looking to enhance the muscle growth that typically occurs with exercise, evidence supports consuming 20 to 40 grams of protein at a time . Larger quantities simply contribute calories and can actually reduce muscle-building potential. So, having several scoops of protein powder at once is unlikely to be helpful. Plant-based powders often have less protein, but shouldnt be discarded as an option. Rice and pea protein, for example, have been shown to stimulate muscle growth similar to whey, a milk-based protein touted for its high quality and quick absorption.
Unless you are an older adult with a limited appetite, have a restricted diet, or are a trained professional athlete, chances are you can adjust your food intake to get what you need. Protein from food is often cheaper, less risky, and naturally includes beneficial nutrients.
If increasing protein the old-fashioned way is not an option, taking a supplement can be both effective and convenient. But most of us dont need to channel our inner Mr. Olympia by using a protein powder.
About the Author
Chicken Parm Florentine Meatballs
The ingredient list is a tad long, but the flavor is high and the cooking is easy in this Italian-inspired recipe. Best of all, youll likely have many of the items in your pantry already.
Oats keep these meatballs moist while fresh spinach adds a dose of veggies. Serve them with your favorite pasta or in a meatball sub.
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Protein Powder Recipe Faqs
Can I make protein powder at home?
Yes! Its super easy to combine hemp protein, chia seeds and flaxseed in a high-speed blender to create a fine powder. Store in an airtight container and youve got a scoop-able powder that can be added to any smoothie, protein shake, or baked good you want.
Is it cheaper to make your own protein powder?
If youre looking for a high-quality protein powder, making it yourself is going to be the most affordable way to go. When I make this homemade protein powder recipe, it costs me just under $1.00 per serving, which is definitely cheaper than any organic high-quality blend that Ive bought from the store.
What is the best way to make protein powder at home?
Its super easy when the recipe is just three easy-to-find ingredients. I blend the hemp protein, chia seeds and flaxseed in a high-speed blender until a fine powder forms. Then I store it in an airtight container until Im ready to use. If you follow my recipe, you will get 15 servings per blend. If you want to double the batch and have a whole month on hand at a time, then go for it!
Is plant-based protein powder bad for you?
I hope youre excited to ditch the store-bought powder and make your own. Dont forget to rate this recipe + leave a review with how you used it. I cant wait to read about all your creations! I hope you fall in love with this homemade protein powder for smoothies, just like I have.
What Makes This Recipe Plant
When a powders are made from foods derived from plants, rather than animal products, theyre considered plant-based. Examples of this are powders that consist of brown rice, soy, hemp, pea, flax, chia and/or even spirulina.
The minute you add an animal product, like whey, casein or collagen, it is no longer plant-based. Why? Whey protein as well as casein comes from dairy . If you have any kind of dairy intolerance, then be sure to check the label on your protein powder and avoid any with casein or dairy.
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Can I Get A Checklist Of How To Pick A Good Protein Powder
Protein Shake Mistake #: It’s Not Just About The Shake
It’s easy to poke fun at Jim Bro and his cronies chugging their third protein shake of the day, but know that they’re doing it for the sake of their strength. That doesn’t mean three shakes a day will work for you you can source the same amount of protein from a protein bar. Try to stick to one shake a day and vary your protein sources, even if you’re double-dipping in whey or vegan protein. Just make sure you look at the ingredients list.
“When youre looking for protein bars its important to consider the amount of saturated fats in each bar. Bars which contain more than 5g per 100g are considered high in saturated fats, explains Jenna Hope, , MSc, BSc . Additionally, whilst these bars are a convenient source of protein, many of them are made using artificial and highly processed ingredients.”
Protein bars “should be viewed as a convenient protein source or an alternative to a chocolate bar rather than a healthy snack, explains Hope. The artificial sweeteners can also contribute to cravings for sweet foods. Where possible opt for protein bars which contain fibre and natural ingredients.”
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