Protein powder for dummies!
Protein is the stuff of life itself! Protein is a macro-nutrient and is the most abundant nutrient in our bodies second to water. Protein has a structural role and is the building blocks for all cells!
- Develops and repairs healthy, strong bones and muscles
- Enables hormones to be created and function well
- Produces Enzymes which control many of our bodily functions
This then enables our metabolisms to remain or become more efficient!
Did you know that pioneers such as Hippocrates (Greek Father of medicine) prescribed whey to his patients?
More recently we are seeing a huge trend towards the use of protein supplements and related products. Why is is this?
Research is proving that sufficient protein in our diets can help with weight loss, energy and muscle maintenance as well as promote muscle gain, fat loss and recovery. Moreover modern life makes it very diffcult to always rely on fresh, whole foods. And in a way to combat excessive carbohydrate and processed food comsumption I think protein supplements have a very good place in our modern lifestyle.
In my experience and from working with clients this has been proven time and time again. By simply increasing the intake of protein and frequency whilst reducing refined, processed starches I have seen dramatic fat loss in my clients.
Naturally rich sources of protein:
- Lean red meat
- Cheese (this contains the least amount and the highest amount of fat)
(Very low or neglible amounts of carbohydrates)
Less rich sources:
- Pulses such as Lentils
- Quinoa and other grains
(This means you would need to eat more of it to get the protein amounts and with these types of protein sources you often get extra fat content or starch)
Aren’t they just for body builders?
Traditionally protein powders have been seen as a source of supplementation by body builders and physique competitors. This belief that it makes you muscular has been a source of discouragement to many people who wrongly believe that it’s not for them. This is simply not true. Eating protein powders will not increase muscle size alone.
What are protein powders and bars?
You can get all forms of protein powders. Whey, casein, pea, hemp, rice, soy, egg white. In fact you can get protein from a lot of sources and not all protein powders are equal and not all powders work the same or taste the same. Some can be allergenic – in others create a reaction to some sensitive indivuals. Whey, Soy, Egg, Casein are examples of this. Bars are a form of protein powder and other additives such as cocoa and sweeteners to enhance the flavour. You will need to check that the bars are not meal replacements or for muscle gain as these tend to have high amounts of carbohydrates in to help stimulate msucle growth and repair. This is not ideal when trying to reduce body fat. Since we are trying to reduce body fat, including extra protein in your diet can prevent muscle loss allowing a long term body change.
But there are so many forms I just don’t know which ones are OK?
Different proteins have different levels of bio-availability. In other words the way it is utilised and the rate it is retained in the human body with whey and egg being the highest form.
This is the most common form of protein powder you will find and my personal favourite. It contains high levels or essentail amino acids (which can’t be made in the body alone) and branched-chain amino acids which are essentially the building blocks of muscle. If tolerated well this form of protein powder can really help with recovery and appetite. Whey is derived from the process of making cheese from milk so therefore not appropriate for vegans and some people will be intolerant to it. There are three types: whey concentrate 29-89% protein by weight, whey isolate 90%+ and whey hydrolysate is enzymatiaclly predigested and therefore has the shortest rate of digestion. Some powders will contain a mix of all three. It comes in all flavours and in general mixes well and has a good taste.
For cooking whey is good when combined with purees, cottage cheese, quark, yoghurts and egg whites such as the protein panacakes.
Soy protein from soybeans contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. I don’t recommend Soy for women, particularily woman who are pre- or post menapasusal, with thyroid or hormonal issues.
Hemp is a very natural source and comes from a seed so is high in essential fatty acids and is highly-digestible. Its great for baking chocolatey things as it absorbs a lot of liquid like pea protein powder. However, it is a stronger taste to adjust to and some people may not be able to tolerate the flavour. However you can find it in many blends now such as Vega and Sun Warrior where they are mixed with other forms of protein such as rice with flavourings such as cocoa and vanilla.
Pea and Rice
These tend to be blended as they dont’ offer the same amino profile as Whey for example. Again it can have a taste that some people find odd and difficult to get used to but we find this is useful for cooking with and adding to savoury foods.
For more great ideas and information on how to cook with proteins, I found this great website specialising in cooking with protein powders http://www.proteinpow.com/
Aren’t they ‘fake’ food?
Yes you could argue that they are a form of processed food. By they are, after all a by product of real food – we are just getting the best bit! I do believe that we need to distinguish between fat loss processed foods and processed foods that are going to increase our waistlines! There is nothing better than real food. Especially when it is organic and free-range. But how many of us are able to commit to this way of living all the time if any of the time? Protein powders enable us to be better fat controllers!
There are many different brands however and some are better than others. Some will contain questionable ingredients and undergone strange processing techniques. There are so many now on the market.
Opt for microfiltration and whey protein isolate where possible in order to get the highest amount of undamaged protein. Avoid as many synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame as you can. Stevia and Xyltiol and now proving popular as sweeteners and are perfectly safe. Here are some I recommend.
http://www.phd-supplements.com/store/product_list-cat-4-asc-long_name-lang-1.html – Phd Pharma or Diet whey and is a good one to start with as it tastes and mixes well.
http://www.wheyheyicecream.com/– great ice cream alternative or make your own using my
http://www.thegoodwhey.com/ – carefully twice (70%) or triple (80% protein and low in lactose) filtered
http://www.phd-supplements.com/store/product_list-cat-4-asc-long_name-lang-1.html – Phd Pharma or Diet whey
http://www.smartshake.co.uk/ – great for carrying powders around and mixing on the go.
So you may choose to have them in emergencies, use them in cooking, have shakes mixed with real food for meals or choose bars to keep hunger at bay. Whichever you choose, no one can argue with their convenience and often their taste.
I often grab an Atkins Decedance, Natures plus KETOslim or Maximuscle Sculptress bar when I am out and about. It’s the perfect buffer food to prevent me overeating later or choosing a chocolate bar!
If you are new to trying them, see if you can buy smaller packs or ask for samples. Vanilla and chocolate are safe flavours to start with and make a great base for smoothies too.
Big love, small tummies!
Jill – The Fat Controller