Beginners Guide To Protein Powders

Protein powders have undeniably become more popular in recent years, and yet there used to be a time when it was a product only used by bodybuilders and true fitness fanatics, so is the current popularity of protein powders amongst the masses just a trend, or can anyone use and benefit from adding protein powders to their diets?

What Are Protein Powders?

Depending on your specific circumstances, protein powders may be a great addition to your daily diet as they’re easy-to-use and a source of complete protein. Protein powders come in many forms, such as casein and whey protein powders, as well as plant-based and vegan protein powders in the forms of soy, hemp, rice, and pea-protein based powders.

Protein powders can help you meet the recommended daily intake of protein, however, most people are able to get all the protein they need from the meat and dairy products in their diets. With that said, there are circumstances where that’s not the case and an extra boost may be needed:

  • When intensifying workouts – If you’re thinking of upping the ante on your regular workout in any way, you’ll probably need an extra dose of protein.
  • In stages of growth – When you’re entering or are in the teenage phase of growth you may need more protein when working out as your body is still growing.
  • Recovery from injuries – Athletes and highly active people alike, will need to increase their protein intake to assist with the healing process when they’ve suffered an injury, which may happen frequently.
  • When going vegan – If you’re vegan or thinking of going vegan, you’re going to be eliminating many sources of protein from animal products, so incorporating a vegan protein is a great way to ensure you get the protein you need.

How To Use Protein Powders

Before you start thinking about how to consume protein powders, it’s important to note that your body uses carbohydrates for fuel, so even though protein helps with muscle repair and recovery, you only need a small amount in ratio to the carbohydrates that you’ll need.

You’ll have to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates in your day. Experts differ on what the recommended carb-to-protein ratio is – The general idea is that the ideal ratio is anywhere between 3-1 and 5-1!

This shows us that, while we do need a bit of protein, particularly post-workout, we need to add more carbs than we previously have been taught. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Most protein powders contain roughly 20 grams of protein per scoop of powder, when you work out how much is necessary for your body specifically, don’t forget to include the amount of protein you’re already consuming through your daily meals.

What Are The Best Protein Powders?

What are the best protein powders for muscle gain?

Whey protein is the most popular choice for most looking to gain extra muscle mass, and rightly so, as it’s believed to promote muscle growth as well as recovery.

No two whey protein powders are equal, so when shopping for whey protein powder, it’s important to remember that whey concentrates contain less protein than whey isolates, this also influences the price, making whey isolate a little pricier.

What’s the best protein powder for weight loss?

The general idea of using protein powders for weight-loss is that it acts as a meal replacement so you’ll essentially be consuming fewer calories which may help aid weight-loss.

You’ll want to create a sense of fullness so you don’t end up feeling like you need to eat more, and the best way to do that would be to add a filling protein powder, such as a whey or casein protein powder, or even a mixture of the two.

What’s the best vegan & vegetarian protein powder?

If you’re vegan or vegetarian or thinking of making the switch to one of these plant-based diets, there are a few options for you to consider.

Most vegan protein powders combine two or more plant sources of protein. Brown rice and pea-based protein powders are quite popular, while other key ingredients can include soy, hemp, flax, and more.

Which protein powder is the healthiest?

What’s healthy for one person may not be considered healthy for another, so it may not be as cut and dry as saying this or that protein powder is the healthiest.

It is, however, a good idea to ensure that your whey protein powders are sourced from grass-fed cows, and your vegan protein powders are certified organic and ethically sourced.

Protein Powder Side Effects

The long term effects of using protein powders and consuming high amounts of protein are still unknown, but as long as you’re consuming the recommended dosage to suit your athletic lifestyle or your weight, it’s generally considered safe.

Large amounts of protein is known to put a strain on the kidneys, so if you have underlying kidney problems, you may want to avoid using protein powders.

Should You Be Taking Protein Powder?

Using protein powder isn’t necessary if you consume a regular balanced diet as you’re probably getting all the protein that you need, but if your diet is lacking protein or you’re very athletic, you may want to consider a good quality protein powder as a convenient solution to meet all your dietary and fitness goals.

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