Archive for the tag - protein powder

Is Cooking Protein Powder Bad?

cookingwithproteinLet’s face it: Protein powder doesn’t taste great. In fact, it’s pretty awful.

It’s no wonder that people try to disguise the taste of protein powder by hiding it inside other, more delicious foods like smoothies, yogurt and so on. But what about baked foods like protein powder muffins, pancakes, cookies or cakes? Does cooking protein powder change the chemistry and render it useless?

Believe it or not, this is actually a widely-held protein powder misconception. It’s true that cooking protein powder does change the structure of the protein powder’s amino acids through a process called denaturing. But this same process happens in all the other protein-containing foods we eat including cooked eggs, beef or chicken. Cooked or not, our bodies absorb the same amino acids – and can put them to work.

In short, cooking protein powder doesn’t impact its effectiveness.

As such, try incorporating protein powder into some of your favorite foods. For example, I add protein to a healthy blueberry muffin recipe that I love for an extra nutritional boost. Explore and have fun.

In the comments below, share some ways that you’ve incorporated protein powder into your favorite recipes.

Protein Blueberry Muffins.

For those of us who spend a lot of time lifting weights and engaged in strength training, it’s not always easy to get your recommended daily protein intake.

I, for example, aim for about 140 grams of protein per day – and, short of eating a half dozen chicken breasts, it’s not always easy to reach my quota. (Find out how much protein you should be eating each day.) Even after drinking a protein shake or two, it becomes necessary to find creative ways to sneak in a little extra protein.

I’ve always heard that adding protein powder to baked goods is an easy trick. The other day, I decided to give it a try with a healthy, butter-free blueberry muffin recipe that I’ve always enjoyed. (For my healthier muffins, I mix one bag of frozen blueberries into a package of Dr. Oetker’s organic oatmeal muffin mix.)

Turns out, it takes a little practice to get the proper ratio of protein powder to muffin mix. Too much protein powder and your muffins will taste dry and chalky. Too little protein powder, and it’s not really worth your effort. For me, the magic ratio was one scoop or protein per every three muffins – which works out to about 10 grams of extra protein per muffin.

The best part is, the muffins taste great!

If you’ve ever tried a protein shake, then you know that, unless they’re loaded with lots of unhealthy fat and sugar, they rarely taste good. In fact, the unpleasant taste of protein supplements is a common complaint about which folks email me. Though I often remind people that protein supplementation is about function more than taste, I’ve discovered that protein muffins are a great way to combine a little of both.

If you are challenged to reach your daily protein intake and balk at the taste of protein powder, I’d encourage you to give this tip a try. And if you have any other creative ways to get some extra protein (keep it clean!), let me know in the comments below!

Best Protein Shake Alternatives.

Dear Davey,

What is a good alternative to protein powder shakes? I can drink them, but I’d rather walk on hot coals. If they’re isn’t a good alternative how do you make them less disgusting?

From,
Jordan

Hey Jordan,

It’s true: Protein powder and protein shakes almost never taste good. And when they do, it’s usually because they’re loaded with unhealthy ingredients to mask their chalky taste.

When people consume protein drinks, it’s not for flavor. It’s to fuel results.

For example, a post-workout shake of whey protein is specifically formulated to deliver protein to your muscles quickly – which is exactly what your muscles need. If, on the other hand, you consume protein through an actual food (i.e., chicken, eggs, fish, etc.), the protein won’t be absorbed as quickly.

If people can’t consume whey because of dietary restrictions or allergies, there are some alternatives like hemp, soy, rice, etc. Though these proteins aren’t absorbed as quickly, they can still be effective supplements.

Beyond using protein as a post-workout recovery drink, many people use protein powders as a general supplement to help them meet their daily protein requirements. For these individuals, absorption speed isn’t important – and so it’s totally possible to swap out protein shakes for actual food. Cottage cheese, yogurt, nuts, meat, fish, beans and many other foods are all high in protein.

You can also mix protein powder into other foods like smoothies, milk, peanut butter, oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, dessert mixes, pudding, juices, yogurt, pasta sauce (seriously!), bars, eggs and many more. Doing so disguises the less-than-desirable taste of the powder. Get creative!

But for people like myself who lift frequently and have high protein requirements, it’s hard to get one’s daily protein requirement through food alone. I’d be eating constantly, consuming too many calories and gaining weight. So, for me, supplementing my meals with protein powder makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t taste good, but it works!

Love,
Davey

When is the Best Time to Take Protein Supplements?

Last week, I wrote about the best type of protein to take before going to sleep for the night. After posting the article, I received a number of emails from exercise enthusiasts who didn’t realize the importance of consuming protein before bed. With that in mind, today’s post will cover the four times (including before bed) when protein consumption is most often recommended.

Obviously, protein requirements vary greatly from person to person. So, first things first, it’s important to calculate your daily protein requirements. For some people with high protein diets or lower protein needs, protein supplementation in the form of powders and shakes may be less important. For others, it can be crucial for success.

1. First Thing in the Morning

When you wake up, your body is in a catabolic state and hasn’t received proper nutrition for a good eight hours. It needs protein, and it needs protein quickly. I usually opt for a whey protein shake because the protein is absorbed quickly by the body. Just like brushing my teeth and flossing, protein consumption is part of my morning routine.

2. Before Your Workout

Some trainers recommend protein consumption 30 minutes before exercise. This will set up your “anabolic window” to help repair and rebuild the damage done during lifting. Again, a fast-acting whey protein works well here.

3. After Your Workout

After exercise is the most important time to consume protein. If you only take one protein supplement a day, this is the time to take it. Research has shown that sooner is better, so you may even want to take your protein powder or shake to the gym. Whey protein, due to its fast absorption, is the best choice.

4. Before Bed

Because your body will essentially be fasting during sleep, it’s important to consume a protein that’s slow to absorb. Before going to bed, I recommend casein protein because it takes 5 – 8 hours to fully breakdown.

Obviously, protein supplements are really just that – they supplement the protein that we get through a proper diet. The extent to which you’ll need to supplement depends on your fitness regime and diet, so just use this advice as a general guideline.

And, keep in mind that more protein isn’t always better! Too much protein can result in weight gain, kidney problems and even heart disease. So don’t overdo it!

Answered: Should I Eat the Same Amount of Protein on Off-Days?

Dear Davey,

I work out 5 days a week and take Sundays and Wednesdays off. On the days that I exercise, I make a protein shake with whey powder. Should I also be drinking a protein shake on my days off?

From,
Bryan

Dear Bryan,

While you might take Sundays and Wednesdays off, your body does not! On your days off, your body is busy recovering and rebuilding new muscle. As such, it needs a constant supply of protein.

First things first, you’ll need to calculate your protein needs. I like to use this handy formula. For some people, protein supplements aren’t needed – they can get their required protein from a well-balanced diet. But many weight lifters and exercise enthusiasts will require additional protein, and protein shakes are an easy and effective way to get it.

If you require 130 grams of protein, for example, this amount doesn’t change on your off-days. You’ll need to continue fueling your body 7 days a week, and if your diet isn’t providing the required amount of protein, taking your shakes will certainly help get you there!

Bottom line: We might rest but our bodies do not – protein requirements don’t decrease on days off from the gym.

Love,
Davey