Archive for the tag - whey

Do Protein Shakes Work?

doproteinshakeswork

The packaging on many popular whey protein shakes and supplements makes them seem like miracle products. It all begs the question: Do protein shakes really work to build muscle mass? Or is it marketing hype?

As it turns out, whey protein has been extensively tested – including a 2001 study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise. In the study, 36 males were divided into three groups and underwent 6 weeks of strength training. Compared to the placebo group, men who supplemented with whey protein experienced more lean muscle mass and tested higher on many strength measures.

According the Mayo Clinic, the muscle building claims of whey protein are given a score of “B” – meaning that there is good scientific evidence for this use:

Whey protein has been studied for promoting muscle growth and improving athletic performance. Taking whey protein after exercise may have benefits in both men and women, in terms of improving protein oxidation and blood levels of essential amino acids. Overall, short-term studies have suggested that whey protein increases muscle mass and strength. Some conflicting results have been found in terms of whey protein’s effects on body composition. More research is needed to confirm these results over a longer period of time.

Of course, just consuming whey protein won’t magically grow your muscles. Whey protein supplementation must be in addition to a comprehensive strength training and nutrition program that targets muscle growth. And, too much protein can be detrimental to your health.

In other words, whey protein can be a powerful tool in building lean muscle mass – but it’s just one factor of many.

 

 

Hemp Protein Vs. Whey Protein.

HempProtein5There are a lot of different proteins out there – but hemp protein is becoming increasingly popular. Though not as psychedelic as some may hope for, hemp protein is extracted from the husked seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. And no, it won’t make you high.

Hemp protein can be a very high-quality protein and it’s loaded with fiber (which helps you feel full longer) and heart-healthy essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It also tastes great!

So how does hemp protein compare to mainstream whey protein?

Proteins are rated with a Biological Value (BV) that refers to how well and how quickly your body can actually use the protein you consume. The BV for whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate are generally around 159 and 104 respectively. Though I couldn’t find a reliable source for the BV of hemp protein, it’s generally considered to be much lower. In other words, hemp protein is absorbed slowly by the body – making it a poor choice for post-workout recovery when your body needs nutrients quickly. On the other hand, hemp protein is a smart choice for between meals and before bed – when a slow but steady supply of protein is needed.

Hemp protein is also a great option for vegans or for individuals with lactose issues. While whey protein is derived from milk, hemp protein is free from lactose or animal products. Many hemp advocates also believe that hemp protein is considerably easier to digest and doesn’t result in the bloating or cramps sometimes associated with whey protein consumption.

The bottom line: Hemp and whey protein have different uses. Hemp is great between meals and before bed while whey protein is best after your workout. As such, one is not a substitute for the other – but both proteins are able to bring a number of great benefits to your daily nutrition plan.

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!

Which Protein is Best to Take at Night?

Muscles like these need are built by protein - but not all protein sources and supplements are created equal.

We know that protein is essential for muscle growth – and that not all types of protein are created equal. If you go to a nutrition store, you’ll see protein supplement varieties including whey concentrate, whey isolates, casein, soy, etc. Moreover, protein can be found naturally in foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts and more.

So, which type of protein is best to take at night or before bed?

Each type of protein has it’s advantages. For example, whey isolates are a good value and very quick to be absorbed by the body. For this reason, they’re a great post-workout protein source when your body needs nutrients quickly. But when considering a protein to consume before bed, you’ll want something that will be absorbed slowly throughout the night.

Casein protein is the best slow-digesting protein – and it’s the perfect protein supplement to take before bed. Since casein takes anywhere from 5 – 8 hours to fully breakdown, you’ll fuel your body and your muscles throughout the night. Casein is derived from milk, so it may not be suitable for individuals with lactose sensitivities – and it’s not vegan.

Most bodybuilders or athletes get their casein as a powdered protein from nutrition stores. But, if you prefer, casein can be found naturally in foods like milk, cheese and cottage cheese. A single cup of cottage cheese, for example, can have 30 grams of protein – and much of it is casein.

Keep in mind, you can slow the absorption of non-casein proteins by combining them with foods that are slow to digest. Foods that are rich in fat or fiber take much longer to digest. Making a peanut-butter and soy protein/soy milk shake, for example, will result in a suitable nighttime alternative for vegans or people with lactose sensitivities.

The bottom line: When it comes to nighttime protein consumption, casein is king.

Whey Vs. Casein: Which Protein is Better?

Whey Vs. Casein: Which Protein is Better?

People often ask me about the differences between whey and casein protein – and which is better. The truth is, both offer certain advantages and disadvantages.

First things first, both whey and casein are derived from milk. Whey makes up 20% of the protein content found in milk; casein is the other 80%.

The big difference between whey and casein often boils down to digestion. In a nutshell, whey protein is absorbed very quickly by the body. Casein protein, on the other hand, is absorbed slowly – and over a longer period of time.

In a recent study led by Stuart Phillips of McMaster University, researchers examined the effects of absorption time. For one group of participants, 25 grams of whey protein was consumed immediately after a workout. For another group, smaller doses of 2.5 grams were consumed 10x over an extended period of time to simulate the digestion of casein protein. Based on the resulting data, researchers concluded that the 25 gram shot of whey protein was more effective on protein synthesis.

In other words, the researchers found that whey protein is ideal for post-workout consumption. These findings have been supported by numerous other studies.

But that doesn’t mean you should write off casein altogether. Since casein protein is absorbed slowly and doesn’t result in the same spike as whey, it’s great to take during the day (or before bed) as general protein supplementation. It provides your body with a constant stream of protein fuel for an extended period of time.

The bottom line: Both whey and casein provide important benefits; supplementing with both will provide optimal results.

Protein Shakes and Farting: The Smelly Truth.

No one likes to talk about it, but flatulence (i.e., farting) is a common side effect of protein shakes and powders. More than just stinky, it can be both embarrassing and uncomfortable. So what can be done about it?

First and foremost, protein (depending on it’s source, quality, etc.) can be harder for your body to break down and digest. For some people, gas and bloating is the result. However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help find a protein supplement that results in the lowest amount of flatulence possible.

Do I even need protein powder or shakes? This question is paramount because most Americans already get more than enough protein from their diets. Protein supplementation is necessary only if your diet isn’t providing you with the protein your body needs. Generally, this is the case for athletes, bodybuilders, power-lifters and other heavy exercisers. Calculate your protein requirement; you may be able to eliminate protein supplementation – and the subsequent flatulence – altogether.

Am I lactose intolerant? Whey protein is great for building muscle, but it’s derived from milk. According to the Whey Protein Institute:

Individuals with lactose intolerance should select a pure whey protein isolate, which has less than 0.1 gram of lactose per tablespoon (20 grams). Research has shown that most people with lactose intolerance have no trouble taking this very small amount of lactose. Individuals with lactose intolerance should avoid whey protein concentrates as they usually contain lactose and the amount can vary greatly from product to product.

Alternatively, people with lactose issues may want to experiment with other protein types such as soy or hemp – though these are generally considered less effective for supporting muscle growth.

Is my protein high quality? Not all protein powders are the same. Many lower-quality options contain fillers to enhance flavor or taste. Unfortunately, they can also cause bloating or gas. And some types of protein are more digestible than others. If your current protein supplement is causing excessive gas, shop around for a new brand. It’s about finding a high quality and digestible protein that works for you.

The bottom line: Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet to reduce protein-induced flatulence. But with a little trial and error, you should be able to find a protein supplement that meets your body’s needs and supports your goals without too much stinkiness.