To Your Health
July, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 07)
There are times when it's a good idea to use a protein-powder supplement, such as first thing in the morning as part of a well-balanced diet instead of skipping breakfast or eating a high-calorie, high-fat fast food item.
It's also a good idea right after you finish a workout. The reason it's ideal in these cases is because the protein in the shakes will be absorbed easily by your body, which is exactly what you want. Protein powders also can be beneficial for vegetarians who don't eat any animal products. Sometimes it can be hard for vegetarians to consume enough dietary protein unless they are paying careful attention to their diet. By supplementing their diets with protein, they can make sure they don't start losing muscle mass due to low protein intake.
What Protein Powder Should You Use?
When you walk into a health food store or a discount vitamin chain, are you overwhelmed by the rows of different protein powders? Picking the right protein powder can feel like a confusing game of science. Asking your doctor is always the best option when it comes to supplementing your diet, but allow me to clear up some of the confusion by explaining the good and bad of the various types of protein powders.The most popular types of protein used in protein powders are whey, rice, pea and soy. Protein powders can contain one of these or a mixture of two, such as rice and pea or soy and rice.
Whey: Whey protein is derived from milk and is the most commonly used protein supplement. It contains all nonessential and essential amino acids, as well as branch-chain amino acids (BCAA). Your muscles absorb whey easily and it is extremely safe to use. Whey protein might not be appropriate for those who have a milk allergy or who can't tolerate lactose. There are two categories of whey protein powders: concentrate and isolate.
The concentrate form is more widely used, easier to find and less expensive. It contains approximately 30 percent to 85 percent protein. Whey isolate is a higher-quality protein and is, therefore, more expensive. It contains more than 90 percent protein. Whey isolate is even more easily absorbed by the body and contains less fat and lactose.
Rice: Rice protein is derived by carefully isolating the protein from brown rice. It's a complete protein containing all essential amino acids and nonessential amino acids. Rice protein is hypoallergenic, which makes it suitable for everyone.
Pea: Pea protein is a natural, vegetable-based protein powder derived from yellow peas, commonly known as "split peas." Pea protein is a hypoallergenic protein that yields a high biological value (65.4 percent), which is an accurate indicator of the amount of protein absorbed. High-biological-value proteins are a better choice for increased nitrogen retention and enhanced immunity. With proper extraction and purification, pea protein can be concentrated from a normal level of 6 percent in fresh peas to 90-percent protein content. This process produces a protein powder that is highly soluble and easy to digest. Pea protein is ideal for vegans, offers an excellent nutritional profile, and is free of gluten, lactose, cholesterol and other anti-nutritional factors.