Protein Powder - The Right One For You

Protein powders are popular with gym goers and many people associate protein powder with large muscle gain. However, this isn't necessarily true and there are other benefits to adding protein powder to your daily routine.

If you are worried that adding protein powder to your diet will cause you to "bulk up" then read on:

Protein, in any form, is needed in our diet to help with muscle repair and recovery and will not ‘bulk up’ your muscles as you may think. When water is stored in the muscles (from things such as creatine, added to the powders), you may see a set of fuller muscles, do not be fooled though, this is not an increase in muscle tissue but rather the water content in your muscles and the ability for protein to be synthesised.

So whilst taking protein powder may be a great short term fix to bulk up before that event on the weekend, there are many other reasons to add protein powder to your diet.

Here's the lowdown of protein powders:

There are many types to choose from:

  • Whey Protein: This comes from cow’s milk when the whey is separated from the curds (as a liquid) and is then processed and purified into various proteins. It is high in amino acid (cysteine) that are essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • There are 3 main forms of whey protein; Power, concentrate and isolate. For optimal benefits, concentrate or isolate are the purest forms that have little to no lactose or fat content. Beware: when looking for whey protein ensure you read the labels and find ones with minimal additives, colouring and flavours.
  • Casein: Casein protein makes up around 80% of the protein content in milk. It comes in the form of a clot like gel that sits in the stomach and slowly released its amino acids into the body. The benefits of this include nitrogen preservation and muscle recovery.
  • Plant-based: Coming in various forms, plant-based protein powders have grown significantly in popularity due to their vegan, lactose/dairy and often gluten free properties.

If you are vegan or suffer from lactose intolerance, these forms of protein can be beneficial for you. Some examples include; pea protein, brown rice protein or hemp protein powder.

What protein to choose?

  • Looking to build muscle mass:

Whey, casein and milk-based protein powders are essentially the best parts of milk, with carbohydrates and fats removed. This allows you to increase your protein intake without increasing your intake of other macronutrients, this can help to boost energy and  improve muscle tone.

  • Looking to achieve weight loss:

Casein and whey protein powders, as well as plant based, can also aid with weight loss especially when you reduce your portion size and calories to maintain your weight loss regime.

Protein powders keep you fuller for longer and can replace your sweet treat if you go for chocolate or vanilla flavour. Add cold water or lite milk for reduced calories.

Plant based proteins are great for weight loss as they are high in fibre and take longer to digest, which makes your body work harder. The harder your body works on metabolising the plant protein means more fat burning.

  • Looking to supplement protein intake:

With vegan diets on the rise many protein powders are dairy-free and  plant-based such as pea protein, soy protein, rice protein or hemp protein. These are a great way to supplement your protein intake and maintain an active lifestyle and repair and build muscle.