Protein powder 101
Protein is a mighty macronutrient famous for its help in building muscle. Amino acids are small parts that make up protein. Protein is essential and has special functions all over the body, including fluid balance, hormone regulation, and sustaining good health.
Many health-conscious people have concerns about getting enough protein. The most popular way to stay on top of getting enough protein is by taking protein supplements.
But Is protein powder healthy?
What is protein powder?
Protein powder is popular amongst athletes and fitness lovers for helping build muscle and boost physical performance during exercise. But, protein powder isn't only for exercise and sports. Many rely on protein powder to help meet daily protein needs, gain or lose weight, or recover from injury or surgery. Protein powder is a dietary supplement made from extracting animal and plant foods.
The most common type of protein powder is Whey which is water-soluble and makes up 20% of the proteins found in cow's milk. Whey protein is rich in essential amino acids, leucine, and quickly digestible. Other animal-based protein powders come from casein, making up 80% of cow's milk protein, egg, and collagen.
Vegans and the importance of the environment have created a demand for plant-based protein powders. You can find many plant-based protein supplements today, including pea, hemp, pumpkin soy, algae, and rice protein powders. These products are great for those with dairy allergies or those just looking to help out the planet.
Pros of protein powders
It helps with weight management
Gym goers will always be advised to eat protein with all meals to help with fullness. This can be challenging at breakfast time but can greatly impact how you feel and eat for the rest of the day. Protein can help you get to a healthy weight or keep a healthy weight by making you feel more full.
Protein powder also plays a role in weight gain. You can boost calorie intake by adding protein powder to foods that may help you to put on some extra pounds if you are underweight or looking to build.
It promotes muscle growth
Weight lifters widely use protein shakes and supplements to help with muscle gaining. Protein powder stimulates muscle growth in active individuals.
Prevents muscle loss in older adults
Older adults have increased protein needs. Because of aging, older adults may experience reduced intake of foods, reduced physical activity, and muscle loss. Muscle loss can create risks of injury.
Protein powder is available in many flavors, from fruity to flavorless, making it versatile and easy to mix into a myriad of foods. It goes well in smoothies, soups, beverages, cookies, granola bars, hot cereals, and pancake batter.
The most popular way to use protein powder is to blend it in a shake or a smoothie. This makes it easy to eat on the go.