Ah, protein powder. It’s usually the first supplement people typically turn to when they decide they want to lose fat, build muscle or just improve the way their body looks or performs in any capacity.
Of course, once the decision to use protein powder has been made, a lot of basic questions commonly arise.
- What does it do? What are its benefits?
- Does it really work?
- What’s the difference between whey and casein? Which is better?
- How and when should you take it?
- Are there any potential side effects?
- What brand is the best?
So, let’s answer all of those questions (and more) right now…
Whey and Casein Protein are both milk proteins, so if you have milk allergies, you should avoid them. Both are complete proteins so they provide all the essential amino acids that the body can’t make. Soy is a plant protein that is the only complete plant protein. Basically, soy is the only plant based protein that gives you all of your essential amino acids at one time
As for the speed of absorption, that’s kind of misleading. The actual scale is the Biological Value scale, which measures how efficiently different proteins are used to form body tissues as opposed to being used for energy (broken down and converted to glucose for muscle use or stored as fat). Ideally, the majority of your protein should be used for repairing damaged tissues (all tissue repair and turnover, not just the damage to muscle from weight lifting) and building muscle. Whey Isolate is the most biologically available and scores a 100 on the BV scale because it is the easiest for the body to use for tissue growth and repair. 100 is the best and lower scores are not as available for tissue growth and repair. They still provide all the amino’s but lower BV numbers are more easily used for energy immediately or energy storage and not so much for tissue growth and repair. Milk, which has a combination of whey and casein protein, has a 91 on the BV scale. Casein ranks as an 80, as does beef. Chicken is a 79. Soy is a 74. So, what does that mean for supplementing with protein? It depends on your specific goals.
If you are specifically trying to maintain muscle or build muscle and are consuming a low calorie diet or are in calorie deficit, whey isolate is the best because it is less likely to be used by the body for energy so you can still maintain muscle mass or even grow muscle mass. If you are more worried about weight loss and don’t care if it is muscle loss, any of them are fine but know that some of the loss will be muscle and some of your protein will be used for energy instead of body fat being used for that energy. But honestly, it’s not much, if any different then if you are getting your protein from beef, chicken, etc. I’d suggest using a protein powder supplement only if you’re not getting enough from your daily meals/snacks.
What Does Protein Powder Do? What Are Its Benefits?
Technically speaking, protein powder doesn’t actually DO anything other than provide you with a quick and convenient source of protein.
Where the benefits lie are with protein itself. Protein powder just so happens to provide that protein in a high quality, tasty, low calorie, convenient form.
As I’ve explained before, your daily protein intake is the second most important part of every single diet plan (total calories are always #1).
Why is it so important, you ask? Well, here’s a quick recap:
- In terms of the overall health and function of your body, it plays a crucial role in the growth, repair or function of organs, bones, hair, skin, blood, and… oh yeah… muscle!
- In terms of building muscle, the human body just can NOT build (or even maintain) muscle if you don’t eat a sufficient amount of protein on a daily basis.
- In terms of losing fat, consuming enough protein each day is the dietary key to ensuring the weight you lose is fat and NOT muscle.
- Protein has also proven to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients (more than carbs or fat), which means it plays the largest role in controlling your hunger and curbing your appetite.
- It also has the largest thermic effect, which means it requires more calories to be burned during digestion than any other macronutrient (again more than carbs or fat).
So basically, a sufficient daily protein intake is an absolute requirement for overall health, building muscle, maintaining muscle while losing fat, keeping you full and satisfied, and helping you naturally burn more calories each day.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Protein powder itself just serves as a super quick, convenient and easy way of ensuring you consistently eat your ideal amount of protein per day (which is the true key to actually getting the benefits listed above).
There’s no preparing or cooking. You take a scoop, pour in some type of liquid, mix for a few seconds (no blender needed) and drink.
In less than a minute you’ll have a low calorie, muscle building, muscle protecting, hunger preventing serving of protein with no real work, time or effort involved.
And besides just making it easier for you to consume the right amount of protein each day, there are certain times when protein powder may have some advantage over a normal high protein food. I’m of course referring to the PRE and/or POST workout meals.
Does It Really Work?
Yes. Protein “works” for various reasons, and protein powder supplies it. So yes, it definitely works.
However, if you’re asking if protein powder will do anything beyond what I’ve explained, or if it has some kind of magical benefits or super powered effects like many supplement companies like to claim… then the answer is a huge NO. That’s all B.S. 100% of the time.
Protein powder doesn’t cause fat loss or muscle growth or anything similar. It literally won’t do anything other than provide a quick and convenient source of protein. Everything else is always b.s.
What is the BEST BRAND?
On strictly taste and digestion comparisons, DYMATIZE has clearly taken over. As far as recommending a particular brand, the best advise would be to seek free samples or one month supplies until you find the one that digests the best for you.
With all supplements, you should always check with your doctor before taking anything.
Hope this helps!!