No matter who you are – a weightlifter, an athlete, or just a guy who wants to have those crazy sinewy hands – protein powder may do you lots of good. Back in 2017, The British Journal of Sports Medicine found out that protein powder intake increased muscle growth to almost 10%. Not bad, huh?
Other researchers also came up with unexpected results regarding whey protein powder. They discovered that this type of protein powder boosts muscle recovery after rigorous work-outs that included isotonic exercise. So, what’s so great about this food supplement?
Why is protein powder so good at building muscles?
Sports nutrition somewhat differs from the average diet. Physical exercise requires many resources. Harvard Medical School singles out 4 most important types of exercise, such as strength training, aerobic exercise, balance exercise, and stretching.
When combined with protein powder, physical exercise brings you thriving health, wellness, and better results. The thing with protein is that it facilitates muscle protein synthesis while it hinders or plateaus muscle protein breakdown.
What will happen when you drink a protein shake after the work-out? After the training, your muscles break down and need time to repair before you engage in the next. Because of this, it is best to train 3-4 times a week with a 1-day interval to keep your muscles from straining.
In this case, protein becomes something similar to the muscle repair team. Within the next 24 hours after the training, protein rescues your muscles and helps them to recover more quickly. It also grows them up to 10% when combined with regular exercise, if you remember!
In 2019, the protein supplement industry was estimated at almost $18 billion. 60% of the protein was purchased online. Vegan protein market share grows at 7.20% every year. All of this makes protein supplements #1 among sports nutrition supplements in the world.
The best protein powder for recovery nutrition.
First off, protein powder could be made from various sources, including animal and plant-based foods. There are many disputes about what type of protein is the best for everyday use. Certainly, it’s so great that the protein powder market is huge, so everyone can choose the powder that suits them best.
Animal protein powders are dairy-based (whey), bone-based (bone broth protein), or made from eggs. To plant protein powders belong powders made of peas, flax seeds, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, plant-based milk (coconut, soy, etc.), vegetable blends, and other ingredients.
Some manufacturers like to add vitamins and minerals to the protein powder, like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, and Iron. Including important electrolytes like Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, and Magnesium, enrich protein powder, and contribute to more quality recovery.
Now, what protein powder do you choose, and how do you determine which one is the best? You have to decide whether you want your protein to come from animals or plants, first. This way your selection range will become a lot smaller.
After that, look at the contents of your powder and see whether there are any additional supplements like vitamins, minerals, or electrolytes. If there are additional healthy supplements and if it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg, feel free to try out this very powder.
How much protein powder you should use?
In terms of sports recovery, protein plays the role of a physical performance optimizer and a positive influencer. For example, when taken in the post-training period. According to the research conducted by Frontiers in Nutrition, an average person should take around 0.8 g/kg/day.
Such a DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is recommended for those who have a sedentary lifestyle, don’t exercise, and hardly move throughout the day. It depends on health condition, age, eating habits, muscle-to-fat ratio, and even gender for certain. And yes, women should take around 10 g/kg/day less than men.
The DRI of protein intake for an active individual is 1.6 g/kg/day. Again, take health, age, gender, and other factors to account. As a result, if you take less protein than your body needs, your muscle protein will be more open to breakdown rather than synthesis. Thus, it’ll be hard to grow muscles and go for the body of your dreams.
The data ranges from one expert to another, however. You should remember that when your diet is already protein-rich, there’s no need to drink 5 protein shakes per day. Meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, seeds, nuts, soy products, and peas are the main sources of protein. If these products dominate in your diet, drink one protein shake after each sports session. No more, no less.
Now, what will happen when you take too much protein? Well, if your protein is milk-based, your stomach may get upset and surprise you with spasms and aches. If you’re allergic to lactose, choose plant-based, bone-based, or egg protein powders instead. If you don’t want to get a consultation with a doctor or not willing to pay a personal trainer, read this article to the end to know how to use protein properly.
Ways to use protein powder in your diet.
Although protein shakes are something we already discussed, there are still some delicious recipes to keep you “proteined” and happy. You can also do smoothies using different foods like bananas or dates for thickening and berries like strawberries, blueberries, and others for flavor.
Add usual or plant-based milk or water, if you’re not a fan of milk, and don’t forget about 2-4 servings of protein. Additionally, some people love their smoothies with sweeteners like honey, guava syrup, maple syrup, sugar, or sugar powder. Use a blender to mix it all together and enjoy!
Sometimes, it’s great to try something new and make a veggie smoothie. Just take some liquid (water or milk), 1 banana, spinach, pumpkin or flax seeds, protein powder, and mix it together in a blender. Other ingredients could be added if you need them.
Smoothies could be considered a full meal, since they are pretty filling. However, there are other ways to use protein powder. As an example, you can make a wholesome breakfast when you add a few cups of protein powder to your pancakes.
According to Insider, protein powder could be added not only to your shakes, smoothies, or pancakes but also to your coffee, puddings, hummus, energy bites, guacamole, oatmeal, soups, cakes, and pizza. Basically, it’s only up to your imagination and creativity.
The side effects of protein powder intake may occur only if you have any problems with digestion. You can misuse the powder and take too much of it, that is to say it is essential to consult with a dietician or your GP before purchasing and adding any supplements to your diet.
Unpleasant stomach aches, nasty bloating, and diarrhea may come along with excessive consumption of whey protein powder. On the other hand, it’s because many people can’t tolerate lactose. If you don’t want to spend your time on a sickbed, be careful and make your health a priority.
Kidneys that have the filtering function in our body can also suffer from protein powder intake. It happens especially often if a person already has kidney disease or other related problems. Osteoporosis, which is a bone disease that ruins your bones and leads to bone breaking, is another side effect of protein intake.
Besides, it’s also bad if you substitute normal protein-rich foods with protein powder. For example, instead of eating your chicken sandwich, tofu salad, or a fish-roll, you opt for a protein shake that consists of water and powder. This way, you’ll feel fatigued, tired, sleepy, and lose the lust for life as a whole. So, watch your diet and eat healthy foods that contain protein as well.
However, there’s no need to be scared, guys! All of this happens only if you’re irresponsible when it comes to protein powder supplements. Just don’t forget to eat other protein-rich foods or avoid excessive protein powder consumption. This way you’ll be 100% healthy, your muscles will grow like mad, and your stomach and kidney will be eternally grateful!
Sports recovery nutrition is vital to save your muscles from protein breakdown and boost its synthesis. Protein powders are a great way to help your muscles recover faster and more efficiently. That is to say, protein helps you build up to 10% more muscle.
Thankfully, today, we’re blessed with a huge variety of protein-rich foods that don’t cost a fortune. We are free to choose protein powders with different vitamins and minerals, as well as our favorite sweeteners. Thus, the protein market grows so rapidly and leaves almost no place for other sports nutrition supplements.
In summation, protein powder benefits your health if applied properly. This is why you take your age, gender, muscle-to-fat ratio, and physical activity to account and see how much protein you actually need. Don’t forget to consult with your dietician. Good luck!