When most people think about protein powder, they picture big burly men with bulging biceps, pumping iron in the gym. It's true that protein is a key nutrient when it comes to building muscle mass, but did you know that protein supplements can also be taken in order to manage your weight more effectively as well? Read on to find out more…
What is protein?
Protein are large molecules consisting of amino acids that break down during the digestive process and help fuel your body. Protein is an essential source of energy that helps the body grow and repair muscle tissue, and is commonly found naturally in meats, eggs and dairy products.
The amount of protein the average person needs will vary depending on their age and gender. Anyone getting a lot of exercise will want to increase their protein intake in order to assist in the recovery and repair process. Vegetarians, vegans, teenagers, pregnant women and people with Celiac disease can also benefit from increasing the amount of protein they are consuming.
Can protein help me lose weight?
Losing weight is a matter of balancing the amount of calories you take in with the amount that you burn up throughout the day, which is why there simply is no substitute for maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring that you get plenty of exercise.
That said, increasing your protein intake can help streamline your weight management journey in a variety of unique and interesting ways. Here are a few examples:
- Protein helps you build muscle – Getting plenty of protein is a key part of encouraging muscle growth. This is important because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. Increasing your muscle mass is therefore a good way to boost your metabolism. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t be fooled by a higher number on the scale!
- Protein hastens muscle recovery – Have you ever really wanted to get out there and exercise, but felt too tired or sore? Well, protein can speed up your muscle recovery after exercise and allow you to get back out there sooner, burning fat and losing weight.
- Protein helps you feel full for longer – Studies have shown that protein can help your body stave off hunger better than carbohydrates or fats. This is because protein is more satiating, and therefore helps your body feel full for longer.
A beginner’s guide to protein powders
There are several different types of protein powder, including Whey, Casein, Whey Isolate, Hydrolysate, Soy and Milk. Each has different nutritional benefits that you should be aware of, in order to pick the right one for your needs.
The most commonly used protein supplement is Whey protein. This is a great all-round protein powder that is sourced from a by-product of cheese. As a complete protein, Whey protein contains all nine of the amino acids which are required in a healthy diet.
Whey protein is a great choice for people trying to lose weight as it is high in leucine – a branched chain amino acid that improves protein synthesis and therefore aids with muscle regrowth and regulating metabolism. A study conducted by experts at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in 2011 showed that leucine can help improve protein synthesis by up to 33 percent!
Alongside the aforementioned weight management benefits, scientists are currently investigating the possibility of Whey protein having a number of crucial health benefits as well, such as the ability to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes!
You can take Whey protein as a meal replacement, or as a pre-workout or post-workout drink. Always ensure that you are following the given directions when taking supplements such as these, and remember that there is no substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.
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