What are they and are they for me?
Protein powders are everywhere these days and can be quite confusing for people. The entire supplement industry is huge right now but lets look at protein powders on their own. Even within this section of the supplement industry there is a huge range of choices and options available.
What is protein powder?
Lets start with the basics first, protein powder is a manufactured food product that is high in protein and usually comes from one of the following sources – milk, pea, soy, rice, egg or hemp. It is most commonly used as a food supplement. It is fast and easily digested by the body. It has no different effect on our bodies than any other type of protein that we put into our bodies such as animal sources. The reason that protein powder is so popular today is simply because of convenience. It is quick and easily digestible so we can drink the equivalent of a meal in a few moments adding to our total protein intake for that day. The most commonly used protein powder is a whey protein.
What does it do?
Protein powders act in the same way as protein from food sources. Their main function is to repair and rebuild muscle.
What are the different types of protein powder available?
This is where it can get confusing for people. The supplement industry is lucrative and companies want to sell products. Profit margins are more important for them than quality products. The industry is littered with different products, marketing bullshit and false claims. If something sounds too good to be true, it generally is. All in all there are 3 main types of protein powder out there and every product will fall into one of these categories.
- Standard Whey Protein
This is the most commonly used type of protein out there. It comes in many different flavours and every brand does a version. Quality will vary from product to product but essentially this product will give approx 20-25g of protein and little else. There are other versions with additional creatine etc.. This makes this product perfect for anytime use in snacks but also post training for recovery. this is the product we generally recommend the most.
- -Recovery Protein
This product is generally marketed for performance or sports endurance recovery. Essentially this product is the standard whey product above but with carbohydrates added too, often in the form of sugar. Products in this category range from a 1:1 ratio of Protein:carbs (20g:20g) to a 1:4 range for longer endurance sports. Unless you are playing sports or participating in very high levels of training we don’t recommend using a product like this. People can also make the mistake of using a recovery protein for a snack and take in a lot of unneeded sugar.
- -Weight Gainer Protein
This is the standard base level of protein as above but with a lot of carbs and sugars and fats added. The goal of this shake is simply to get in as much calories as possible. No need to waste money on this unless in extreme circumstances. you can make your own gainer shakes quite easily.
The most popular form of protein is whey which is a byproduct of cheese production. This makes it unsuitable for those that do not eat dairy products. Casein protein is also quite popular as a slow releasing protein powder famously used by bodybuilders pre bed time. There is no real need for this.
Protein powder is popular because it is quick, cheap and convenient. It is not a miracle supplement nor is it a drug. We always recommend people use a food first approach and fix what they eat 24/7 before worrying about supplementing.Hitting your day to day targets from real food is always priority number 1. Having said that, protein powders are great for a quick recovery shake post workout and it is an inexpensive way to up your protein intake so do recommend them. The brands we recommend are ROS nutrition, myprotein.co.uk, Kinetica and Optimum Nutrition.
Any questions get in touch