Protein Pros & Cons
by Christina Body and Fitness
I'm sure you're familiar with the claims of every protein powder on the market: They're all the best bioactive blend of protein available, all have research studies to be the best absorbed, and they all taste great and mix instantly. I here it every day, customers wanting the best protein powder on the market, the know it all's that read in magazines about the newest, hottest protein product, that guaranteed to get you huge and shredded. Then, three months after these hot new protein products have been on the market, we have a newer, hotter protein products, this one will cost more that the last one. It never ends. Let's be honest; how many superior protein have you bought that has matched its claims? What surprises me is that, most people worry about what protein to buy, more so than what foods they buy at the super market. Today's protein market will have you coming and going just like the phone companies in the past. three cents a minute on weekends, five cents a minute everyday. AT&T, Sprint, to dial 1010 or not, will I save on this plan or that plan. Despite unintelligible labels that resemble scientific journals, choosing the best protein supplement for you is actually pretty simple. It is not that confusing as the manufactures want you to believe. Below you will find a complete guide to help you get the most bung for your buck on protein powders.
Inexpensive, easy to flavor, mixes well, good-quality protein with full complement of essential amino acids
Absorbed more quickly than some other proteins, which may mean that all of it won't be used for growth and repair, especially if you don't consume it with other food to slow things down
A byproduct of cheese production
Called a "time-released" protein because it moves through the body slower, providing more opportunity for the protein to be used for growth/repair; good amino acid profile
Not very soluble, somewhat of an undesirable taste
Separated from milk, usually either with acid or by cold processing
Has many health benefits including cholesterol reduction and possible preventive effects on certain cancers. Great protein for lactose tolerance and to replace flour in cooking
There is debate over soy's protein quality; some say it's equivalent to animal protein, others disagree
Low cost, good amino acid profile
Contains lactose; can cause bloating & gas, some prefer a higher amount of whey, basing that belief somewhat on the ratio contained in human milk (over time, about equal amounts of casein and whey)
Great amino acid profile; "nature's perfect protein"
Cost, can cause gas & bloating
If taken from a cow within 48 hours after her calf is born, contains bioactive fractions that may be beneficial
Few solid research studies
Milk secreted by a cow just after giving birth
How to tell what kind of Protein Powder to use
Many factors are important in choosing a protein supplement, even before you get into the benefits of various sources such as whey, casein and soy. Here are some top concerns other than the source of protein.
Quite simply, if you don't like it, you won't drink it. You can have the most technologically advanced protein powder in the world in front of you, but if you don't like the taste, the canister will most likely just collect dust on your counter. To taste-test without investing in an entire canister, try buying sample packets and experimenting with various brands of shakes. Taste is often a trade-off with calories, cost and preparation time. A powder that tastes like chocolate-flavored water will probably come out much better in a blender with ice, but that takes away from the convenience factor. Adding frozen fruit, milk or peanut butter to a shake can improve the taste but also add calories. A powder that mixes well in a shaker, and tastes great with water, will always cost more.
Different ways of processing protein drive costs up. Whey is whey, the different is the process of the Whey. Hydrolysis, for example, is an expensive process that prevents most companies from including more than small amounts in their powders. This is why you see so many different process whey ingredients on the back of the label. Different processing will have different affects in the digestion of the whey, and the cost, but not the absorption as claim. The more the company process the Whey, the less your digestion system will have too. Bottom line "why paid for something you can do yourself ?" How if you don't have the time or have a hard time processing yourself, than the extra cost can be worth it.
EASE OF MIXING
Protein's that's "instantized" has been processed to mix and dissolve extremely well without the use of a blender, thus greatly improving the convenience and drinkability factors of many protein powders. These "instantized, process" in almost all cases requires extra heating steps, which can actually destroy the quality of the protein. These proteins are also the most expensive proteins. The cost can be as high as 3 times the amount as a non-instantized. Add this up month by month, and the extra cost will surprise you. I had a customer that was on a budget. He believed Myoplex by EAS was the best protein on the market, plus he loved the taste and the instantized of it. But, because of his budget, he could only afford to drink one packet every other day, and didn't understand why he wasn't adding muscle size. He was paying $43.00 for 20 drinks for Myoplex ($2.55 a drink). I showed him 5 Ibs. of 100% Whey by Optimum Nutrition for the cost of $34.99. for the same amount of protein (87"¢ a serving). At this price, he would be able to increase his protein intake to 90 grams everyday, instead of 42 grams every other day form Myoplex. That equals out to be 630 grams (myoplex) verses 2700 (100% Whey) grams of protein a month, for the same cost. Yes, it was as great tasting as Myoplex, but he started seeing results, which made up for the taste. Again, I stress, buy what you can afford not what you think is the best. It is the amount of daily intake of protein not the great taste and instantized that will bring results.
If a product gives you gas or sends you running to the bathroom, it may contain an ingredient that you'll need to avoid, such as lactose. "These powders have different effects on different people, at different times, no matter how advanced the product is." I find that some people who take protein powders on a regular basic say certain brands don't cause them any discomfort, while others cause gas or diarrhea. You can have nine out of 10 people who can easily tolerate a brand of protein powder, and there's that one out of 10 who can't. Other factors such as stress or illness can also affect how your body tolerates a protein, which may be the case if the protein powder you've relied on for months suddenly starts causing you problems. Most customers will believe that the company has change the ingredients. Changing what you mix it your protein drink can help. Milk and ice can cause gas or diarrhea, try juice or water with little to no ice.
With today's battle of proteins, everyone wants the best. Every month you read about a latest revolutionary new, faster absorbing, better synthesis and/or clinical tested protein powder. I hate the word "THE BEST". There is no best protein powder, no matter what you read, hear, or think. The best protein is the one you enjoy drinking, can afford, and most important "digest". The bottom line here is getting enough protein into your system for muscle growth. Let me explain. Most of us are familiar with metabolism, the process by which energy is produced in the body, but we probably are not as familiar with oxidative rate, the speed with which you digest, assimilate and use food for energy and tissue building. If you can't digest it, you can't absorb it "simple". If a protein powder is causing gas, bloating, diarrhea, or just sitting like a rock in the gut, chances are that you are not digesting it. This protein powder would not be the Best For You. Each of us have a different oxidative rate. This is where the saying "everything I eat turns into fat" comes from. Slow digesting of protein, results in an increase fat gains, and less protein absorption. The best protein for you is the protein that provides energy, and is well-tolerated by your system; otherwise, you probably won't be digesting or absorbing the product optimally.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN
The body's can't store protein, and people vary widely in their daily protein needs. Recommendations from the government (0.8 gram of protein per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight) totally contradict what many hardcore actually do (1 gram or more per pound of bodyweight), but the truth for you may lie somewhere in between. Whatever your protein needs, if you exceed them without following an accompanying mass-building program, the excess calories won't translate into muscle. I believe in small amounts throughout the day builds mass muscle without fat gains far more than large amounts of protein at one time. Also, if you aren't eating enough carbohydrate, you'll waste that precious protein on the fueling of basic metabolic processes and daily activity. In some cases, when people increase their protein intake drastically and then gain muscle, it may not be due to protein intake but to raising their calorie intake to a point at which growth can be supported. A final thought on protein: If your kidneys aren't in good shape, or you have kidneys disease, using excess alcohol, steroids, or any other medications that are hard and the kidneys and liver, a high-protein diet isn't a good ideal. You should determine a proper protein intake only.
In closing, remember that protein powders should be treated as a supplement to a food-based diet. Ideally, you should eat a variety of protein sources throughout the day, as well as enough carbohydrate to provide energy and prevent the protein you consume from being broken down to fuel basic energy needs. Any protein supplement, and long as you consume it with a a well-balanced mixed diet of different proteins, then all of your amino acids bases will be covered.