I received a question about whey protein after one of the recent podcasts.
A shortened version of the question was, "Do I have to have whey protein or should I try different kinds?"
I know protein supplementation is a really grey area for most people.
- How much? - Is it bad for me? - What's the difference between whey and others?
First of all, protein considered a macronutrient (like fats and carbs). It's also considered the most essential macronutrient. You can't live without it and inadequate intake can cause a whole host of health problems. It's just icing on the cake that it helps build muscle and burn fat. It’s used to make hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. There’s a reason it’s the most essential macronutrient.
But due to a number of factors like budget, digestive health, food sensitivities and prep time high protein meals can be difficult to execute on a regular basis.
Protein powders help crush all of the above excuses. It's time friendly, cost friendly and generally taste amazing. That’s why Americans spend nearly $5 billion on protein powders every year.
.Of all those powders, the best selling is whey protein, and for good reason:
It’s inexpensive.It has high bioavailability and a great amino acid profile.It mixes easily and comes in many flavors. (Do you like piña coladas? That’s actually a whey protein flavor, believe it or not!)
However, the flavors might be the only thing all protein powders have in common. There are, in fact, better and worse protein powders. There also reasons why some powders may be better for you and others may be better for your friend.
If you've done your research you probably already have a good start. The right protein powder for you should be easily digested with little kickback from the gut. You also want a high quality one meaning that it's not full of additives and fillers but you don't want to pay too much and advertising seems to produce more questions than it solves.
Is grassfed protein worth it?
Is isolate better than concentrate?
Is native whey more anabolic?
Is organic really worth it?
Are casein or plant based proteins better than whey?
What's this rumor of heavy metal contamination?
Before you choose a protein powder you should do so based on scientific information and not marketing. The whole process would be much easier if you could trust the labeling but unfortunately some claims are based off of weak science or completely fabricated.
Whey protein appears to increase muscle protein synthesis to a higher degree than other protein sources acutely. Since protein is so critical to your health and it's so underrepresented, I'm going to split this up into a couple emails and answer it thoroughly.
Next week I'm going to unpack protein powders in greater detail and teach you ways to determine what protein powder is right for you.
In good health, Coach Mike