Welcome to our site, Protein for beginners! Protein at a high level seems very simple, but if you don’t use the right one, you won’t see the benefits that you are looking for. Don’t worry. We are here to simplify it for you!
Our goal is to help beginners learn more about protein and provide honest reviews of the available options. So you can pick the best option for you! Our goal is to try as many protein options and provide you an honest review of the ingredients, macros, and overall taste!
You probably know how important protein is to your diet, particularly if you are looking to lose weight and/or get healthy. Protein is something that you should make sure you are getting plenty of, no matter your lifestyle. Protein powder is often used amongst loads of different people to make some health improvement in their lives. This article aims to take a closer look at protein powder basics, including what it is, the benefits, the best protein powder on the market, and more.
What Is Protein Powder?
Protein powder is a nutritional supplement used to give you that extra boost of protein that you might lack in your diet. If you are following a certain fitness program, you will likely be told how much protein you should be putting into your body. Sometimes this can be quite large, and it can be an overwhelming amount to fit into your diet with food alone. This is where protein powder comes in, and over the years, it has taken the health and fitness world by storm. Protein powder can be added to many different foods, but it is most commonly used in shakes and smoothies for a quick boost whenever you need it.
What is Protein Powder Used For?
Protein powder is generally used to build muscle, repair tissue, and weight loss. Occasionally it is used for health reasons, but for the most part, it is designed to improve health and fitness on the whole.
Protein Shakes For Weight Loss
You can take protein shakes for weight loss, and these kinds of shakes would include protein powder and some other low-calorie ingredients. High protein intake is known to increase metabolism, which, in turn, burns more calories. You can buy protein shakes for weight loss in stores/online, or you can even make your own at home using nutritious ingredients. Get your hands on a blender, do your research on low calorie shakes that include protein powder, and you are good to go!
Protein Shakes For Weight Gain
There are also protein shakes out there that are meant for weight gain rather than weight loss. They will be very high calorie, and athletes will usually use these types of shakes, but there are other reasons why weight gain protein shakes might be necessary. If you struggle to gain weight, your doctor might also recommend these shakes to give you a helping hand.
If you do not want to drink shakes, there are also protein supplements that you can take for an extra boost. These will usually come in capsule form and be suitable for both vegans and vegetarians, which is something that not all protein powders offer. You can find protein supplements in all health stores.
Ways To Get Protein
There are many ways to get protein; two of the most popular are natural foods and protein shakes. But there are a lot of other options too!
Natural (Through Food)
This is getting it from your everyday food like chicken, steak, eggs, and so on. Most people prefer to get their daily supply through food, but depending on your goals, it just may not be possible.
Protein shakes are the number one fitness supplement on the market. It’s a quick and easy way to get the additional protein that your body needs.
Bars are another great option, but in the past, the options have tasted terrible. This has changed! The Protein bar options have improved so much recently. They still have the great benefits, but now have the great taste also!
Companies are coming out with more options every day. From cookies to chips, even pizza crust that packs a punch of protein and zero carbs for you keto dieters out there! We will taste them all for you and provide our honest reviews!
Types of Protein Powder
The protein powder industry is a growing one, and there are definitely new brands emerging regularly. For more information on protein powder basics, you can read some more information about the leading protein brands below.
Here is a good in-depth review of our favorite protein powder BSN Syntha 6 Edge.
Whey Protein Isolate
The biggest name in protein powder at the moment is definitely Whey. It is known to be very effective, and it is also affordable for all different budgets. So what is the difference between Whey Isolate and Whey Concentrate? Whey Protein Isolate has a higher level of protein and low fat/carbs. This is basically achieved during the processing steps of Whey protein powder. This type of Whey protein is best used as a post-workout if you want a protein source that will be absorbed quickly. Whey Protein Isolate is also extremely low in lactose, making it ideal for anyone who has a sensitivity to dairy.
Whey Protein Concentrate
This is still a great protein source, but it does have slightly less than Whey Isolate. It also has a little bit more fat and carbohydrates. The great thing about this particular protein is that it comes in a range of flavors and does pretty-much actually the same thing as the isolate. Many people don’t like the taste of protein powder so getting a flavored one might be better if this applies to you. Again, this protein is best consuming pre or post-workout.
- 24g protein per serving
- High-quality source of protein
- High calcium content
- 11g essential amino acids per serving
- Provides a steady stream of protein to your muscles
- Excellent source of fiber
- Available in 7 flavors
- Buy on Amazon
Casein is up there with some of the best protein powders but it has some distinctive differences from Whey protein, and indeed all the rest that are available on the market. While Whey is absorbed quickly, your body breaks down casein much more slowly, which means you do not get that quick burst of energy that you might with other products. Casein Protein is known to be very effective for helping your body recover from the stress of training and athletes with sore muscles might be more likely to use this one.
- 24g casein protein per serving
- High-quality source of protein
- High calcium content
- Ideal as a pre-bedtime snack
- No artificial ingredients or unnecessary fillers
- Amino acid profile
- Made by Optimum Nutrition, one of the best companies in the industry!
- Great value for money
- Available in 6 flavors
- Buy on Amazon
This is a completely vegetarian type of protein powder and while it isn’t as popular as some other types of protein, it is still worth considering because many people do depend on it. Some studies have shown that Soy Protein actually increases levels of oestrogen which CAN encourage fat storage, although this isn’t the case for everybody.
- 27g soy protein per serving
- 90% pure protein source
- Lab tested for verification & guaranteed purity
- Rich amino acid source
- Free of additives & preservatives
Hemp Seed Protein is actually derived from the leaves of the cannabis plant. It is increasing in popularity in terms of protein content and it is also high in fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy diet. Help Protein is high in fibre and it is vegan, but one downside is that it is low in leucine, which is an amino acid that promotes muscle growth.
- 10g hemp protein per serving
- Nutrient dense
- USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO
- High in Fiber
- Buy on Amazon
This is made from the golden pea plant and it is a type of protein powder that releases slowly, in a similar way to casein. It is vegan-friendly but unfortunately, it does not have as high levels of protein as similar products on the market.
- 24g pea protein per serving
- Plant based diet friendly – non-GMO vegetable protein isolate
- High in Fiber
- Cheap protein option
- Buy on Amazon
Egg White Protein
Egg protein powder is a natural and high-quality protein obtained by processing egg whites into the powdered form. It is gluten and lactose free. It is also great for the Keto and Paleo diets.
- 24g of Egg White Protein
- Great for Low Carb, Keto, or Paleo Diets
- Gluten and Lactose Free
- No Sugar Added, No Fat, No Soy
- Taste Great!
- Buy on Amazon
How To Choose A Protein Powder
Next on this protein powder basics guide is to tell you how to choose the perfect protein powder. It really does all depend on your needs, but here you can find a few things to think about when choosing a protein powder.
- First, you need to consider the types of protein powder that have been discussed above. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, obviously, you would go with one of the options that suit your dietary needs.
- You need to answer the question, what are your needs in a protein powder? While they are all similar, they generate slightly different results. If you are looking to gain muscle, Whey is a great option due to the high biological value. For weight loss, make sure that you choose a protein shake with high protein content and no added sugars. If you have diabetes, you should also choose a protein powder with no added sugars. By law, protein powders have to have the ingredients listed on them, so ensure that you read this information thoroughly.
- If you are interested in a particular protein powder, read reviews on it so that you can get the opinion of like-minded people. Make sure that you are buying your protein powder from a reputable and legit retailer, being extra careful if you are shopping online.
- It works out much cheaper if you buy the big tubs of protein rather than the ready-made shakes. It also means that you can control what goes into the shakes better, which is perfect if you track your calories and so on.
- Experiment with flavors if you want something that packs a punch but remember that you can also add your own ingredients at home when making a protein shake.
Protein Powder Pros
By now, you know that protein shakes have many great benefits. Let’s go a little deeper into the pros of protein shakes.
Having a protein shake as a snack or occasionally to replace meals is proven to be very effective for weight loss. In particular, whey protein is very low calorie but still gives you the maximum benefits of the protein. Blend a scoop with some vegetables/fruit and some water for a filling and nutritious meal. In addition to protein powder, you should be eating well and be exercising regularly to elevate your results further.
Lean muscle will be increased when you make protein shakes a part of your lifestyle and workout regularly. Many protein powders are absorbed into the body quickly, making them ideal as a pre/post-workout snack and will help you reach your goals quicker.
Recovery After Exercise
If the exercise you do is particularly strenuous, it can strain your muscles and make you more prone to injury. Protein powder is known to include ingredients that boost recovery after exercise. This is one reason athletes take protein shakes because they can work out harder for longer.
Using protein powder to make shakes is very convenient if you are fussy with your food or can’t consume the amount of protein you want to diet alone. Many people who are extremely busy throughout their day but still want to stay in shape find protein powders a very convenient option.
Protein Powder Cons
Protein powder has many great benefits, but like most things in life, it also has some negative side effects. The International Public Health Journal went into depth about the impact. Below are some of the most common ones.
Most Are Not Nutrition-Dense
Although there are many health benefits to protein powder, it is simply a dietary supplement, not a whole food, and therefore does not provide the same benefits. Certain supplements just cannot be replicated with protein powder, which is why you mustn’t rely on protein powder too much and still eat a healthy diet covering as many of the food groups as possible.
Protein powder can get costly if bought regularly, and this might not be affordable for all budgets. Ensure that you are getting good deals, and sometimes it works out much more cost-effective to buy your protein in bulk from a reputable retailer.
When Should I Drink My Protein Shake?
There is actually varying opinion about when a protein shake should be drunk, even amongst fitness professionals. Some people like to drink their protein shake before a workout, while some like to drink it after. You might prefer to drink your protein shake in the morning to give you a boost of energy. If you want to gain muscle, it is recommended that you drink your shake around an hour after exercise. If you have some other kind of goal, it doesn’t really matter when you consume the drink as long as you do. Many scientists, however, have quite surprisingly recommended drinking a protein shake right before bed. This gives your body a chance to digest and absorb the protein, feeding it to muscles for lean growth and recovery during the night. The best step for you might be to try having your protein shake at different times of the day and see what feels best.
Protein For Beginners Summary
There is no doubt that there are many different protein powders on the market. This might feel a little overwhelming, particularly if you are only just establishing a healthier lifestyle. You should now feel a little more informed on protein powder basics and what it can do for you. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or even combine the two, this can all be achieved with a helping hand from protein powder. Ensure you know what your goals are and purchase the protein powder that best suits those goals. If you start making delicious protein shakes from home today, you will be where you want to be in no time!