All about protein - The best protein sources
Throughout all medical studies it is conclusive that protein is a very important part of anyone's diet whether they are trying to build muscle or lose weight. Proteins are a vital biological component in all living beings that regulate muscle growth, muscle recovery, and the efficiency of how your metabolism works in your body. Let's discuss what you should be doing and which are the best ways to get your daily intake of protein.
What is Protein?
Protein is a compound element found in most foods you eat. While the most amounts of protein can be found in meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, you can find trace amount of protein in most anything you eat including most junk foods though usually in far lower amounts.
Protein is vital in all organisms for growth of the muscular system. Because of this it is important to regulate your protein intake to achieve maximum results while in the gym and trying to perfect the body that you are trying to achieve.
How much protein do I need as a bodybuilder?
This is a varied question. You must look at variables on how active you are, how much you eat per day, the amount of meals you have per day, and the convenience of balancing your protein with the fats and carbohydrates that you need to keep your body functioning at peak performance, however there is a simple equation to help you get there.
Current Body Weight x 1.5g of protein = optimal protein intake.
But don't get me wrong this might change completely regarding what diet you are on!
For example: If you are 180 pounds, you should aim for 270 grams of protein a day. Remember this is just an estimate. If you are extremely active in your everyday life or a woman in her pregnancy then you might need more or if you are working towards a certain weight loss goal, you might need a little less. Experiment and you will see based off your own results of how much protein actually works for you.
I eat more than 300g of protein a day!
How do I get the protein I need?
As mentioned before, there are multiple ways to get the protein you need. Almost everything that we take into our system has trace amounts of protein while certain foods and supplements have a lot more. Remember the more protein a food sometimes has, the more fat it will also have. This is not the only way to get protein however, as you don't want to have a diet full of fats. The prime sources of protein come from:
I have a balanced diet to ensure I get the maximum results, as long as it fits my macros of course. Eating nothing but beef will give you a lot of protein, but also comes with a lot of fat unless you are careful to choose lean cuts of meat such as filet or 90% plus lean ground meat. So be wise to pick carefully so that you emphasize protein when you want to do that so you can meet your macros easier.
What type of Protein supplement is the right one for me?
If you walk into any supplement store you will see that there are many types of protein supplements that you can take to add to your diet. These are very good ways to fill the void of protein you might be lacking but there are many differences in what type of proteins to take. Please identify what your needs are before taking anything specific.
Whey protein is established to be the best type of protein for the body, having the highest Biological Value (BV) and Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). You can find many types of whey from many different companies at any supplement store.
So what is whey protein? Whey Protein comes from the result of making cheese. The cheese emits a by product of pure protein and this is where whey comes from. Whey is fast acting and hits the muscles almost immediately after ingesting it. This is why most athletes will take a whey protein shake immediately after a workout. Whey will travel through your system and hit the muscles immediately and aid in recovery and muscle growth. It is important to remember that whey can stimulate your metabolism and offer other benefits such as weight loss particularly when used to offset consumption of carbs some. Whey also has immune modulating effects because of its ability to bolster glutathione reserves in the body (this effect is currently being reviewed by different studies around the world.). Glutathion is vita to the healthy function of your liver and ability to detox chemicals and support immunity.
A number of great whey protein powders and bars are on the market. I recommend True Whey.
Casein protein is a type of protein that comes exclusively from milk. Milk is taken from the mammary gland of certain animals (usually cows and goats) and the casein protein is extracted into powder form for human consumption.
Casein protein functions differently in the body than whey. It is a very slowly digested protein taking up to 8 hours to be fully absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. They say this is a great choice to take before bed as your metabolism will slow as you sleep and your body can take time to get extra protein to penetrate your muscles, although latest studies show that it does not matter when you consume your protein and as long you get the amount you need in about 24 hours you should be fine, so I am not going to give any advice about this. They say it will act as slow and steady feeding of your nitrogen reserves as you sleep, thereby sparing any possibility of catabolism. This will mean that your muscles are given the vital support of nutrients they need at the time they need it most---during the repair cycle of sleep as your endogenous growth hormone is working on your muscle regeneration. Again latest studies shows differently so I am not giving any advice about this. I do take casein protein just because I like to mix the types of protein that I eat. Some people even say that their muscles tend to recover faster if you take whey in the morning and afternoon and then casein in the evening. and by this way you will achieve a steady state of protein streaming through your system.
A number of great casein protein powders and bars are on the market. I recommend Micellar Casein.
So you can see that ensuring your protein intake is adeqaute is top priority in muscle building. Remember: as you work out you are essentially tearing your muscles a little each time. The goal of this process is to keep the recovery from each work out session minimal and the growth maximal. For most people this will mean keeping protein intake to the level of 1.5. grams per pound body weight as mentioned before but this number will change depanding on what diet you are on. The best way I have found to assure this is to be diverse in my protein sources. I use a combination of high protein foods along with whey and casein. My daily intake typically looks like this: eggs, quark (similar to cottage cheese), goat milk, chicken, some nuts/seeds and then, two ot three times per day I take whey and casein to round up my total to over 300 grams. Most people will need far less than this while they are setting and meeting their goals. I am at a point of breaking through plateaus in growth and staying shredded so this is how I try to do it now.
For best digestive function you need to be varied in your proteins. If you take whey as your main or only protein source it will likely be uncomfortable after a while. By breaking it up across the day and eating animal protein in between you will feel better and be more saitisfied in your appetite, at leat that is how I feel. Also eating tons of non-starchy vegetables along with a lot of water is the balance to this higher protein approach. By eating greens you get important vitamins and minerals.
Remember to enjoy your food and this process of learning about your body's relationship to it. Keep it varietal and fun. Do not get into a rut and watch how your body responds to each type of protein whether it is a food or supplement. Pay attention and get in touch with your body and your muscles. This is smart muscle building for a lifetime!