Protein is an essential nutrient for everyone, whether you workout regularly or not. Each type of protein offers different types and levels of essential amino acids and vitamins. However, unlike other essential “macronutrients”, like fats and carbohydrates, our bodies are unable to store proteins and therefore we require their regular ingestion to support bodily functions such as the building and repair of muscle in today’s busy world, protein supplementation can serve as an easy and effective way to help supplement your existing diet. Below, you will find 4 of 8 possible protein supplements to add to your existing diet.
Choose the one that best meets your fitness and wellness goals.
Whey Protein: is a soluble, fast digesting protein found in milk. Whey protein is generally available for supplementation as a powder or as ready to drink beverages, and it is an excellent source of sulfur containing amino acids as well as glutamine. Whey is probably the most widely consumed supplemental protein second only to dietary protein, which is consumed from foods like chicken, nuts, beef, and fish. Be cautious when consuming whey protein, especially if you are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies. Whey serves a great a protein supplement at breakfast, bedtime, as a snack between meals, and before or after workouts.
Casein Protein: also found in milk is an almost insoluble protein (it makes up 80% of milk protein). Due to its limited solubility, it is considered a slowly digesting protein. Casein’s biological properties cause it to turn into a viscous substance in the digestive tract, which encourages a slow release of the amino acids that make-up Casein. Similar to whey be cautious when consuming Casein if you are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies. Casein serves a great a protein supplement before bedtime, due to its slow breakdown and release of amino acids.
Egg Protein: is a product of either whole eggs or egg whites (albumin) and is available in either a powdered or liquid form. Eggs are considered a single source of protein due to all of the essential amino acids required by human physiology being present within the egg. A number of essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, B-2-9-6-12, D, choline (important for brain development), and iron are also found in eggs. However, since eggs naturally contain high levels of cholesterol, stick to egg whites or egg protein with reduced levels of cholesterol. Think about using egg protein as a supplement at breakfast, bedtime, as a snack between meals, and before or after workouts. Egg protein can also serve as a good protein supplement for those who are sensitive to whey and casein protein.
Meat Protein: Meat powdered proteins are recent additions to the protein supplementation market. They are considered complete proteins and contain all necessary amino acids the human body requires. They are a slower digesting form of protein and are not vegan friendly in most cases.
Overlooked by many fitness enthusiasts, plant derived proteins like soy and hemp can serve as important vegan or non-animal based protein supplements in your fitness plan. Below, you will find the last 4 of 8 possible protein supplements that you can easily add into your existing diet to ensure you are consuming enough protein to support your fitness goals.
Soy Protein: Is a high quality vegetable protein that is derived from refined soy beans. Soy protein is the only commonly consumed vegetable protein that is considered to be a complete protein. Soy protein serves as a highly digestible alternative to those who follow vegan diets, are lactose intolerant, or just want to try something different. Think about using soy protein as a supplement at breakfast, bedtime, as a snack between meals, and before or after workouts.
Pea Protein: Is a relatively new vegan friendly, highly digestible and low allergen vegetable based protein. Although pea protein is not a complete protein, it contains high levels of L-Arginine, an amino acid coveted by many fitness enthusiasts. Pea protein is an ideal choice for those who can’t tolerate milk-based products, egg based products, or have soy allergies.
Rice Protein: Is another relatively new vegan friendly, highly digestible and widely tolerable vegetable based protein. Rice protein can serve as a complimentary combination with pea protein due to the varying amounts of each of the amino acids found in both proteins. A combination of rice and pea proteins can create a vegan friendly, non-lactose, non-egg, and non-soy protein alternative that approaches the amino acid content of dairy and egg based proteins.
Hemp Protein: Is once again another relatively new, vegan friendly complete protein that is a highly digestible and highly tolerable vegetable-based protein. In addition to providing a great source of protein, many hemp protein brands naturally contain fiber and essential fatty acids in every serving. Hemp protein is also a non-lactose, non-egg, and non-soy protein alternative.
There are many options when it comes to protein supplementation; nevertheless, keep in mind that increasing your protein intake is also adding additional calories to your diet. Without regular exercise or dietary changes, additional protein supplementation will not be as effective as it could be when coupled with healthy eating and a regular exercise program.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material above is for informational purposes only. Always consult a licensed physician before starting a new diet, supplement, or exercise program. Always read and understand product labeling and follow the precautionary statements associated with any supplement you plan to consume.
1 Osterweil, Neil. "The Benefits of Protein." WebMD - Better Information. Better