Did you know that two in five (46%) Americans consume protein drinks or shakes on a daily basis? It is not surprising considering that the protein powder industry is sized at $10 billion globally.
Whether you’re a male, female, bodybuilder, or a nine-to-five worker, protein powders has become a household name in everyone’s life and is synonymous with exercising and healthy lifestyles. Protein powders are the most consumed supplement, thanks to the global and cultural marketization of protein shakes, smoothies, bars, and other healthy recipes.
If you are new to the world of fitness and considering adding protein supplements to your diet then you’ve come to the right place! This blog will dive deep into the science behind how protein supplements work, why we need them, and how it benefits the body.
What is Protein, Anyway?
Protein is a macronutrient that is made up of building blocks called amino acids, a chain of molecules that help our body grow, repair muscle tissues, and break down food. Basically, when proteins are digested and broken down, it turns into amino acids that carry out those functions. Some of the well-known sources of protein are chicken breast, beef, dairy products, peas, beans, and avocados.
For example, a bodybuilder or an athlete requires incredible amounts of protein after an intense workout in order to repair the wear and tear of their bodies and rebuild their muscle fibers. This basic principle applies to every one of us: we require protein in order to maintain our muscle fibers, gain strength, and stay functional.
The baseline requirements of dietary protein for adults have been established for a while now. Sedentary adults require at least 0.8 grams of protein for every 2 lbs of body weight. That is around 56g for a male and 46g for a female on average. However, the baseline amounts might not be enough for those that train regularly, looking to improve their physical performance and increase their body size and sculpture.
Benefits of Protein Powder
Protein is a vital component of our lives as it exists in every cell of our body. It helps our body repair cells, make new ones, and promotes growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.
For adults, protein reduces muscle loss, builds lean muscles, and helps maintain a healthy weight. Every diet that exists today, whether it’s a low-carb diet, keto, paleo, or intermittent fasting, revolves around a high-protein diet.
For fitness enthusiasts, protein, or amino acids, is vital for muscle growth and development. It also assists in providing structure and maintaining proper pH balance and fluid balance, an important aspect of resistance training.
2. Keeps You Full Throughout the Day
Getting a high-protein diet in the morning is an effective way to feel full and avoid cravings between meals. According to studies on food and satiety, a high-protein breakfast is more effective than a high-carb breakfast at reducing ghrelin levels, a hormone that stimulates hunger.
Choosing a protein shake instead of bread or sugary coffees in the morning can reduce your calorie intake and ultimately help you lose weight. Not only that, but by starting the day with a high-protein meal, you are less likely to crash mid-day and instead maintain even levels of energy throughout the whole day.
Protein can be found in a variety of foods. However, many people who have dietary restrictions, or those who are vegan or vegetarians might have a difficult time reaching their protein goals. This is where protein supplements come in.
High-quality protein supplements provide the same type of essential amino acids as animal protein sources which is why protein powders are the best replacement for those with dietary restrictions and non-meat eaters. A scoop of protein powder contains about 20-30 grams of protein on average.
Blend it with a banana, some peanut butter, and spinach: and now you have got yourself a whole meal!
4. Helps with Post-workout Recovery
One of the greatest things about protein shakes is that they are great for the recovery process after a workout. Having a protein shake an hour after a workout helps feed your muscles and repair muscle tissues.
Resistance training such as lifting heavy weights damages your muscle tissues in a good way. The damage in the muscle fibers caused by heavy lifting stimulates its growth and repair with the help of protein synthesis. This is where protein supplements come in. The protein shakes you consume get broken down by the body and go to the muscle tissues allowing growth, increasing your strength, and fastening the recovery process.
Aside from amino acids, protein supplements also provide some extra vitamins and minerals. Depending on the type, for example, whey protein contains high calcium whereas pea protein is high in iron and sodium.
Furthermore, vegetables like kale, beets, spinach, and zucchini are all rich in nutrients that can be easily blended into a protein smoothie. Fruits such as bananas, kiwis, and blueberries are high in fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals and mix just as well with protein powders.
Other nutritious ingredients that will make a good addition to protein shakes include milk, nuts, seeds, yogurt, and herbs. Adding fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients will not only provide extra nutrition but also enhance the flavor, texture, and overall quality of the protein shake.
The best thing about protein supplements is that it is not restricted to athletes and bodybuilders only. Proteins are the building blocks of life and the most important part of a balanced diet. We need them in order to maintain our muscle fibers, gain strength, and stay functional.
Protein supplements can help you meet your protein requirement if your diet lacks the baseline amount needed for the body. For those who train every day, protein powders are a must for performance, muscle growth, strength, and recovery.
All things considered, if your goal is to be strong, achieve a certain body frame, lose weight, or set yourself up for a healthy future, it’s clear supplementing your diet with the right protein powder can really help fuel your ambitions, in a way that best suits your lifestyle.