The first supplement I ever added to my diet was whey protein powder.
It’s funny because I’ve used this supplement for so many years now that I almost forgot how anxious and nervous I was at first.
But I do remember, so don’t worry…. I know you’ve got questions and this course will be full of answers.
I’m going to start this section by summarizing the key takeaway, just in case you don’t necessarily want all of the nitty gritty details.
Ok, the key takeaway when it comes to whey protein is that it is a low carb, non-fat source of protein that is easily digested by the body.
If you were going to add any supplement to your diet then this would be my go to choice and I would use it in the post workout setting.
I always try to opt for real food, but sometimes sitting down for a full meal just isn’t an option. When I had rotations at the hospital, morning rounds would sometimes go till 1 or 2 PM. Instead of starving my body for hours at a time, I’d opt for a protein shake ? If you’re someone who runs around all day and skips meals because of it, then a protein shake and water bottle are perfect go-to options! Learn more at ???????? bitesizedlabs.staging.wpengine.com/supplementguide for more information about protein shakes and nutrition!
And with that, let’s get to the science…
Protein is one of the three macronutrients needed by your body for daily function, the others being carbohydrates and fats.
Protein is found in almost all parts of your body.
Your hair and nails are mostly made of protein.
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, and skin.
It makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions, is used to make hormones that send messages to your body, and even helps carry oxygen in your blood.
As you can tell, proteins play a key role in our bodies.
When you eat protein… whether that’s in the form of whole foods or supplements, your digestive system will break it down into smaller pieces before it can be used by the body.
These smaller pieces of protein are known as amino acids.
The way to think of amino acids is like a bunch of individual beads.
When you string together beads they make a necklace. When you string together amino acids they make large protein chains.
Another way to think of amino acids is the same way you think of letters in the alphabet.
We can use 26 different letters to make up every single word in the English language.
Some words are short, some are long, but each has a unique meaning depending on how the letters are strung together.
Amino acids basically work the same way as letters, except there are 20 amino acid building blocks.
These 20 amino acids are strung together to make proteins, just like how letters are strung together to make words.
Our bodies will join together amino acids in different orders to help make tens of thousands of unique proteins with different functions in the body.
So for now, the key takeaway is that protein is made up of a combination of 20 amino acids strung together in a specific order.
What’s interesting is that our bodies can’t actually make all 20 amino acids.
We can produce some amino acids, 11 to be exact, but must get the other 9 from our diet.
The 11 amino acids our bodies can make are known as non-essential amino acids.
The 9 amino acids that can’t be produced by the body are known as essential amino acids.
A food that is a “complete protein” will contain all 9 essential amino acids, where as an incomplete protein, contains some… but not all 9 essential amino acids.
Animal proteins are complete proteins.
This means that when you eat meat, fish, eggs, milk, or anything that is or comes from an animal, then you are providing your body with all of the amino acids it needs to get the job done.
Now on the other hand, most vegetarian forms of protein, such as plants and seeds, are not complete proteins.
This doesn’t mean non-animal protein is bad protein… it just means you’ll want to combine a variety of foods to make sure you get all 9 essential amino acids from your diet.
Whey protein is a complete protein that is made from cow milk.
Specifically, it’s a by-product of turning milk into cheese.
To make cheese, milk first goes through a process called “pasteurization” to ensure it’s free of all bacteria. Then enzymes are used to divide milk into two parts.
One of these parts, the solid part is called curds, and that’s what’s used to make cheese.
The liquid portion of milk is what contains whey protein, as well as fats and carbs.
To make protein powder, the liquid whey portion is sent for further purification to remove fats, carbohydrates, and water.
As I mentioned earlier, most of the lactose is also removed during this purification process meaning even lactose-intolerant athletes may be able to tolerate whey protein supplements.
When it’s all said and done, most whey supplements contain over 20 grams of protein and only 1-2 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
This is pretty awesome for anyone looking to lose weight and/or build muscle.
Unfortunately, many women have this false impression that drinking protein shakes will make you look bulky or cause you to gain weight.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Protein shakes do not make women fat!
Protein shakes are just like any other food that contains protein and calories, which means as long as you aren’t overeating, then you won’t gain weight.
This also means that swapping a shake for a meal when you’re on the go may help with weight loss.
In multiple studies, people who ate a high protein meal reported feeling fuller than those who ate the same amount of calories, but less protein.
It’s believed that eating protein increases feelings of satiety… which means you’ll want to eat less… which results in weight loss.
If you’re using whey protein powder as a substitute for other protein sources, then you do not need to worry about bulking up.
Everyday, I drink a protein shake as part of my post workout meal and a meal replacement shake when I’m either traveling, stuck in a meeting, or have no time to cook.
I’ll also enjoy a protein shake in a decadent dessert flavor as a late night meal to fend off my cravings for chocolate and other unhealthy treats.
When you invest in a high-quality protein, you will get to enjoy the most incredible flavors!
It will taste like you’re eating dessert, when in actuality, you’re eating a meal that is perfectly aligned with your plan for losing fat and building muscle.
Now that pretty much sums up what protein is and why it’s a necessary macronutrient, but that still leaves the question of “How much protein should you be eating per day?”
This, my friend, is a hot topic in the fitness industry.
The first thing you need to know is that the amount of protein you should be eating each day is based off of your lean muscle mass. This means a big beefy 6’5, 250 pound dude needs more protein than a petite, 140 lb BiteSized Babe.
Many of you may be afraid of eating protein because you’ve been told high protein diets are unhealthy.
Well, it’s time to debunk this myth once and for all!
One reason websites claim high protein diets are unhealthy is because they believe that by eating more protein, you won’t be get enough fruits and veggies, which means you won’t get enough fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your diet.
Personally, I think this reason is silly because you can eat a high protein diet (let’s say 35% of your daily calorie intake) and still eat plenty of fruits and veggies as your source of healthy carbohydrates.
The next reason websites claim high protein diets are unhealthy is because they believe these diets result in increased saturated fat intake that’s bad for the heart.
Well, unless you’ve decided to eat a high protein diet full of Big Macs, then again this thinking doesn’t hold up.
Your diet is probably composed of lots of lean protein like chicken breast, egg whites, and whey supplements all of which do not contain large amount of saturated fat.
The next explanation you’ve probably heard is that protein-packed diets cause kidney problems.
I once got in a heated debate with an anatomy and physiology professor because he stated that high protein diets overwork and strain the kidneys.
I asked him to show me the research because the fact is a significant amount of evidence has shown that eating a high protein diet, one that’s almost twice the recommended daily allowance, does not cause kidney damage in healthy subjects.
The one caveat is for those people who do have pre-existing kidney issues, in which case you may be told by your doctor to carefully monitor protein intake.
The next thing people question is the effects of a high protein diet on bone health.
High protein diets have been shown to increase the amount of calcium excreted in urine, which means people got concerned that high protein diets would decrease bone strength.
However, again, studies have disproven this theory by showing that high protein diets for young, healthy women actually improve bone strength.
One study specifically, known as the Framingham Offspring Study, included 1,639 women and concluded that increased protein consumption benefits women, especially those with lower calcium intakes.
Now, based on all of that evidence, I hope you now know the truth about protein
I’d like to add that this does not mean you should all of a sudden start chugging protein shakes and eating chicken breast every minute of the day.
Protein is very much like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears… You don’t want too little or too much protein, you want it to be just right!
If you have too little protein, you may be missing out on essential amino acids, which will prevent your body from performing at it’s best.
But there’s no need to over consume protein either because studies haven’t shown any muscle building benefit from eating super high protein diets.
Personally, I’ve found that just right is somewhere around 0.8 grams of protein per pound (pounds not kilograms) of body weight per day.
If you were to do the math, then this would mean a woman who weighs 140lbs (or 64kgs) should aim for about 112 grams of protein a day.
Of course this is not a strict requirement, some of you may prefer a slightly lower intake of around 0.6-0.7 grams/lb, while others may land at about 0.9 grams/lb.
The key here is to keep making protein the main event of your meals and to pair it with lots of veggies and fruits whenever possible.
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