As the lockdown slowly began to loosen up, millions of people, particularly those that couldn’t get regular workout will begin to.., if not already preparing to get back to shape. That is when the commonly asked questions that populate the media; “What kind of protein should I take?” “What kind of protein powder is best?” “What kind of protein shakes do you drink?” in order to build muscles.
In addition, high protein diets have also become quite trendy in the general population as part of many weight loss programs.
Why Can’t Life be Simple?
Knowing this, especially now that millions of people are trying to get by, will prevent you from wasting your hard-earned money that can be used for other important needs.
To be honest with you, nothing is ever what it seems to be. Our world is so corrupt, full of greed and atrocity that you can’t even trust the news. Let alone the food, research, and health industries. The reason I said all this is because every research I have done on every topic, there is so much conflicting information. I came to the conclusion that there are very few scientific studies (without bribes) anymore.
Most food label contents are inaccurate. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up, rather we can make the best out of the situation and strive to live healthily.
If you have any questions or have recommendations for any product you will like me to review and give you my insight, please let me know by leaving a comment at the end because it will give me great joy to know that I’m truly helping someone achieve their dream.
When it comes to making choices to use the best sources of protein for building weight, quality in terms of the source is just as critical as quantity. This article provides you with all you need to know to make an informed choices.
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Since I have cleared the air, let’s get started.
What is protein?
Protein primarily used for building, repairing, and maintaining cells, tissues, organs, and systems throughout your body. It also provides energy and supports to your cognitive and emotional (mood) function. Though protein can be found virtually in every food we eat on a daily basis, but there continue to be misconception about protein and its sources.
When you eat protein, it is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy. The amino acid tryptophan influences mood by producing serotonin, which can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve overall cognitive function.
The majority of animal sources of protein, such as eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and fish contained all the essential amino acids needed by your body, but plant-based protein sources such as legumes (beans), vegetables, grains, and nuts often lack one or more of the essential amino acids.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to eat animal products to get the right amino acids. For those, especially vegans, who don’t eat animal protein sources, can still have complete protein by eating a mixture of plant-based protein sources daily.
The health benefits of protein
Protein provides your body with the raw material to build strong, lean muscle. Your body converts the extra and store it as sugar and fat to be used as an energy source during a workout. Just like the saying, “too much of everything is bad.” Excess protein could be toxic to your body, especially if you have any chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes, kidney disease, chronic gout, and others.
To obtain the optimum benefits, you need to eat the right amount of high-quality protein. These are the benefits:
Can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight by decreasing your craving (appetite), making you feel full longer, and boost your energy while exercising.
The proper immune system, cardiovascular, and respiratory functioning, including faster recovery post-workout (exercise).
Can help with cognitive and memory functions (better focus and concentration)
Helped with mood enhancement and boost your endurance (resilience) to worries, stress, anxiety, and depression
Can help decrease your risk for overweight/obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
Important for proper child growth and development, including your senior years.
Can improve your mood and boost your resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression
Protein is also vital to the way you look (appearance) and you feel energetic and healthy.
Last but not the list, high-quality protein can help you maintain healthy skin, hairs, and nails, build and maintain lean muscle mass while dieting.
The problem with the Western diet is not the quantity but the quality of protein we eat on a regular basis.
How can you tell which food has the best Protein Source?
Partly by differentiating between high vs low quality which high comes from grass-fed, genuine organic and low from industrially (processed) grown sources. Using Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS).
Note: The problems with processed meat include excess salt as preservatives, causing harm to your health by increasing your blood pressure. Also, studies have connected them (preservative substances) to increased cancer risk.
The truth is that we have to be realistic about our world. Nothing is certain anymore about the food, the news. Basically, you can’t really know if what the label says, is actually what it is.
The key to eating high-quality protein is to make sure your diets contain a mixture of different types of protein sources, instead of using only processed or excess red meat.
Quantity also matters: How much do you need?
“Do everything in moderation” means quantity matters. These are recommendations for optimum results.
For adults, eat at least 0.8g of protein per kilogram (2.2lbs) of your body weight each day. That means a 160lb woman should eat at least 58 grams ((160lbs/2.2lbs) x 0.8g) of high-quality protein per day. But if you are trying to build muscle, engaging in extreme exercise/workout, you will probably need more.
Also, in the case of women who are nursing, should take about 20 grams more of high-quality protein a day to support milk production than they did before pregnancy.
Note: A higher intake may help to lower your risk for obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
For elderly folks, the recommended amount, 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each kilogram of weight (think 0.5g of protein per lb. of body weight if that’s easier).
According to an Environment and Nutrition source, you should try to divide your protein intake equally among meals.
Best sources of high-quality protein
Proteins from animal sources are complete and they include eggs, meat, fish, poultry, and milk. These provide the highest quality rating of food sources. Although protein from these sources is also linked with high intakes of saturated fats and cholesterol, there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated positive benefits of animal proteins in numerous groups.
Fish. Seafood has high quality in protein and low in saturated fat. Fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, trout, anchovies, sablefish (black cod), and herring are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Experts recommend eating seafood at least twice a week.
Poultry. Removing the skin from chicken and turkey can significantly decrease the saturated fat. In the U.S., non-organic poultry may also have antibiotics and been raised on GMO feed grown with pesticides, so preferably choose organic and grass-fed (free-range) if possible.
Beans. Beans and peas are packed full of both protein and fiber. Add them to salads, soups, and stews to boost your protein intake.
Dairy products. Products such as skim milk, cheese, and yogurt offer lots of healthy protein. Beware of added sugar in low-fat yogurts and flavored milk, though, and skip processed cheese that often contains non-dairy ingredients.
Nuts and seeds. As well as being rich sources of protein, nuts and seeds are also high in fiber and “good” fats. Try to use nuts like almonds, pistachio, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts Add to salads or keep handy for snacks.
Though some experts are claiming that certain nuts like a peanut have a high level of lectin that is toxic to your gut causing “leaky gut syndrome.
Tip: So, watch how much you are getting and choose the amount based on your level of activities.
Tofu and soy products.
Non-GMO tofu and soy are excellent red meat alternatives, high in protein, and low in fat. Try a “meatless Monday,” plant-based protein sources are often less expensive than meat so it can be as GREAT FOR YOUR POCKET as it is for your health.
Although people that Soy products should be avoided especially for men claiming that it has a high level of estrogen hormone. I will keep you informed as I research more.
Tips to increase your protein intake
- 1. Replace processed carbs with complete (high quality) protein. It can decrease your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke, and the additional benefit of making you feel full longer, which can help maintain a healthy weight.
- 2. Reduce the number of processed carbohydrates you consume—from foods such as pizza, pastries, cakes, cookies, and chips—and replace them with fish, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, chicken, dairy, and soy and tofu products.
- 3. Snack on healthy nuts and seeds instead of chips, replace a baked dessert with Greek yogurt or swap out slices of pizza for a grilled chicken breast and a side of beans.
If you Not a fan of a seafood fan, Try this suggestion
If you’re not a fan of seafood, but interested to add more in your diet, there are techniques to make fish more palatable.
Always purchase fresh fish. Some say salmon, tilapia, cod have the least “fishy” taste. Disguise the taste by adding a sweet-savory sauce.
Marinate fish with Cajun or Creole seasoning.
Add white fish or shellfish, such as cod or tilapia, to a curry.
Combine grilled fish with fresh salsa or your favorite chutney
Mix canned salmon or tuna with low-fat mayonnaise and chopped onion for a tasty sandwich filling.
To avoid problems when increasing protein intake
When shopping for canned beans, choose the low sodium versions.
Choose unsalted nuts and seeds, to reduce your daily sodium intake.
Adding more protein to your diet can increase urine output, so drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Increasing protein can also lead to calcium loss so, make sure to get plenty of calcium
(1,000 to 1,200 mg per day).
Protein powders, shakes, and bars
In most cases, consuming the right balance of whole foods each day will provide you with all the nutrients you need, negating the need for protein supplements. However, you may benefit from supplementing your diet if you’re:
If you are interested in becoming a bodybuilder or into an extreme strength and endurance athletes.
A teenager still in the growth phase and exercising excessively.
Becoming a vegan—eliminating meat, chicken, fish, and even dairy and eggs from your diet
An older adult with a small appetite who finds it difficult to eat your protein requirements in whole foods
Starting or increasing a regular workout program, trying to add muscle, recovering from a sports injury, or find you feel weak while exercising or lifting weights
Using protein supplements
Protein supplements come in a variety of forms such as powders you mix with milk or water, premixed, ready-to-drink shakes, or in bars. The most common types of protein used are whey, casein, and soy. Whey and casein are milk-based proteins, while the soy is the better choice for vegans or anyone (female) with a dairy allergy, but not so good for men. If you want to add protein supplements in your diet to achieve faster results, click my Best protein Supplement.
Safety concerns. Protein supplements may not be safe for older people with renal disease or people who have recently undergone surgery on the digestive system. Some ingredients may even interact with prescription medication, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before using it.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and make sure you’re getting enough calcium in your diet.
Look out for extra ingredients. Many protein bars are packed with carbs and added sugar.
Protein from animal sources seems to be a vital source of protein from infancy until maturity in adulthood in humans. However, the potential health concerns associated with a diet of protein consumed primarily from animal sources should be acknowledged. With a proper combination of sources, vegetable proteins may provide similar benefits as protein from animal sources. Maintenance of lean body mass though may become a concern. However, interesting data does exist concerning health benefits associated with soy protein consumption.
In athletes supplementing their diets with additional protein, casein has been shown to provide the greatest benefit for increases in protein synthesis for a prolonged duration. However, whey protein has a greater initial benefit for protein synthesis. These differences are related to their rates of absorption. It is likely a combination of the two could be beneficial, or smaller but more frequent ingestion of whey protein could prove to be of more value. Considering the paucity of research examining various sources of protein in sport supplementation studies, further research appears warranted in examining the benefits of these various protein sources.