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Protein is very essential for good health as it builds lean muscle, strengthens your immune system, repairs damaged cells and tissues and also functions as an energy source. The protein in your diet can come from whole food sources such as egg, dairy and meat, or protein supplements such as protein powders. However, before adding protein supplement to your diet it would be helpful to know how to choose the best protein powder for you.
What are protein powders?
Protein powders are nothing but a convenient resource of protein mostly made from milk, whey, casein or soy. In recent times, protein is also being extracted from peas and dehydrated into powder form especially for people who follow veganism.
Why are they consumed?
Protein powders are a simple way to meet your protein requirements when you are unable to get enough from natural food sources. They are nutritious and can be easily digested by the body. They have the property to get absorbed quickly in the body and meet its requirements when it's not possible to do so from a regular diet.
Which protein powder is the best for fitness?
Considering protein powders are not the most economic way of meeting your requirements; one should make an informed choice to get the best. Investing in pure whey protein is your best bet as it provides you with all essential amino acids. Also, absorption of whey is quicker so it becomes an ideal choice post workout. One can also modify this supplement into a slow absorbing protein or meal replacement with just the addition of milk and little carbohydrates. All these make whey protein a multi-functional supplement.
How much protein powder should one consume?
Protein powders are supposed to complement your diet that is why they are also called supplements. Usually, for a non-vegetarian person 1-2 scoops of whey protein per day is enough to take care of daily requirements, but this is highly dependent on how much protein is coming from the diet.
Some may need more than two scoops, and some may need just one. Athletes and professional bodybuilders usually need much more as the requirements are way higher to be met just through diet. They are consumed in water as a shake if taken post workout or training, or in a little milk otherwise.
What are their health benefits?
Protein powders have similar health benefits like proteins from your diet. They increase strength and immunity, help you lose fat while preserving muscles and keeps you full for a longer time. One way protein powder outruns the protein from the diet is that you can get just proteins minus the carbohydrates and fats.
Can too much intake of protein be harmful?
If chosen wisely, they can be very healthy. However, too much of any nutrient can be harmful in the long run, and proteins are no exception. Consuming supplements or proteins from a regular diet has to be in a calculated manner to make sure you do not end up harming your body.
Can natural sources like meat and dairy meet the daily requirement of protein?
If your body needs are not too much and you consume chicken, fish, meat, eggs and dairy products on a regular basis you may not require a supplement as a part of the diet. Inclusion of protein powders is hugely dependent on your activity and the form of activity you are involved. If you are involved in more intense activities like strength training, you will require more protein powder.
What is the best time to consume them?
Depending on the source of proteins, different supplements work best at different times. For example, whey is best when taken post workout or training. On the other hand, casein is suitable as a night or pre-workout protein.
Are they suitable for vegetarians?
Supplements made from milk and milk products like whey; casein and sources like soy and pea are a suitable choice for vegetarians too.
Is protein powder gluten-free?
There is a variety of protein powders, and many of them are gluten-free too. One needs to read the label carefully before use.
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