There are so many protein supplements floating around and I find it’s one of my most asked questions; which one, what do they do and do I really need it? If you are regularly getting your shine up exercising, chances are yes, you may need it, but there are a few things to know first.
What is protein powder even good for?
When we break down muscle through training it helps recover and repair and help build into leaner muscles, and leaner muscles burn more calories. Protein is digested into amino acids to help our muscles repair and grow (animo can also help our moods too, what can’t it do?!).
Protein is also known for its effect on satiety and reducing hunger, and did I mention it can help make your skin glow? Powders can help balance your hormones and they make a pretty little handy snack for a busy Ninja. Add a scoop into your brekkie smoothie and you know you’re getting in the right balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates to get you through the morning.
Your muscles are little fat factories, 1kg of lean muscle can burn over 300 extra calories. So, you want to feed muscle with quality protein. Don’t think that the bigger and more expensive your bucket of powder is, the more success you will have. Protein powder after the gym is actually far less important than making sure you’re getting enough overall protein and nutrients post-training and the hours that follow. Lisa Middleton, my TIFFXO Dietitian, advises that while it’s wonderful to nail your post exercise recovery and nutrition, you won’t be maximising your results if you’re not backing it up for the rest of the day.
Which protein powder should I choose?
There are so many different powders around nowadays and I like to avoid the whey/dairy based ones – known to be pretty harsh on most digestive systems – and to stick to my plant proteins. There can be a lot of added extras snuck in that are full of things your body doesn’t need. Make sure you’re reading your labels as you want to stay away from artificial sweeteners, skim milk powders/milk solids, vegetable oils and fats, thickeners and gums. Artificial sweeteners will in fact stimulate appetite and upset tummies sensitive to fructose.
There are oodles of vegetarian and vegan varieties so make sure you’re also reading your labels – and make sure your vegan powders have enough of the important animo acid Leucine.
My favourites are the plant and pea based proteins. Think hemp (rich in omega 3), pea (helps digestion and regulates blood sugar), egg white (chockers with vitamins and minerals and a good sub for those with lactose issues), and brown rice (full of fibre and Vitamin B).
When it comes to finding a protein powder that’s right for you, make sure it’s made from natural ingredients and contains no fillers or artificial sweeteners. It should contain a comprehensive amino acid profile in every service to help your muscle development, increase metabolism and support any tissue damage.
Tiffiny Hall is a fitness expert and the founder of TIFFXO.
This is your complete guide to food high in protein, and these protein packed breakfasts will keep you full and energised all morning.
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Fitness | body+soul