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What does a protein powder do and why should I use it?

Content by: 180 Nutrition

What is a protein powder?

Learn How Can You Benefit From Protein Powder?

Made from a wide variety of sources, protein powder is one of the oldest workout secrets that has now discovered a mainstream appeal. Commonly made of whey, which is a byproduct of cheese making, protein powders are and have been a great stand-in for a meal, or a wonderful supplement for those wanting to get that extra bit of protein for muscle synthesis and growth.

Protein powder is made when the protein is isolated from a food product. Let’s take whey for example – it’s almost entirely made of protein (with most of the fat going to the cheese from which the whey comes). When that protein is extracted, usually by dehydration, and further powdered, it becomes a protein-dense, water soluble supplement that can add generous amounts of protein to your diet with little effort or useless calories. It can be made from far more than just whey, however, including (but not limited to):

  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Peas
  • Various nuts and legumes
  • Collagen/gelatin
  • Soy
  • Hemp
  • Rice

There are advantages and disadvantages to all of these powders, ranging from digestabilibty to flavour to how well they mix in liquids, which in turn indicates how convenient they actually are.

Modern nutritional science has discovered, however, that protein powder is useful for more than just bodybuilders, weight lifters, and endurance athletes. There are a wide variety of reasons to use a protein powder and those benefits don’t simply belong to one demographic, be it athletic behaviour, age, or gender.

What does protein powder do?

Protein powder helps fill in the vital gaps between diet and bodily protein needs. In particular, if you’re an athlete or you simply like to go to the gym most days of the week, you very much need more protein than the average person. While you can get this by eating a few extra eggs or a chicken breast or two per day, protein powder helps you get these protein goals with far less chewing. Just 2 scoops of a high quality protein powder can provide as much as 50 grams of protein, as much as 2.5 chicken breasts.

Protein powder helps your body replace damaged muscle, typically from working out, but there are plenty of systems around the body that need protein to exist. Your heart is constantly pumping and requires a set amount of protein on a daily basis just to keep up with daily activity. If you’re running on top of that, it will need a bit more. Using a protein powder can help ensure that all your muscles get enough of those precious amino acids to rebuild stronger and healthier after rest.

Protein powder also makes an excellent meal replacement when you’re on the go. Since most modern types and brands can mix readily with most liquids, it’s hardly difficult to keep some powder on hand to swirl into your morning coffee or water after the gym. Beyond just the protein as advertised, most powders also include a slew of other nutritional benefits, from added vitamin and mineral complexes to electrolytes, and some even include Superfood Protein Blends for added nutrition and fibre.

In addition to all of the obvious muscle-building benefits, what protein power can do for your immune system is pretty special. It helps shore-up your gut biome, increasing your immune system’s robustness and helps keep you healthy. It often also digests slowly, helping keep your blood sugar level and keeping you feeling full, making you eat less. Since you can also get it flavoured in most cases with non-sugar sweeteners, it can be a delicious way to end your workout or dinner without sacrificing nutritive calories.

So now you know what you can do with protein powder how to use requires a bit more information.

Protein powder benefits

You might find yourself thinking, “okay, that’s all great for athletes but what does protein powder do that can improve MY life?” A vast amount of things, honestly. In fact, regular consumption of protein powder has been correlated in a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • Increasing overall muscle health and growth – you might think that having a lot of muscle will make you look like a giant bodybuilder but that isn’t the case. Just a five to ten pound muscle boost will greatly improve your resting metabolic rate, improve sleep, and reduce insulin resistance
  • Potentially lowers blood pressure – multiple studies have suggested that regular consumption of dairy lowers blood pressure, and whey is dairy-based
  • Improved gut microflora – nothing like a robust colon to help keep things moving and ensure a stronger immune system
  • Helps reduce hunger, which helps weight loss – by the virtue of how long it takes to digest protein in general, powder supplements can make it much easier to go long periods without eating
  • Can help regulate blood sugar in people with and without diabetes – because of the anti-inflammatory effects and the satiating, slow release effect of consumed protein powder, diabetes patients can see a better regulation of blood sugar
  • Works with antioxidants and boosts their effects – it appears that protein powder seems to work well with ingested antioxidants to further reduce inflammation and boos their positive effects

Though these are just a few protein powder benefits, there are always more being discovered as nutrition science focuses itself more and more on this simple but powerful food.

How to Use Protein Powders

While it varies from powder to powder, there are some simple truths to the most successful protein supplements on the market:

  • Your powder should mix well in most fluids, making it easy to use on the go or perfect for use in smoothies
  • It’s also handy for baking and cooking; you can mix it in with muffins, or into your breakfast bowl to supercharge your mornings, there are thousands of healthy recipes online
  • Mixed with coffee (assuming the kind of powder you have mixes easily with coffee) you have an incredible pre-workout or simply an early morning breakfast

Typically protein powder is flavoured (though you can intentionally get unflavoured protein powder which can have some unique culinary uses) which makes it good to mix into plain, full-fat Greek yogurt for a lower carb, high protein healthy snack.

Regardless of how you use it, protein powder is a high energy, delicious, and quick meal replacement that can aid muscle recovery after a workout and help you build muscle in general. Even if you’re not an elite athlete, there are plenty of benefits to regular consumption of protein powder that it’s definitely not a fad, nor is it based on trendy science. Protein powder is here to stay and it’s high time you gave it a try for your own health and longevity.

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180 Nutrition

This article was curated by 180 Nutrition who were founded in March 2010 with the goal to offer the very best in natural health supplements and resources. The passionate team are aligned with leading health and wellness professionals including nutritionists, naturopaths, functional medicine and exercise specialists. They regularly connect with... Read More
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