Protein Foods VS Protein Supplementation

Hello to ALL. I hope this post reaches you in an Enthusiastic, Healthy and Fit condition. The topic for my article this week was requested from one of my readers who would like to know more on Protein Foods and Protein Supplementation specifically relating to Muscle Building and Weight Maintenance. I’m sure many of you have also given this subject some thought before as it often gets debated on, opinions and experiences will differ but I’m hoping to share some light and clarity on the topic.

So in order to compile a theoretical article like the one in process, even I had to do some reading beforehand on the topic itself to enable me to share trustworthy information with you. I must admit I too learned a thing or two as I was reading up and found some very interesting points regarding Protein. I think this post will specifically interest guys in general more so as they will be able to relate at some point. Firstly what’s important to understand is what Protein is and the role it plays in our bodies this way we will know why and how much Protein we should consume and also be given a better understanding of why a Protein Supplement cannot directly replace a Protein Food.

To define a Protein we can say that it is considered the most important Macronutrient in our diet and is the building block for muscles and tissues as it allows our bodies to use energy, repair tissues and remove waste. The average person requires about 30 grams of Protein per day to run their Immune System and can differ from person to person depending on your end goal eg. an individual consuming Protein for the purpose of muscle-building will perhaps need more or less Protein than one who consumes it with the goal of loosing weight, and so on. The sources of Protein is thus also important. These sources can range from Meat (easiest form of Protein intake) and Vegetables to Grains and Poultry. Other sources include Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, Eggs, Fish, Nuts and with a small contribution, Fruits. These forms of Protein may differ in its amounts it offers the body but are more likely to be a “complete protein” which offers all the amino acids the body needs.

Consuming small frequent meals is the optimal way to eat whether your goal is to lose weight or gain muscle.To keep our bodies in constant balance throughout the day, it is recommended to consume a complete Protein every three hours. For many people this is almost impossible which is where a high quality Protein Supplement can become helpful. The biggest advantage of Protein Supplements is not that they build more muscle than poultry or eggs but that they offer convenience in getting in the correct amount of proteins in a specific time frame. It is easier to drink a protein shake than it is to buy, prepare and cook whole foods. However, besides convenience Protein Supplements does not offer any major advantages over Protein Foods and there is no evidence that one cannot meet all ones protein needs through foods. As long as you can consume one complete protein every three hours with each meal it is not necessary to take in any Protein Supplements to get optimal results. I will acknowledge that Protein Shakes do offer the average “body builder” a convenient way to ingest protein thus allowing them to have their six meals everyday without having to ingest real food in all of them. With the correct Protein Shakes offering a variety of amino acids it is possible to follow a complete balanced diet using shakes. It is however important to consult with a Medical Practitioner such as a Nutritionist or even just your General Doctor before going off on buying all sorts of expensive supplements that may become harmful to your overall health. Remember protein intake differs from person to person and what works for the one may not have the same effect on the other.

Food Sources of Protein

When looking at the role of Protein in Weight Maintenance, the metabolism of protein foods is much more beneficial in weight loss than that of a protein supplement as it requires digestion and allows your body to burn more calories in the process compared to protein shakes which are already pre-digested. The two major differences between Protein Foods and Protein Shakes can thus be Digestion and Fat Content. Eg. When eating a Steak the amino acids are slowly digested and taken up as the body breaks down the protein in the Meat. This allows for a more slower, steady release of amino acids into the bloodstream which is important when ones goal is to lose body fat.

To simply justify the consumption of Protein Foods over the intake of Protein Supplements I have listed a few “Pros and Cons” as follows:

1. Pro: Convenience- In most cases drinking a protein shake is faster, easier and more convenient than preparing a full balanced meal. It is also a healthier option to drink a protein shake instead of skipping a meal or having a less nutritious alternative such as a fatty burger. To get even better nutrition it is recommended to have a fresh fruit or whole grain snack together with your shake.

2. Con: Limitations- Protein Shakes are limited in what they can do for you and your body as you will not lose weight if you don’t reduce your net calorie intake and you will not tone and develop muscles if you don’t excercise and train regularly. You might end up in the dilemma of the Protein Supplement contributing to fat gain rather than muscle gain. Thus the best way to use shakes is to include them as part of a comprehensive plan that will help you reach and maintain your fitness and health goals for long-term.

3. Pro: Weight Maintenance- Protein Shakes typically contain fewer calories than full meals and with Protein being the most satiating nutrient it can keep you fuller for longer periods compared to Carbs or Fats. Thus consuming lesser amounts of food.

4. Con: Nutrition Loss- Nutritionally most protein shakes does not measure up to complete meals as protein foods can at the same time offer you healthy amounts of fats and carbohydrates as well as other naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. A protein shake will not contain the same level of these much-needed goodness.

In Conclusion, you are probably anticipated to know what should you be consuming to get in the correct amounts of Protein, when and how much? Well for a “routine diet” it would be recommended to at all times have a Breakfast, a Lunch and a Dinner meal consisting of a real food item. A breakfast may consist of Eggs and Oatmeal, Lunch of Chicken, Brown Rice and a Legume while Dinner can be some Fish, Baked Potato and some Brocoli. That shouldn’t be too difficult right? In fact it was the simplest eating plan I came across to share with you. In between these main meals you can then have your protein shakes so that you fulfill your 2-3 hour meal requirement. In the end always ensure that your protein shakes intake does not exceed your protein food consumption.

Below I have included a Basic Recipe for a home-made Protein Shake that serves as a guide to making your very own Protein Shakes! 😛 The choice of ingredients is all up to you and it’s always good to try the different variations. Common ingredients for shakes are usually Skim Milk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Eggs, Peanut Butter and a Fresh Fruit to add some flavour.

1. Select a base for the shake eg. which Milk or Yogurt you are going to use. Milk will give a thin shake while yogurt will make a much thicker shake.

2. Choose a protein rich ingredient such as cottage cheese or peanut butter to add to your base.

3. Raw egg is most commonly used in protein shakes but is optional yet highly recommended to add to your shake.

4. To make your shake unique and appetising to down, add your choice of chopped fruit pieces. Bananas are always good in shakes as it adds a thick consistency and gives off a pleasant flavour. Fruits such as berries, oranges and apricots may also be used.

5. To give your shake an even higher boost of protein grate in some Nuts of your choice or add a table-spoon of Oatmeal to your ingredients.

Add all your ingredients to the blender at quantities of your choice and blend for 1 minute until smooth.

Examples of Protein Shakes

Tip: Drink your shake immediately after preperation as the nutrient content will be higher, avoid letting it stand over.

ENJOY!!! And Good Luck on fulfilling all of your Protein needs. I am indeed looking forward to getting feedback from you. foodyfaheema 🙂

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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