If you’ve taken a recent walk down any nutrition aisle, then you've seen the various kinds of protein powders. Or you might have seen some ripped guy chugging a protein shake after a workout. Before you headed out to go grab some for yourself, you probably asked yourself several of these questions.
Does it make me gain muscle? Does it speed up my metabolism? Should I take it before a workout or after? Can I take it if I’m a woman? If I take too much will I gain excess weight? How much do I need a day?
Then, let’s say you actually made it to the store to get some of this said protein powder.
What’s the difference? What’s whey protein? What about casein? Plant based protein too!?
Here is where most people sit it back on the shelf and give up. I’m here to help answer some of the most popular questions on protein powder.
First, you should make sure your protein intake fits your calorie diet. Doctors suggest that a 2,000 calorie diet should contain 50 to 175 grams of protein a day. Second, yes women, you can drink protein powder! Most brands of protein powder make a women’s version. Protein means building muscle, and more muscle means you will look toned. No...drinking protein powder will not make you turn into the hulk. If you’re looking to slim down, then add more protein. It will boost your metabolism as well.
Different types of protein:
Whey: This is the most common protein found in protein powders. It is dairy based, and is shown to repair muscles when consumed within two hours of a workout. Oh, but wait, it gets better. You can choose from hydrolyzed, or isolate whey protein. Hydrolyzed means the product has been broken down to improve the speed of digestion. Isolate, means it was purified to get the purest form of whey protein possible. Yes, these do come with a pricier tag than regular whey protein.
Casein: Casein is very similar to whey protein. It also comes from dairy, but it digests slower. Many suggest taking this before bed since a slow release of nutrients will occur while you’re sleeping.
Plant based: There are several plant-based proteins. Pea, soy, and rice, are just a few. Plant based proteins are great for those who are lactose intolerant or vegetarian.
When should you drink protein powder?
After a workout: Many believe this is the best choice. When you are working out, your body breaks down protein, and uses carbs. Consuming protein immediately after a workout will ensure a positive protein balance, and it will help those muscle fibers recover according the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.
Before a workout: Adding protein to your pre-workout can actually produce greater strength. It will also give you a boost of energy on days you really don’t feel like getting in a workout.
Experiment with the different types of proteins, and the times you take them to see which works for you. Every person is different!