Which Protein is the Best Fit For You?

Posted on: April 7th, 2017 by Brandon No Comments

Some people think protein supplements are just for bodybuilders or serious athletes, but the truth is everyone needs high-quality protein to help build and maintain muscle. Getting enough protein not only allows the body to stay strong well into middle and old age, but also helps improve endurance, reduce fatigue, and reduces recovery time for injuries.

Not all protein supplements are created equal. You can find protein powders and shakes at almost any conventional supplement shop or grocery store, but these often come packed with unnecessary fillers and artificial sweeteners such like aspartame, sucralose, and maltodextrin. In many instances, you’re often paying a premium for celebrity endorsers.

There are so many choices – even from the same manufacturer. Spinach was all Popeye needed, but what kind of protein should Olive Oyl and the rest of us be using? All types of protein help build muscle, but some kinds work better for some people than others based on each individual’s lifestyle choices, health concerns, and fitness goals.

There are several types of protein sources you need know about to keep your body strong for life: whey concentrate, whey isolate, casein, soy, rice, and pea. Do you know which protein source you should be using?

Why do we need protein?

Before discovering the best protein option for you, it is good to understand what protein does. Protein is one of three macronutrients, the others being fat and carbohydrates, that provide the body with energy (or calories). Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. When protein is broken down in the body into amino acids, the body reorders them and turns them into whatever is needed at the time. These amino acids are critical for cellular growth in every cell of the body. All human bodily tissue (organs, bones, muscles and skin) contain proteins.

Giving the body a constant supply of protein throughout the day is crucial for optimum metabolism and muscle growth. This is because the body is always in one of two states – an anabolic state, in which it is building muscle, or a catabolic state, in which it is breaking down muscle and various molecules to use as energy.

When people get older, their bodies naturally tend to spend more time losing muscle in a catabolic state than building muscle in an anabolic state. Many studies, including one published in Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal, have found that muscles gradually reduce at age 30 and the loss accelerates around age 40. At age 50, significant muscle and bone loss typically occurs for those not actively seeking to maintain them. Making sure you stay in an anabolic state is partially about getting enough exercise and rest, the other part is nutrition with protein.

What kind of protein should I use?

Understanding the differences and making a decision on which protein is right for you begins with your preference regarding an animal or vegetarian source of protein. Often this decision is made based on potential food allergies such as gluten or dairy. Secondarily, you need to enjoy the taste and the price needs to match your budget.

Whey and casein protein

Whey and casein proteins are the most popular kind of protein supplements on the market. They are derived from filtered milk and both are great choices for most people. The body quickly absorbs whey protein, making it a great pre- and post-workout option, and it is considered an inexpensive yet “complete” protein because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that makes up the protein that the body needs.

There are two primary types of whey proteins – whey concentrate and the further-processed whey isolate. Whey concentrate typically is more bioavailable since the isolate may lose biologic activity through the additional processing. However, microfiltration of some isolates, which is a more expensive procedure, preserves some of the biologic activity and creates an isolate that is more rapidly absorbed into the blood. Consider a whey isolate just prior to or immediately after a strength workout (before the shower) or a whey concentrate that contains more carbs as a snack or meal replacement. Casein protein, on the other hand, is a slow release protein because it is gradually digested over several hours; supplying the body with a slow and steady dose of amino acids.

Scientific studies and reviews, published in journals such as Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care and Journal of Food Science, have found that since whey protein is a rich source of the essential amino acids, it has the ability to quickly raise key branched chain amino acid (BCAA) levels in the blood. As a result, whey protein significantly boosts the effects of resistance exercise such as lifting weights; especially when whey protein isolate is used in the minutes after such exercise. Casein protein also contains the same BCAAs, but since it is slow to digest, is recommended prior to bedtime or before a long day when protein snacking is an unlikely option.

Although whey and casein proteins are well-researched, they may not be right for everyone because some people are either allergic to the sugar found in milk (lactose) or may choose to avoid animal products. Some whey protein isolates can work for people who are lactose intolerant because the lactose has been fully or partially removed; but some people still prefer plant-based options.

Soy protein

Soy protein is popular because it is affordable, lactose free, and is one of the rare plant protein sources considered to be “complete” because, like whey, it contains all of the essential amino acids. Many studies, such as the protein review from Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, note that supplementing with soy protein may bring some unique health and performance benefits. These include reducing blood LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reducing blood pressure. A study published in Fertility and Sterility even found that supplementing with soy protein can prevent the increase in abdominal fat common in postmenopausal women.

According to a study from The Journal of Medical Investigation, soy appears to have the ability to prevent muscle loss in even low-physical activity or bedridden subjects. The study gave people soy protein supplementation for thirty days and found that it significantly increased strength in participants with low physical activity as compared to people supplementing with milk protein.

Despite the benefits of soy protein, some people look elsewhere for plant-based protein because soy is often genetically modified. Also, soy contains naturally-occurring phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens have been marketed as natural alternatives to estrogen replacement therapy according to studies in journals such as Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. While there may be additional benefits from these such as lowered risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer and menopausal symptoms, for men the increased estrogen can be a significant health concern resulting in decreased testosterone.

Pea and rice protein

Rice protein and pea protein are popular plant-based alternatives to soy protein. Unlike soy, neither is a complete form of protein by itself because each individually lacks the full spectrum of essential amino acids. When pea and rice proteins are combined they serve as a complete vegetarian alternative to soy.

For instance, rice protein is low in lysine, which is an amino acid important for human growth and bone health. But pea protein is rich in lysine, so it makes up for the rice’s deficiency. Rice and pea proteins are also considered hypoallergenic and are more easily digestible for some people than soy or dairy proteins.

This is significant considering the large percentage of the population who struggle with digestive disorders. Their hypoallergenic properties also make them good protein sources for people on an elimination or detox diet.

The protein review from Journal of Sports Science and Medicine states that, as long as a proper combination of sources is used, vegetable proteins can provide results that are very similar to those from animal-based protein. In fact, a study published in Nutrition Journal found that subjects who exercised and supplemented with rice protein had very similar muscle and strength gains (across a wide variety of metrics) to those who used whey protein instead.

Can’t I just get the protein I need from food?

The Institute of Medicine recommends at least 10%, but not more than 35%, of daily calories come from protein. A joint paper called Nutrition and Athletic Performance, by the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine, recommended higher protein intake for athletes. Today, many sport nutritionists suggest the range of 0.36 to 1.2 grams per pound of body weight per day; depending if the person is sitting at a desk all day or participating in weight training. But a large part of it, according to studies such as one recently published in Nutrition & Metabolism, is getting quality protein every three hours throughout the day; not just three times at major meals.

Getting all the protein your body needs only through the food you eat, even when choosing leaner cuts of meat, often comes with hidden consequences. For instance, a grilled 6-ounce lean cut of beef packs a lot of protein – about 50 grams of it. But it also delivers 11.3 grams of fat (4.2 grams saturated), 116 mg of cholesterol, and 643 mg of sodium.

A 6-ounce ham steak has less saturated fat (only about 2.5 grams), but it’s loaded with 2,000 milligrams worth of sodium. That’s about 500 milligrams more than the maximum amount of sodium that a person is supposed to eat in a day. Poultry is a good choice of protein without the fat; as is fish, almonds, yogurt and eggs.

Some reviews of protein, such as the one published in Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, note that potential health concerns exist from a diet of protein consumed from primarily animal sources. These health risks include cardiovascular disease and bone health issues due to the high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sulfur-containing amino acids often found in red meats.

Which specific protein supplements are best?

Finding the best protein source depends upon you. What goes into your choice of whey, casein, soy, or pea and rice may depend upon allergies (lactose or gluten), your preferences in regards to animal versus plant sources and GMOs, your budget, which form you like best (shake or snack bar), short-acting or long-lasting protein, whether you like protein combined with multivitamins or other ingredients, and finally – taste. Those looking for a whey protein supplement should consider Metagenics’ Perfect Protein Whey. This is a great option for those who already eat a well-balanced diet, or take a multivitamin, because it just contains high-quality whey protein isolate and amino acids. PurePaleo Protein by Designs for Health is a good protein choice that contains purified beef protein from animals raised in Sweden without hormones or antibiotics — ideal those who are dairy-sensitive or want a true “paleo” protein source.

Anyone interested in what soy protein can do should take a look at Progressive Labs’ One Step. One Step includes both soy protein and a comprehensive array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for general wellness and supporting the immune system and intestinal health.

For pea and rice protein combinations, Thorne Research’s VegaLite (in either chocolate or vanilla) and Pure Encapsulations’ PureLean are top choices. VegaLite is a great option for someone who already gets most of what they need from their diet and just wants an affordable source of pea and rice protein with a comprehensive amino acid profile. PureLean pairs pea and rice protein, along with other vegetarian sources like chia and hemp, with omega-3 fatty acids (derived from the chia and hemp) and a blend of superfruit antioxidants.

It should be noted that a large increase in protein consumption can sometimes cause dehydration due to the body needing more water to digest the protein. Since dehydration can lead to constipation, it may be wise to have a quality fiber supplement on hand to combat such effects. Herbal Bulk, by Genestra, is a great choice because it utilizes a number of scientifically-backed natural ingredients to promote regularity and avoids unnecessary sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

This newsletter should help you better navigate the wide array of protein supplements out there and find the type, and particular product, that will fit your needs the best. If you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed here or anything else, you can reach our customer service team at 888-460-3091 or e-mail them at customerservice@oakwaynaturals.com.

Until next time, stay healthy!

Yours in health,
Dr. Gregg Gittins

www.OakwayNaturals.com

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Perfect Protein Whey

Perfect Protein Whey features a combination of whey isolate and hydrolyzed whey–for 20 grams of high quality protein per serving, to deliver a complete protein source that helps support a healthy, active lifestyle.

It’s an ideal way to add high quality protein into your diet.

Consider these factors when picking a protein supplement
Consider these factors when picking a protein supplement

Some people think protein supplements are just for bodybuilders or serious athletes, but the truth is everyone needs high-quality protein to help build and maintain muscle. Getting enough protein not only allows the body to stay strong well into middle and old age, but also helps improve endurance, reduce fatigue, and reduces recovery time for injuries.

Not all protein supplements are created equal. There are so many choices – even from the same manufacturer. Spinach was all Popeye needed, but what kind of protein should Olive Oyl and the rest of us be using?

There are several types of protein sources you need know about to keep your body strong for life. Do you know which protein source you should be using?

Why do we need protein?
Why do we need protein?

Protein is one of three macronutrients, the others being fat and carbohydrates, that provide the body with energy (or calories). Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life. When protein is broken down in the body into amino acids, the body reorders them and turns them into whatever is needed at the time. These amino acids are critical for cellular growth in every cell of the body. All human bodily tissue (organs, bones, muscles and skin) contain proteins.

Giving the body a constant supply of protein throughout the day is crucial for optimum metabolism and muscle growth. Many studies have found that muscles gradually reduce at age 30 and the loss accelerates around age 40. At age 50, significant muscle and bone loss typically occurs for those not actively seeking to maintain them.

What kind of protein should I use?
What kind of protein should I use?

Understanding the differences and making a decision on which protein is right for you begins with your preference regarding an animal or vegetarian source of protein. Often this decision is made based on potential food allergies such as gluten or dairy. Secondarily, you need to enjoy the taste and the price needs to match your budget.

There are several types of protein sources you need know about to keep your body strong for life: whey concentrate, whey isolate, casein, soy, rice, and pea.

Whey and Casein Protein
Whey and Casein Protein

Whey and casein proteins, derived from filtered milk, are great choices for most people. The body quickly absorbs whey protein and it is considered an inexpensive yet “complete” protein because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that makes up the protein that the body needs.

Scientific studies and reviews have found that whey protein significantly boosts the effects of resistance training — like lifting weights. Casein protein is effective and contains the same amino acids, but since it is slow to digest, is recommended prior to bedtime or before a long day when protein snacking is an unlikely option.

Whey and casein proteins may not be right for everyone because some people are either allergic to the sugar found in milk (lactose) or may choose to avoid animal products and prefer plant-based options.

Soy protein
Soy protein

Soy protein is popular because it is affordable, lactose free, and is one of the rare plant protein sources considered to be “complete” because, like whey, it contains all of the essential amino acids.

Many studies, note that protein may bring some unique health benefits such as reducing blood LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reducing blood pressure. Studies have even found that supplementing with soy protein can prevent the increase in abdominal fat common in postmenopausal women.

Soy also appears to have the ability to prevent muscle loss in even low-physical activity or bedridden subjects. Despite the benefits of soy protein, some prefer other plant-based proteins because soy is often genetically modified and its naturally-occurring phytoestrogens are not ideal for all people.

Pea and rice protein
Pea and rice protein

Rice protein and pea protein are popular plant-based alternatives to soy protein. Unlike soy, neither is a complete form of protein by itself because each individually lacks the full spectrum of essential amino acids. When pea and rice proteins are combined they serve as a complete vegetarian alternative to soy.

Rice and pea proteins are also considered hypoallergenic and are more easily digestible for some people than soy or dairy proteins. Their hypoallergenic properties also make them good protein sources for people on an elimination or detox diet.

Protein studies and reviews show that, as long as a proper combination of sources is used, vegetable proteins can provide results that are very similar to those from animal-based protein.

Can’t I just get the protein I need from food?
Can’t I just get the protein I need from food?

The Institute of Medicine recommends at least 10%, but not more than 35%, of daily calories come from protein. Studies show it’s important to get protein every three hours throughout the day; not just three times at major meals.

Getting all the protein your body needs only through the food you eat often comes with hidden consequences. A grilled 6-ounce lean cut of beef packs a lot of protein – about 50 grams of it. But it also delivers 11.3 grams of fat (4.2 grams saturated), 116 mg of cholesterol, and 643 mg of sodium. Poultry is a good choice of protein without the fat; as is fish, almonds, yogurt and eggs. Some reviews of protein note that potential health concerns exist from a diet of protein consumed from primarily animal sources.

Which specific protein supplements are best?
Which specific protein supplements are best?

Those looking for a whey protein supplement should consider Metagenics’ Perfect Protein Whey. This is a great option for those who already eat a well-balanced diet, or take a multivitamin, because it just contains high-quality whey protein isolate and amino acids. PurePaleo Protein by Designs for Health is a good protein choice that contains purified beef protein from animals raised in Sweden without hormones or antibiotics — ideal those who are dairy-sensitive or want a true “paleo” protein source.

Anyone interested in what soy protein can do should take a look at Progressive Labs’ One Step. One Step includes both soy protein and a comprehensive array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for general wellness and supporting the immune system and intestinal health.

For pea and rice protein combinations, Thorne Research’s VegaLite (in either chocolate or vanilla) and Pure Encapsulations’ PureLean are top choices. VegaLite is a great option for someone who already gets most of what they need from their diet and just wants an affordable source of pea and rice protein with a comprehensive amino acid profile. PureLean pairs pea and rice protein, along with other vegetarian sources like chia and hemp, with omega-3 fatty acids (derived from the chia and hemp) and a blend of superfruit antioxidants.

It should be noted that a large increase in protein consumption can sometimes cause dehydration that can lead to constipation, so it may be wise to have a quality fiber supplement on hand to combat such effects. Herbal Bulk, by Genestra, is a great choice because it promotes regularity and avoids unnecessary sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives.

This newsletter should help you better navigate the wide array of protein supplements out there and find the type, and particular product, that will fit your needs the best.

If you have any questions regarding the concepts discussed here or anything else, please feel free to fill out our Ask the Doctor form found at the Doctors Corner.

Yours in health,

Dr. Gregg Gittins

* Karsten, Keller, Ph.D., and Engelhardt, Martin, Ph.D., Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal: Strength and muscle mass loss with aging process. Age and strength loss. 2014

* Frid AH, et al., American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic subjects. 2005

* Hayes, Andrew, Ph.D., Cribb, PJ, MS, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training. 2008

* Devries, Michaela, Ph.D., Phillips, Stuart, Ph.D., Journal of Food Science: Supplemental Protein in Support of Muscle Mass and Health: Advantage Whey. 2015

* Hoffman, Jay, M.D., Falvo, Michael, Ph.D., Journal of Sports Science Medicine: Protein – Which is Best? 2004

* Sites, Cynthia, M.D., et al., Fertility and Sterility: Effect of a daily supplement of soy protein on body composition and insulin secretion in postmenopausal women. 2007

* Hashimoto, R, Ph.D., et al., The Journal of Medical Investigation: Effects of dietary soy protein on skeletal muscle volume and strength in humans with various physical activities. 2015

* Patisaul, Heather, Ph.D. and Wendy Jefferson, Ph.D., Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology: The pros and cons of phytoestrogens. 2010

* Joy, Jordan, MS, et al., Nutrition Journal: The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance. 2013

* Moore, Daniel, Ph.D., et al., Nutrition & Metabolism: Daytime pattern of post-exercise protein intake affects whole-body protein turnover in resistance-trained males. 2012

* Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition, and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. 2016

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