Why do we need protein?
Protein is the building block of our whole body - muscles, tissues, hair, nails, etc - all made up of protein. The body needs to break protein down to amino acids to build muscles. If you do not have enough protein in your body you can NOT build muscle mass. You want to make sure that your body is burning fat, not muscle and you can ensure this by ingesting .9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you want to build muscle, you will need to ingest 1 to 1.5 grams of protein.
Most protein foods of animal origin such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and milk, contain all of the essential amino acids and are called complete proteins. Proteins found in vegetables are usually lacking one or more of the essential amino acids, so they are called incomplete proteins. However, you can combine 2 incomplete vegetable proteins to make a very high quality complete protein. These are the foods are where most of your protein grams should come from first.
Will taking in protein make me fat?
Amino acids in protein help keep your blood sugar levels stable, so if you are trying to lose weight, the protein will aide in your weight loss. Protein helps keep stop your cravings for food that occurs when blood sugar level drops. When your diet is too high in carbohydrates, you go from a burst of energy and being full to being tired and hungry. That is why you must always have a protein and a carbohydrate at each meal.
Why should I supplement with whey protein? Can't I get enough protein from eating regular foods?
Yes, you can get enough protein, but there are times when it can be very hard. In todays world, people just don't have enough time. Running here and there, always on the go. This is where protein shakes can come in very handy. They literally take 2-3 minutes to prepare. Scoop the powder into a shaker or blender with some form of liquid (milk, fruit juice or water). Supplementing with whey protein shakes will help you to build muscle mass, speed recovery time, reduce injuries related to working out, help you to maintain a healthy and fit body and help you to feel better during your workouts.
When are the best times to use a protein supplement?
You should try to get most of your daily protein from regular foods, but there are times when having a protein shake are more beneficial. First thing in the morning, when your body has not had any food for the past 8 hours or so, shakes are digested much faster than an actual meal. Immediately following a workout is also an ideal time for a protein shake. This is probably the most important time to have a shake because after your workout, your muscles need to rebuild and repair themselves.
Can too much protein hurt my body?
If you take in too much protein, your body will not be able to process all the protein into amino acids. What your body can not use will have to be excreted as a waste product. This means your kidney and liver will be doing a lot of work just to get the excess protein out of your body. While this will not cause any major problems over a short period of time - you would not want to be overworking your kidney and liver over the course of several years. That being said - protein supplementation is very safe if you stay within the dosage guidelines.
Which protein supplement is best?
Whey protein is the best form of protein to take when using a supplement as it does not contain fat or lactose sugar. Whey is one of two major sources of protein in milk (casein protein being the other). When milk is turned into cheese, the whey protein is filtered out. The result is a high quality protein.
So as you can see, protein is the most important part of your diet, whether your goals are to increase muscle and get bigger and stronger, or lose weight and lose fat and get or stay lean.