Protein Powders – Are they good for you? Are they not? Should we be taking them? Should we not?
Walk into any supplement store or browse any online nutrition site at the moment and you will literally find Protein Powder after Protein Powder – and the burning question remains – which is the best? What ingredients should we be looking out for?
And the newest trend is Protein Powders that claim ‘fat-burning’ as their main aim. Sceptical of these claims, I started looking at ingredient lists and they completely baffled me. So I decided to do some background research on the topic. Protein supplement ingredients are practically a language of their own. A rather confusing one at that.
My conclusion – if you can’t pronounce it, then it’s unlikely to be good for you.
In previous months – I’ve ceased using protein powders and aim to get my overall protein intake from the foods I eat. But that said, I have used them and sometimes do use them every now and again if I need too.
So recent research has shown that supplementing the diet with quality protein powder, from whey or vegetable sources such as rice, pea or hemp and made into a smoothie can both increase performance and lower fat levels in the body.
Nowadays however a new generation of protein powders enhance this effect by including cutting edge ingredients for muscle recovery, metabolism and aiding the nervous system – all essential if fat loss if your goal.
Most protein powders are built for muscle gainers. But the right ones can help you lose weight with ingredients that aid metabolism and can diminish appetite levels.
Carnitine has a wonderful role to play in the body with the metabolism of fat, not only getting rid of the fat but helping to burn it and transport it out which is what we want.
2. Matcha green tea
Matcha green tea which is a green tea imparticular is well researched and comes with many other benefits, cognition, better mood and it’s a lovely antioxidant as well.
A side note though: Scientific studies show that drinking up to five cups of green tea a day can increase daily metabolism.
If you’re looking to help your muscles recover after you’ve worked out or you want to help them if you’re stressed and they’re feeling a little tight, one of the key ingredients look for is glutamine which is a muscle relaxant.
Glutamine also has other benefits to the nervous system and is used to to help stress and anxiety.
It’s also essential to the normal healthy functioning of the immune system and in the maintenance of healthy muscle, especially if you’re exercising.
I don’t take protein powders at the moment – but I do supplement my diet with L-Glutamine.
4. Plant based proteins
Plant based proteins are effective ingredients to improve energy production in the body and at a cellular level as well.
They’ve got an array of key amino acids that help to deliver to the cell that energy you need to give you that burst of sustained energy.
Such proteins are not metabolised as quickly as some of thought sugary carbohydrates and so they can help keep you fuller for longer between meals.
Plant protein powders may also help suppress appetite more than meat protein
Look for a combination of plant proteins such as pea, hemp, rice and pumpkin seeds to ensure you get a healthy mix if essential fats and a wide-ranging amino aside profile – especially if you are vegan.
Inulin is an ingredient that you might of heard a lot about as its anti-acing and fat-burning benefits have been touted in the press. Inulin is a fibre that helps burn fat around the abdominal cavity and this fat is called visceral fat, which is often around our internal organs, so it’s the most unhealthy form of fat.
Unhealthy diets and being overly stressed can lead to visceral fat so inulin is an ingredient to look out for to lose that fat on the outside and inside.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is, what sweetener can I use? What sweetener can I look out for?
I’m a big fan of stevia, I’ve used it for years, it’s a plant-based sweetener that doesn’t upset the body’s regulatory system, doesn’t cause sugar spikes and helps prevents hunger – unlike most artificial sweeteners.
So I’ll leave the decision on best brands – and best proteins up to you based on be above. As I’ve mentioned before, personally Ive switched to using a Vegan Protein as I’m both Lactose Intolerant and suffer from IBS – but I’ve used plain Wheys before too. However at the moment I amn’t using any Protein as I’m trying to get my Protein solely from food sources like Meat, Fish, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese and Eggs.