So what do you really need to know about protein powder? After all, as a skinny guy or beginner to the whole bodybuilding scene you simply want to know a few answers. Is protein powder necessary? Does it really work? How much do I need? What kind should I take? What is the best? And finally, will any of these answers make a difference when it comes to getting jacked and attracting the ladies?
This article is not meant for you if you want to learn the science behind the ion-exchanged, cross-mutaed, isotopically labeled protein tracers blah blah blah. In this article, I will strip away all the hype, science and confusion that surrounds protein powder. By the time you are through this article and put it to memory, you will become the resident protein powder expert and amaze your friends the next time you visit the sport nutrition store. No more 2-hour shopping trips for protein powder because you don’t really have a clue what to look for!
Is Protein Powder really necessary?
So, although protein supplements are not an absolute requirement for gaining mass, I have yet to meet any person able to get 400 grams of protein per day from cooking food. If your protein intake is greater than 200 grams per day I will suggest a clear liquid protein – it will make your life a lot easier.
In addition, dollar for dollar, protein powders and meal replacement clear liquid protein drink tend to be more cost effective than whole food. Don’t get me wrong, though. Protein powders are still supplements in my book. Supplement means an addition to the diet. I emphasize this because the focus of any diet should be food. Whole food is often preferable to powders because it can offer a whole spectrum of nutrients that powders cannot.
Most of your dietary protein should come from meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However getting all your protein from whole food is not always practical or convenient, especially if you have to eat 6 or more times a day to get your required intake. I will stress to you, for optimal muscle gains, that you should limit yourself to a maximum of three per day or 40 % of your meals. To some this might sound like going ‘overboard’ and I would not disagree.
The bottom line is that both food and supplements are necessary to achieve a complete nutritional balance as well as the desired level of protein intake, especially if you’re not a big fan of cooking. And I assume that over 95% of you reading this do not have a personal maid at home cooking all your meals while you sit around waiting for your next meal. Do not make the fatal mistake of thinking protein powders can take the place of a solid training and nutrition program.
Does protein powder really work and are they healthy?
I get this question emailed to me almost every day. I just showed how it ‘works’ as a supplement to help you hit your supplemental protein mark but you are probably still wandering, ‘Yeah, but is protein powder going to help me get muscular or is it a scam?” A better question would be, “Does protein really work?” and the obvious answer is ‘yes.’ You are fully aware that protein is composed of building blocks called amino acids which perform a variety of functions in the body such as build and maintain healthy muscles when combined with diet and exercise. Protein also:
– Support red blood cell production
– Boost your immune system
– Keep your hair, fingernails, and skin healthy
However, not all protein powder is created equal. Most protein powder contains an array of questionable ingredients such as aspartame, saccharin, fructose and artificial colors. It’s interesting to note how unhealthy most of these protein powders actually are. Look for a protein powder with natural ingredients rather than products that are sweetened with chemicals and made with ingredients that are certainly not going to create an environment for muscle growth and fat burning.
Also avoid products with refined carbohydrates such as fructose, sucrose or brown rice syrup. Make sure that the product is made from a reputable company that is genuinely interested in good health. Unfortunately supplement manufacturers will continue to meet the demands of bodybuilding consumers with unknown crappy products because we buy it and it is cheaper for them to create. Do your homework by seeking out unbiased reviews, investigating the companies history, and reputation. And then make a decision and take responsibility!
In the past one of my criteria for a healthy protein product was that it was great tasting and that it should mix easily. Most protein powders mix quite easily, even with a spoon, however I was disappointed to discover that taste will inevitably be sacrificed for a safe and healthy product. I can live with this. You see, once a product is removed of all artificial chemical sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose, and simple sugars it is left almost tasteless and sometimes even gross.
For More Read Part 2