There are so many options on the market now for protein powders that it can be difficult to choose which one may be right for you. The first step is to decide on the carbohydrate content and this will determine whether your product is designed to help you gain weight/muscle or lose weight/fat. Protein on its own will really not do either of these, its more about your carbohydrate intake.
In order to lose body fat your need to restrict carbohydrate intake to allow your body to burn stored fat. A protein powder may assist if it keeps you full and satisfied to aid in the reduction of carbohydrate meals/snacks. Examples include: Giant Protein and Optimum Nutrition Protein.
Protein helps repair and rebuild muscle fibres whilst carbohydrates contribute to glycogen, which gives mass to muscle. Generally a protein powder that is half carbohydrate and half protein will provide adequate muscle building potential. Examples include: Next Generation Mega Grow and Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass.
Choices of Protein Powders
Is a fast absorbing, high protein source 80% to 90%, ideal for repair/recovery mostly low carbohydrate, thin and low lactose, available artificially or naturally sweetened and flavoured. Examples of these include: Optimum Nutrition Whey and Cellucor Whey.
Is a slow digesting high protein source 75%, contains growth factors and immune protein complexes, thick texture that is ideal for snacking and feeling full for longer, more lactose than whey, but only available artificially sweetened and flavoured. Examples of these include: Giant Casein and MusclePharm Casein.
Vegetarian sourced proteins are generally low in some of the essential aminos, have no lactose and are free of artificial sweeteners and flavours. They are usually 70% to 80% protein, though Prana has a mass product that is half carbohydrate (Prana Natural Mass). They contain no lactose and no animal products. Commonly, companies are providing blends of vegetarian sourced protein now. Generally speaking, most people see similar results in terms of muscle recovery versus dairy based protein powders.
Often rice proteins can be a little grainier or chalkier than other vegan proteins. The Leucine content is low which is the main BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acid) involved in muscle repair. Examples include: Sunwarrior, EzyProtein, Prana and Amazonia.
Using the Powders
Choose your low carbohydrate high protein product and try replacing snacks with it and keep to low carbohydrate dietary intake, particularly at night.
Try using your half carbohydrate half protein product one hour before training and at night before bed. For increased gains, use it between meals as well.
Written by Adam Rigby | Sports Nutritionist at our Bourke Street Store