I have been continuously writing about following a high protein diet and about its benefits. But are all proteins created equal? Which is the best form of this nutrient that will help you get your dream physique quickly and safely?
Not all proteins are considered equal. They differ on many aspects, and the most striking and important difference is their amino acid profiles. Going back to our biology books at school, one can remember the statement – amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins, which are rich in the most critical amino acids i.e. the branched chain amino acids (BCAA), are considered to be better in quality. Proteins are also categorized according to their net protein utilization score (NPU). So, we know that a good protein source should have higher levels of BCAA’s and should score high in NPU.
How many of you have heard about whey protein? Whey is a form of protein derived from milk. It is a by-product of the process involved in manufacture of cheese from milk. It has the highest percentage of BCAA’s amongst all forms of protein and ranks very high on the NPU and other rating scales.
Whey and casein are two types of proteins found in milk. Whey protein is easier to digest, quickly absorbed and has a higher percentage of essential and branched chain amino acids. Many scientific studies have proved beyond doubt the many benefits of whey supplementation. It has been proved to increase muscle mass and facilitate fat loss when combined with proper training. Both the hormonal and cellular responses seem to be greatly enhanced with the supplementation of whey. Here’s an icing on the cake – it acts as an aid to your body’s immune system.
Getting reasonable amounts of whey protein naturally by consuming milk is nearly impossible, as it would require drinking huge amounts of milk, which also contain a lot of milk sugars and fats. So, how do we get to enjoy the numerous benefits of whey in an easy and convenient manner?
Whey protein supplements provide an easy and reliable answer to the above question. Many people tend to think that supplements are not safe and have many side effects. Here, we need to educate ourselves on this issue and try to understand the difference between supplements and steroids. Many people think of both as being the same thing, which is false.
Supplements are dietary supplementation provided in a convenient and easy to use manner and they are generally helpful in fulfilling the deficiency of a particular nutrient or nutrients in our diet. Steroids are chemical compounds that are hormones or precursors to hormones. Use of steroids can be pretty dangerous. Dietary supplements are completely safe to use and enhance the quality of life.
So, now we have delved deep into the qualities and benefits of whey, but how to take it, when to take it, how much to take – all these questions must have cropped up by now in your mind.
Whey protein is most commonly available in the form of powders, which are flavored and can be mixed easily in fluids. It can be added to milk, fruit juice or even plain water. As regards timings of whey intake, three periods – early morning, immediately after you finish your workout and lastly at bed time, are the best. During these periods, the body urgently needs protein and whey is an easy answer to this need.
Divide your total protein intake into two equal parts, half of your protein intake should be from natural foods and other half should be from supplements.
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Model in featured image: Ishan Arora.