Protein Supplements 101

Protein Supplements 101

Training for muscle mass requires more than just hard work, it requires protein, as much as 1 gram per pound body weight per day for some individuals, but as you may discover, consume enough protein without consuming too much fat is often a problem. A solution to this problem comes in the form of protein supplements. Protein supplements is a cost-effective and convenient means of increasing protein intake without significantly increasing dietary fat, which is important since meal frequency is such as critical aspect of bodybuilding nutrition.

The variety of protein supplements available at your local health food store is ample, and unlike years past, today's supplements taste more like desserts than high protein, low fat bodybuilding foods. But many of today's protein supplements are more than just protein in a can; they are nutrient dense supplements containing vitamins and minerals as well as macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrate. Finding supplements that fit your nutrient requirement as well as your taste can be a valuable asset in your nutritional plan.

Considering the huge selection of supplements that are now available, there are several factors that may help you choose one. First, make sure you read the label. Some protein supplements contain various amounts of carbohydrate, and although carbohydrate enhances the conversion of dietary protein to muscle protein, excessive carbohydrate also adds extra calories, making burning fat more difficult. Consequently, counting the carbohydrates included in your protein supplement is important if you are to maintain an accurate account of your macronutrient intake.

Second, pure protein supplements that are not consumed with a meal or added carbohydrate are not metabolized efficiently. Research indicates that for protein to be utilized more for protein synthesis than for energy production, it must be consumed with additional calories, especially those from carbohydrate. This may be no big deal if you are on a low-carbohydrate diet and expect a greater portion of your dietary protein to be used for energy, but if your goal is to get the most bang for your protein buck, make sure you include carbohydrate with your protein supplement or consume your protein supplement as part of a meal.

Third, there are three different types of proteins typically used in protein supplements. Milk proteins (whey, milk protein concentrate, and caseinate), egg and soy protein. All are considered high quality protein, and although there is little scientific evidence that suggests one protein source is better for muscle growth than another, protein supplements that are derived from milk or egg have gained the greatest acceptance among bodybuilders. But soy protein has benefits that milk and egg proteins don't. Soy protein has recently gained attention in the medical community because of research that shows soy protein can lower serum cholesterol in some individuals. So for bodybuilders who have problems with their cholesterol, soy protein may be the best choice.

Remember that protein supplements are not designed to be the sole source of dietary protein. A balanced whole food diet is an important aspect of a healthy diet as well as a bodybuilding diet.

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