Protein Shakes. With some of the questions I’m getting one would start to think of it as ashes spawned from a mythical creature buried deep within ancient wreckage in the ocean. I’ll answer your questions in more detail but I will start of this. Its protein powder, so relax.
Before you run off to any of the following…
- Concerned wife
- Insert someone else concerned about you engulfing white substances
…Lets start with understanding what protein actually is and why it’s so vital.
What is Protein?
Every cell, tissue and organ in your body right now contains protein that is constantly being broken down and replaced. The protein in our food (chicken, meat, fish, eggs, milk, evil white dust etc.) is digested into fun stuff called amino acids1 that are used to replace the protein in our bodies.
1Amino Acids: Building blocks that join together to make different types of protein. Our body cannot make some of these amino acids so we need to get them from our food. Since these dudes are all fancy we call them ‘Essential Amino Acids’.
So about them Protein Shakes?
Whey Protein is no longer exclusive to body builders. Athletes and everyone else that enjoys any level of exercise has begun to incorporate this powdered goodness. There are other kinds of protein shakes (such as Casein) and I will go over the differences towards the end of the article however I will talk about Whey because it is the most commonly used.
What is Whey?
Whey protein is *drum roll* a liquid byproduct of cheese production. Doesn’t sound so bad now does it? Half the questions I got made me think I was dealing with anthrax. Whey is a complete protein source. Which means it contains ALL of the essential amino acids previously discussed.
Lets get Whey-sted!
Benefits of Whey Protein include
– Decreased recovery time from training (prevents fatigue and promotes healing)
– Increases endurance, energy levels and improves mental performance
– The glutamine in the Whey boosts immune system function, maintains muscle mass and prevents muscle breakdown
– Enhances glycogen storage (this is a form of energy muscles use)
– Arginine increases your GHL (growth hormone levels), improves poor circulation, lowers blood pressure.
– Helps suppress appetite
– Instant ‘like a boss’ feeling when consumed in a locker room
– Fat Free
– Low Cholesterol (make sure you read the label from the brand you choose)
– High in Calcium
– Absorbs fast
Q ‘Mohammed, I want to take protein shakes but I don’t want to bulk up, I’m a lady.
Um okay good luck with that! Bulking up is one of the most difficult things to do. Mass takes time to develop so don’t worry, it isn’t going to happen by gulping down some protein.
Q ‘Mohammed, I want to start taking protein shakes but I’m so afraid of the side effects.
Side effects? Its protein POWDER!! Some of the risks that I will outline actually have nothing to do with the whey itself but additives (depending on which brand you choose) and your tolerance to Lactose and the health of your kidneys.
Lactose Intolerance: However any issues that may arise from protein shakes would be due to digestive issues. This is due to the Lactose or sweeteners used in some Whey Proteins rather then the Whey itself.
Kidneys: If you are diagnosed with Kidney diseases, a high protein diet in general may exacerbate preexisting conditions.
Q Why can’t I just get all my protein from chicken or other foods?
You can, however after murder on the gym floor your body is begging to be replenished. Especially if you drink Whey mixed with water it absorbs much quicker in your system then the piece of chicken your going to have later on. I mean look at the list of benefits I outlined above. فن لا؟
Q If I stop taking protein will I lose all my muscle?
Simply put, if you keep working out with sufficient intensity to break down muscle tissue and not eat enough protein to repair then yes you will lose some muscle mass. At the end of the day you need to give yourself the suggested amount of protein intake (ill cover in the next question) and if you don’t hit that target, your not giving enough for your muscle to work with, regardless of it being from Whey or not.
Q How Much Protein do I need to take?
As this article is focusing on Whey Protein ill answer this briefly but will continue to write more articles on protein, as I know more questions may arise and other areas need to be covered also. This depends on many factors. Age, size and activity level play a role in this (e.g. athletes obviously need more). The general recommended Protein intake set by nutritionists is the following
Your body weight (kgs) = grams of protein you need.
Side note: A serving from the Whey protein I am currently taking gives me 25g
Types of Protein
– Whey Protein Concentrate: This is the Jayid Jidan جيد جداً of Protein shakes. Don’t get me wrong it has low lactose that is tolerable by those that are sensitive to it and is more affordable but if you can for Isolate, do it!
– Whey Protein Isolate (What I’m taking): Virtually fat free, lactose-free and totally awesome.
– Casein: Takes longer to digest. Much better for drinking at night before sleep. Some are even using it during Ramadan to keep you full longer.
Currently I am using ‘About Time’ Whey Protein Isolate. It not the best tasting Protein out there to be honest, however it doesn’t have added artificial sweeteners etc. Just look at that label (picture below) doesn’t make a dominant health freak parent just want to shed a cheer from joy? I think even Aliya will say OK to her kids for this stuff.
Unfortunately this is unavailable in Bahrain so I recommend the following.
Isopure tastes great with water or milk and I’ve used it for many years prior to switching to about time. It is available in Bahrain at GNC for about 35BD for 3lbs. I’ve tried Vanilla, Fruit Punch and Choloate. All good. Stay away from the cookies and cream one (bleh)!
ON Gold Standard Protein is available at Olympia for about BD26 if you are looking for something cheaper. I never used ON’s products so cannot comment on their quality.
Try the following with your next protein shake: Vetal Milk + 1/2 cup of blueberries 1/2 banana + some of your whey protein (vanilla goes good with this) + 6 ice cubes and blend it up!
I hope I have cleared some of the misconceptions and given a greater understanding to why we use Whey to help more then just our muscles but the rest of our body. I will write more about Protein including a detailed food diary of my daily intake of Protein and how you can reach your daily goal. With that being said, don’t be afraid, its totally fine to get Whey-sted 🙂