While most people get enough protein in their diet, it is often suggested that they would benefit from a slight boost. Nutritionists are quick to point out that most people should get the bulk of their nutrition from whole food sources; however, there are times when that is not possible. For those times, it is better to choose a healthy whey protein supplement over the less healthy choices that we are often faced with. Instead of heading to the fast food drive-through window or going to the vending machine, you can have a whey protein supplement that will be a far better solution for you in the long run. But most people are concerned about where they are going to find the best whey protein supplements and how much they will cost. They also are concerned about the nutritional value of the supplement that they are looking into.
Before Starting to Take a Whey Protein Supplement
Even healthy people who are interested in starting to take a whey protein supplement should discuss their needs with their doctor. The doctor might refer them to a nutritionist who will explain what they need, the number of calories and how to break down those calories and how much carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that you need each day. It becomes more important for someone who has chronic conditions or diseases to discuss their protein and supplement needs before starting to take any kind of whey protein supplement.
It is important to know how much protein that you need before you start a supplement because too much protein can be just as problematic as too little.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The nutritional needs of a person are very individual and are based on gender, age, activity level, and weight. A woman typically needs less protein than a man does. The increased need for men, as much as 60 grams of protein each day, is accounted for by testosterone plus the increased number of red blood cells. Protein, even that from whey protein supplements, should be spread evenly throughout the day because the body does not digest the nutrient evenly and only the first 30 grams or so are used to create muscle. That is only the amount in four ounces of lean beef, chicken, soy, or dairy.
The average person needs protein equal to 0.5-0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, that increases slightly if the person is more active than the average person and decreases if they are less active. It can go as high as around 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for the elite athlete, including body builders, but rarely goes higher except in special cases. Those special circumstances can include burn victims and those who are recovering from sickness or injury. Older adults might need to increase their protein intake. Senior citizens also tend to stop eating meat and other protein foods because of the texture and because they are not able to chew foods like they did when they were younger. They may also not be able to afford meat on their limited incomes. However, whey protein supplements are beneficial to this group because they may slow muscle and bone loss.
Where to Find Whey Protein Supplements
Whey protein supplements are typically available as a protein powder, which is one of the most common types. There are two kinds of whey protein supplements, a concentrate and an isolate. If there is any chance of lactose sensitivity or lactose intolerance, it is advisable to stick with the isolate which has less lactose and less fat content. The concentrate is usually the lower cost option of the two and has around 30% protein per serving. The isolate is slightly more expensive and has around 90% protein per serving. It is important to find a supplement:
- That has high protein content
- That tastes good
- That is common and easy to find
- That fits into your budget
There are a number of different places to find whey protein supplements, including grocery stores, health food stores, big box retailers, and catalogs. They can also be found online; however, it is important to know that you are buying them from a reputable dealer and a secure site. You can also ask your doctor for advice on where to find the whey protein supplement that is best for you.
How Whey Protein Supplements Fit into Your Diet
A whey protein supplement might work best when used as a between-meal snack; however, some of them are very high in calories and would work better as a meal replacement instead. When fitting a protein supplement into your daily routine, it is important to make sure that you are choosing one that has a good amount of protein and then figuring that amount into the daily calories. Too much protein from any source can lead to liver damage and potential kidney disease as well.
Even though protein is important and we need a daily supply of it, it still has calories that must be figured into your daily total. A whey protein supplement that has more than 150 calories should be limited to either once a day or should be used to replace part of a meal. There are other protein supplements to consider, too.
Whey protein supplements may help decrease hunger by keeping blood glucose and insulin levels lower and may also increase fat burn.
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