The Scoop on Protein
One of the first things you’ll notice when you set foot in a gym is that many people are toting around bottles filled with protein shakes. Should you be drinking protein? This post will give you the skinny on all things protein!
Your muscles are made up of protein. When we exercise, the dietary protein we eat has been shown to increase the building of these muscle proteins. Protein also helps prevent the loss of muscle during normal ageing. The daily recommended value for a 2000-calorie adult diet is 5.5 ounces of protein (or 2-3 servings).
How do I get it?
Protein can be obtained through a wide variety of whole foods. These include meat, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, and seeds. When getting your protein from meat, it is suggested that you consume lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish) as opposed to red meats or processed meats (deli meat, hot dogs, etc.). Red meats have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and processed meats typically have higher levels of harmful saturated fats. Eating fish has actually been associated with a decreased risk of heart attack—particularly oily fish like anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout.
Aside from whole foods, you can also supplement your protein intake with powders—read more about them below!
Shake it up
There are several varieties of protein powder: casein, whey, and soy. Whey and casein are both milk proteins, while soy protein is isolated from the soybean. These three proteins differ both in their amino acid makeup (the building blocks of proteins) and their ability to be digested. One large study showed whey protein to be superior to casein and soy because it has high-quality amino acids and is absorbed quickly.
If you choose to go the protein powder route, there are many ways to mix them up. Some protein powders can be purchased in flavours like vanilla or chocolate, and you simply need to add water. You can also experiment with your own flavours. If you have a blender, chocolate peanut butter banana or strawberry vanilla are two great shakes to try!