What are the health benefits of protein powder? Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle, repairing tissue, skin repair, making hormones and assisting with weight loss. Protein powder is one of the most popular nutritional supplements in the market. Why? Because most North Americans don’t get enough protein in their diet. So, some add a protein powder in their diet to assist with the lack of the protein they are consuming.
Eating protein can help with weight management. If you eat protein rich foods regularly along with taking a protein supplement it will make you feel fuller longer. And the result will be eating less food and it important to understand that consuming protein is essential for muscle growth. It is very difficult to maintain any type of muscle if you don’t get enough protein in your diet.
There is some research that has shown that once your protein intake exceeded 1.6 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight that the participants didn’t experience any additional benefit. Protein is also important for recovery after a strenuous workout. Protein can help repair damaged muscles and tissues.
Studies have shown that taking protein supplements after exercise can expedite recovery by reducing muscle damage while improving muscle growth.
What are the health benefits of protein powder? Photo credit: iStock- Jean Pierre Pinochet
There are different types of protein powder:
- Whey Protein- This is a complete protein that has all the 9 essential amino acids that the human body requires from food. The body absorbs whey protein very quickly.
- Soy Protein- This is an alternative to whey and casein protein for people who do not consume dairy. This also contains all the essential 9 amino acids.
- Casein Protein- This is a type of protein that is rich in glutamine and these amino acids is known to help with recovery after a workout. This protein is a slow digestible protein, so it is best to take this at night.
- Pea Protein- This is a plant-based powder, and it contains a popular amino acid called arginine.
- Hemp Protein- is a popular type of protein for vegetarians. This protein contains all the essential fatty acids.
Sadly, you need to make sure that whatever protein you buy is of high quality. And the only way to know is to buy protein from supplement companies that have 3rd party independent lab testing. The 3rd independent lab testing will detail exactly what is in the protein bottle.
“Eating protein can help with weight management. If you eat protein rich foods regularly along with taking a protein supplement it will make you feel fuller longer.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike
Different Studies On Protein
According to a 2018 study many of the best-selling protein powders contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic. This is one of the reasons you need to be careful when purchasing any type of protein powder. Make sure it is of high quality and not some cheap protein bottle that is just filled with lots of fillers.
There are some powders that contain up to 80 grams of protein per serving which is too much for the body. There was a 2013 review study that found that long term excessive consumption of protein can damage the kidneys, liver and bone and calcium balance.
A 2018 study showed that taking protein supplements with meals is more effective for weight loss and fat loss than taking them between meals.
There was also a 2014 study that reported that taking one scoop of a 30-gram protein dose serving after exercise can improve muscle mass.
The Bottom Line is consuming protein through food or through protein powder supplements is essential to building and maintaining muscle. And it is essential to skin repair, recovery after a workout, creating hormones and assisting with weight loss.
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- Areta JL, Burke LM, Camera DM, West DW, Crawshay S, Moore DR, Stellingwerff T, Phillips SM, Hawley JA, Coffey VG. Reduced resting skeletal muscle protein synthesis is rescued by resistance exercise and protein ingestion following short-term energy deficit. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Apr 15;306(8):E989-97. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00590.2013. Epub 2014 Mar 4. PMID: 24595305.
- Joshua L Hudson, Robert E Bergia, III, Wayne W Campbell, Effects of protein supplements consumed with meals, versus between meals, on resistance training–induced body composition changes in adults: a systematic review, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 76, Issue 6, June 2018, Pages 461–468, https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuy012
- Ioannis Delimaris, “Adverse Effects Associated with Protein Intake above the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Adults”, International Scholarly Research Notices, vol. 2013, Article ID 126929, 6 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.5402/2013/126929
- Clean Label Project- https://cleanlabelproject.org/health-fitness/
- Kim J, Lee C, Lee J. Effect of timing of whey protein supplement on muscle damage markers after eccentric exercise. J Exerc Rehabil. 2017 Aug 29;13(4):436-440. doi: 10.12965/jer.1735034.517. PMID: 29114510; PMCID: PMC5667622.