Protein Powder’s Hidden Abilities
When you ask a bodybuilder what to use protein powder for, they’ll 9 times out of 10 give you this answer, “to build muscle.” What if I told you there was way more to protein powders than just gains? It’s without a doubt that protein powder is an excellent supplement to help build muscle if utilized correctly into your diet. It’s a staple among gym lifters for a reason, not at all a necessity to build muscle, but nice to have in your arsenal. However, it goes father than muscles on the surface. It benefits your bodies in ways I’m sure you’ve never thought twice about. Things you don’t notice until they’re apparent to you and the people around you. Trust me, it’s more ways than one.
What Is Protein Powder?
Many of your readers will know about the infamous protein powder used throughout the fitness industry. But for a handful of readers who are not well informed on protein powders, this section will be a quick overview of what they consist of.
Supplements, as the definition goes, are meant to enhance something by adding an extra element to it. In the case of protein powders, the powder enhances your daily protein intake by adding an average of 25 grams of dietary protein. Several types of protein powders consist of different tastes, ingredients, and sources that influence the overall end product. We have powders like whey, casein, vegan, egg, mass gainer, and an abundance of other supplements to help your protein needs.
Depending on the protein powder you use, you may experience different effects in your body. A simple way to tell that not all protein powders affect your body the same way is to compare whey and casein protein. Although they both come from cow’s milk, they have different absorption rates after you digest the protein. Whey protein quickly enters your bloodstream to be used by your cells, while casein slowly trickles into your blood for up to 8 hours. However, protein powders, from any type, can be used in a variety of ways, let’s talk about those.
That’s quite the difference.
We’ll first cover the “main” advertised purpose of protein powders to build muscle. Combined with a solid work out regimen, protein powders can be used to put on some gains nicely. See, when you exercise, specifically resistance and weight training, you put immense stress on your muscle fibers to the point where they get damaged. For your muscles to recover and get bigger, they must feed on amino acids to repair torn tissues.
Where do you find amino acids? Protein, of course! Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. When we digest dietary protein, our bodies absorb the amino acids for cell use. The amino acids shuttle to our muscle fibers through our bloodstream. Depending on the type of protein powder you use, the amino acids will get there at different rates. Whey will blast your fibers with instant recovery, and casein will slowly trickle amino acids into your fibers.
However, don’t be fooled that protein powder is all you need to build muscle. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. An average protein shake provides you with about 25 grams of protein, very short of the protein amount you’re striving to build muscle. You’re going to need a diet with higher protein to develop and recover your muscles to build your full physique.
This usage is a common one people overlook. The way protein shakes and powders are marketed to the public makes sense as to why people don’t find this supplement a tool to lose fat. There are a couple of ways that protein powders aid you with losing fat, increasing satiation, and through the thermic effect of energy. Take yourself back to high school, as painful as it may be, when you were learning biology, we’ll be referring to a couple of things from it.
By increasing satiation, I mean keeping you fuller longer. Protein, through many studies, has been proven to be the macronutrient that keeps us fuller the longest. When you’re stuffed, you don’t want to eat, meaning you’ll be consuming fewer calories, which is the goal. Take a look at this study by the TNO Quality of Life from the Netherlands, where they compared a high-carb breakfast with a high-protein breakfast.
They measured the concentration of ghrelin over time in your body after the breakfast, ghrelin is the hormone that gets you ravenously hungry. Ever been so hungry that you can eat a cow? Well, ghrelin has been secreted into your bloodstream, telling your brain you need food in your tummy. The researchers concluded that breakfast with more protein held ghrelin at a lower concentration for longer compared to the carb diet.
Thermic Effect of Energy
For those of you who fell asleep during the lesson about calorie expenditure throughout your body, I’ll be glad to fill you in. The thermic effect of energy is a principle that some foods burn more calories to digest than others.
Yes, you need to burn calories to eat calories, what a paradox.
When comparing foods, the foods with more protein need more energy from your body to fully digest. Your body will burn more calories to breakdown that steak, or chicken breast, or scrambled eggs. Although carbohydrates and fats do need the energy to digest, they don’t compare to what protein needs.
From the looks of that title, I bet you’re scratching your head. It is a common belief that carbohydrates provide your body with energy that keeps you up. Foods like pasta, bread, potatoes, oats, fruits, and tons of other options. Whoever believes this is most certainly not wrong, carbs are your body’s first line of energy source. But what happens when you use up all your carbs, and you still need to use energy?
Protein to the rescue!
Protein keeps your blood glucose level more stable than carbohydrates. Eating carbs spikes your glucose level for a while, of course, until they run out when you experience a crash. Your cells have no carbs for immediate use, resulting in an immediate crash. You get none of that with protein, however. It sustains your blood glucose level for a long time, without having to experience the crash you feel with carbohydrates. If you’d like to know more about protein providing energy, check out this other article I wrote: Do Protein Shakes Give You Energy? – Jolt of Life?
In conclusion, protein powder has tons of uses that any person can find help with their nutritional goals. Benefits range from building muscle, burning fat, and providing stable energy. A supplement like protein powder is very versatile, usable by any person for most goals.