Frequently Asked Questions About Protein

Frequently Asked Questions About Protein
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1) What is protein?

Protein is the basic building block of the body. More specifically, protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks for muscle. Muscle growth cannot be achieved if you don’t supply your body with enough protein. Basically, if your car doesn’t have gas, it won’t go. Likewise, if your body doesn’t have protein, it won’t build muscle.

Actually, if you deprive yourself of protein, your body will consume some of your lean muscle mass for the protein it requires.

Frequently Asked Questions About Protein

2) Why do I need protein?

Proteins are the basic building blocks of life. Protein, and only protein, provides your body with the amino acids it needs to build, repair and rebuild muscles. Protein also provides the necessary components to keep your immune system healthy, make hormones, enzymes, skin, hair, nails, organs and blood. (Note the word protein comes from the Greek word “proteios” meaning of prime or of first importance.)

3) What is whey?

Whey is a by-product of cheesemaking that contains vitamins, minerals, protein, lactose and traces of milk fat. Most commercial whey supplements are derived from cow’s milk, which is comprised of 6.25% protein: 20% in the form of whey. Whey protein supplements utilize the concentrated protein, eliminating the lactose and milk fat.

Whey is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential and non-essential amino acids, which are vital to your metabolism, and to making your body function properly for good health.

4) Is milk the same as whey?

No, while both are natural dairy products, milk contains ~6.25% protein that is comprised of 80% casein protein and 20% whey protein. In addition, milk contains lactose and fat (removed in skim milk). Whey protein is extracted from milk, leaving the lesser protein- casein- and eliminating most of the lactose and fat.

5) What foods have protein?

Many foods have protein, but some certainly have more than others. Foods like beef, fish, chicken, milk, eggs and cheese are rich in protein. However, it can be hard to get the amount of protein you need from whole foods without consuming too much fat. Variety in your protein sources is essential. One way to avoid fat and add variety to your protein sources is to use a protein powder.

6) Just how much protein do I need in a day?

If you workout, you need more than the average Joe. No doubt about it. You are constantly breaking down muscle when you workout. You need more protein for recovery and to repair the muscle tissue – ultimately adding more mass. The standard formula is to take your lean body mass times .8 to calculate how many grams of protein you need. However, many lifters consume 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. It’s easier to calculate, and you don’t consume much more than you actually need. You will also be sure you always have adequate protein for increased muscle growth. Some lifters on mass cycles consume up to 1.5 grams or more per pound of bodyweight per day.

7) Can too much protein hurt my kidneys?

Bodybuilders frequently consume 300-500g of protein per day for months – even years, yet there is no scientific evidence that this high protein intake causes kidney problems. In other studies, animals with high protein intakes for more than half their lifetime showed no kidney damage. High protein intake may be hazardous only for individuals with abnormal kidney function or kidney disease.

For the disease-free individual, the most serious concern with high protein intake is dehydration, because it takes a lot of water to metabolize protein. This is avoided by drinking 8 or more 8 oz. glasses of water a day.

A new study just looked at the effects of a high protein intake on markers of safety in 20 healthy resistance-trained males. The subjects were taking 1.3 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight 3.6 times greater amount than that recommended by the RDI. After 28 days the researchers concluded that the daily high protein intake had no untoward or negative effects on the immune system, renal and hepatic function nor did it induce ketosis or dehydration, thus it appears safe for short term daily intake.

8) Will a protein powder give me big muscles?

In order to achieve muscle growth while using protein powders you must “weight train” on a regular basis. A recommended workout for obtaining greater muscle definition is to exercise or train 3-4 days a week, rest prudently, avoid overtraining, and eat right. If you stick to this program, you may see results in as short a period of time as six weeks. Continuing this regimen for 48 weeks a year, for at least 3 or 4 years, will provide you the opportunity to attain the “big muscles” or improved muscular definition you are looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions About Protein

9) Are some protein sources better than others?

Yes, whey protein is considered to be the king. Whey is digested rapidly – making it perfect for post-workout meals. However, blended proteins often mix whey with casein and egg proteins that digest slowly. This “time release” helps avoid catabolism (muscle breakdown) between meals.

10) I’ve heard whey protein is digested too quickly for the body to absorb?

Not true. Just by biological value alone, which signifies how much nitrogen is retained vs. how much is taken in, you know whey protein is digested and retained better than any other protein source. Just compare the biological value of whey (104) to casein (77) and you can see how inferior casein is, providing you with up to 35% less nitrogen retention.

In fact one study that compared whey peptides to regular whey and free form amino acids showed that quickly digested whey peptides provided more nitrogen retention and better muscle gain than the other two corresponding mixtures.

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