If you want to get fitter and stronger, you will be using your muscles. If you want to lose fat, you will also be using your muscles and trying to eat in a way which encourages your body to burn fat and keep full for longer. So, you need to FEED that muscle with protein. If you don’t eat enough protein, then the body will break down that muscle for energy, rather than use your fat stores (which the body finds much harder to do). Fat after all is our larder of love…the body will hang onto it in case of emergency. It’s easier for the body to break down muscle than fat.
So let’s preserve that muscle by feeding it protein. As well as the normal sources (meat, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, pulses etc) you can top up your protein intake using protein powders. There is a massive range available and it comes down to personal preference.
WHEY PROTEIN POWDERS (animal dairy). These are …..and I quote “” ….one of two types of proteins found in milk (the other being casein) and it is a by-product of the transformation process of cow’s milk into cheese. … Whey is considered by many to be the ultimate source of protein due to its exceptional branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) profile and high biological value.” You can get unflavoured whey powder but you can also get a huge range of flavoured (and very sweet) powders. Check out sites like myprotein.com and see for yourself. If you have a delicate gut, then sheep’s or goat’s whey powder will be easier on your digestive system (it’s about medium chain fatty acids). There’s a brand called PINK SUN, which is a mix of goat/sheep, is unflavoured and doesn’t have an aftertaste.
Most whey proteins will give you 20-25g protein per 25-30g scoop (and about 100 calories). (To put that into perspective, 100g of Total 0% yogurt contains 10g protein for 54 calories and 100g chicken breast is about 110 calories and 25g protein.
NON-DAIRY POWDERS: There are also unflavoured vegan/vegetarian powders like pea, brown rice and hemp. They are unlikely to give you the same protein whack and, if unflavoured, aren’t always terribly palatable. However, if you look around you’ll find some good ones which are sweetened with Stevia and have some flavouring. They are expensive though. Like VivoLife Perform which is over £20 for 14 servings. It’s a case of researching and trying one. Amazing Grass Protein Superfood is vegan and has 20g protein and 118 calories per scoop and has a gentle Vanilla flavour but it’s an odd colour so you may not be able to face a bowl of green porridge.
How much protein should you have each day? Depends on how hard you’re working and what your goals are, but anywhere from 1.5g to 2g protein per kg of your bodyweight. More if you’re lifting massively heavy weights 6 days out of 7.
How do you use it?: Mix in water or add to a smoothie (which already has another dose of protein from your yogurt perhaps!) or stir into porridge or yogurt. I’m sure there are other ways, but those are my preferences :).
It will be a case of trying a few brands and finding one which works for you.
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