Types of Protein Supplements

Protein is one of the prime nutrients the body banks on for energy. Protein is used for the growth and repair of body tissue. It is comprised of the building blocks, Amino acids (AA). Ingested protein is broken down by the digestive system to these amino acids. Amino acids are then linked together in varying sequences to form a variety of proteins. There are approximately 20 types of amino acids. The body can make 11 of them, which are called non-essential. The other 9 must come from our diet, which are called essential.

Daily protein needs are formulated depending on age, body weight, gender and the level of activity one engages in. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. That would be about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

A lot of times the required amount of protein is not derived totally from dietary sources and it becomes essential to use supplementation to reach adequate levels of absorbed, available protein.

Protein is needed by the body for the following reasons:

  • For muscle development and health.
  • For maintaining muscle tissue during dietary restriction, starvation and other degenerative diseases.
  • An important energy source when carbohydrates are not available or intentionally restricted from the diet.
  • For many metabolic and chemical reactions in the body.
  • For hormonal efficacy and functioning.
  • To maintain a healthy and efficient immune system.
  • To maintain the fluid balance in the body.
  • Protein requires 30% more energy on part of the body to digest it. It has a heat producing thermogenic effect on the body which helps increase metabolism and results in weight loss. A high protein diet is also essential in using up stored fats in the body.

Types of Protein Powders

  • Whey Protein (concentrate)
    This protein is isolated from milk. It accounts for 20% of protein in milk. Whey is generally the watery by product left behind after cheese is made. It is rich in the amino acids; leucine, isoleucine and valine and is easily digested by the body. That makes it a popular post workout choice as it helps in muscle repair. It has lesser amounts of glutamine and arginine and is not a popular weight loss aid.
  • Whey isolates
    Whey isolate is a higher quality protein than regular whey protein and costs a little more. It contains 90-98% protein and less fat and lactose than whey concentrate.
  • Whey protein blends
    Blends are comprised of whey isolates and whey concentrate. More economical in price and provides a higher quality from regular whey.
  • Casein Protein
    Derived from milk, and contains up to 92% protein. It is high in the muscle mass building amino acid, glutamine. It is a popular choice of dieters and body builders. It is an extremely slow digesting protein and forces the body to rely more on fats and carbohydrates to release the energy needed.
  • Egg Albumin
    It is the protein which is derived from the whites of eggs. A whole egg is an excellent source of protein containing a high content of essential amino acids along with cholesterol from the egg yolk. Egg whites provide the protein from the egg without the fats. It is a popular choice of protein for the lactose intolerant.
  • Soy
    Soy protein is a protein that is derived from soybean. Soy is a great addition to the vegan diet. Soy protein is also the most economical protein supplement on the market.

Whey protein is by far the most popular as far as weight loss supplement powders are concerned. Depending on one’s requirement, protein supplements can be used to replace meals and provide the body with long lasting energy.

Protein Supplement

How Useful are Proteins in Weight Loss Programs?

  • Protects Tissues
    It is believed that vital tissues are repaired and maintained with the supply of sufficient proteins and one isn’t physically weakened.
  • Satisfies Hunger
    Experts are also of the opinion that proteins can reduce hunger signals when someone goes on a restricted diet for weight loss.
  • Speeds up the Slimming Process
    Researchers find that a restricted diet to lose weight, if administered with sufficient amounts of protein, can help lose inches faster.
    Researchers explain that when foods enter the human body, it stimulates the body’s metabolic rate to digest the foods consumed. This action is scientifically called the Specific Dynamic Action or the SDA.

Doctors opine that proteins have a higher specific dynamic action as compared to that of carbohydrates and fats, which boosts the metabolic rate in individuals. As a result, a person gains more energy and the body is able to oxidize or burn fat more effectively.

Research explaining how proteins can help in weight loss

The Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institute point at a protein called the TRAP (tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase) that stimulates the production of new fat cells and speeds up the obesity development process.

Goeran Andersson, the pioneer of this research has published this study in an online journal, Public Library of Science. After studying cell cultures in mice, the researchers claimed that obese people have increased levels of this protein.

Andersson revealed that TRAP helped in treating weight loss conditions in patients suffering from cancers. Researchers maintained that this study which lasted 4 years could help in fighting obesity by restricting the ill-effects of the TRAP protein.

Dr Brian King from the University College London (UCL) and his associates also maintained that protein receptors can be targeted to make obese people feel full quicker. Therefore, people will be eating smaller meals enabling them to fight obesity.

Experts from UCL identified two protein receptors – P2Y1 and P2Y11 that are involved in fast and slow gut relaxation. The two cell proteins actually encourage the stomach to relax and expand in order to sustain larger quantities of meals. The research was conducted on guinea pigs and it is hoped that future studies will incorporate human receptors to establish the same results.

Both researches focus on using the source or the cause for fighting obesity. For instance, the first study claims that TRAP protein” can fight obesity and the other study suggests a direct attack on the two protein receptors thereby slowing the gut relaxation to house larger quantities of food. As established, the source or proteins can fight obesity.

Researchers are of the opinion that weight loss programs should be backed with sufficient intake of proteins, vitamins and minerals. The body requires these essential nutrients to keep the vital tissues alive and functioning. Experts agree that quick weight loss solutions do not supply enough proteins to the body and can steal energy from other organs like the muscles and liver.


American Association of Kidney Patients; ; http://www.aakp.org/aakp-library/Protein-intake/

WebMD Medical Reference; Protein shakes; WebMD; February 20, 2010; http://www.webmd.com/diet/protein-shakes?print=true



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