What is Protein

What is Protein

Protein is an essential part of our diet, it is contained in almost everything we eat.  You can get some excellent natural sources of protein like beans & nuts etc.  These are not only stuffed with protein but are full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Unfortunately some of what we eat which is admittedly a good protein source is surrounded by bad stuff like saturated fats (especially in burgers & processed meats).

Protein creates and repairs cells, every single cell in your body contains proteins.  The basic building blocks of protein are "amino acids", our bodies can make a lot of these amino acids themselves but they cannot make 9 of them.  These are termed the Essential Amino Acids (EAA's), and therefore we must get them from our diet.  Following on from this, sources of protein are divided into 2 categories depending on whether they contain all of the EAA's.  Complete or incomplete.  

The majority or protein from animal sources contains all our bodies EAA's so they are termed "complete".  Soy beans are the only plant protein source that contains all of the EAA's.  Fruits, vegetables, grains & nuts are all excellent sources of protein, but they are all missing at least 1 amino acid.  Which makes them "incomplete".  This is where vegans and vegetarians need to be careful and to ensure that they eat a large variety of foods to ensure they get all of their EAA's.  This is where supplementation can come in handy!

The different types of Protein Powders are as follows:

Whey Protein

Whey Protein comes from milk, it is a byproduct of making cheese.  It comes in concentrated, isolated and hydrolyzed forms.  It is very rich in Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's), epecially leucine which plays a huge role in promoting muscle growth & recovery after exercise.  Whey Protein is also absorbed by the body very fast and studies have proven it to make you feel fuller for longer.


Casein Protein

This is another protein which is derived from milk, it is very popular protein due to its slow digesting properties.  It is commonly taken just before going to sleep, as it will drip-feed your muscles overnight.  It contains all the EAA's and is also known for its ability for preventing muscle protein breakdown (MPB).

Egg Based Protein

This is another complete protein source derived purely (if your buy good quality) from egg whites, it's very popular with the lactose intolerant community as it is completely lactose free.  It is stuffed full of vitamins including A, B, D, selenium & choline.  It is classed as a moderate digesting protein, with whey being the fastest and casein being the slowest.  It also has high levels (comparably just below whey) of the magic BCAA leucine.

Grass-Fed Protein

Some of the cow farms producing the milk that subsequently becomes the protein feed their cows with grain, this type of protein is purely derived from cows who have only been grass fed.  It has been scientifically proven to add nutritional value to the protein including higher levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) which is a naturally occurring fatty acid similar to omega-6, one benefit includes reducing the urge for unneeded food intake whilst preventing the production of additional fats.  Not just this though it contains comparably more omega-3 & BCAA's as well plus plenty of vitamins.

Plant Based Protein

Common sources of these include rice, peas, hemp and soy.  Protein derived from Soy beans is the only plant based protein containing all of the EAA's, and pea protein had been proven to increase levels of satiety which makes you feel fuller for longer.  As mentioned above these types of protein also contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and fiber similar to the nutrients of the product that makes them, as well as this they contain very little saturated fat or hormones.  One negative is that the majority do not contain at least 1 of your EAA's.