Are protein supplements good or bad for you? Easy tips on how to find the best protein supplement for your weight loss.
The business of supplements is big; especially supplements for weight loss and body building and most of the time the information can be extremely confusing.
What is Protein?
Amino acids molecules, grouped together in different ways, form what we call protein. (There in no such thing as a “protein molecule”.) Amino acids are essential to a well functioning body. You can’t build and replace muscle tissue without amino acids.
Your body can assemble the amino acids it needs from the different molecules, except the eight, so called, essential amino acids that you have to get from your diet.
The proteins you get from your diet have to be broken down into amino acid molecules again before it can be used in the body.
Good Sources of Protein
When you decide on what protein source to choose, look out for what comes with the protein. No source is 100 % protein. Some protein sources are actually very high in fat.
The best choices of protein are vegetable sources, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains. They offer healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are low in fat. The best animal protein choices are fish, seafood, egg and poultry. Red meat should only be an occasional part of your diet, even if you stick with the leanest cuts.
Protein and Weight Loss
Apart from being essential to your well-being, proteins also help to curb your appetite. Studies have shown protein to be the most filling food per calorie. (See the so called Satiety Index for more filling foods.)
During weight loss, about 30-35 % of your calories should come from fat, 35-40 % from carbohydrates and 25-30 % from protein. On an average we get only 15 % of our calories from protein, which is not to recommend during weight loss.
Increasing the amount of protein in your diet through a protein supplement, while cutting down on the carbs is an easy way to go. Choose a supplement made from vegetable sources, preferably a soy protein supplement (which is considered one of the healthiest sources) or a whey protein supplement.
Protein supplements are sometimes recommended as “meal replacements”. Instead of eating a proper meal protein powder supplements will give you all the nutrients you need.
If you feel you don’t have time to cook, a supplement can be a good idea to assure you of enough protein. (I personally prefer a nice meal instead of a protein drink, but that’s me.)
A plain protein drink will not give you the feeling of fullness that you get from a normal meal and it can make you eat more than you should, because in the end you want something more filling and tastier.
Try mixing some protein powder supplement in your morning fruit smoothieto supplement the protein in your breakfast and still get the feeling of fullness. To avoid eating late you may sometimes replace your evening snack with a protein drink.
With you on the weigh,
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