among the body building enthusiasts and the athletes. Now a days as interest of people is growing about their health and nutrition so it is becoming more common among the masses to take diet that is rich in nutrition. Protein is an important constituent of our diet and thus protein drinks are now becoming a part of our daily use items. Although the core objective of these shakes was to acquire the energy lost during any workout or an athletic performance but now it is widely used for gaining mass and also for losing weight. Now the question arises do they really help? We will try to answer as many as possible of the questions arising in your mind in this comprehensive guide.
Before we talk about protein shakes let’s have a quick look on the meaning of protein. Our body is not only composed of a single material, in fact there are a lot of chemical combinations involved in it and proteins are one of the major components of our body. Protein is the basic builder of many of human body’s major building blocks like muscles, bones, skin, enzymes, hormones and tissues. An average adult person’s body has about 10 to 12 kg of protein stored in different skeletal muscles. If protein become deficient in the body it is impossible for the body to produce biochemical components required for cardiovascular activities. Its deficiency can also lead to slow growth of muscles and can also slowdown the process of muscle healing, thus it would be difficult for anyone to work above his capacity.
Although you should have never taken special proteins in your diet until now but that’s not the fact as they are included in many daily use food items including milk, meat, beans, eggs, seeds, nuts and legumes. Protein shakes are also a source to increase the amount of protein in our body.
What are protein shakes?
In the past and even nowadays, protein shakes are commonly used by the athletes for regaining their energy that is being lost in their workouts. Protein supplements are a combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats or we can simply say that protein shakes are the drinks which compose protein powder; sugar, water and milk are blended with it. There is a large variety of diet shakes available in the market and it could be either in form of cans or in powdered form. Mostly protein in the powder is obtained from the following:
Why protein shakes are praised among bodybuilders?
The most common use of protein shakes is among the body builders who are trying to improve their muscles strength and muscle mass. Whenever we lift weights or do exercises our muscles contracts and results into microscopic tears in our muscles and that is the major reason of the pain after heavy workouts. The average days taken by a muscle to heal those tears are 1 to 2 and the job of healing is done by protein. Protein rebuilds the muscle fibers so your muscle can heal and grow at the same time. The muscle healing period may differ for those people who have never done workouts or heavy exercises ever in their life. Many people who start body building cannot move their effected muscles for even one week.
Mostly body builders or athletes drink protein shakes before doing a workout to gain the maximum amount of energy to enhance their workout period or to optimize the capacity of their muscles to lift weights. But these are not the primary purposes of the protein supplements, these are just like the helpers for our body and they help in building or growing muscles efficiently. Water along with carbohydrates can be used instead of shakes for optimizing your muscle capacity for some time. In fact it’s the carbohydrates in protein shakes which help to enhance the workout and many people relate it solely to protein drinks. At the same time it depends entirely on you to take protein shakes before or after workout.
What are the benefits of protein shakes?
According to the chief executive officer and also the co founder of the International Society of Sports and Nutrition (ISSN) it is difficult for the people to just take a meal a before the workout therefore these ready to drink shakes are the best alternative that any man can have. ISSN also claim them to be the safest alternative source for the protein.
- Liquids have also more protein availability as compared to the solid forms of the protein.
- Help in building your muscles rapidly and help them grow at a much faster pace.
- Let your muscles build and help them to gain more mass.
- It repairs your muscles and thus provides you relief from pain of those tiny tears which are brought by initial stage of body building and also when you have done heavy workouts.
- As your muscles grow it also help you in increasing your stamina and thus helps to increase the time period of your workouts.
- Our body absorbs liquid faster and use them in body functions therefore these are more helpful than solid protein sources.
Different Type of protein shakes available
The below mentioned types have their own different specialties and functions. They have their own bio chemical configuration of amino acids and hence all of them provide different sort of protein to the body and where the body needs them.
Whey is a protein in milk which can be obtained by curdling or straining the milk. This protein contains the highest branched-chain amino acids which can be found in any form. It sky rockets the rate of digestion therefore absorbs in your body briskly and thus provides you some instant energy for your intense workouts. You can take it in between meals and also just before going to the workout.
Casein is also a form of protein found in milk and about Eighty percent of cow milk consists of it. It is absorbed gradually by human body and it stays for a long period in our body. It can be supplemented with meals and could be taken before bed or at times when you are not about to start a workout because it will not help in instant repair of your muscles but will build your muscles in the long term. Thus shakes which provide whey and casein at the same time can be the best for your ultimate growth of muscles and also the repairing of your muscles.
Unlike other proteins soy is herb based source of protein which is also slowly absorbed by the human body and it is one of the major reasons why people don’t use soy protein as much as they use whey or casein. Many people usually take soy because either they don’t like milk or they are allergic to whey or casein. It could be taken by those also whose customs or religion doesn’t allow them to drink milk. You can take it as a supplement of meal and also when you have ample amount of time before workout.
Egg is the most widely accepted protein. Although it is quite expensive therefore it may not be seen as the primary component of protein drinks. It is taken from the albumen of an egg therefore it does not contain any fats, carbohydrates or cholesterol. Unlike whey and casein it is also not easily digestible by the human body therefore it could not be used for instant energy therefore we can use it in meal replacement.
Some other important ingredients of protein shakes available in markets
When it comes to your personal protein shake it totally depends on you how you prepare your shake and what are the needs of your body therefore when going for a protein shake, read the labels and instructions to see the composition that is up to your requirement. Many people add fruits like strawberry, pineapple and banana. There are many others who add juice, water and yogurt to their shakes as they are making it according to their own needs but the only thing common and which should be kept in mind is that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins therefore whatever ingredient you might add to your protein shake it should help to grow protein faster in your body.
Following are the commonly used ingredients in manufacturers protein powder:
Creatine: It provides lots of support in growth of muscle mass and strength but still it is not recommended to use excessively because excessive use can never help you to achieve what you want to.
Glutamine: It is the amino acid which can easily be depleted in one’s body therefore it is always required for building muscles and is also good for immune system.
Leucine: It is the branch chained amino acid which supports muscular growth and strength.
Hemp seed: It contains a quickly digestible protein which can be helpful for energy gain.
Pea protein: It is a hypoallergenic protein with quite a different texture than of most of the other protein powders. It is quite similar to the soy therefore it can help you in strengthening your muscles.
Rice Protein: This protein is wholly made of grain and thus it is a complete source of protein and it is also quickly digestible. It has very low quantity of lysine (amino acid) therefore it is often combined with the pea protein powder to accomplish a higher amino acid profile.
Many of us are nowadays using protein shakes and if main objective of exercise is to lose the body fats than go for those one that’s mainly concentrated with protein and has low amount of carbohydrates and fats.
There most common use is to up lift the lost energy in your body but that does not mean that huge intake of protein will make you a super strengthen guy. Even it can adversely affect your body therefore a balanced in take is required. The widely recommended daily intake for adults is 45-46 grams a day. If you exercise daily than definitely you need more energy and you need some extra energy than those who don’t do. Consuming a protein shake diet does not mean that it will add muscle mass but yes it will help you to build muscle mass efficiently.
The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommendations are as following
- 1 to 1.6 grams protein per kilogram of body weight daily for all the endurance athletes.
- 1.6-2 grams protein per kilogram of body weight daily for all the people involved in strength athletes.
Best Protein Shakes available in market
Many people think that one protein shake is enough for a day but that’s not the case as most of them are used as meal replacements therefore they should be taken at different times in a day. Below is the list of different shakes available for different time slots in a day.
Pre workout protein shakes
If you have to do your workouts daily at 20:00 than drink pre workout shakes in between your meals. In between your breakfast and lunch is a good time slot for that. In between meals shake will help you to strengthen your muscles and increase your stamina.
Post workout protein shakes
You can use the post workout shakes just after you did a heavy workout or an exercise. It will help your body to quickly repair the muscles and will strengthen them for the next time.
Meal replacement protein shakes
Usually people only take protein shakes before exercises and don’t even know there are many meal replacement protein shakes available in market. Within our busy routine life many times we don’t find enough time to eat a properly at times therefore meal replacement shakes could be very helpful in such situations. It is also safe and recommended by many nutritionists to drink them to replace meals as it will help your body to overcome the deficiency of protein.