Protein shakes or powders vs natural protein foods
Protein is often talked about as being really important when trying to lose weight, get fit and get healthy but should you be trying to get your protein from foods or will having a protein shake daily suffice. We take a look at protein shakes or powders vs natural proteins when it comes to weight loss and overall health.
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Why is protein important?
Protein forms the building blocks of muscle development and growth. Even if building muscle isn’t one of your goals protein is still an important part of your diet because you still need to maintain muscle mass. Protein also helps you feel fuller for longer which will limit your overconsumption of food that leads to weight gain.
The amount of protein one needs in a day varies, and typically the athlete needs more than the lightly active bloke doing a little training a few days a week. More protein isn’t necessarily better. Too much protein places a stressful load on some of our vital organs like kidneys.
Protein shakes or powders vs natural protein foods
As a quick and easy way to increase your protein especially when trying to lose weight, build muscle or some other health goal protein shakes or powders have become quite popular, but is it better to get protein from real food sources? Well, it depends. Protein shakes or powders can be useful if you’re struggling to get enough protein in your diet but if you eat a well rounded healthy diet with a variety of foods that contain protein you’re likely getting all you need.
Protein shakes or powders
Protein shakes or powders aren’t a bad addition to any weight loss diet or meal plan especially when you’re short on time and can’t always have well-rounded meals at every meal. For instance, for an afternoon snack, you could use a protein shake if you don’t have another healthy snack available.
Here are the most common proteins you can find in powder form and how they can help your health:
Whey protein: It digests quickly and can help you in developing new muscles and aid recovery. It can also help blood pressure, blood sugar, gut health, healthy aging, heart health, inflammation and weight management.
Casein protein: It gradually exposes muscles to steady amino acids to reduce muscle breakdown and promote growth. It can also help with blood pressure levels, cell growth, high cholesterol, immune function and weight management.
Egg protein: It provides all nine amino acids essential for lean muscle growth and appetite reduction. It also helps blood pressure levels, bone health, cell growth, eyesight, heart health, nutrient balance and weight management.
Pea protein: It contains high levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) to boost fullness hormones and strengthen muscles. It can also help with blood pressure levels and heart health.
Hemp protein: It includes omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids that digest easily for gradual muscle build. It can also assist with blood sugar levels, gut health, heart health and oxidative stress.
Brown rice protein: It contains a full spectrum of essential amino acids to promote fullness, body composition, muscle mass gain and recovery. It can also assist with blood pressure, blood sugar, heart health, inflammation and weight management.
Mixed plant protein: It provides all nine amino acids and can be supplemented with enzymes to help aid in digestion and absorption. It can also help blood sugar levels, gut health and digestion, heart health and weight management.
Protein powders can provide high-quality protein in a concentrated, convenient form.
Although not everyone needs protein powder supplements, they can assist you if you do strength training or cannot meet your protein needs with diet alone.
It’s best to choose a protein powder based on your dietary preferences, food tolerances and health and fitness goals.
3 main benefits of protein shakes for weight loss
Eating adequate protein fuels fat burning, while preserving lean muscle – i.e you won’t be “skinny fat” when you lose weight – you will look lean and toned.
Protein keeps you fuller for longer – and that means there will be less chance of snacking on sugary foods that go straight to your thighs.
Your body uses the amino acids in protein to build lean muscle, which makes you stronger and also burns calories even when you are not active.
How to incorporate protein into your diet with or without protein shakes
Not many of us are effective at upping our protein levels. In fact, those in the know are often most likely bodybuilders!
But you don’t have to be entering competitions to be consciously monitoring your protein intake. There are lots of easy ways to add it to your diet.
Learn which foods contain protein
Meat isn’t the only source of protein! Eggs, dairy, peanut butter, tofu, lentils, beans and nuts contain a vast amount.
More on that below.
Don’t overdo it
You don’t want to go overboard! On the flip side, eating too much protein can cause stress on the liver and kidneys, as they have to work harder to break it down in the body.
Try eating small amounts at every meal and making sure you exercise regularly to help build your muscle.
Eat protein first
It’s important you have a BALANCED diet, which consists of carbs, fats, salad, vegetables, fruit as well as protein. However, it may be worth eating the protein first on your plate before the carbs as it can help decrease the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and increase your metabolism.
9 protein-rich foods for weight loss if you’re not keen on protein shakes
Besides the standard protein-filled lean meats you usually consume for protein, other foods can be incorporated into your diet for natural sources of protein. You can use these foods alongside protein shakes or powders to really give your protein intake a boost.
1. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a versatile cheese that is HIGH in protein and very LOW in fat. Perfect if you’re on a healthy eating plan and aiming to achieve your weight loss goals and cottage cheese can be added to main meals.
One cup of low-fat cottage cheese with 1% fat contains 28 grams of protein.
They are rich in essential nutrients, including fibre, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.
They contain about 6 grams of protein per serve.
Quinoa is one of the only plant-based complete proteins because it contains all nine essential amino acids. This helps you feel fuller for longer without feeling heavy. It’s also so versatile you can use it in basically any meal, even breakfast!
One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein.
Eggs are also a complete protein that is also very versatile. You can add them to your Healthy Man Meal Replacement shake, add them to your breakfast, lunch or dinner, and when boiled, they make a perfect portable snack!
One of the highest sources of carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugars and is high in protein. Another versatile ingredient you can turn into any meal. Toast for breakfast, muffins for a snack, roasted in salads, stuffed, mashed or fried into chips for dinner!
100 grams of sweet potato contains about 1.6 grams of protein.
Greek Yoghurt pairs well with sweet and savoury dishes. It has a creamy texture and is high in many nutrients, including protein.
Mix some Greek yoghurt with some berries or a little honey instead for a sweet treat! The protein in the yoghurt will fill you up, and the sweetness of the berries and honey makes it a delicious and healthy dessert option!
When buying Greek yoghurt, opt for one without added sugar. Full-fat Greek yogurt is also high in protein but contains more calories.
170 grams of Greek yoghurt has 17 grams of protein.
Broccoli possesses vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, vitamin E, and significant amounts of minerals such as potassium and iron.
It’s incredibly nutrient-dense with many essential vitamins and minerals. It is also known to have anti-cancer properties.
Calorie for calorie, it’s high in protein compared with most vegetables.
One cup of chopped broccoli has 3 grams of protein.
Lentils are a type of legume.
They are high in fibre, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese, and other nutrients.
Lentils are among the world’s best plant-based protein sources, and they’re an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.
One cup of boiled lentils contains 18 grams of protein.
Whether you have protein shakes or use natural protein sources or a mix of both, protein should be an essential part of your healthy eating plan. Not only does it help maintain and repair body tissue, but it also helps you lose weight.
You can read more on protein and how it helps with your weight loss goals here:
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