According to Nutritionists, you need to follow a diet that’s low in calories and fat but rich in protein in order to lose weight. The human body needs protein for energy and to sustain muscle mass, and it is far easier to use a protein powder instead of getting the protein from real food because you don’t want to accumulate excess calories.
Why do you need protein powders?
In theory, no protein powder is necessary in order to lose weight. You can lose all your weight by consuming real food. That being said, using protein shakes can make it much easier for you to stick to a diet plan and burn fat. There are several reasons to add protein shakes with your daily meal to lose weight:
- Prevent muscle loss while shedding some extra pounds of fat. Remember, you are getting rid of fat, not protein.
- Reduced appetite due to less secretion of hunger – inducing hormones such as Ghrelin.
- Protein powders are easier to absorb for your body as compared to their real food counterparts.
Types of protein powders
There are two different mainstream categories of protein powders. One is animal-based protein, and the other one is plant-based. Animal proteins are more efficiently absorbed by the human body whereas plant proteins are comparatively slower in this process.
In animal-based proteins, we have:
Whey – It is a fast-digesting protein powder derived from milk. Whey ranks the highest in the bio-availability index, which is used to measure the rate at which a protein source is absorbed by our body. Whey is the most researched, most popular, and most widely available protein out there. It comes in different variants, such as :
- Concentrated whey contains high amount of calories, fats and carbs. It is the cheapest among the three.
- Isolated whey is more abundant in protein. It is absorbed faster by your body and has less fat, calories and carb, making it costlier than concentrated whey.
- Hydrolized whey is a semi-broken down (already partially digested using enzymes) whey protein, so it shows the easiest and fastest absorption. It is the costliest as well.
Casein – It is another dairy protein, usually found in milk. Casein is the slowest among all animal-based protein powders when it comes to the release of amino acids into your cardiovascular system over time. Casein is famous for muscle recovery during sleep, that is why most people take casein before going to bed.
Egg protein – It is slower than whey but faster than casein at digestion. It contains all of the essential amino acids that a human body needs, but can not produce by itself. It is an alternative to whey for those with a dairy allergy or digestion issues.
Beef protein – Beef protein powder is one of the cheapest, but its availability is a question. It has a great bio-availability ranking and it can be easily absorbed by your body. As it is full of collagen, fats, gelatins and higher in calories than usual, it is not recommended to use beef protein in high quantity if you want to lose weight.
In plant-based proteins, we have :
Soy – Soy protein isolate contains 9 essential amino acids, 25 albumin storage proteins, and many metabolic proteins. Although it is the most researched plant-based protein, soy is not as effective at absorption by the body as whey. If you are a vegetarian, or you have a problem digesting animal-based proteins, it is highly recommended to use soy protein.
Hemp – Hemp is another great protein powder that is made by grinding hemp seeds into a fine powder. Nowadays hemp protein is gaining traction because it is a vegan superfood that contains all nine essential amino acids, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals. It has omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. This protein powder will make you less hungry and help reduce sugar cravings.
Pea – It is made by extracting protein from yellow peas. Pea protein is a very effective supplement for muscles building. It is filled with protein and iron. It does not have all the essential amino acids which make it less effective than other proteins.
Researches show that adding even a teaspoon of extra protein with breakfast can help curb your appetite throughout the day allowing you to save calories. The important thing is that protein shakes usually are full of calories, so drinking a lot of protein shakes can lead to an excess amount of calories in your body resulting in weight gain instead of weight loss.
To keep calorie level at its lowest for weight loss, about 15 grams of protein powder a day can significantly reduce hunger. you can always add foods that are rich in protein to your daily meal in order to meet your requirements of daily protein while doing exercises. A deficit of protein in the human body can lead to muscle loss, so keep that in mind.
In a nutshell
As the human stomach faces trouble in digesting plant-based proteins, animal-based ones are always more effective for you. But if you are a vegan, or have allergies to animal-based proteins, feel free to use a plant-based protein. While losing weight, you should always aim for anywhere from 0.7 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight to help you retain more muscle mass. While shedding fat, try to meet your daily protein requirement by taking only one to two scoops per day and try to get the rest from real protein-rich foods. The best time to have a protein powder would be either before or after your exercises.
It is impossible to lose weight by just consuming protein powders unless the rest of your diet is low in fat and calories. Make sure of it that you’re on a diet that incorporates the right foods while giving you the right amount of calories and also lowering the insulin level in your blood. Drink plenty of water. Have exercises daily.