What is protein?

There are three macronutrients: protein, fats and carbohydrates. Macronutrients provide calories, or energy. Protein makes up about 15 percent of a person’s body weight.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass. There are around 20 amino acids; Alanine, arginine, asparagines, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and valine.

When protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass, which helps metabolism. It also helps the immune system stay strong. It helps you stay full.

The main functions of proteins in the body are to build, strengthen and repair or replace things, such as tissue. Hence protein helps our muscles to recover and repair more quickly after exercise. Good muscles are a key to physical health, weight management through 24/7 calorie burning ability, and many more health benefits.

 

Is protein requirement greater for an athlete?

Athletes generally break down a lot of muscle mass during an intense workout. Therefore, many times an athlete may not feel energetic or feel that he is losing muscle mass on working out. This at times is also a cause of injury during work outs. It is therefore, necessary to consume adequate protein to ensure repair and grow muscle in the body and thereby having an effective workout.

 

How much protein should I have daily?

Generally, it is recommended to consume .5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight depending on your activity level and goals. However, depending on the intensity of your workout, this number may vary.

It is always advisable to consult with a dietician/physician to establish a true number.

 

Does protein improve athletic performance?

Yes! Protein helps build muscle and strength, and athletic performance in a variety of sports is often linked to muscle and strength.  By consuming a diet high in protein, you can help ensure that you will be ready to perform – no matter what the sport.

 

What is whey protein? Is whey protein the best source of protein?

Whey is derived from animal milk.

Milk protein is divided into 2; Whey (20% of the protein in milk) and casein (80% of the protein in milk)

Whey protein is said to be a complete source of protein as it contains all essential amino acids (These amino acids are not produced by the human body so it must be supplemented through diet) which are required by the human body.

Whey protein is water soluble while casein protein is insoluble in water.

Whey is considered superior because of its high absorption capability and complete amino acid profile. It is much more convenient and faster way of absorbing protein in the body.

 

Is whey protein dangerous?

Whey protein being a milk derivative is not dangerous to consume. It is when abused with steroids and other such banned substances that whey protein is perceived to cause adverse repercussions whereas the actual cause may have been those substances.

In case one has any specific health issues he/she should consult with a doctor prior to consuming the product.

 

What should I look out for to determine the quality of the protein?

While many protein brands would have similar protein content it is important to understand which would be the most effective of them.

In this regard, one needs to understand which protein would be the most efficient from an absorption and synthesis perspective. A brand with greater amino acid profile in particular branch amino acids and glutamine would be an indicator of premium quality of the protein as these are extremely important for the protein to synthesize in your body. Otherwise you could consume as much protein that you want if the same does not get absorbed in the body it is a waste of not only your money but also time spent in your effort to achieve your performance goals.

A decent mix of digestive enzymes is a must to ensure that the protein does not cause an upset stomach and digests well to enable absorption. On consuming your protein you should not feel very heavy in the stomach which would at times limit the quantum of protein you consume and also reduce absorption of protein in the body.

Apart from these parameters you should look out for the solubility of your protein when mixed with water. Protein that mixes well with water is an indication of decent quality.

One should also be wary of protein brands that sell for extremely cheap rates, it is possible that there is a compromise on quality of ingredients used, primarily the protein used in it.