Should You Be Using Protein Powder?
Protein powder is by the far the most sought-after dietary supplement when it comes to fitness and health, and many of you might be wondering if you need to start including it in your daily routine. While the average person tends to receive enough protein through their regular diet, protein powder can still be complimentary to an already healthy lifestyle depending on your current fitness goals.
Why Take Protein Powder?
If your diet is lacking in high-protein food sources, you may not be hitting the recommended daily intake of protein (more on this below), or if you’re exercising and trying to build muscle, you may want to increase your protein intake to help aid your fitness goals. However, keep in mind that unless you are a professional athlete training 24/7, you likely don’t need much more protein than you’re getting now to reach your goals.
Regardless, protein powder can be a convenient way to get in those extra grams post-workout to ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to recover. When adding protein powder to your diet, you want to find one with no hidden ingredients, such as sugar or added chemicals, as these can cause adverse health effects.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
According to Harvard Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight—this recommendation is based off an average sedentary lifestyle. This is the minimum amount you need each day to meet the basic nutritional requirements for your body. This roughly translates to about 56 grams of protein for the average male and 46 grams of protein for the average female.
For those looking to build muscle through regular weightlifting or those who are training for a running or cycling event, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends a protein intake of around 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Now, as someone who works out at 9Round, you probably aren’t training for a marathon or looking to bulk up, which means you likely want to stick to a lower amount of protein depending on how often you’re exercising each week. Somewhere in between 0.8 and 1.7 grams of protein will probably be your ideal target—such as around 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Types of Protein Powder
If you choose to use protein powder to supplement your diet, you’ll soon find out there are multiple options to choose from—which might prove to be overwhelming. The two most common types of protein you’ll find are whey protein and plant-based protein.
Whey protein is made from milk, while plant-based protein is made from a variety of plants, such as brown rice, hemp, peas, and more. Often, plant-based protein powders contain a mixture of different plant sources to give you more of the essential amino acids you need to aid muscle recovery.
Here are some of the most recognizable protein powder sources you can find, and a basic overview of how each are obtained.
Whey protein is derived from milk and it’s rich in the specific types of amino acids that help your muscles grow and recover. One interesting fact about whey protein is that it’s actually a waste product created during the cheesemaking process. Whey is present in the liquids that separate out from the curds, and manufacturers take these liquids and turn them into protein powder.
Casein protein is also created from milk but takes longer to digest than whey protein because of how it reacts to stomach acid. Inside the stomach, casein protein forms a gel-like substance that absorbs slower into the bloodstream. This causes a more gradual release of protein to your muscles, and thus, slows down the rate of muscle protein breakdown. Some studies suggest casein protein may improve body composition changes for more calorie-restrictive diets.
Eggs are very rich in protein—in fact, as with most animal products, they are a complete protein source that provides all nine essential amino acids that your body can’t naturally produce. For those with dairy allergies or sensitivities, egg-based protein powder can be a great alternative to help you get in some extra grams of protein throughout the day without irritating your digestive system.
Although rice protein is generally considered less effective than milk or egg-based protein powdered, it’s still an option to consider—especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Rice protein contains high amounts of many essential amino acids; however, it does come up short when it comes to lysine, which is why this type of protein powder is not considered a complete protein source. More research is needed on rice protein to determine if it has strong effects for building muscle and reducing fat.
Another vegan, vegetarian, and allergen-friendly option for protein powder is pea protein. This type of protein is made using yellow peas, which are considered a legume. Pea protein not only contains all but one of the essential amino acids you need, but it also is an excellent source of iron. Limited studies have shown that pea protein is comparable to whey and other diary-based protein powders and that it can help aid muscle growth and fat reduction; however, more research is needed to truly confirm these added benefits.
Even though protein powder is not a necessity for most, it can be helpful for those who want a quick and convenient way to get their protein in after each KILLER workout, so your muscles can recover quickly and grow stronger over time. There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to protein powder, which allows you to find something that works for your lifestyle and dietary needs.
Remember to always do your research and look up the ingredients when choosing a protein powder to ensure you’re getting a quality source of protein without added chemicals, carbs, or sugar, as these can throw off your macros.
9Round offers tons of healthy, well-balanced recipes written by nutritional experts using our whey-based vanilla or chocolate Ice-Cream Flavored Protein Powders in your online Member Portal. Check out the Nutrition section of the Member Portal this week to try a new recipe, like some delicious protein pancakes or the Sidekick Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie.