Special Request: Protein Supplements are not Created Equal
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Special Request: Protein Supplements are not Created Equal

As a special a request from one of my readers, I am delving into 2 of the supplements I consider reasonable for those who exercise intensely and only one for serious weight loss: protein and creatine.  In this post I will cover protein supplementation.

Protein is one of the necessary nutrients our bodies need.  We are normally able to get enough protein in our diet through meat, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, and grains like quinoa, amaranth, and oats.  There are trace amounts of protein in other grains and potatoes, but not a significant amount.  It is important for maintaining muscle, skin, hair and nails.  It is also an emergency energy source that is only as a last resort.

When people exercise, they cause micro-tears in the muscles but are able to repair them through eating a healthy diet.  However, athletes and high intensity exercisers need to have their muscles recover quickly.  That is why so many use protein supplements.  People who need to lose 50 pounds or more through a tight diet and regimented exercise, also may need protein supplementation.  They can get the additional protein through powders, shakes, drinks and bars.  Different types of protein are used for different purposes. 
Body builders and heavy lifters usually use whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysates which don't contain carbs and fats with unnecessary calories. Casein is also one that builds muscle fast. Both are derived from dairy. Egg white protein, usually blended with dairy proteins gives a longer build for muscle. Beef and soy protein are usually used by those who are unable to digest dairy or egg white proteins. Look for Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine in the nutrition contents.

Runners and triathletes use whey protein as well, but also use soy and other plant-based proteins.  Their goal is to recover from a long race without adding bulky muscle.I t will also help regulate the burn of carbs, which is very important for long distance athletes along with stacked carbs to prevent blood sugar crashes. Runners also tend to not take in enough protein in their diets.  There are a number of protein supplements with varied ingredients, so knowing which ones are valuable is important. Look for Histidine, Phenylalanine, Lysine and Leucine in the nutrition content.

Dieters who need to lose 50 pounds or more will find that protein supplementation will aid in the fat burn and avoid muscle loss.  Protein helps you feel full longer and regulates the burn of carbs. Whey protein, egg protein and plant-based protein that are low fat, low carb are valuable. Supplements through bars and shakes for between meals reduces the feeling of "starving" and keeps steady carb levels in your body throughout your day. Looking for the amino acids Arginine, Glutamine, Methionine, and Carnitine in the nutrition information will help you find the right one.  

When purchasing a protein supplement, watch for the amount of fats, sugar alcohol, and carbohydrates.  You do not want unnecessary calories added to your diet.  This would be counterproductive! Most supplements will indicate the uses as well as the amounts appropriate for your purposes.  You do not have to go to an expensive health store to get quality supplements. Many can be purchased online from groups like drugstore.com and Amazon for less cost. 

Remember, that regardless of your purpose, you should be eating a healthy diet of lean proteins through fish, meats, nuts, and grains, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy or dairy substitutes, and whole grains.Our bodies absorb nutrients best directly from food. Vegans must be careful to have the right combinations of foods to make complete proteins.  You must, must, must drink at least 8-8oz glasses of water--pure water to hydrate and protect your kidneys. If you aren't sure you should add protein supplements to your diet, check with your medical provider.  There are health conditions that would suffer with protein supplementation such as diabetes with high risk of kidney damage.  Have your medical professional or a personal trainer show you  the amount of daily protein intake you should have.  It could help you determine if you are getting enough from your food and if you would need to supplement.  

Many blessings to you!

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