Protein supplements are one of the most popular supplements in the world. From gym goers to average joes, most people have at least tried a protein shake in their lives. But why are they so popular?
- 24 grams of protein
- 130 calories per serving
- 3 grams of sugar
- Supports metabolism and lean muscle recovery
- 9 amino acids (All 8 Essential)
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What is Protein?
Protein is an essential building block for the body. According to the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, proteins are made up of amino acids fused together on a molecular level. They are the main components of various tissues throughout the body, including muscle tissue.
For the sake of muscle building, the main purpose of protein is to enhance protein synthesis, which is the bodies way of repairing broken down muscle tissue. The body uses amino acids to rebuild muscle tissue which causes the tissue to enlarge, hence muscle growth. Excess protein in the body (amounts above the recommended average) has been proven to aid this process.
Proteins need to be broken down into their simplest forms, amino acids, in order to be useful to the body. There are 20 total amino acids and they come in two forms, essential and non-essential. The non-essential amino acids (12) are able to be created by the body but the essential amino acids (8) cannot by created by the body and must be consumed through food.
All 20 amino acids are needed for the body to effectively build and maintain muscle tissue.
There are two main sources that the body consumes protein from:
- Animal Proteins – Thought of as the best and most complete source of protein available. These proteins come from the meat of animals and their byproducts, for example, beef and milk both come from a cow and are both great sources of animal protein.
- Vegetable Proteins – Although not as complete as animal protein, vegetable proteins tend to be healthier due to the lack of saturated fats compared to animal meats. The main source of vegetable protein comes from soy products.
Who Should Take Protein Supplements?
Everyone, even non-gym goers, needs a certain amount of protein to stay healthy. If you are trying to build lean muscle mass, however, you should be consuming at least 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For instance, a 180 pound individual should be eating at least 144 grams per day to maintain and build muscle.
More protein than this could be beneficial, especially to muscle growth, but too much protein can lead to adverse health effects.
Personally, I try to consume all the protein I need through food, whether that be from animal meats or vegetables. I only use protein supplements when I fall short of my daily protein requirements, which usually leads to me drinking a protein shake 1 to 2 times per week.
Low-Protein Diet: If you are someone who doesn’t get a lot of lean meats or other sources of protein in their everyday diet, I highly suggest trying out protein supplements even if you don’t workout or are actively trying to build muscle. This is especially true, however, for those trying to build muscle because even just 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is A LOT and it is not easy to eat that much lean meat. But it is easy, however, to sip a protein shake.
Low-Calorie Diet: Protein supplements are also good for someone on a low calorie diet. Protein supplements tend to have fewer calories per gram of protein than most meats, especially steak and beef. So if you need to hit your macronutrients without consuming a lot of calories, protein supplements could be very beneficial to you.
GNC has long been one of my go to brands in the fitness industry. Almost all of their products are high quality and less expensive than most supplements on the market today. This is especially true for their whey protein supplements. I have been using their protein powder for quite some time now, mainly because of the price, and must admit that I have been pleasantly surprised with the quality. Obviously, there are some better protein supplements out there, but GNC might be the best bang for your buck.
- Mixability – easily mixes with liquids you drink it with especially water and milk
- Flavors – Comes in 10 flavors with some unique ones like banana cream and cookies and cream
- Includes all 8 essential amino acids to ensure you consume everything you need for muscle growth
- Price – Less expensive than most brands
- Poor macronutrient ratio – Although it has a great amount of protein per calorie, it does not contain a lot of the other two macronutrients (carbs and fat)
- Could cause bloating – Since it is a milk based product, it can cause a bloated/full feeling shortly after consumption
- Tastes OK with water – Try to drink this supplement with milk or another tasty liquid because it is not the best when mixed with water (especially the unflavored flavor)
Overall, protein is important whether you are a gym freak or not. EVERYONE needs protein to stay healthy. But if you are a gym freak or just trying to build muscle, protein is ESSENTIAL to seeing results. An adequate amount of protein supports lean muscle growth, muscle recovery and even fat loss.
There are two types of proteins, animal and vegetable, and a healthy mixture of both in your diet will do wonders for your progress in the gym.
If you find yourself not seeing results or unable to consume enough protein in a day through your normal diet, protein supplements, like GNC’s whey protein powder, can be very convenient. There are many other brands that make great protein supplements like optimum nutrition, body fortress, and orgain (organic plant based protein) so do your own research and pick the one that best suits your goals!
So if you find yourself needing some extra protein in your diet, what are you waiting for, go out and get a protein supplement today!
If you enjoyed this article and would like to share your opinion on protein supplements, please feel free to leave a comment below!