The first thing to mention about proteins is that we should be trying to get them as whole foods first and supplements only as needed. While I do recommend the use of a protein supplement for certain individuals it should not be in place of regular meals.
Proteins are classified as complete or incomplete. A complete protein has all of the essential amino acids that the body cannot make contained within the food item. An incomplete protein lacks at least one of the of essential amino acids and therefore must be combined with another food item to fill this gap. An example is eating rice with beans.
Whey is the protein that is a by-product of dairy production. You know the nursery rhyme? 'eating her curds and whey...' Anyways, whey is a protein with a high biological value (BV), is quickly digested and is beneficial for stimulating muscle synthesis when combined with a resistance training program. BV is a measure of the amount of a particular protein we absorb. I've mentioned previously in seminars, and possibly here as well, that my recommendation would be a whey + casein supplement for the best fat loss and muscle building results. At this point the research doesn't indicate whey supplement to be disadvantageous.
Soy on the other hand is not as effective as whey or casein for building muscle. It may have an inverse relationship with testosterone and lowers HDL (healthy cholesterol). One of the popular staples for vegans and vegetarians seeking protein is soy. In Asian cultures that eat this food it was never the basis of their dietary plan but more of a condiment. Be aware of how soy is popping up in a variety of junk food and being marketed to us a healthy alternate i.e. soy hot dogs, soy burgers and soy lattes. In the end junk food is just that.
While rice is a good source of protein it is incomplete as it lacks the essential amino acids lysine and threonine. When eating as a food make sure to combine with another protein source. If purchasing as a supplement read the label to check the content of lysine and threonine.
Hemp protein is one I that personally haven't tried. Hemp oils are a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. With regards to the protein compare it in terms of the amino acid profile and biological value.
Regardless of which type of protein you opt for remember to incorporate the following guidelines.
- Men, pass on the soy.
- Drink extra water when you up your protein intake to help the kidneys.
- To balance out the increase in acidity make sure to add some extra fruits and vegetables to the diet.
- Women may want to consider a calcium supplement when adding extra protein.
Hope that helps. There are a few more questions to address regarding running biomechanics, creatine use and healthy snack ideas. If you have any other questions send them along.
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