Hope the Christmas recovery is going well for everyone…so much fantastic food and family time in one consolidated dose that it can be slightly overwhelming.
Mine has been filled with lots of game time…
Please notice the lovely scorecard below; I always consider it a good day when I beat the English major, who knows more words than I will ever know. Ever.
And now for the protein story, part II…[read the intro post here]. Protein is one of the most highly debated topics in the exercise world, specifically how much (and what kind) is needed for optimal athletic performance.
Fuel used during exercise
- during short duration exercise (sprinting, weight lifting), protein and amino acid use is negligible.
- during prolonged exercise (endurance cycling or distance running), amino acids may account for ~2-5% of total energy expenditure
- there is little evidence that more than 0.8-1.6 g/kg of protein per day is needed.
- carbohydrates are an important fuel: the rate of glycogen (stored byproduct of carb metabolism) breakdown is high during weight lifting, so replenishing CHOs to rebuild muscle glycogen is important.
The bottom line
- excess calories consumed from any macronutrient (carbs, fat, or protein) will lead to weight gain and conversion to adipose tissue.
- the main fuels used during exercise are carbohydrates and fat; protein use is usually between 2% and 10% of the total energy expended.
- most people can meet protein requirements by consuming dietary protein.
- while protein is important, an overall balanced diet containing sufficient calories is the key to increasing muscle strength and size.
- There is no solid evidence that special mixtures of amino acids provide any advantage over normal dietary proteins in stimulating muscle growth.
For those who do need extra protein, I prefer non-soy, vegetable based protein vs. whey or soy protein. Whey is one of the two types of protein found in cow’s milk (casein is the other), so it is a dairy by-product. Soy protein contains soy protein concentrate or soy protein isolate, which have a high concentration of isoflavones, the estrogen-mimicking compounds which are controversial for their potential effect on various types of cancer. However, if the protein supplement is not being used regularly, choosing whey or soy protein powder will likely not cause harm.
Vega makes plant based protein powders and shakes free of artificial colors and flavors and most common allergens including artificial sweeteners, corn, dairy, gluten, soy, wheat and yeast. I also appreciate their commitment to sustainability.
While I don’t always advocate protein powder for the normal healthy individual, and I’m not convinced that the branched chain amino acids or special ingredients like maca root extract will necessarily yield improved athletic performance or increased energy, I feel more comfortable recommending a plant based product free of artificial ingredients.
And here’s a little preview of my CSN review…can you guess what it is?!
What are your thoughts on protein powder? Do you use it regularly?