By Jim Duffy
The average diet has more than enough protein to meet daily needs, however, there are often times when the average diet becomes less than normal and may not be as adequate as it should be. Between the busy life that the average person leads and constant yo-yo or fad dieting, the fact is that what we should be eating quickly becomes what we do not eat and what we sorely miss.
For optimal health, every diet must contain the right amounts of the three macro-nutrients, protein, carbohydrates and fats. There have been many diets that have tried to severely limit or even eliminate one or the other of these vital building blocks of life, with little success. Yes, there are bad food choices among these three categories, but there are excellent food options among them too. While it is best that nutrition come from healthy, whole food choices whenever possible, it is not always feasible. We live on the run and on the road. Many of us spend most of the day with the steering wheel in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Eating healthy foods is hard enough, let alone trying to shop for and cook these options. We succumb to the lure of the drive-thru and then bemoan our chubby tummies. There is not enough time in the day to sit down for a meal that does not involve packets of ketchup or interruption by a cell phone call or the need to check our Facebook or our Twitter. When in our busy day are we going to fit in exercise?
While it should be next to impossible to have inadequate protein in the average diet, it is possible for those who are simply not eating at all because they think they can finally manage to get their weight under control if they do not eat solid food. What they succeed in doing is shutting down their metabolism all together. But, then what are they using for the energy to continue to live? Their body is burning energy stores, that is true, but only in limited amounts. What their body is actually burning might be their own lean muscle mass.
It is important that we not only become more educated about our health and nutrition needs and, but also about metabolism and weight loss. There are 34 million people in the United States who are medically obese. (Source: www.Stanford.edu ) At any one point in the year, there are over 20 million people who are starting, in the middle of or giving up on a diet. (Source: www.thriveonline.com)
Many of those people will try sensible diets that are nutritious and have the right amount of calories for optimal health. Unfortunately, many more of them will choose a fad diet that will sadly fail for them. There are countless reasons that these people will give for the diets that they choose, with some of them using the lack of time as one of the reasons that they do not eat well. For them, opting for protein supplements might be a better way to protect their health and to make sure they are getting enough of this important nutrient each day. Whether they are looking for a protein supplement that can serve as a protein booster or a meal replacement, they need to know what the different types are, the advantages and disadvantages of each and what makes them different from one another.
If you are interested in finding a good protein supplement, there are a few things that you should be looking at, including the ingredients and the nutritional value. Here are some suggestions for the best protein supplements, including choices for vegetarians and vegans as well as for those who have food allergies.
A final note: if you have any medical conditions, including serious food allergies, it is important to make sure that you are consulting a doctor, a dietitian or a nutritionist before adding protein supplements to your diet plan.
The Protein Supplement Options
Protein supplements come in many different forms, including powders, bars, liquid supplements, shakes and even pudding. There is a weight loss program that suggests eating a pudding "shot" before each meal so that you eat less while enjoying your favorite foods. The protein in the pudding shot fills you up and protects against muscle loss. The choice of which protein supplement is right for your will depend on a number of factors. Obviously, a powder would have to be mixed before you consume it, making it more suitable for use at home. There are portable, battery operated mixers that you could use for these powders, or you could mix and take along your supplement. Premade protein shakes and drinks might be handy to use, but can sometimes come in larger sizes that are not easy to carry around or might be too large for a quick boost. Profect, a liquid supplement shot from Protica, is fast and easy to drink, with only 100 calories and a full 25 grams of protein per serving.
No matter what type of protein supplement you are looking at, consider its cost and its ingredients before making a final selection.
The Protein Powders
There are four kinds of protein powders: whey, soy, egg and rice. Among these, there are some that are single ingredient and some that are combination. It is important to read the ingredients of these powders, especially if you are allergic to one or the other of these types of proteins. If you are not sure about an allergy, stick to single ingredient powders until you know that they are safe.
Whey Protein Powder -- Whey protein is derived from milk and is the most common type of protein powder. There are two types of whey protein powder, a concentrate and an isolate. The concentrate is the most common and the least expensive in most cases. The concentrate contains 30-85% protein while the isolate has around 90%. The isolate also has less fat and less lactose than the concentrate.
In addition, the whey protein isolate has 50% more leucine than soy protein, which has the advantage of building more lean muscle tissues and lowering body fat.
The benefits of whey protein powder are that it boosts immunity, is an optimal source of amino acids, including the essential amino acids, it enhances muscle recovery after workouts and prevents muscle loss after workouts. It increases glutathione, an antioxidant that is important for a healthy immune system. Whey protein releases hunger suppressing hormones as well.
Its sole disadvantage is that it is not meant for those who are lactose intolerant.
Soy Protein Powder -- Like whey, soy can be either a concentrate or an isolate, with the isolate providing more protein. Soy is the only plant based protein that is complete, meaning that it contains all eight of the essential amino acids. (The human body makes many of its own amino acids, but cannot make leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan and lysine). Soy protein powder is derived from soy flour and is highly digestible.
The benefits of soy protein powder are that it improves the nutritional value of foods, lowers cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart disease. Soy protein powder is one of the few protein supplements that is appropriate for a vegetarian or vegan diet.
The disadvantage is that it is not meant for those who are allergic to soy or soy products.
Egg Protein Powder -- Eggs are the perfect protein source, and are the protein that all others are judged and evaluated against. Eggs are complete proteins, meaning that all eight essential amino acids are present. The protein powder is created from egg whites so that it is fat free. Egg protein powder is the highest source of the amino acids alanine, argine, glycine and methane.
Its disadvantages are that it is not meant for those who have egg allergies, and it is not for vegans.
Rice Protein Powder -- Rice protein powder is derived from brown rice and is a complete protein source. The biggest advantage of rice protein powder is that it is hypoallergenic and is perfect for those who have any kind of allergies. It is also perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
Its disadvantage is that it may not be easy to find.
Protica Research (Protica, Inc.) specializes in the development of Capsulized Foods. Protica manufactures http://www.profect.com IsoMetric, Pediagro, Fruitasia and over 100 other brands, including Medicare-approved, whey protein bullets for bariatric patients. You can learn more at http://www.protica.com - Copyright