Everything you need to know about selecting a protein supplement (The complete buyer’s guide to Protein pt4)

In part 4 of the complete protein guide, we will discuss 5 things to consider before buying a protein supplement, good and bad ingredients, determining budget, protein absorption rate and more!

Before you begin, make sure you read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here.

How to start with protein supplements

Establish first if you need a protein supplement:

When it comes to protein supplementation, there are 2 kinds of people. Those who need the extra protein and those who don’t.

People who need a protein supplement

Here are a few people who need a protein supplement:

  • People who want to fix their diet
  • People who are unable to get their hands on good quality protein due to travel
  • Busy people who have no time to cook (lack of time at work, hectic lifestyles etc)
  • People with high activity levels (e.g. manual labor workers)
  • People who workout and athletes

People who don’t need a protein supplement

And then we have people who think they need it but do not:

  • People who do not know how to eat properly.
  • People who think that professional bodybuilders (who spend half their lives in a gym plus take anabolic steroids) get so big on just protein.
  • Young men and women who are still growing.
  • Anyone enticed by the shiny and often fake world of fitness and health.

If you belong to the second category, you need to first cover your basics when it comes to nutrition and exercise. 95% of the time, the effect of these changes in your lifestyle will be reflected on your body composition after 1–2 months. And that is without the use of extra protein.

Once you have fixed your diet and you train long and hard for at least a year, then it is time to consider some extra protein.

Reasons for increased protein intake

I believe that this should be the first step into choosing a good protein.

Ask yourself once again, “what do I need this for?”

Unlike what you may think, not all proteins are the same and not all proteins can be used for the same goals.

  • If you are a vegetarian/vegan and wish to supplement with protein because you don’t get enough from your diet, you may want to focus on a good quality plant source protein.
  • If your goal is to build muscle or lose fat (or both), then you might want to consider a combination of a fast(whey) and slow(casein) protein after your workout.
  • For the same goals, you might need a slow(casein) protein before bed and a fast(whey) protein immediately after waking up.
  • If you wish to supplement a meal due to a hectic lifestyle, this will be determined by a lot of factors and cannot be covered in this paragraph. Yes, this is the case when we use protein shakes when we are on the go.

How to properly introduce protein supplements in your life

Protein supplements are not food!

The first thing you need to do is to understand that you will be taking the extra protein on top of your existing nutrition. This is why it is called a nutritional supplement and not food. There are however (advanced) exceptions to this rule as I mentioned earlier like busy professionals, athletes or a combination of both but this is not the scope of this article.

Start slowly

If you have never taken protein before, start with a small dose of 1–3 scoops per day depending on your body weight and activity demands.

The lower the dose, the higher the adaptation in your body. The higher the dose, the higher the risk of rejecting most of the stuff that you put in when you go to the toilet.

Time it right

Timing is an entire subject in itself but for beginners the best time to introduce your protein is before and/or immediately after your workout.

This is when your body will make the best use out of your extra protein and use it to build or in fact rebuild broken down muscle tissue (as scar tissue).

5 things to consider before buying a protein supplement

1) Determine your Budget and check prices

The first and most important factor in selecting a protein is the price and your budget. Even if you manage to find the best protein, what is the purpose if you can only take it for 1 week in the duration of a month?

This is why you need to think about your monthly allocated budget for supplements and specifically for protein.

As a generic rule of thumb, the higher the quality of protein, the higher the price gets. So if you are planning on buying a New Zealand organic whey protein, be prepared to invest 50–60$ per 1 kg of protein.

Compare that with your average whey protein that costs 20$ per 1 or 2 kgs of protein, and the difference in price is obvious.

However, the quality of New Zealand organic whey protein is unmatched when compared to the low quality whey proteins, often mixed with weird ingredients and artificial sweeteners. So yes, a higher quality protein is better for your long term health and for your body goals. Which brings me to our next point:

2) Always read the ingredients on the label!


Read the rest of the article here!

by Nick Sigma CWC, EH, E-YRT200

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