Natural Protein Vs. Protein Supplement
Which is better?
Whether you are just starting your fitness journey or have been a club member for a long time, you’ve been told at some point to take protein supplements before or after a workout to build muscle. In fact, protein is usually touted as the solution to almost all issues in the fitness world. If you want to shed pounds, increase your protein consumption and reduce carbs. I personally believe in the balanced diet principle but I digress.
The confusion arises when you are not sure whether you should stick to a natural protein-rich diet or start looking for the top protein supplement on the market. Let’s first understand what protein is and how it benefits our bodies.
Protein: what is it and what are its benefits?
Proteins are macronutrients essential for maintaining, building, and repairing muscles. A protein consists of amino acids that break down in the body and stimulate muscle growth. The human body relies on it for correct functioning, from the bones, muscles, and tissues to the skin, hair, and organs. So it is important for everyone, not just fitness enthusiasts. Its benefits include:
- Muscle growth
- Maintenance of healthy weight
- Helps you feel fuller for longer
- Reduction of muscle loss and so on
Various factors determine the daily requirement, including age, weight, physical activity, and gender. Consult a nutritionist or healthcare professional to determine how much protein you need.
There are two types of protein sources: natural and supplemental. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each.
Proteins are found in most of the foods we consume on a daily basis; most of it is animal-based, but there are also plant-based sources of protein. Typical animal based proteins include meat/poultry, whey (milk, cheese, yogurt), fish, and seafood.
Soy, nuts, and legumes are examples of foods rich in plant-based protein. While protein derived from natural sources provides all the necessary minerals and vitamins, depending on the quantity and type of protein, they may not contain all the amino acids the body requires.
This is particularly true with plant based protein, the right quantity needs to be consumed to get the recommended amino acids. Natural based protein might not be convenient for some because it requires preparation time to be set aside and it can also be expensive to source the various ingredients.
But I think it’s tastier and there are more choices than the alternative.
Powdered protein is a complete protein that contains all the amino acids needed to meet human dietary requirements. It is available in many forms, including plant-based ones like soy.
Because protein powders are convenient, most people prefer them. Especially if you have a busy schedule, there are pre-made shake versions that you can just grab and go.
In addition, the liquid form aids in faster digestion and absorption by the body. People prefer to drink shakes immediately following a workout since solid food takes the body longer to break down and reach the muscle.
Considering one jar of protein powder lasts a long time, it is also cheaper than the alternative.
My diet mostly consists of natural foods, since I am pro-balanced diet philosophy and like to know what I am consuming. Powdered protein does not appeal to my taste buds, but everyone has their preferences. Nonetheless, supplements here and there to fill in the gaps of nutrients where necessary are essential for good health on the whole.
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