Are you looking to make a change? Whether you’re trying to gain, lose or maintain weight, today we’ll provide some insight on choosing the best protein for women.
When it comes to building and maintaining muscle as well as optimizing your energy levels, protein is an absolutely critical building block in your diet. Drinking protein shakes between meals can help curb appetite and prevent you from snacking. In addition, if you’re trying a simple weight loss diet, protein shakes with a few vegetables can serve as a nutritious meal replacement.
So then that leaves the question of what are the right protein shakes for women? Any supplement store in America is going to almost overwhelm a first time buyer, so we’ll try to arm you with what you need to know to make the best decision for your body and goals.
Did you know the word ‘protein’ means ‘the first quality’? The ancient Greeks (the first scholars and scientists in recorded history) recognized it as the building block of the body.
Protein helps the body through:
- Making hormones
- Creating antibodies for the immune system
- Repairing muscles
- Building new muscle tissue
- Creating proper fluid and acidic balance in the blood
- Controlling metabolic processes
- Serving as an emergency energy source
If you consume more protein than you need to maintain and repair your body, your body can build new muscle with the excess. That’s the goal. And you’ll need a lot of protein, as much as 1-1.5g per pound of body weight. Many athletes stack their diet full of whole food protein including lean meats, fish, nuts and eggs. Still, to reach the levels of protein needed for growth, the right protein powder can really help.
Whole food proteins slow the digestive system so they can be fully absorbed and have thermic properties that boost your metabolic rate.
Egg and Milk Protein
While it was believed for a time that eggs could be bad for you, updated research has concluded that the fats and cholesterols found in eggs are actually beneficial. Eggs make a great addition to any diet and you’ll need to build muscle with a variety of amino acids.
Milk protein can also help you stack those grams of lean muscle building blocks. This can include cheeses, yogurts and kefirs. Ideally, your milk protein should be bioactive. That means the natural enzymes have not been killed off. Other protein sources are heated during processing which kills the protein fraction.
If you want to go or stay vegan, you can still build a great, strong body with plant based foods and vegan protein powders like VegaSport.
Complete Proteins and Incomplete Proteins
Possibly one of the most prevalent and misguided pieces of advice out there is the myth of the incomplete plant proteins.
There are no incomplete proteins!
The false idea that plant proteins are “incomplete” has been taught in medical schools, is still quoted in textbooks and has even been quoted by trusted experts such as the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.
It all started when Frances Moore Lappé wrote the first edition for the book Diet for a Small Planet. The vision of the book was to educate people on the concept that to feed the world efficiently, we need to feed people plants, instead of feeding animals plants and eating the animals. She noted that valuable food calories were lost that could have been used to feed everyone.
In her book, Lappé incorrectly mentioned that plants were incomplete proteins and that you had to combine them correctly to get all of your essential amino acids. She tried to right the wrong when she made a second edition to the book, but the idea was already entrenched in dietary literature.
While some plants have lower levels of one amino acid, and higher levels of others, it has been proven that all plants contain the essential amino acids. There are no amino acids, essential, or nonessential that HAVE to be obtained from an animal source.
Although the American Heart Association later tried to set the record straight on complete plant proteins, this myth crops up all over scientific and nutrition articles and websites.
So now that you have some ideas on what to eat, how do you make up for the rest of the protein you need to build muscle? If your goals require higher grams and you can’t spend the whole day cooking eggs, roasting chicken and drinking milk, then what do you do?
We get these questions a lot, “what is the best protein powder for weight loss,” ” what is the best protein powder for women,” “what are the best protein supplements for women?”
When you need to get more grams of protein and don’t have the time to prepare a whole chicken or a dozen eggs, protein supplements might be the way to go. Reliable protein supplements can help you get the amino acids you need for the day.
Now, you should also be aware that processed oils can actually slow down your metabolic state, so pick your supplements carefully. Processed oils are kryptonite to building strong muscle. This can ruin energy levels and even subject your heart and arteries to irreversible damage. Steer clear.
It’s always best to avoid supplements with too much sugar as well. This might seem like a no-brainer for some, but we’re always surprised how loaded with sugar some popular ‘nutrition products’ are.
So, when there are so many bright and shiny packages out there, how are you supposed to know which one is right for you?
What actually are the best protein shakes for women?
Protein Powder Hype
The fitness world is full of companies claiming their products are the best. Some will even boast advantages of their supplements over eating the foods that make them up. Don’t forget, whole foods should always form the basis of your diet. The idea of ‘supplementing’ is adding and filling nutritional gaps, not replacing. Often marketers will tell you that their product is the best protein shake for weight loss, or that they make the best protein supplements for women.
The issue we have with some of these claims of having developed the best protein shakes for weight loss, is that when you are looking for the best protein powder for women or men, weight loss should not be the main focus. I’ll explain.
Protein in its various forms helps you build quality, lean muscle. This comes down to body composition. Losing pounds is just a number, but displacing body fat with lean, toned muscle will leave you healthier and looking your best.
You won’t need a protein powder for weight loss, as your body sheds the unwanted fat and replaces it with healthy muscle without a designated weight loss protein powder.
Know the Value of Your Supplements
Let’s look at value of the protein in supplements.
There are a few methods that help to judge the quality of a protein product. The first is called “bioavailability,” sometimes called “biological value” or “BV” in supplement language.
In general, bioavailability is a measure of how much of the focus nutrient is able to be digested and used by the body. Think of it as a measure of digestive efficiency.
Amino acids are the broken down chains present in protein. The more of the amino acids that are actually used by the body, the higher BV rating the source is given.
For the purpose of having a steady measure, nitrogen is the element being looked at here. Nitrogen is a base element in amino acids, so if the nitrogen is there, it came from the amino acids digested.
The BV measurement uses a percentage scale. So if you take eggs for an example, with a BV of around 94, that means that only 6% of the food value is lost in digestion. Meanwhile, most legumes have a BV of around 45, which means you only gain 45% of the available nitrogen from legumes versus the 94% from eggs.
More bang for your buck?
Next is quality. You might hear talk about quality protein sources. BV rating can help you get a clearer picture of how well the protein is absorbed into your body.
Chemical scoring of proteins is complex and is mostly being evaluated on the basis of the availability of one particular amino acid. While this can give you a very complex chemical makeup of a food if you need to pay attention to a certain amino acid, even the most disciplined bodybuilders do not generally need to evaluate their food on that level of specialized profiling.
If you are already at the level of being considered a strength athlete, you most likely already get enough protein. In that case, it might not be important for you to have to count up the BV of your food choices. If not, it can be extremely helpful to calculate your protein needs for the day by your body weight and determine how much more you need per day to meet it.
The results may surprise you.
Milk Protein Supplements
Milk proteins are casein and whey. The best casein protein supplement is one that also includes whey protein. Whey supplements are the most common and have been beloved across the body building world for many years. While casein digests much slower and gives more complete absorption of the aminos, whey offers faster absorption. So, these two make a great pair.
It is also very common to supplement with just whey. Whey protein has a BV of 100 or close to it. Remember, the best whey protein for women will have has a few grams of sugar as possible. Same goes for guys.
Some recent claims by supplement providers have included increased immune response, rare antioxidant compounds and even cancer fighting properties. While you would have to go into the research to see where the claims come from, these are interesting advancements to say the least. Time will tell if these claims pan out!
So, there we have the dairy-based supplements, what’s the best vegan protein powder?
Soy Protein Supplements
The reason soy protein is not as popular as whey is because of the way soy works in the body. It has been suggested that it acts as estrogen and this worries men who don’t want it affecting their testosterone levels. While studies show that this effect only takes place with very high doses in men, research has pointed to soy protein as a better protein powder for women.
Veggie Protein Supplements
Another thing to consider about the best vegan protein powders is that in recent years with so much soy going GMO, some people have preferred to avoid it altogether. Veggie-based protein powders have stormed the market with non-soy alternatives.
Plus, if you’re going to supplement, veggie proteins are awesome because you get the benefits of vitamins and minerals found in veggies as well.
All plant-based proteins are going to be a bit more bitter due to the fiber, so look through the reviews carefully for a product people describe as “smooth,” or “mixes well.” If you need some great smoothie flavors you can check out our ebook.
Best Protein Powder For Women Final Verdict
Really, when you look at it, the best protein for women is going to be the same protein any man would want to build quality muscle. While men and women do build muscle differently, protein and amino acids are not digested any differently.
Men and women’s bodies distribute fat and muscle a bit differently, but this is often due to different training emphasis. If your goal is a lean, strong body, or a large muscular physique, fueling your body’s protein needs comes down to goals. Eat big to get big! Or, eat lean and nutritious to stay lean and nutritious! Either way, quality protein sources are an absolutely essential building block.
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