Thursday, January 13, 2011

Protein Absorption- Get The Facts!

Every morning as I am rushing out the door I have a protein shake for breakfast. It is quick, portion controlled, filling, gives me energy, and helps aid in the growth on lean muscle! The only problem is that there are so many different protein supplements on the market today! Which one should I choose?


Here is a breakdown of different types of protein out in the market and how they are absorbed.

Protein is needed in our diet to help develop muscle, repair muscle tissue, aid in the growth of our hair and nails, give us energy, keep us full longer, and many other bodily functions. Protein doesn’t build muscle by itself. In order to gain muscle EXERCISE is key. Protein is simply used to help repair and develop the muscle after our workouts.

Our bodies can only absorb 20-30 grams of protein at one time (3-4oz of meat). Any protein that is not used up, if not burned up, will be stored as fat. Protein is naturally found in many foods such as eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish, tuna, soy beans, tofu, beans, lentils, nuts, etc… Protein is also commonly found in meal replacement shakes used for weight loss of muscle building. Different types of proteins are absorbed at different rates. It is important to include many different types of protein into your diet.

Biological Value of Protein:

Biological Value (BV) is a score that is given to certain foods (mostly proteins) to determine how quickly our bodies can absorb and actually use the protein consumed. The highest BV is 100%

Charts below were taken from
Protein Ratings
Eggs (whole)100
Eggs (whites)88
Chicken / Turkey79
Lean Beef69
Cow's Milk60
Unpolished Rice59
Brown Rice57
White Rice56
Whole Wheat49
Soy beans47
Whole-grain Wheat44
Dry Beans34
White Potato34
 BV of common protein supplements:
Protein Ratings
Whey Protein Isolate159
Whey Protein Concentrate104

 Different types of protein:

Whey Protein:

Whey protein also comes from milk. It is a fast absorbing protein and should be consumed either before or after a workout. Look at the ingredients when you are buying whey protein. It is processed in three different ways. This affects absorption/BV, taste, and price. On the label it will either read Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate (best absorbed, but can be hard to find, costly, and has a bitter taste), Whey Protein Isolate (typically the best tasting whey protein and BV is still quite high), and Whey Protein Concentrate (most affordable but known to cause stomach discomfort/bloating).

Casein Protein:

Casein protein is derived from milk. It is a slow absorbing protein therefore it is best to supplement with casein protein when you are expected to go through long periods of time without protein consumption (i.e. sleeping).

Soy Protein

Soy protein is extracted from soybeans is also quickly absorbed. There are a lot of different theories about soy protein. Some say it is good for lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer while others say that it is poorly absorbed, lacks important amino acids, and prevents absorption of many other nutrients.

Egg White Protein

Egg protein is typically low in calories and fat. It is extracted from eggs and is absorbed at a moderate rate. 

Protein shakes that I use:

Both of these powders have multiple forms of protein in them. Chocolate is my favorite flavor! :) Mix in fruit (but not too much) or different flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, mint) for variety!

What is your favorite protein supplement? Any good recipes??

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