Do I need to supplement my diet with protein?
Most of us will get enough protein in our diet, around 0.75g per kg of body weight. However, if you’re looking to build the strength or muscle needed to train for a big sporting event, it may be that your body requires more protein to allow you to do so – whether that’s swimming or weightlifting. Plus, protein fills you up, so it may help to reach your weight loss goals.
How much do I need?
The amount of protein needed is based on the amount or type of activity you are doing and is measured per gram per kg of your body weight.
|Activity||Amount of protein|
|No to little activity||0.75g|
|Muscle gain and weight loss||2.0g|
If you chose to increase your protein intake, you can do this by simply increase the amount of protein you eat at meal times, or, supplement with powders – which can work out cheaper.
What are the different types of protein supplements?
Complete vs incomplete
Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids, which are used as the ‘building blocks’ for muscle growth.
Most plant sourced proteins are considered an incomplete protein as they lack one or more of the 9 amino acids. To combat this, it’s advised to consume a combination of plant proteins to ensure you’re getting a wider range of amino acids.
You do not need to combine different plant protein sources at every meal, instead try to ensure you are getting a variety of plant based foods throughout your day to satisfy your amino acid requirements.
Concentrated, isolated and hydrolysates
There are also three variants of proteins; concentrated, isolated and hydrolysates.
Concentrated protein is made up from 60-80% protein with the remaining being fat and carbohydrate. Isolated protein has a higher percentage of protein, 90-95%, as more of the fat and carbohydrates have been removed. Hydrolysate protein is around 99% protein.
Which protein supplement is for me?
Whey is a by-product in the process of turning milk into cheese and is the most popular protein supplement available in different ratios and diet/lean variants.
Pros: Complete protein, concentrated and isolate, promotes lean muscle growth, quickly digested and supports your immunity.
Cons: Contains lactose so may not be suitable for everyone (to counteract this, choose isolate whey or whey with added lactase enzyme). Not suitable for vegans.
Casein is also produced from the production of milk, but this process can concentrate or isolate the protein found in milk, from the carbohydrates and fats.
Pros: High quality source of protein, high percentage of protein and slow digestion making it ideal to take before bedtime to digest while you sleep.
Cons: Contains lactose so may not be suitable for those who are intolerant. Digested slowly, so less readily available post-exercise than whey. Not suitable for vegans.
Soy protein is made from soy beans (legume) and is one of the few plant-based proteins that do contain all of the 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete plant based protein.
Pros: High protein percentage, contains isoflavones and can help to reduce cholesterol (only if you consume 25g per day).
Cons: Not suitable for those with soy allergy.
Made from pressed and ground hemp seeds, the fat content in hemp protein has been lowered due to this process. Hemp also contains all of the essential amino acids, as well as fibre and essential fats.
Pros: Full of fibre, good % of protein, packed with omega 3 & 6 and it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Cons: Incomplete protein so combine with a grain or legume-based plant protein such as rice or soy.
Made from, well, rice! It contains all of the essential amino acids but is classed as incomplete as it only contains a very small amount of one of the acids, lysine.
Pros: High % of protein, easily digested and it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Cons: Incomplete protein, so combine with a seed or legume protein such as hemp or pea.
Usually sold in isolate form as peas usually have high levels of carbohydrate. Once isolated, the final result has lower levels of carbohydrates and a higher percentage of protein. Pea also had a complete amino acid profile.
Pros: High protein content, suitable for those who are intolerant to soy and it’s suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Cons: Texture can be slightly more grainy compared to other protein powders.
To create a complete protein, combine two plant-based proteins together.
Which one is for me?
Picking a protein is entirely a personal choice, based on your requirements and your budget. If you need any further guidance, visit your local H&B store and speak to one of our trained colleagues.
Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.