In this article I will be breaking down details about protein powder, weight gainers, and meal replacements powders. I will answer questions such as: which is the healthiest choice, what is recommended for who, what works, and what doesn’t. In addition to this, I am also going to take a closer look at an example of each product, and discuss what typically is used in these products. If you don’t want to be bothered with all the details, here is the main takeaway that I think you want to know:
Protein Powder, Weight Gainers and Meal Replacement Powder
Protein Powders, Weight gainers and meal replacements are all very similar kind of products, just with a difference in the nutritional profile of protein, carbs and fat. Protein powder in today’s world is mostly sold as isolated protein with a very low level of carbs and fat. A standard scoop of protein powder tends to contain around 20 -30 grams of protein, 1 – 3 grams of fat and 5 – 10 gram of carbs. One serving of protein powder tends to contain a total of 100 – 150 calories. Meal replacements are meant to be exactly that – an actual replacement for a normal healthy meal in terms of the nutritional profile. Because of this, meal replacements usually have around 50 – 60 grams of carbs per serving, 20 – 30 grams of protein and a low level of fat. Finally we have weight gainers and just like meal replacements, the key nutrients here are carbs and protein. However, the ratio is often very close to the exact opposite of the mix you see in a meal replacement, meaning a typical serving of weight gainer will contain 50 – 60 grams of protein and 15 – 30 grams of carbs. There also tends to be a higher level of fat in weight gainers than typical meal replacements. Now keep in mind that this is what we often see, but with thousands of brands creating their own supplements, these figures can differ quite radically. However, the ratios tend to be fairly fixed. That’s the short version. For more info, keep reading.
You almost can’t go to the gym without hearing someone talk about protein shakes, or seeing someone with an actual protein shake – if not during the workout session then surely afterwards when people are leaving the gym. Protein shakes are becoming an everyday facet of getting into shape – means to an end. Most people use protein powder to make shakes by blending the powder with water or milk, as a nutritional supplement to use after, during, or even before a workout. Today its also becoming popular to use protein powder as an ingredient for say pancakes, cakes, etc. Get a flavorless protein powder and you can even use it when baking break. It’s a good and easy to way to boost the protein level in snacks that tends to mainly consist of carbs.
Coming in many types and flavors, you can find protein powders in any nutrition store online or at the mall. Some are targeted for specific people such as, bodybuilders, or cyclists. But exactly what are protein powders?
While coming in many varieties the most common type are:
Whey is the most commonly used, according to Webmd. Its no wonder why it’s the favorite choice for most people; whey is a complete protein, containing all nine amino acids needed for a person’s dietary needs.
For bodybuilders looking for a vegetarian high-protein source, soy protein is the ultimate solution. It is made from soya which unlike many plants contains all the essential amino acids that the human body needs. The amino acids aid muscle recovery and help dilate pertinent blood vessels to allow increased nutrient circulation in the body
Another popular milk protein is casein. Compared to whey, it is digested very slowly. It is handy when one wants gradual breakdown of the protein such as at night, to attain maximum Types of benefits.
Read up on the three types here.
The Question is if you can get all the protein you need from eating lean meats like fish and chicken, and eating dairy products, why use a supplement? The answer, well there are a few. If you are a vegan, taking protein powders to work out is a good idea since you are not eating meat such as fish or chicken and not getting the protein sources you need to do long workouts and muscle building. Also if you were injured and are safely returning to normal workout regiments, an increase of protein is helpful to your body, as it will need more to heal. Starting a workout program and increasing your existing workouts round off the list of good reasons to use protein powders. These two tasks require an added amount of protein and it considered a safe use of protein powders. The problem is that the body needs 10 -15 grams of added protein a day. With some powders that offer up to 80 grams of protein per serving. All that protein can be very rough on your liver and kidneys. The best way to use protein powders is to make sure that you need them in the first place. The average athlete needs 0.6 – 0.8 grams per body pound of protein daily. To make life easy, a 100 pound person would need 60-80 grams of protein on a daily basis. You do the math, then ask yourself do I need a protein shake?
When you see this you might think a trip to mcd’s might be in order. NO, weight gainer supplements are for gaining muscle not fat. But if done wrong you can gain fat. Sometimes you want to get muscles fast, or maybe you’re a person with a very high metabolism, most likely you’re a high school/ freshman in college trying to pack some muscle so you can join a sport. Whatever the case weight gainers are packed with high carbohydrates, high protein, and low in fat, most of the calories coming from carbs. But this does not mean you just take the supplement and boom you wake up looking like The Rock. Weight gainers if used the wrong way can make you add a lot of fat. Making weight gainers work for you in a little tricky but can be done if you know how much extra calories you need per day to gain weight. To do this we suggest the Harris-Benedict formula. You will need your BMR (basal metabolic rate). The gist of it is to use these too formulas to calculate many calories to need to maintain your current weight. From there you add 500 calories per day, do this for a week and watch the results. If nothing happens add 250 calories more per day and keep an eye on your weight. Follow this cycle and you will see muscle gains. You may notice fat gain too but keep an eye on it and do not ever do it and you will be fine. Be sure to buy low sugar weight gainers, and look for those with creatine, extra bcaa’s and extra glutamine. Follow instructions on the label and make sure to constantly monitor your intake.
Meal replacement Powder
There is no substitute for a home cooked sit down meal, and is considered the best approach for healthy weight loss. If we lived in a perfect world maybe that would work. But in our busy day-to-day lives it can be hard to find time to even sit down and enjoy a meal. This is why meal replacements were created. There is no problem with doing these neither, as long as it does not happen every day of the week you will be fine. When choosing a meal replacement powder or MRP as they are called. It is important to have a full, well-balanced meal that provides all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs. You have to be careful when picking out an MRP. With so many choices, some brands are nothing but hype and words that look good all packaged together to get your money. Being informed is your only defense against these types of attacks against your body and your wallet. So what do you look for in MRP’s? Small amounts of sugars and fat are the first sight of clear weather. A good amount of protein and 210-240 calories per serving, 2-6 grams of fiber per serving, and a supplement that is fortified with at least one third of the daily minerals and vitamins your body needs to function. See a label with that and you’re in sunny weather. Try to reduce usage of these products to at the very most once per day. Fresh fruit and plenty of water is suggested for the same boost an MRP can give you.
So what did we learn? Protein powders can be good for you under specific conditions. It is always best to know if you need protein or not before adding a protein powder supplement to your diet. We learned that weight gainers can be tricky to start and should be taken with much caution. Use the Harris-Benedict formula to find out how many calories you need to maintain your weight then slowly add calories over time until you get your desired effect. Lastly we learn when dealing with meal replacements or MSP’s, to make sure we read the label and figure out if what is in the MSP before we buy it. Being informed is 90% the battle. And now you’re ready for war. Good luck!