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Tag Archives: protein

  • Two contrary studies on protein sports drinks

    As the range of sports drinks available ever widens, the newest player on the scene is protein.
  • Protein Powder and Toning - Will Protein Supplements Help Tone?

    Traditionally, protein powders were marketed to bodybuilders seeking to gain significant amounts of muscle mass. Although protein powders are certainly very effective in accomplishing this goal, can protein powders also be effective in helping you to tone up?

    Many men and women alike wish to tone up without adding "bulk". Before we get into how protein powders can (or can not) help you to accomplish this goal, let's actually define what the goal is.

    What is toning?

    Toning is a term synonymous with sculpting, defining and shaping. Although we all understand what the end result of toning is, the processes behind accomplishing this goal is often not completely understood. Toning is effectively the combination of two processes:

    1. Fat loss
    2. Muscle Gain

    The degree to which these two processes are required depend on the individual. For example, someone who is naturally strong yet quite overweight may need more fat loss than muscle gain. Meanwhile someone who is very skinny may require minimal fat loss and more focus on muscle development.

    Because the processes required to accomplish a toned physique will vary greatly between people, the actual training and nutritional approach will vary greatly too. The focus on resistance training, cardiovascular training and diet will vary greatly.

    Protein Powders and Toning

    Now that we've defined exactly what toning is, let's consider how protein powders come into the equation.

    Protein powders are simply the protein extracted from foods and made into a powdered form. They help to boost your protein intake, which is particularly useful if you are unable to consume adequate protein through dietary methods.

    Further, protein powders have the unique ability to be absorbed extremely quickly by the body relative to food. This makes them particularly useful to aid in recovery after a high intensity workout.

    If your toning goal is more muscle gain dependant (we're not talking bulk though), protein powders are almost a necessity.

    Immediately before and after your weight training session, consuming a serve of high quality protein powder can provide your body with the essential nutrients required to develop muscle mass. Without consuming a protein shake, you will not obtain optimal muscle development results.

    During the day time, you will have a heightened requirement for protein due to the focus on muscle development. A protein shake in the morning is very important (having gone all night without eating). For this reason, a slow absorbing protein in the night time is also a good idea to deliver a steady protein source into your body.

    During the day, if you are unable to obtain adequate protein from food alone (which is often the case), it is a good idea to be consuming a protein shake to bump up your protein intake.

    Don't be concerned that you're going to bulk up (whether you are male or female). Muscle growth occurs very, very slowly. It can take years to gain significant bulk for a male and even longer for females due to differing hormone levels. Remember, protein is only an extract from food - you're simply consuming a higher quality protein source, since it has been processed in a way to optimize absorption.

    If your toning goal is more fat loss dependant, protein powders can be very effective in a number of manners.

    Following an intense training workout (whether cardio or weights), you will require a high quality protein source to facilitate recovery. Without recovering effectively, your body will secrete stress hormones as a protective mechanism which can actually inhibit fat loss.

    Also, protein powders can be a very effective tool during the day to utilize as a convenient low calorie meal. One scoop of protein powder is generally about 100 calories, so this can help you keep your calorie intake down and thus facilitate weight loss.

    Protein powders, when used correctly, can have a profound impact on your toning goals. It's important to be smart about your protein powder intake so you obtain optimal results. You may wish to speak to your personal trainer to help advise you more specifically.

    If however you've made the decision and are now looking to purchase a protein powder, look for a whey based protein powder. Whey protein powders are of the highest quality. Here are some recommendations from our store:

    Toning geared toward muscle development:

    Before/After workout protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey

    Breakfast: Optimum 100% Whey

    During the day: Optimum 100% WheyOptimum Casein

    Toning geared toward fat loss:

    Before/after workout protein powder: BodyScience Hydroxyburn Pro

    During the day: Dymatize Elite Gourmet

  • The Benefits of Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat for Weight Loss

    If you're seeking to lose weight, chances are that you've considered a low-"something" or high-"something" diet. Three of the most common diets include low-fat, low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets. While all can be effective at losing weight, they may not always be the most sustainable approaches to weight loss.

    Within this article, we are going to take a brief overview of all three macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate and fat. We will discuss how each of these nutrients can assist you in losing weight and how a healthy balance between these macronutrients can assist you long-term sustainable weight loss.

    Macronutrients - Fats, Carbohydrates and Protein

    All three macronutrients are essential for good health. The three macronutrients we are discussing here are proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

    By definition, all three of these molecules are required in large mounts in your diet for the proper functioning of your body, as:

    Macro refers to large (as in large amounts of consumption relative to other nutrients like vitamins and minerals)

    Nutrients are a necessity in our diet, as it relates to the term nourish - for without nourishment one would be malnourished.

    It is short-sighted to eliminate any one of these from your diet, as this could lead to some serious health complications and impact your weight loss results.

    Protein and Weight Loss

    Over the past decade in particular, protein has been associated as the "ideal" macronutrient to assist in weight loss. Protein certainly is important to assist in losing weight, as protein rich foods contain vital amino acids (the constituents of protein molecules) that are responsible for correct hormone production, energy levels, recovery, boosting the metabolism and muscle development - just to name a few functions.

    Why is protein so spectacular at assisting with weight loss? Well, natural protein rich foods are generally quite filling (such as meats, fish, poultry and legumes), while being relatively low in calories (as protein only contains 4 calories per gram). The body also requires a lot of energy to convert protein molecules into fat, so the net calorie effect from consuming protein rich foods is relatively low.

    Muscles are also very rich in amino acids, so in order to develop muscle tissue you do require a good quality source of protein intake. If you're seeking to lose fat tissue, it is quite beneficial to develop muscle tissue. This is because muscles are highly energy dependant, so a greater amount of muscle tissue will assist in burning additional calories throughout the day.

    Keep in mind though, too much protein can lead to a calorie overload, so it is important to keep your protein intake in perspective.

    Carbohydrate and Weight Loss

    Carbohydrates (or colloquially "carbs") have been assigned a negative connotation ever since the Atkins diet (a low-carb diet) was released. Carbs have been associated with fat gain and it is a common belief that consuming carbohydrates will automatically serve to cause fat gain. This is simply not true.

    Carbohydrates are just as dense in calories as protein - 4 calories per gram. So just as with proteins, too many of them can create a calorie overload and cause weight gain.

    However it is not wise to eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, as, just like proteins, they serve to perform several vital functions within the human body. Carbohydrates are required to enhance energy levels, facilitate correct brain function, encourage recovery after exercise and speed up your metabolism. A deficiency in carbohydrate can cause anything from lowered energy levels, to causing medical condition called "ketosis", to death. Carbohydrates are necessary to survive and must be included in your diet.

    The quality of carbohydrates is often measured via two mediums; their molecular complexity or their glycaemic index:

    The molecular complexity considers how large the carbohydrate molecule is - complex carbs are much larger molecules than sugars, which are simple carbohydrates. It is generally recommended to consume complex carbohydrates.

    The glycaemic index is a more reliable measure of the quality of a carbohydrate, measuring it's rate of absorption into the human body. The higher the GI, the faster the carbohydrate is absorbed. So aim for low GI foods, which will absorb slowly into your body. The exception is following an intense bout of exercise, when you should aim to consume high GI foods for enhanced recovery.

    A side note on the relationship between molecular complexity and the glycaemic index. They are not related. Complex carbs can have a range of GI's, as can sugars. A complex carbohydrate is not necessarily more likely to be lower in GI than a sugar.

    Fat and Weight Loss

    In the 1990's, fat was crowned the macronutrient to avoid at all costs. There was (and still is) low-fat everything on supermarket shelves.

    Fat is a critical nutrient, just as carbohydrates and proteins are. Fat is responsible for a number of mechanisms within the human body relating to energy levels, hormonal balance, cholesterol levels, metabolism, brain function, disease prevention and nutrient transport within the human body. A deficiency in fat can have some serious side effects, so it is important to include some good quality sources of fat into your diet.

    Examples of good sources of fat are from foods such as fish, nuts, avocado, seeds and olive oil. Generally, you should be aiming to consume moderate amounts of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. As a general rule of thumb, aim to avoid trans and saturated fats.

    So if fats are so important for your health, why are they so commonly restricted from diets? Simple - fat is quite dense in calories - 9 calories per gram. This is more than double that found in carbohydrates and proteins! So fat is required in much smaller amounts that protein and carbohydrate due to the energy density of a fat molecule. However, by no means should fat be eliminated from your diet altogether. This is because fat can not only assist in weight loss, it is also a necessity for your health and wellbeing.

  • Protein Added to Sports Drinks Doesnt Aid Performance

    Athletes looking to boost performance may think that adding a little protein to their sports drink may help give them an edge.
  • Building Muscle with Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein

    Well over three years ago, I conducted a survey for the general public where one of the questions was "What is the most important nutrient when trying to build muscle?". The options were:

    • Protein
    • Carbohydrate
    • Fat
    • A combination of the above

    It may come as little surprise to know that the most common answer was protein. My hat goes off to the supplement companies who have marketed their protein products exceptionally well. No, I'm not being sarcastic, they have actually done a phenomenal job in convincing the "Average Joe" that protein is so superior to fats and carbohydrates that protein alone can do a better job at building muscle than a combination of all three!

    But the objective and proven science paints a completely different picture. Upon reading the "actual" research, it becomes very obvious that protein in isolation is useless at building muscle. Carbohydrates and fats in isolation are also useless in building muscle. It is well established, with all other considerations being disregarded, that without doubt (among the scientific community at least) that a combination of carbohydrate, fat and protein is essential to even consider building muscle mass.

    Let's return to the misconception that protein is the most important nutrient. Yes, it is an important nutrient, but it is equally important as fats and carbohydrates. Proteins are the main consituents of muscle cells when considering these three nutrients. So it comes as no surprise that is it easily assumed that protein is the most important because it is the most abundant. Not true at all. Proteins do not just get absorbed into the blood stream and into the muscle which therefore increases in size. There are many chemical reactions that happen in the process.

    Carbohydrates have a major role in building muscle. Protein synthesis (or muscle building) cannot occur without the presence of insulin. Insulin is secreted in response to an increase in blood glucose. Guess how blood glucose typically rises? Through the ingestion of carbohydrate. Of course, carbs are vitally important for many other processes including energy production, assisting the breakdown of fatty acids, promoting good health etc.

    Fats are responsible for a miriad of processes. One process that is particularly important for building muscle is hormone production. In particular testosterone, which is required for muscle sythesis, is significantly hindered by a super-low fat diet. Other important functions of fats include energy production, maintaining healthy cholesterol, nutrient transport and maintaining healthy skin.

    Building muscle is like a jigsaw. You need all the pieces in their correct places in order to stimulate an optimal degree of muscle growth. The elimination of carbohydrate or fat from your diet will have highly undesirable effects.

    If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, I highly recommend that you sign up to our free course which discusses nutrition in far more detail. The course is called Conquering Your Body.

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