Protein Intake Strategies & Protein Supplements

Protein Intake Strategies & Protein Supplements

Alright! So in order to find out your protein intake amount you want to measure by grams/kg of bodyweight, this measurement will give you a per day amount of protein your body needs to account for your body size & use more accurate values. For athletes it's clear that protein intake above your recommended daily measurement of .8grams per kilogram per day will best support performance. Some research has shown intake 3x that of the RDA is useful during periods of energy restriction for weight loss. Of course, protein quality, dosage sizes, and timing, are also very important.

High protein intake from high quality sources is more effective for: 

  • - Maintaining muscle mass
  • - Attenuating hunger from improved satiety¬†
  • - Improved body composition¬†¬†
  • - Improving recovery

Taking it a step further, Supra sufficiency diets which provide 2.2g/kg/day, can be useful for those engaged in strenuous training regimens or are exposed to high daily stress. 

There seems to be a maximal saturation point however, as no research has yet shown any benefit over 4g/kg/day. 

General Protein Recommendations for Athletes:

  • Team Sports: 1.4-1.6g/kg
  • Strength based sports: 1.5-1.7g/kg
  • Bodybuilders: 1.8-2g/kg
  • Endurance: 1.2-1.4g/kg (higher for longer distances)

Protein Tying & Supplements for Performance:

Protein doses should be evenly distributed every 3-4hrs across the day & ingested immediately after resistance training, using dosages of (30-40g) to max out protein synthesis & limit break down over time. Proteins and carbs are best combined post-exercise to maximize anabolism at a ratio at 3-4:1 to one. 

I recommend to use rapidly digestible foods like whey protein or egg whites as a protein & combine it with high glycemic carbs. Each protein feeding should come from Whole Foods (no not the store) but whole foods meaning the least processed foods you can find. This will ensure you're getting the greatest nutrient diversity, & high quality. If you're like me & you don't have time to cook a meal after, sub it out for a supplement. There are many forms of supplemental proteins available.

Vegan Option Proteins:

Pea Protein 

Hemp Protein 

Soy Protein

Non-Vegan Proteins:

Whey Protein 

Muscle Milk 

Bulletproof

We want a protein source that is complete, rich in branched chain amino acids & high in leucine content to maximize protein synthesis. Whey protein is one of the best choices, when lined up against these quality ranking criteria. It is highly digestible, contains the highest level of leucine, and processes antioxidant properties due to its cysteine content. Whey is optimal for use throughout the day, especially right after exercise.

Casein; which like whey is derived from cow's milk & is high quality but has greater molecular complexity which means it digests slower. This is why casein is a perfect option before bed, to reduce overnight catabolism & maximize lean mass gains.

The carb content of supplemental forms is also very low. So here you're getting low carbs & all the protein your muscles need to grow & recovery. This is why it's a good option for people wanting to lose weight or accomplish a certain body composition. 

SOY Protein

Now if you're vegan, like I am at the moment. You can use soy proteins. Soy is one of the few complete plant based proteins out there. Meaning it has all the amino acids you need. This is why soy & whey are often compared in research to see which is more effective.

It seems that soy isolate demonstrates a reduced ability to stimulate protein synthesis under both rested and post exercise conditions when compared to whey isolate. This is likely due to its lower leucine content. However, over the long term they both are equal.

Pea & Hemp Protein

Pea protein isolates: are becoming popular due to their relatively high bioavailability as well as their impact on satiety & glucose control, similar to fiber containing whole foods. The digestion speed of pea protein is between whey & casein & protein content ranges from 77-81%.

Supplemental Hemp Protein: is near complete, high in fiber & rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It also has a high digestibility score for a plant based protein. 

Common Health Question

If there is too much protein in the body, does it cause distress on your organs?

We know that a high protein intake results in a high nitrogen content released from the body via urea, which is managed through the kidneys. However, research has shown that high protein intake, even higher than 2g/kg/day should not negatively impact healthy people. Caution & restriction is advised, as well as talking to your doctor for those with known kidney issues. 

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