Protein shakes are helpful when it comes to getting our daily dose of protein that our bodies need to stay strong and healthy, especially if we’re putting it through its paces with intense strength and endurance workouts. Protein powders in the form of shakes can help our bodies to recover, and help us gain, and build muscle. But with a range of options to choose from, deciding which would suit you best can be difficult. Whether you’re looking for the best whey protein, or you’re looking for a vegan option, we’ll compare a few of the most popular below.
Benefits of protein shakes
Many of us will associate protein shakes with hard workouts and intense training sessions – and with good reason. Protein shakes help to improve performance when training so you can get the most out of your exercise regime, whether that’s weightlifting, running, or a team sport. Not only can it prepare you for your chosen sport, but it can also help your body to recover more quickly when you’re done, meaning sore muscles and tiredness will be reduced, allowing you to remain consistent with your plan. It is said that drinking a protein shake can help to build muscle mass and prevent further muscle loss if you’re trying to lose weight, allowing you to build muscle through strength training.
Protein shakes can also be helpful for those of us that don’t get a lot of protein in our diet, for example, if we have allergies or follow a plant-based plan. Protein shakes can be used as a source of protein that might be missing from the food we eat to help our bodies function correctly.
This type of protein is one of the most popular. It is derived from cow’s milk and contains both whey and casein. Whey is a high-quality source of protein and is what we call a complete protein. The term ‘complete protein’ simply refers to the fact that whey contains nine essential amino acids that your body needs to function as it should. There are a few benefits that come with whey protein, such as improving your immune system. You can add whey protein to foods or blend it with liquid – whichever form is easiest for you to take. It can aid fat loss and create lean muscle.
This type of protein is also dairy based. In contrast to whey protein, it is said that casein is better for recovery from endurance sports, rather than lifting heavy weights, for example, if you’re a runner or cyclist that heads out for hours at a time. As well as using casein products for recovery, you can also use them to help with weight loss plans, as they can help you to feel fuller for longer, so you could use them as a high-protein meal replacement – if this is something that you’re keen on trying.
In contrast to casein and whey protein, soy protein shakes are plant-based, and therefore can be a great option for vegans. If you’re using protein shakes to help increase muscle mass and gain strength, studies have shown that there is little to no difference between taking soy and whey protein – they can both give the same results. If you’re looking for a plant-based protein shake, soy protein can be a great alternative to the most common shakes.
Another vegan option, pea protein comes from the yellow split pea, which is high in fibre and can help you to get a range of amino acids into your system easily. Along with casein protein, pea protein can help you to feel fuller for longer, so it could aid in weight loss if this is your goal. There is also little difference between the muscle mass of those who prefer whey protein, and those who choose pea protein – the results noted in studies in the past have shown the same about of muscle mass gain, no matter whether you choose plant-based or dairy-based protein.
Zuella Montemayor did her degree in psychology at the University of Toronto. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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