Protein Sources Tips

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What should I look for in protein and energy bars?

Protein and Energy Bars

Protein and energy bars are essential if you work out heavily or are a professional athlete, but they come in handy for the rest of us, too. They are a great way to get in breakfast or lunch on the run, and they're much better for you than most of the fast-food snacks we tend to grab when we're on the go.

To get the most out of your protein and energy bars, you should look for essential ingredient. Make sure the calories and fat are not too high. In addition, look at the amounts of protein and carbohydrate in the bar. They should be high for the best workout energy and endurance, but only medium if you're just looking at protein and energy bars as a meal or snack. Your protein and energy bars should also contain the right vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins and potassium. Watch out for these essentials, and avoid protein and energy bars low in these vitamins and minerals.

   
What are some types of protein and energy bars?

Protein Bars: Energy at Hand

Protein and energy bars Protein and energy bars are meant to provide extra protein and energy conveniently wrapped for people on the go. They can be tossed in a gym bag or briefcase for a mid-afternoon pickup or pre-workout energy boost.

These bars are available in a variety of flavors and textures, with different percentages of protein, carbs and fats. And most of them come in a range of flavors such as peanut butter, chocolate, cookies and cream, carrot cake, apricot, berry and mocha, so you may have to do some taste-testing to find the ones you like to help get you through a workday or workout. Most bars that bill themselves specifically as "protein bars" contain at least 20 grams of protein per bar.

Here's a comparison of some popular protein and energy bars:

-Met-Rx Protein Plus Bar: 250 calories, 34 grams of protein

-PowerBar Protein Plus: 290 calories, 24 grams of protein

-Promax Protein Bar: 270 calories, 20 grams of protein

Some bars claim to be formulated for women, but that doesn't make them bad for men. Try any bar you want and if you like the taste and the results, then that's the bar for you, regardless of what it's called or what the wrapper looks like. Once you find your bar or bars of choice, save money by buying them by the box.

   
What should I look for on a whey protein label?

The Right Way To Read Whey Protein Labels

Whey protein isolate is the type of whey protein found in most supplements. When choosing a whey protein supplement, look for products that list either whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate as the first or second ingredient on the label to ensure that you're getting an adequate amount of whey protein.

Keep reading if you see these terms on the label of a protein supplement: Protein blend, hydrolyzed protein or milk protein isolate. These may be fine as protein products, but if whey is what you want, be sure that the label says so.

Next, check the nutrition facts box on the protein product label to see how many grams are in a serving size and how many grams of protein are in a serving. For example, if a serving of whey protein A is 29 grams and each serving has 21 grams of protein, and a serving of whey protein B is 42 grams with 14 grams of protein, whey protein A is more concentrated. That doesn't mean that one is “better” than the other; they are just different and you can choose the type of whey protein that suits your needs.

In general, the recommended daily protein intake for healthy adults is 0.4 grams per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need about 60 grams of protein, and if you are a frequent exerciser, you may need more.

   
What are the benefits of whey protein?

Whey Protein Supports Hard Workouts

Protein is essential for everyone's good health, but scientific evidence shows that the more active you are, the more protein you need. If you are a serious fitness enthusiast or bodybuilder, or even if you are moderately active, you may not get enough protein from your diet alone, especially if you eat little or no meat.

Fortunately, a variety of protein supplements are available that are safe and inexpensive, especially whey protein supplements. Whey protein is considered a high-quality protein by many serious athletes for these reasons:

  • Bio-availability. Evidence suggests that the body absorbs whey protein faster than other types of protein.
  • Amino acids. Whey protein is rich in glutamine and branched chain amino acids, which are important for muscle strength.
  • Diet-friendly. Whey protein is low in calories, carbs, fat and lactose.
  • Wellness-boosting: Whey protein may support immune system function.

    Whey comes from milk—it is a by-product of the cheese-making process. But it is actually low in lactose (milk sugar), which makes it easy to digest. Quick digestion is especially helpful for serious athletes who don't want their training derailed by an upset stomach.

    Whey protein has a high concentration of essential amino acids (about 50%), which help the body build muscle. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicate that a diet high in protein enhances the muscle-building effects of hard exercise. In addition, protein provides consistent energy for endurance workouts and helps keep blood sugar levels stable. And don't ignore post-workout protein—whey protein is ideal to help the body repair and maintain muscle tissue.

       
  • Why is soy protein a good source of protein?

    Discover the Joy of Soy (Protein)

    Although soy protein doesn't pack as much power as whey protein supplements, soy has many benefits. It is one of the most important sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans, but many meat eaters take soy supplements, too. Soy protein contains most of the essential amino acids that are found in meat-based proteins. The average (sedentary) adult needs 45 to 60 grams of protein each day. But if you are active or have certain medical conditions, your protein needs may be greater. A soy protein supplement is one way to boost your protein intake while adding fewer calories and less fat.

    You can buy a soy protein powder, which lets you easily add soy to your diet. Try stirring a soy protein powder into soups, sauces, or shakes or sprinkling it on other foods.

    Note: If you choose soy protein powder, make sure that the first ingredient on the label is “soy isolate” if you want the purest quality protein (90 percent). By contrast, soy concentrate powders contain approximately 70 percent protein, but they still provide the benefits of soy protein.

    Soy is also rich in phytonutrients called isoflavones. The isoflavone known as genistein has been specifically associated with reducing hot flashes in menopausal women.

    In addition, isoflavones have been shown to promote heart health by improving the condition and function of the arteries so they are less likely to become narrow or develop blockages or buildups of unhealthy fats.

    Soy's demonstrated benefits include:

  • Bodybuilding. Research shows that soy may help reduce inflammation and thus speed up recovery time.
  • For runners. Soy reduces oxidative damage better than whey protein.
  • Weight loss. Some evidence suggests that soy can help the body maintain or boost metabolism, even if you are restricting calories.
  • Cholesterol reduction. Although the data for a direct link between soy protein consumption and heart disease prevention are inconclusive, soy protein may promote heart health if you use it to replace higher fat sources of protein in your diet.
  • Women's health. Soy may reduce the severity of hot flashes and other symptoms associated with menopause.

       
  • What is whey protein concentrate?

    Whey Protein Concentrate vs Whey Protein Isolate

    There are two types of whey protein: concentrate and isolate. Whey protein concentrate is about 80% protein. It's the most common form of protein found in protein powder supplements. Whey isolate is about 90% protein, making it even lower in fat, carbs and lactose.

    When you are choosing whey supplements, be sure to read the labels carefully to find the product that works for you. The law requires ingredients to be listed in order of predominance. The first ingredient amount is greater than the second. The second ingredient amount is greater than the third, and so forth.

    Next, check the nutrition facts box on the protein product label to see how many grams are in a serving size and how many grams of protein are in a serving. For example, if a serving of whey protein A is 29 grams and each serving has 21 grams of protein, and a serving of whey protein B is 42 grams with 14 grams of protein, whey protein A is more concentrated. That doesn't mean that one is “better” than the other; they are just different and you can choose the type of whey protein that suits your needs.

    In general, the recommended daily protein intake for healthy adults is 0.4 grams per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need about 60 grams of protein, and if you are a frequent exerciser, you may need more.

    Any type of whey protein supplement will provide health benefits for almost anyone.

    Serious athletes appreciate the rapid absorption of whey protein, which promotes faster muscle recovery from exercise. But whey protein also can help type 2 diabetes patients manage their glucose and their weight because it provides high-quality protein without the high fat and cholesterol found in other protein sources. And moms-to-be, take note: Whey protein can be a healthy, low-fat protein option for pregnant women, whose protein needs may increase by nearly one third during pregnancy.

       
    What is whey protein isolate?

    Whey Protein Isolate

    Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein available, and it contains little or no lactose, so even those who are lactose-intolerant can enjoy it. It is also the most concentrated form of whey protein available. Whey protein isolate contains 90 percent or more whey protein, where whey concentrate only contains anywhere from 29 percent to 89 percent whey protein.

    Whey protein isolate also contains very little fat, and this makes it ideal for anyone on a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet. It is also a good choice for dieters, because whey protein concentrate helps make a person feel fuller and more satisfied, so they will eat fewer calories and lose weight. Since whey protein also develops muscle, it is an excellent choice for building muscle, burning more calories, and losing more weight.

       
    What is whey protein concentrate?

    Whey Protein Concentrate

    Whey protein concentrate is a concentrated form of whey protein that contains more protein than the regular product, but less protein than whey protein isolate. Whey protein concentrate contains more lactose than the isolate as well, so it may not be a good choice for people who are lactose-intolerant.

    Whey protein concentrate is a pure form of whey protein powder, and it is a complete food, meaning it contains all the essential vitamins and minerals a person needs in their diet every day. Some nutritionists call it the "perfect" food because it is filling, low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high protein, and does not change the flavor of food that you add it to. You can find whey protein concentrate at most health food and nutrition stores.

       
    What is whey protein?

    Whey Protein

    Whey protein is one of the most popular protein powders on the market for a variety of reasons. Body builders use it because it has the highest amount of branched-chain amino acids, and these help with the best muscle growth and retention. It also provides a higher quality and greater value than other protein powders.

    Whey protein is derived from milk, so it's not for the lactose intolerant, but it creates amino acids in the body, which can lead to muscle development, and it supports the immune system with the antioxidants it contains. It's a favorite of body builders and others who want to build a lot of muscle safely and quickly.

       
    What is soy protein?

    Soy Protein

    Soy protein is a powder derived from soybeans that is high in protein and low in fat and calories. It's also easily digestible and a good source of proteins for vegetarians. It's also low in lactose, so lactose-intolerant people can often enjoy soy powder, as well, and it can be used as a substitute for flour in many recipes.

    If you're adding protein to your diet and not working out, you may actually add too much protein to your diet, so you should check with your doctor before you add significant amounts of protein, like soy protein, to your diet. You should also know that protein powders are not regulated by the FDA, so you should only buy from reputable dealers who stock well-known and respected brands of soy protein.

       
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