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How to choose your proteins?

Many beginners in bodybuilding wonder what protein they should take: when they talk about “protein” they are actually talking about powders (whey, casein for example).

Yet it is so easy to understand that before you want to buy protein powder, you have to start by looking at the proteins in your diet!

Indeed, whatever our training and our goals, the diet program should favor raw foods (see my articles on sports nutrition and food supplements).

Powdered protein supplements are there either to supplement a diet in which the protein intake from raw foods is too low, or depending on the time of day to promote anabolism (after a session) or to counteract catabolism, for snacks for example (especially on a diet where you have to reduce carbohydrate intake, hence the preference for a protein source free of other nutrients).

But these reasons do not concern the beginner practitioner. Not only because you have to learn to eat healthily by favoring whole and healthy foods as part of a balanced diet, but also because a confirmed bodybuilding practitioner will not have the same protein needs as a beginner, including the first objective is to learn how to execute your bodybuilding movements well and to build up good musculature on basic exercises. All in good time!

It’s so common to hear about protein and its importance for building muscle that I wonder if some really know what it is!

Protein is a collection of molecules called amino acids (leucine, glycine, glutamine, valine, taurine, isoleucine, etc. are amino acids).

Proteins are, like carbohydrates and lipids, molecules that make up organic matter. They are the most abundant nutrients in the human body, and participate in many functions such as the development of tissues (muscles for example), mobility (thanks to actin and myosin), they can take a lot of different forms: hemoglobin (transport of respiratory gases), antibodies (defense and protection of the organism), hormones, enzymes…

In bodybuilding, they allow optimal muscle recovery and promote an environment conducive to anabolism, and therefore to lean mass gain.

There are two types of dietary protein sources: animal and vegetable .

Animal proteins are those found in meat, seafood, eggs and dairy products.

Vegetable proteins are found in legumes (lentils, peas, etc.), oilseeds (nuts, almonds, etc.), cereals (oats, rice, wheat, etc.) and seeds (flax, chia, etc.).

Protein powders are obtained from these raw sources. The best known is whey protein, which comes from cow’s milk. There are also proteins from beef, peas, eggs, hemp, etc …

No! First, plant proteins are much less well assimilated than animal proteins. Vegans therefore need to eat more protein if they want to have the same effects as animal protein. In addition, plant proteins are not complete, that is, they do not contain all of the essential amino acids. To overcome this problem, it is sufficient to combine several sources of protein: lentils + rice + beans, soya + rice + corn etc…

Simple vegetarians, on the other hand, can turn to eggs, which are an excellent source of complete protein, in fact the best of all!

Then, with regard to powdered proteins, it also depends on the type of extraction, which can denature them if it is too brutal; a lot of powders also hide a lot of waste!

  • White meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit) are rich in protein and low in fat, it represents an ideal source of protein. Preferably choose organic to avoid antibiotics, pesticides etc.
  • Eggs which have a complete aminogram and which contain a treasure of nutrients such as choline, lutein and zeaxanthin as well as 9 vitamins, and omega 3 (provided they are consumed organic ). Eggs should be eaten with the cooked white to maximize protein absorption, and the still liquid yolk to enjoy its benefits. Saying you have to eat raw egg whites is an old myth that is totally wrong!
  • Protein powder are a quick and easy solution to provide protein to your body at any time. The best known (and recommended) are whey (fast assimilation protein from milk) and casein (slow assimilation protein from milk). At the end of training it is often advisable to take whey for its rapid assimilation, but in truth it is more interesting to take either a meal or a whey + casein shake, as I explain in the article on nutrition around training.
  • Egg protein powder which is an alternative for those who have lactose intolerance or who simply do not consume it by choosing not to eat dairy products. Remember to take it organic, because unfortunately a lot of egg protein comes from intensive and poor quality farming, which is also linked to poor digestibility.
  • Do not abuse cereals because they do not provide complete proteins and are rich in prolamin for some (wheat in particular), in phytic acid and inhibitors of trypsin, antinutrients potentially harmful to health: see the article “should we eat gluten free?” “But if you still opt for this solution, you will have to supplement the aminogram with legumes, as I explained above.
  • Powdered beef protein , which contains more animal waste than meat.
  • Vegetable protein powder , which is not as organic available as protein from milk.
  • Whey protein ( whey ) represents 20% of the proteins contained in milk. The whey-casein combinations can be taken at any time; the presence of casein enhances the effects of whey on anabolism. The advantage is that they can be taken post-training as well as as a snack.
  • casein is the remaining 80%. Due to its slow assimilation, it is ideal as a snack for a continuous protein supply throughout the day, especially during a diet thanks to its satiating effect. It is also recommended in the evening at bedtime.
  • casein hydrolysates are predigested proteins, therefore very rapid assimilation by the body. They can be taken intra-training for their anabolic effect, as well as BCAA (branched amino acid chains composed of leucine, isoleucine and valine) which have more of an anti-catabolic effect. and energy.

Let’s say it once and for all: PROTEIN DOESN’T LET THINNESS . No, protein does not burn fat , proteins are nutrients with a value of 4kcal per gram: you take a shake of 30g of protein, you swallow 120kcal!

On the other hand, if you’re hungry, it’s better to swallow a protein shake than a high-carbohydrate granola bar. Indeed, firstly, there is a chance that the shake has fewer calories than the bar (or any other snack that contains carbohydrates and / or lipids); secondly, proteins take longer than carbohydrates to digest, and therefore will increase the body’s metabolism: you will burn more calories during digestion than if you ate carbohydrates.

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