Have you have been trying for a while to reach your goal of losing those extra pounds? Have you been trying to follow a healthy diet and cut down on calories but still not achieved the results you want?
If so, it might seem a strange idea that actually eating MORE protein in the form of protein powder supplements could actually make it easier for you to burn more fat and finally achieve the leaner, sexier body you have been longing for. However, it is scientifically proven and backed up by research from some of the most eminent Universities that this really is the case!
- Fact: Trials have shown that in two groups of people who consumed the same number of calories each day, the group using protein supplements lost more weight.
- Fact: Trials have demonstrated that in two groups of dieters using a combination of diet and exercise to lose weight, the group consuming protein supplements retained more lean muscle and lost more fat than the trial group.
So, if you have got ‘stuck’ and you just can’t get those scales to budge any further downwards when you stand on them, adding more protein to your diet might give your weight loss the kick start you need!
Protein supplements are safe and effective but if you have any concerns or a pre-existing medical condition, we recommend you talk to your Doctor or Nutritionist who could help you with making your choice from the different types available. Similarly, if you are thinking of adding an exercise plan to speed up your weight loss, consulting with a Personal Trainer or just getting a simple health check first will ensure the best results.
What Are The Main Protein Supplementation Products On The Market Today?
Let’s take a look at the main types of protein supplement available so you can decide which might be best for your own requirements. You will see that there are some big differences between different products and what might be right for one person, might not be the best choice for you!
1) Whey Protein
In addition, there are also whey products which combine isolate and concentrate and whole milk supplements which combine one or more whey products with casein protein (described below).
Benefits: All whey products help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and may help you to consume fewer calories at mealtimes if the supplements are taken three or more times throughout the day.
Whey has been proven to help the body retain more muscle and lose more fat when dieting.
Drawbacks: People allergic to milk may not be able to take any whey or whole milk supplements. Those allergic to lactose or with a lactose intolerance should be able to take the hydrolyzed form and may be able to take the isolate if it has lactase added (an enzyme that breaks down lactose).
What to look for: Choose a good quality product that meets your needs, for dieting, the isolate might be the best choice because it has very low levels of fat and lactose (milk sugar) but is less expensive than the hydrolyzed product.
What to Try: If you haven’t tried any of these products before, a really easy way to get started would be with Labrada meal replacement shakes, made from top quality Isolate and available in either delicious strawberry or vanilla ice cream flavours.
Benefits: It can be beneficial because it is digested so slowly (can take up to seven hours to digest), so it will leave you feeling fuller for longer and is often taken in a bed-time drink to reduce the temptation for those late night snacks!Casein is another protein derived from milk. It is digested pretty slowly by the body. This type of protein will help to build and repair muscle so it is very popular with bodybuilders – but it does encourage the body to burn carbohydrates and fat stores for providing energy which is beneficial for dieters.
Although it comes from milk, people who are lactose intolerant can take it as it does not contain lactose unless the Casein product has been mixed with other milk proteins (check the labelling).
Drawbacks: Possible downsides are that it does not taste as nice as whey protein concentrate or isolate but as it is available in a lot of flavored products for making shakes, etc., this usually isn’t a problem. It is also a little more expensive usually than comparable whey supplements.
You should not take Casein if you have a Dairy allergy.
What to Look For: Check the ingredients label of your Casein product. You are looking for micellar Casein . This is considered the best type available because it has had the least processing and will be the best if you are looking for the longer digestive period to keep you feeling full. Avoid Calcium Caseinate as this has been modified to make it dissolve better in liquids.
What to Try: As a first time user of a casein supplement, you could not do better than this Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein protein. In delicious chocolate supreme flavor, you just mix it with water for a bedtime drink or as your last meal of the day – delicious and definitely stops the ‘midnight munchies’!
Albumin is the white part of a cooked egg (the clear liquid surrounding the yellow yolk in a raw egg). If you are lactose intolerant and cannot take whey powders containing this, you will probably be recommended to try Albumin as the next best alternative.
Benefits: High in essential amino acids and contains no fat. Good if you are lactose intolerant.
Drawbacks: This is a protein form which is quickly digested by the body so it will not keep you feeling full for a long time after eating it.
What to Look For: Try to ensure the egg whites you consume are from free-range hens fed an organic diet.
What to Try: Buy bottled egg whites from your local grocery store and make yourself scrambled egg whites for breakfast. Just one egg white contains around 3.6 grams of protein.
Always cook your egg whites, not just because of the risk of bacteria but also because of the dangers associated with Biotin depletion which can result if raw albumin is consumed regularly. Read more about Biotin depletion here
4) Soy Protein
If you are Vegetarian, or are allergic to elements in milk and egg products, soy protein might be your preferred option for protein supplementation as it contains all eight of the essential amino acids. However, you should be aware that it is not as good, nutritionally as either whey or casein.
Benefits: This is a really good product for women, especially around the time of the menopause because of the phytoestrogens that can allay symptoms. The phytoestrogens (isoflavones) have also been shown to lower the risk of some breast cancers.
For those wanting to lose weight, this product does not cause blood sugar to ‘spike’. Keeping blood sugar levels steady will help you stick to your diet. In addition, there is no fat or cholesterol in soy protein.
Drawbacks: The protein is of lower quality than in either Whey or Casein and Soy is associated with digestive problems for some people.
It is not popular with men because of the estrogen-like properties when taken in larger quantities.
What to Look For: Look for Soy protein Isolate which has a greater bioavailability making it easier for the body to digest and use. Buy only non genetically modified soy products (look for non-GMO on the labelling).
What to try: If you would like to try a soy protein supplement for the first time, we highly recommend Now Foods Soy Protein Isolate which comes in chocolate, vanilla or natural flavors and is very low in fat and carbs.
Benefits: It contains no lactose and no cholesterol. It is low in calories and popular in meal replacement shakes and smoothies a typical 20 gram scoop will contain around 100 calories.
You can add this product to your baking and improve the quality of your breads and cakes while adding protein at the same time (though this may be counterproductive if your goal is to lose weight!).
It is a good source of glutamic acid which, although it is a non-essential amino acid (our bodies can make our own supplies of this), supplementation is being investigated to improve mental alertness and treat some illnesses such as Parkinsons. Another health benefit that is being investigated is the effect of glutamic acid on maintaining prostate health.
Drawbacks: Because it is made from wheat, it contains gluten. If you are Celiac (Coeliac) or just have a gluten intolerance, this product may not be suitable for you.
What to Look For: Look for Wheat protein Isolate, this is the most commonly available.
What to Try: Try one of the delicious Isolate products from Optimum Nutrition and make yourself a delicious chocolate or vanilla shake with no lactose or cholesterol! These products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and contain digestive enzymes to make them super easy to digest.
6) Rice Protein
If you are vegan, rice protein might be your supplement of choice. The process used to make it uses enzymes to separate carbohydrates from the protein in the endosperm of the grain. Because this technique does not involve heat, the quality of the amino acids is preserved.
Benefits: If you have allergies or are sensitive to soy, you will be glad to know that rice protein is considered hypoallergenic.
It dissolves very easily so can be mixed into fruit juices or added to other foods without problems.
Rice protein contains fiber to keep you feeling fuller for longer and has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels.
Drawbacks: This product is not a ‘complete protein’, it does not contain all the necessary amino acids and is actually very low in some of them.
What To Check For: Ensure you buy a high quality product from a trusted manufacturer. Rice is one food crop that is likely to contain the metal, Cadmium. This heavy metal can interfere with kidney function and cause serious health problems long-term.
Which Protein Supplements Would Be Best For You?
If you are Vegetarian, you will want to choose either Soy, Rice or Wheat. Vegans could opt for the wheat protein product we recommend or perhaps the Rice Protein one mentioned above. Anyone who is lactose intolerant could opt for any supplement except the whole milk, whey concentrate and isolate products. The most popular and probably the most nutritionally ‘perfect’ choice would be a top quality whey isolate product. Egg albumin would be a good alternative.
How To Get Best Results From Protein Supplements For Weight Loss
Probably the best way to use any of these supplements for weight loss is to make them into meal replacement shakes or buy premade shakes to replace one or even two meals a day. The video below gives a good insight into how protein shakes can help you.
Alternatively take your chosen supplement before a meal to reduce your hunger, to help you cut down on calories at mealtimes and to help you to stay feeling full for longer after meals.
Look Forward To A New You!
Many people who have tried in vain to stick to a low calorie diet to lose weight have given up because it was just too hard to cope with a busy lifestyle and feel hungry all the time. Many of these same people have gone on to find success in reaching their weight loss goals by taking protein supplements in addition to their lower calorie diet plans because doing so, helps them stay feeling fuller, for longer.
If you are able to build in taking some exercise as well, you will find that this form of supplementation can help you build lean muscle whilst shedding more fat, achieving a tighter, more toned physique. So why wait any longer? Choose your ideal product from the list above and look forward to a slimmer you!