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Is it Okay to Use Protein Powder?

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Before I answer the question, allow me to start off by saying that I strongly believe in getting our nutrients from natural food sources as much as possible. Our bodies require energy from three macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Protein provides both calories and amino acids to help build and repair muscles and is an essential part of our daily nutrition. There are excellent protein food sources including lean chicken, beef, pork, turkey, fish, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy-based vegetable protein, nut butters, eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese.

 

Most people eat way more protein in a day than Canada Food Guide’s recommended 2-3 servings meat and alternatives and 2-3 servings of milk and alternatives for adults aged 19 years and older. However, there are reasons why someone may not being getting enough protein:

  • Too busy to prioritize meal planning and grocery shopping for healthy protein foods
  • Work schedule impacting eating habits causing skipped and missed meals
  • Those struggling with low appetite due to illness or chronic disease
  • Cancer patients dealing with side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both
  • People who experience low appetite from intense physical training and exercise

 

In such cases, protein supplements can come in handy because of its versatility. Flavorless protein powders as as Beneprotein can be added to sweet and savory food and drinks both hot and cold, making it a good “Plan B” kind of pantry item for those who struggle to get enough protein from food sources alone. For those who prefer to make smoothies and shakes for a quick “meal on the go,” flavored protein powders may be preferred unless you dislike the conventional choices of chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. This is especially true for you deal hunters out there. Buying bulk protein powder is going to be your best bet since it has a long shelf life when kept in a cool dry location, and it stretches much further than buying meal replacement drinks sold in 4 or 6 packs.

 

But what is the best protein powder? What’s the difference between cheap protein powder vs expensive? Is cheap protein powder in bulk form okay to use? Forget the price tag of the protein supplement for a second (okay maybe 5 minutes) and just focus on the ingredients to help you make a decision:

 

Protein Source – Whey versus Soy

Research shows that animal proteins result in greater gains in muscle mass and strength when compared againt protein from plant sources. Whey protein is an animal protein derived from milk. Whey protein is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on its own. It is also fast acting and easily absorbed by the body which may improve muscle recovery post work out.

 

Soy is the only plant based protein that is considered complete and offers unique benefits including being low in saturated fat, and high in antioxidants. It has cholesterol lowering effects and a positive influence on heart health. It’s also a great alternative to animal protein supplements for vegetarian or vegan athletes.

 

How Much Protein?

For everyday people who exercise about 30 minutes a day, an adequate amount of protein would be about 0.8-1.0grams/kg body weight/day. (Note: 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds) For adults that are very physically active, protein needs are only slightly elevated. Recommended protein intakes for endurance athletes is 1.2.-1.4g/kg/day and for strength/resistance training athletes is 1.5-1.7g/kg/day.

 

For example: 60 kilogram male or female

30 minutes of exercise per day: 0.8-1.0g/kg body weight equals 48 to 60 grams protein per day

Endurance athlete: 1.2-1.4g/kg body weight equals 72 to 84 grams protein per day

Strength or resistance athlete: 1.5-1.7g/kg body weight equals 90 to 102 grams protein per day

 

How much protein is in common foods?

 

Food

Amount

Grams of Protein

Animal Sources    
Beef, lamb, pork or veal, or poultry, cooked 3 ounces (90 grams) 25

 

Eggs, large 2 eggs 12
Canned Fish (170g net weight, 120g drained) ½ can 14
Fish and Shellfish, cooked 3 ounces (90 grams) 18
Vegetarian Sources    
Lentils, beans or peas 1 cup cooked 15
Peanut butter 2 tablespoons (30mL) 10
Tofu (regular curd) ½ cup (125 grams) 10
Soy milk 1 cup (250mL) 7
Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnut, and pistachios) ¼ cup (1 ounce) 6
Seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, and sunflower) ¼ cup (1 ounce) 7
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked 1 cup (250mL) 15
Milk & Alternatives    
Cheese hard 1 ounce (28 grams) 7
Cottage cheese & ricotta ½ cup ( 115 grams) 14
Milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole or chocolate) 1 cup (250mL) 8
Pudding (made with milk) ½ cup (125mL) 4
Yogurt ¾ cup (175 grams) 6
Skim milk powder 2 tablespoons (30mL) 5
Grain Products    
Cream of wheat 1 cup (250mL) 4
Oatmeal ¾ cup (188mL) 4
Bagel, 3 ½ inch diameter 1 7
Bread 1 slice 2
Pasta, cooked 1 cup (250mL) 7
Pita, 6 ½ inch diameter 1 6
Rice, cooked 1 cup 6

 

Helpful Hints:

  • 3 ounces (90 grams) of cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards

 

Keep in mind that the increased amount of protein for athletes can easily be met through food with careful planning of meals and snacks. For those who struggle with getting enough protein through food, figure out how much protein you’re taking in a typical day, and supplement the difference with protein powder. More protein in not always better, so don’t overdo it unless you have a medical reason to do so.

 

So the question should no longer be “where can I find cheap protein powder online” or is “wholesale protein powder” okay? Rather, start asking how can I get enough protein through food sources. If not, then ask whether the protein powder you’re buying has the type of protein in the amounts needed to supplement your food intake? If yes, and it’s cheap? GREAT.

 

Bottom line: Food First, then Supplement if needed.

 

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Best Tea for Your Health

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When it comes to drinking tea, every culture in the world has its own opinion of what’s the healthiest. So among all the varieties out there – black, green, white, red, herbal, oolong – plus the mixes and blends at gourmet tea shops, which one TRULY offers the most health benefits?

Overall, studies have found that different types of tea offer similar and unique health benefits. Here’s why:

Polyphenols – Some studies have shown that the polyphenols present in tea may reduce the risk of certain cancers, prevent blood clotting, and lower cholesterol levels. There’s also been support that drinking tea improves our body’s immune system, helping us to fight off colds and viruses.

Did You Know?

Black, Green, White, and Oolong teas are all derived from the same tree known as Camellia sinensis. The difference between these four varieties is simply the amount of processing it goes through. The more processing, the darker the leaves, the darker the tea. Not surprisingly then, white tea is the least processed and it is derived from young leaves that are silvery white because they are too young to have developed chorophyll, the component of plants responsible for their signature green color. Don’t be mistaken though, just because black, green, and oolong teas go through more processing that results in a different taste profile and color, all of them contain polyphenols. This means you’ll experience the same health benefits no matter which type you choose!

What About Matcha?

Personally, I LOVE Japanese matcha because of the rich depth of flavor and it’s vibrant color. And while a hot cup of traditionally brewed matcha green tea is incredible in its own way, I have welcomed the addition of matcha in modern delights such as lattes, ice-creams, and baked goods too. The unique health benefit of matcha is that is contains an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (short name=EGCG). This EGCG compound is over 100 times greater in Japanese matcha than in brewed Chinese green tea because matcha powder is produced by grinding entire tea leaves from the Camellia sinesis plant. The EGCG compound not only performs as a free radical fighting antioxidant in our bodies, but it’s been shown in some studies to improve weight loss by increasing the body’s ability to metabolize fat.

How About Rooibos and Herbal Tea?

Interestingly, rooibos tea and herbal teas are not technically teas. This is because they are brewed infusions made with herbs, flowers, roots, spices, or other plant parts that are not derived from the leaves of the Camellia plant. Therefore, these two types of “tea” (actual technical name would be “tisane”) do not have polyphenols and their associated health benefits. Having said this, rooibos and herbal “teas” are plant-based, which means they have their own naturally occurring antioxidants that protect themselves against extended sun exposure. This means rooibos and herbal teas are still a great choice, especially in comparison to juice or pop when it comes to quenching thirst.

Decaf or Regular?

When it comes to caffeine, a healthy rule of thumb is to have no more than about 2 cups of coffee or tea a day (1 cup = 250mL = 8 ounces). The reason for this is because caffeine can interrupt sleep, make us pee more frequently (which can make us lose important minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, chloride, potassium, and sodium).

A cup of tea can provide about 20 – 87mg caffeine.
A cup of coffee provides about 173mg caffeine.
The recommended daily limit for caffeine is 300mg per day.
Note: Don’t forget that caffeine is present in chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks too. So if you’ve been told by your physician that it’s really important to watch your caffeine intake, always read the ingredients label of your food product to make sure. This is especially important if you’re pregnant and have been told by your doctor to limit your caffeine intake. (Caffeine can interfere with the mother and the fetus’ sleep and high intake has been associated with higher rates of miscarriage even though there’s not enough evidence to know for sure at this time.)

Iced Tea or Hot Tea?

Expert researchers have found that the healthful polyphenols in brewed tea are consistently many times higher than bottled tea beverages, which sometimes contain no polyphenols after processing. So whenever you can, choose to drink hot teas. And don’t wait until it cools too long because polyphenols degrade and disappear as it is steeped in hot water, so drink it while it’s hot (without burning your tongue, of course!) to enjoy the highest level of benefit.

This post is dedicated to Miss Iris Chau for her thoughtful question of “Which Tea is the Healthiest?” on our Facebook fanpage. Thanks Iris!