Whether you’re training towards a goal, or you’re creating healthy food choices, protein is something that’s going to determine the success of your journey.
Being regarded as the most important macronutrient, protein makes up pretty much everything in the human body. If it’s not made up of fat, it's made up of protein- we’re talking organs, bone and muscle tissue, hormones, enzymes, hair, skin, nails- the list can go on and on.
So naturally, your protein intake plays a big role not only in the gym, but in your everyday life as well.
That being said, there are so many options when it comes to choosing your protein sources. From whole foods to protein powders, the options to choose from can easily get overwhelming.
So to help make things as simple and as straightforward as possible, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about protein, from what protein actually is all the way to choosing the right protein powder to help support a clean and healthy body.
What is protein?
Protein can be regarded as the building blocks of the human body. It’s long list of responsibilities is what keeps our bodies functioning, making it one of the most important macronutrients we can get from our diets.
Protein molecules are made of amino acids. Amino acids are the molecules that come together to produce protein.
When you eat and digest food, your body breaks down protein to extract and use the amino acids it contains. Your body then uses these amino acids to repair damaged tissues, send signals, transport nutrients, prevent illnesses, amongst many more functions.
There are 20 amino acids in total. Nine of them are what we call “essential” amino acids. Your body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own- which is why we need to get them from the foods we eat.
Foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids are considered ‘complete’ proteins. While animal sources of protein such as meat and poultry are considered to be complete proteins, there is lots of debate whether plant proteins can be considered complete as well. We’ll look over that in the sections to come.
How much protein is needed?
The amount of protein you require depends on your goals and what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re someone who’s looking to gain muscle mass, you’re naturally going to require a lot more protein than someone who’s looking to lose fat.
In both cases, however, your protein intake is extremely important and can make or break your results.
When it comes to building muscle, you need to consume enough to cover your basic needs AND what your muscles need to grow bigger and stronger.
On the other hand, when it comes to weight loss, you want to make sure you get protein in every meal as it helps keep you full and full of energy without consuming too many calories. (Protein also leads to muscle gain or retention which in the long run helps you burn fat more efficiently).
But as the saying goes, too much of ANYTHING is a bad thing. And it holds true for protein too.
See, your body does not store protein the way it does carbs and fat. This means that you’ll need a steady intake of protein to meet your needs on a daily basis.
Having too much protein can be harmful to your body. Seeing as you can only absorb so much protein at a time, once your body gets what it needs, the rest needs to be filtered out- this puts tremendous stress on your liver and kidneys. This is the opposite of healthy.
So, how much protein should you be consuming? Well, the CDC recommends between 0.5-0.8g of protein per pound of body weight. This means that if you currently weigh 150lb, that you should be eating between 75 to 120 grams of protein a day! If you’re looking to gain muscle, you would be eating near the higher end of this spectrum and vice-versa.
But roughly speaking- about 10-35% of your total daily calories should come from protein. .
If you’re not sure whether you’re getting enough protein in your diet, just tune in to your body and see what's up:
- Mentally or physically exhausted/drained
- Suffering from injuries
- Unable to concentrate or focus
- Losing muscle mass or are unable to gain muscle
- Losing hair
- Have brittle nails
- Suffer from headaches, fainting, nausea
- Are cranky, anxious, moody, or depressed
These are all signs that you may not be getting enough protein in your diet. Take this as a sign and try increasing your protein intake for the next few weeks while monitoring how you’re feeling.
Ideally, you would be consuming your daily protein intake from whole foods such as:
- Grains, nuts, and seeds
However, life is unpredictable! And sometimes, you won’t have time to sit down and eat a whole meal. This is where protein supplements come in handy.
Protein supplements are a great way of making sure you hit your desired protein intake no matter what life throws at you. Maybe you don’t have an appetite and can’t bring yourself to eat enough protein in all of your meals. Maybe you’re super busy and need to have something on the go- this is why protein powders exist.
Plant vs. Whey Protein
Now, unfortunately, when it comes to choosing the right protein powder is where things start getting a little complicated.
I remember my first time walking into a supplement store and seeing every inch of their walls covered with protein powders. I just stood there, mouth open, not knowing what I was looking at. I finally got what the clerk told me was the best seller but it took me years of trial and error until I found the protein that really resonated with my goals and with my body.
You can click here if you want to see the protein I take now and have been taking religiously since I discovered them. Also, I was able to get a code to help you guys save 15% off your purchase with code SALPI15 in case you want to give it a try <3
When it comes to choosing the right protein powder, the first question I believe you should be asking yourself is if you want Whey Protein (animal protein) or Plant Protein (vegan).
While Whey has been extremely popular for years, Plant Protein has made quite a come up in the last decade. And while both have their pros and cons, some may outweigh others depending on what you value in food. Allow us to break it down.
What is plant protein?
Plant protein is quite simply protein that is derived from plants. In most cases, plant protein powders will contain one or more types of protein, from a plant source. Brown rice, chia, hemp, pea, soy, and wheat are common sources. Single sourced plant proteins aren’t ideal, because individual sources of plant protein are often incomplete, meaning they’re missing at least one essential amino acid.
But when you combine two or more sources of plant proteins together, you’re able to come out with a formula that contains a complete protein profile.
The beauty of plant protein is that in addition to providing the amino acids your body needs, it also allows you to feel fuller for longer - making it a great weight loss tool.
On top of that, plant protein tends to be much lower in calories and in fat than animal protein, helping you reduce your total daily caloric intake without sacrificing the important nutrients your body needs.
Plant protein, when using multiple sources and even more so when extra amino acids are added, is also complete & bioavailable which means that it is easily absorbable by your body. It’s also full of fiber which helps regulate and maintain a healthy gut.
While for years people opted in for whey protein because it generally tasted better or had a smoother texture, plant based supplements today are often just as good, and sometimes even better than the OG animal-based whey protein.
ONESOL™ Supplements is an excellent example of what happens when you combine the passion for creating healthy, sustainable, and clean products with the power of science. With years of research and development to back it up, ONESOL™ is easily one of the best plant-based supplement brands in the industry today. Use code ‘SALPI15’ to save 15% off your first purchase!
What is Whey Protein?
Whey protein is derived from whey which is a byproduct of cheesemaking. And because it comes from dairy, it contains lactose- which is no good if you’re lactose intolerant.
And since 65% of people are lactose intolerant, most people often end up experiencing these symptoms from drinking whey-
On top of all that discomfort, whey protein is also not so environmentally friendly- coming from one of the most detrimental industries to our planet- the dairy industry.
But, being an animal protein, it is a complete protein- meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.
So while it does get the job done, is it really the best option for you on the market? Because personally, Whey Protein kind of reminds me of those girls who peaked in high school…
Protein is a key player in living a healthy lifestyle and proper human body functioning. While the ideal thing to do would be to eat whole foods that are high in protein and support your goals, sometimes supplementing with protein powder is the only way to make sure you reach your daily protein intake.
When it comes to choosing between Whey Protein and Plant Protein, the pros of Plant Protein outweigh the pros of Whey Protein by a long shot, As an environmentally friendly, bioavailable, low calorie, nutrient rich, and lactose free option, Plant Protein is a great option for anyone looking to increase their protein intake.
If you’re interested in adding protein to your diet, check out ONESOL™ Supplements for vegan friendly, plant-based options to all your go-to supplements.
And don't forget to use code 'SALPI15' for 15% off ;)