Protein supplements aren’t just for athletes. They have a range of health benefits for anyone who wants to get more out of their workouts, build more muscle, lose weight, or just make sure they’re getting adequate nutrition at meal times.
Your body needs lean protein to build muscle mass, recover from exercise and sports injuries, regulate blood sugar levels, and more. And while you can get all the protein you need from food sources like lean meats, protein powders and other protein supplements can be a great way to make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients, especially if you don’t eat meat or dairy.
Get Those Gains
Protein is essential for muscle growth, which is what makes protein powders so popular among bodybuilders. A meta-analysis of 49 studies published in the British Journal of Sports Medicinefound that protein powders have a significant impact on muscle growth in study participants who performed resistance training exercises, like lifting weights.
Athletes who want to build muscle mass should eat about 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, although the BJSM research suggests that eating more than 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day doesn’t pay off with continued increases in muscle growth, and eating too much protein can be bad for your kidneys and liver. Recreational athletes can get by with 1.1 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, compared to the 0.8 grams an average adult needs.
Take Your Routine to the Next Level
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to want, or to benefit from, gains in muscle. If you’re just starting a new workout routine, you’ll need to build muscle to keep up, and protein powders and shakes can make it easier to get the extra protein you’ll need. If you already have a regular fitness routine, but want to start training harder, protein powder can help you build the muscle you need to reach your new goal. No matter what kind of physical activity you do, you’ll need to build muscle for it, so protein powder is just as useful for marathon runners and cross-country skiers as it is for weight lifters and strong men.
Feelings of excessive fatigue and weakness when doing exercise can signal a protein deficiency, because your muscles need protein in order to recover from workouts. If your body’s getting enough protein, you’ll bounce back from workouts faster. Eating more protein while recovering from a sports injury is also a good idea, for the same reason — it helps your body repair the damaged muscle.
Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
If you feel snackish a lot, adding protein to your diet can help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full between meals. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs and sugars, so it doesn’t cause blood sugar to spike, but it still stimulates insulin secretion, to stabilize blood sugar levels over time. Healthy protein supplements containing whey protein have even been found to lower blood sugar when used regularly, and reduce insulin resistance in type 2 diabetics.
Because it helps stabilize blood sugar, dietary protein can be a valuable tool for weight management. According to a study published in Nutrition Reviews, using protein powders and supplements at meal times can cause substantial fat loss and increases in lean muscle mass, so it’s helpful as a tool for weight management. Add a protein shake at breakfast to keep blood sugar stable throughout the day, and fight the urge to snack.
Improve Your Nutrition
Breakfast is a great time to take a protein (powder) shake, because it provides protein and other nutrients you need to start the day, and if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to eat breakfast, well, a protein shake is better than nothing. You’ll have more energy and fewer urges to snack throughout the day. If you don’t eat meat or dairy sources of protein, protein supplements can help you access sources of protein from hemp, peas, or soy.
If you’re interested in looking more toned, getting stronger, eating less, and generally being healthier, you should try protein supplements. Protein powders and shakes are a delicious and easy way to help your body get the nutrition it needs to be strong and healthy.