Amino Acid Manifesto Series
Protein, protein, protein!
As we know, proteins are the building blocks of muscles, and if you work out, then protein is your best friend.
But is any protein suitable for you? Well, yes and no.
There isn’t just one kind of protein – there are many different forms. Some are better than others depending on the situation. We are going to run down the list of different proteins and their benefits, and when and how you should be consuming them.
Proteins come from many different sources – animals, dairy, fish, nuts-grains-and-seeds, legumes, and plants. Even fruits carry some protein. Basically, protein is found in most things.
It is important to know the differences of each protein, and even more important to know how much protein to ingest and when.
By definition, from WikiPedia, PROTEINS are
large biological molecules consisting of one or more chains of amino acids. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms, including catalyzing metabolic reactions, replicating DNA, responding to stimuli, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, and which usually results in folding of the protein into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity.
While all these biological and chemical benefits are great, what we are after in terms of definition is the fact that proteins help build muscle and prevent muscle from breaking down. Easy enough, yes? Yes!
Protein, Protein Everywhere!
And off we go to the various proteins you are likely to come in contact with. Be mindful!
1. Whey Protein
This is your most common bodybuilding protein. All those protein shakes you see weight lifters drinking post-workout are Whey Protein shakes.
What is Whey and what makes it so damn special? Whey Protein is the watery portion of milk that separates when milk curdles. Whey is heavily used in improving athletic performance. Whey protein is a fast absorbing protein which repairs damaged muscles, and works to prevent muscle catabolism.
Your best bet for consumption of our best friend, Whey, is by buying a good bottle of powder from a reputable company, and consume post-workout to begin protein synthesis ASAP!
2. Animal Protein
Animal Proteins are proteins from, you guessed it, animals! Whether chicken or cows or bison or fish, Animal Proteins are delicious and nutritious!
Kind of hard to explain why Animal Protein is so important, especially if any vegetarians are reading this.
There have been studies saying diets high in Animal Proteins age you faster and increase mortality rate and blah blah.
Let’s face facts: You eat animals – you get strong. You eat animals – you stay healthy. You eat animals – you fulfill a primal need to EAT MEAT! Animal Proteins are complete proteins. They contain all the essential amino acids that are body needs to make new protein, which is essential for human health.
Is that to say vegetarians and vegans are not healthy? Of course not! They get their essential amino acids from other foods that are approved for their diet structure.
3. Dairy Protein
Dairy Proteins are awesome because they also consist of a protein known as Casein Protein (we’ll touch on this one later). Protein from cow’s milk is very high in nutritional value due to its amino acid composition. Milk is roughly 80% Casein Protein and 20% Whey Protein. So really, you’re getting 2 good proteins in one.
Milk has gotten a bad rap in certain circles, but Gone Liftin’ approves of milk. Raw milk would be your best bet, but it’s kind of hard to keep, as it spoils very quickly. But raw milk will definitely put some hair on your chest, boys!
Now, let’s talk about eggs for a moment (although it’s technically an animal protein.)
Eggs are considered one of nature’s perfect foods. The protein source is fantastic, and it is certainly a complete protein, not to mention eggs are low in calories and contain NO carbs! Eating the yolk of the egg has been demonized in recent years, but we at Gone Liftin’ see no harm in throwing in a yolk or two in your multi-egg white omelette or whatever.
Egg albumin is a protein that is different from other proteins. To read more about this topic, as it is a hefty one, check out this Wiki article and familiarize yourselves with it. Gone Liftin’ will certainly touch on this topic some more in the future.
Proteins also are found in nuts, grains, and seeds. Not only do these guys contain essential fatty acids, they also contain a decent amount of protein per serving.
Nuts give a good protein source which is comparable to animal proteins. The essential amino acids you get from eating nuts, grains, and seeds is equal to Animal Proteins.
Vegetarians love nuts (heh heh heh) because the protein source is a strong one with plenty of health benefits, including decreasing your chances of stroke and type 2 Diabetes. Not to mention that consuming nuts, grains, and seeds keeps you fuller for longer!
“Beans beans they’re good for your heart – the more you eat the more you fart!” A classic nursery rhyme. Everyone knows about beans and their benefits, right? Well if you don’t, you should!
On top of being high in fiber, calcium, and iron, beans are a great source of protein. Not only are they delicious in many different foods, the essential amino acid content is quite favorable, and adds nicely to your body composition.
6. Plant Proteins
Plant based proteins are usually all very high in fiber, contain virtually no cholesterol, and benefit the body with their various forms of nutrients and amino acids.
On the flip side, plant proteins are not considered “complete,” as they do not contain all 9 essential amino acids. That does not mean, though, that plant based proteins are not tremendous for your overall health and protein intake. Kale and spinach, we’re looking at you!
7. Soy Protein
Soy Protein is a plant based protein found in soy beans. It is considered a complete protein, just like whey.
Soy protein is very rich in the amino acids arginine and glutamine. Both amino acids tend to help in muscle formation and have anti-catabolic properties.
Soy takes longer for the body to digest, as it has a slow absorption rate, which in turn means Soy is not the preferred protein for building muscle, though soy does have properties in forming new muscle, so it’s kind of a double edged sword. It has also been noted in various studies that Soy Protein affects testosterone levels negatively in men, but that’s in higher quantities.
8. Casein Protein
Last, but not least, we have Casein Protein. Casein Protein is the protein which milk primary consists of. Casein has a very slow rate of digestion, which is good for bodybuilders looking to cling on to their hard earned muscle. What this means is that there is a very slow and steady release of amino acids in the body.
Casein Protein is a great protein to consume before bed. When you’re sleeping is when your muscles rebuild and repair the fastest, and the Casein will release slow and steady, helping those muscle fibers to repair and recover, which lets you get back to the rigors of athleticism.
Casein and Whey are great when combined, since Whey Protein increases protein synthesis rapidly, and Casein Protein blocks protein breakdown. Sounds like a damn good combo!
Protein – A Must for Psychical Fitness
So there’s the list of proteins that you are getting from various sources. Know your protein – eat your protein – drink your protein!
If you are curious to read more about the amino acids we keep mentioning, check out our article called The Amino Acid Manifesto, and freshen up on your knowledge!