|Proteins are the building blocks of life. We all need to consume adequate amounts of protein in our daily lives in order to stay healthy. For those recovering from illness or who are doing exercise, this is even more important. Protein is a major component within our bodies making up much of our cell walls, muscles and organs.|
An athlete trying to become more muscular, will need to combine a training regime with a protein surplus. This is why many associate protein powder with bodybuilding. Quite simply, Protein assists with muscle growth and it is appropriate.
But Protein is not just for bodybuilders. For those who are unwell or recovering from an illness or injury, protein intake can be very important. Many going through recovery need extra nourishment due to poor appetite or involuntary weight loss. A protein drink is recommended to slow down weight loss or when you cannot manage your regular food intake. Many of the nourishment drinks on the market contain high sugars & carbs, so it is well worth looking at the nutritional makeup when searching for a nourishing supplement. Protein powders are palatable and tend to have less sugar. Protein content aids muscle repair and is preferable to carbohydrates if someone is sedentary.
Endurance athletes & sports-people benefit from additional protein to repair the muscles. Those who would like to maintain a lean weight can increase the percentage of protein to their total calorie intake. There is little evidence of any detrimental effects in otherwise healthy people of increased protein intake, up to as much as 2.5-3 grams per kg of body weight. It is worth noting that if you take more protein than you use, the body will break it down & store it as fat (as it does with carbohydrates as well). So if your goal is a lean weight, stay active!
Protein supplementation can assist in weight loss, which seems contradictory. But when used to assist with weight loss, protein supplements can be used as a meal replacement. For this purpose, a lean protein supplement with low carbohydrate content should be used. It is always important to eat a healthy balance and not to replace more than 2 meals a day.
Numerous studies have shown that intake of protein directly following resistance exercise increases muscle protein synthesis (essential for muscle growth). Studies have also surfaced which indicate a pre-workout intake of protein & moderate carbs can also create the positive balance necessary for muscle development. Athletes, particularly those wishing to gain lean muscle, should consume essential proteins and moderate carbohydrates immediately before or after exercise.
Carbohydrates are stored energy. When any carbohydrate is digested it releases sugars into the blood stream. How fast the body digests carbs affects blood sugar. If there is too much blood sugar, it is absorbed by the body and stored as fat. Low GI food or complex carbohydrates release their energy more slowly making them suitable for maintaining energy levels & blood sugar levels. High GI or simple carbohydrates are more suitable during or directly after strenuous exercise for recovery as they will release energy quickly to replenish glucose levels for muscles which have been depleted.
It is worth keeping in mind that the rate of absorption of a carbohydrate will depend also on what else is consumed. The consumption of proteins, fats and soluble fibre will slow down the absorption of the carbohydrate, thereby smoothing out the increase in blood sugars that would otherwise occur. Similarly, although fruit may contain large percentages of the simple carbohydrates, it is bound up in the cellular structure of the whole fruit (including fibre) and will be slower to absorb than sugars in a fruit juice or lolly.
Carbohydrates are not essential to human functioning but form an important part of human diet worldwide because they provide a reliable and flexible source of energy.