What is the best protein for athletes?

Protein is a key element in muscle recovery. It also helps to achieve a better state of body composition, since it contributes to the gain of lean tissue.

Protein is a key nutrient for muscle recovery, but not all supplements on the market are of the same quality. For this reason, it is important to know how to recognize which is the best protein for athletes and choose the one that meets their needs.

In case of resorting to exogenous aids such as supplements, it is essential to always require certification that the product is free of doping substances, especially if we are talking about elite athletes. A mistake in this regard can cost a lot. For the rest of the people, the following information that we will present will be very useful.

The best protein is the one with high biological value

There are very different types of protein supplements on the market. However, it is necessary to emphasize that the best option is that from animals or their derived products . These nutrients have a higher biological value, contain all the essential amino acids and a higher score for digestibility.

It should be noted that the athlete may need a total intake of 2 grams of protein per kilo of weight per day, according to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition . The needs may even be greater in some cases; the optimum is that at least half of this value comes from foods of animal origin.

Types of whey protein

Whey protein is the one that has the most evidence in the sports context. Therefore, it is also the most recommended by experts. According to research published in the journal Nutrients , it helps to improve the recovery and body composition of the athlete .

However, it is possible to find 2 different whey protein products on the market: isolates and concentrates. Which one is better depends on the exercise to be performed. Keep in mind that the main difference is that the second product contains lactose, that is, carbohydrates.

Whey protein is the one that has the most evidence in the sports context. Therefore, it is also the most recommended by experts. According to research published in the journal Nutrients , it helps to improve the recovery and body composition of the athlete .

However, it is possible to find 2 different whey protein products on the market: isolates and concentrates. Which one is better depends on the exercise to be performed. Keep in mind that the main difference is that the second product contains lactose, that is, carbohydrates.

In anaerobic exercises, it may be advisable to use a concentrate to stimulate glycogen synthesis. However, when the intention is to maximize the protein intake, the isolate must always be chosen .

In addition, we must not forget that isolates are always the best option for lactose intolerant. In general, they guarantee better digestion.

And what about caseins?

There is another type of protein supplements from milk that can also have an application in the sports context: we are talking about caseins . These have a slower digestion, so it is optimal to include them in the diet before the night’s rest . In this way, anabolism is stimulated during sleep.

There is evidence that regular consumption of casein contributes to improving the athlete’s body composition . This can also be a very effective strategy to improve recovery and achieve a greater daily protein intake.

Which one to choose from the rest of the proteins

Many other types of protein supplements can be found on the market . Among them, those of beef protein, egg and vegetable protein stand out . The latter is of lower quality due to its lower biological value, but it is an option to consider for vegan athletes.

As for meat or egg protein, they do not offer better characteristics than whey protein, and their price is considerably higher. In the best of cases, they concentrate a greater number of total proteins inside, but this is not too advantageous either, since they can also cause digestive problems. Not everyone is good for it.

Choose the best protein in the sports context

That it is necessary to maximize the protein intake in athletes is a reality. However, it is key to choose an optimal supplement, in order to provide the highest quality nutrients possible.

Ideally, always consult with a nutrition professional before consuming any product. Whey protein, which is the one with the most evidence , is generally recommended, but the expert may indicate otherwise.

As a general rule, we will always look for an isolate, due to its higher concentration of the nutrient. In any case, in certain situations, especially when looking for an effective replacement of glycogen stores, the option of acquiring a concentrate can be considered to provide a certain amount of lactose that will contribute to the resynthesis of lost nutrients.

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