With so many different types of protein out there, including meats like steak and chicken, but for the purpose of this report, we are going to focus on the more popular sources of protein supplement such as pea, whey and soy. Many athletes and health conscious people use protein supplements in a variety of ways since it can be difficult to ingest the amount of protein one may want from foods. This is especially true for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet. It’s an easy way to ensure you get the nutrition you need, easily and healthfully.
Why is protein important? Protein contains essential amino acids, amino acids our body cannot make on its own. Our body breaks down protein into amino acids and then builds new proteins, which it uses to employ all functions of cells and organs. Proteins build and maintain all the cells, tissues and organs in our body.
There are animal and veggie based proteins. Animal protein includes whey. The veggie proteins we will be covering are soy and pea.
Whey protein is the most commonly used and marketed protein powder. It contains nonessential and essential amino acids, as well as branch chain amino acids which are important since they are the building blocks of protein. Since the body cannot make essential amino acids, they must be obtained through diet and supplements. Whey is easily absorbed by the stomach and intestines, therefore carrying the essential amino acids quickly to the muscles. Since whey protein is made from milk, it is not suitable for use for vegans or anyone with a lactose intolerance, but is the most highly effective protein in terms of absorption and essential amino acids.
Benefits of whey protein:
- Helps boost immunity
- Optimal source of amino acids
- Enhances muscle recovery after workouts and helps prevent muscle breakdown
Soy protein is made from soy flour. Of all the veggie based protein, soy is the most complete. Soy protein is easily digestible and has been compared to milk and meat as a protein source. It is also the most commonly and easily found veggie protein source.
This type of protein is ideal for people with lactose intolerances or dairy allergies, but should not be ingested by people with soy allergies.
Benefits of soy protein:
- Helps to improve nutritional value of foods
- Lowers cholesterol
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Suitable for vegans
Pea protein is a fairly ‘new’ protein and is made from yellow pea flour. This type of veggie protein has branched-chain amino acids such as leucine and can contribute to greater muscle mass and strength. Pea protein is often seen as a “greener” protein because it comes from plants and has less of an environmental effect in growing and manufacturing it.
Pea protein may be a suitable protein alternative if you are allergic to other protein sources such as soy, rice, eggs or hemp and are not on an animal based diet.
Benefits of pea protein
Safe to use, these protein sources are a great way to ensure proper nutrition, absorption of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, especially when used with a healthy, balanced diet. Easy to throw into your morning or post workout smoothie, grabbing a bar while you’re on the go or as a healthy, light afternoon snack, protein is a great way to stay full, keep your blood sugar balanced and keep you energized in your busy life!