You've seen it on the shelves in your favorite health food stores, but what is protein powder, exactly?
Typically associated with the biggest and burliest lifters in the gym, protein supplements aren't just for power lifters. They offer a host of benefits for women's bodies, especially if you're physically active or trying to lose weight. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends a target of 46 grams of protein per day for the average woman, but you'll need more if you're working out or cutting calories.
Weight loss doesn't just mean "fat loss;" you can also lose lean muscle and bone tissue along the way if you're not getting enough protein. Guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine recommend between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day, which is where a protein supplement works beautifully to bridge the gap.
Maintaining a relatively high protein intake through diet alone can be a challenge, since dietary sources of protein tend to come with lots of calories, carbs and fats. This especially holds true for red meat, which is very high in saturated fats that can lead to elevated cholesterol. The Harvard School of Public Health links red meat intake to increased risk of stroke and heart disease, along with a higher risk of type-2 diabetes. High-quality protein powders help you reap the benefits of increased protein, without elevating these scary health risks.
Where Does the Protein Come From?
Depending on brand, the protein in your shake may be sourced from animal or vegetable products. Most will contain other vital nutrients your body needs for optimal performance, either through additives or natural sources. Whey protein, derived from cow's milk, is one of the most common sources due to the natural presence of all nine amino acids and how easily it's digested by the human body. It's a nutritionally complete protein your body can easily process, and it also dissolves more easily than many plant-based protein powders for easy mixing.
Unless you are vegan or vegetarian, whey is almost certainly the best choice all around for supplements. Lactose intolerant? Reach for a whey protein isolate over a concentrate, and you shouldn't experience any unpleasant digestion issues.
Protein powder allows you to hit your intake target quickly and easily throughout the day, due to its versatility. You're not limited to shakes, as powders can also be added to many of your favorite foods and recipes. Pinup Girl Protein is a great source of nutritionally complete protein, whether it's in your oatmeal and pancake batter, or a tasty and convenient shake.