Protein questions and answers

  • How are essential and nonessential amino acids different?
  • If I’m lactose intolerant should I avoid whey protein?
  • How much protein does a person need each day?
  • What is the earliest age to start taking a protein supplement?
  • When should I take protein?
  • Is whey protein compatible with a low-carbohydrate diet?
  • Does protein influence Candida?
  • What is protein?
  • Can whey protein help me lose weight?
  • Can you take too much protein and what happens?
  • Does protein go off?
  • Is plant protein better than diary protein?
  • How does whey protein compare to soy protein?
  • If I eat a lot of chicken, eggs fish and beef do I still need whey protein?
  • Can protein make you have sleepless nights?
  • Can I get enough whey protein by drinking milk?
  • Is whey protein a good choice for vegetarians?
  • What is hydrolysed whey protein?
  • Does protein change your pH levels?

How are essential and nonessential amino acids different? The probiotics in the stomach can make nonessential amino acids from other amino acids. However, essential amino acids can’t be made in your body. The only way to get them is to make sure you vary your food and eat a high-quality protein source. These proteins sources are called complete proteins. A high-quality whey is a great source of complete protein.

If I’m lactose intolerant should I avoid whey protein? People who are lactose intolerant can cope with a pure micro filtered protein. This process has taken nearly all the lactose out of the protein. The amount that’s left is so small it’s less than 0.1 g lactose per 20 g protein. Research has shown that most people who are lactose intolerant have no problems with this very small amount. People who are lactose intolerant should stay away from protein concentrates as this type of protein powder contains lots of lactose.

How much protein does a person need each day? The amount taken is not as important as the amount actually digested. If you’re taking a lot of protein but it’s cheaply made – denatured with low nutritional value – then it’s going to build up in your intestines; and this can make you very ill. If you’re buying high-quality protein you can take less and gain more. How much protein you take also depends on how big you are and how much your body is growing. If your body is under constant stress, then rejuvenation of the muscles will be slow without a good source of protein. The rule of thumb is 1 g to 3 g per kg of body weight, depending on what you’re training for, with bodybuilders in the higher range. The amount of servings depends on how much you exert your body. A bodybuilder may take up to six to eight servings of protein a day. But everybody’s different; don’t go off what you’ve read about someone else, or what a friend does, because I can guarantee their biological make-up will be different from yours. If you’re completely recovering from previous workouts, no soreness, etc, and you have the energy you need to complete a current workout and function for the rest of the day, guess what – you’re eating enough protein.

What is the earliest age to start taking a protein supplement? The easiest way to answer that is to think about what your body needs and whether you can service this need for protein via your natural diet. If not, then the easiest way to supplement that protein shortfall is to drink it. If you’re pushing your body to its limits, no matter what age you are, your body needs replenishing, muscles breaking down need protein to rebuild themselves. However, intense forms of exercise such as bodybuilding can stunt the growth of bones in early teens and should be done after ages 16 to 17, giving the body room to grow naturally without disturbance. Light weight training is recommended until you are happy that your growth has plateaud.

When should I take protein? The best time to take protein is just after a workout, or any strenuous exercise, for that matter. When you exert yourself and push your body to its limits you’re invariably breaking down muscle tissue. The body will happily rebuild any muscle to withstand the next session, making you stronger, faster or even just increasing your endurance. However, your body needs to repair fully before your next session and this is where the protein comes in. Muscle repair is a constant process if you’re maintaining those stresses; a constant source of protein is needed throughout the day along with good amounts of rest.

Is whey protein compatible with a low-carbohydrate diet? A. Yes whey protein is the ideal choice. Not only is it compatible, it will help you increase your metabolism as a great supplement between meals. A high-quality whey protein will be low in fat and carbohydrates, complementing your diet.

Does protein influence Candida? There are two things that influence Candida: sugar and acid. The sugar keeps it alive, whilst an acidic environment is perfect for it to survive. If you’re taking a low-grade protein, this will be building up in your intestines, causing an acid build-up; and I’ll guarantee it will be full of sugar, too. If you’re suffering from Candida you need to get a high-quality micro-filtered whey protein that can be quickly absorbed, with low or no sugar.

What is protein? Proteins are long-chain molecules made up of amino acids. They form the structural material of bodily tissues. There are proteins in every part of your body accounting for approximately 50 per cent of your weight, and it’s estimated that a human body is made up of 50,000 different proteins. The complex structure of protein is composed of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen.

Can whey protein help me lose weight? Adding a high-quality whey protein is a great way to jump-start any weight loss programme. Whey protein is a great meal replacement to boost your metabolism whilst helping to repair your muscles. I can hear you say, ‘But I don’t want big muscles!’ Whilst you don’t want big muscles what you do want is lean muscles as they will also boost your metabolism. Studies have found that individuals who combine diets with leucine-rich protein foods like whey protein, and exercise have more lean muscle tissue and they lose more body fat. As they lose fat their metabolic rate increases and they naturally burn more calories each day.

Can you take too much protein and what happens? As with anything that’s done in excess, there can be negative effects; and with high-protein diets the problem is digestion. Everyone has a different speed of digestion and this depends on the health of your intestines, whether you’re a woman or a man. If they’re blocked with undigested food, guess what – any extra protein is going to compound the problem. Protein is one of the foods that takes longest to digest, apart from fats. If you ingest to much acidic foods, the probiotics in your intestines struggle to work probably, which means food won’t get simulated into the right nutrients for the body’s growth and repair. The knock-on effect from protein fermenting in the intestine is acidosis. And too great an acid build-up can cause a whole host of problems. Balance is the key. A high-protein diet needs to be complemented with lots of greens, semi-cooked vegetables or salad to aid with digestion. Extremely high doses of whey protein is not recommended, as this will cause the body’s liver to be overloaded and you won’t get the same benefits as with a consistent lower amount taken three to five times per day.

Does protein go off? Protein is affected by oxygen, so the more you open a tub of protein powder or the longer you leave it open, the faster it’ll deteriorate, affecting the quality of the protein significantly. All good protein supplements come with a sell-by date.

Is plant protein better than dairy protein? This is a very good question! Plant proteins are not really protein at all. Just to confuse things, the plants that are used – pea and hemp are the two usual suspects – are made from amino acids. This means the body doesn’t have to create the amino acids by breaking down proteins. Once these amino acids are in our bodies they can be used very quickly, minimising the time in the digestive track. Forms of plants that are rich in amino acids are also negatively charged. This also speeds up digestion as the amino acids pass through the intestinal wall very quickly. Diary protein takes longer, depending on the quality. Many form of plant amino acids, like hemp, are also full of essential fatty acids which are great for balancing and improving hormone production. This is not so with dairy proteins. Plant amino acids are also full of chlorophyll which is great for alkalising your body. When your body’s at a pH of 7.4 you’re at optimal performance for building and recovery. However, all cheap dairy proteins increase acidity, even though the better ones can minimise this by absorbing faster. I can hear you say, ‘So why even take dairy protein?’ Well, the downside of plant proteins is the taste, and the fact that they contain has fine bits of fibre which some people fine difficult. But if you can handle that, then plant protein from hemp is a better source, and it’s full of fibre to help clear your digestive track.

How does whey protein compare to soy protein? Whey protein is very high in biological value (BV), which is highly sought by athletes. In short, BV is the amount of protein your body can replace with 100 g of consumed diet. The only other foods containing high levels of BV are whole eggs and egg whites. Unlike eggs, however, whey protein does not contain high levels of fat.

If I eat a lot of chicken, eggs fish and beef do I still need whey protein? Anyone who can eat a good selection of proteins like that is going to benefit in the long run. There’s no replacement for freshly cooked foods. However, if your goal is to cram 2 g to 3 g per kg of protein in your diet, a good-quality whey protein supplement is an excellent idea. There’s also the convenience of having a protein supplement to hand. You can be sure to get that much-needed boost of protein after a workout or training session knowing your body will get a complete amino acid range for faster growth and repair.

Can protein make you have sleepless nights? Some people who are light sleepers or struggle getting to sleep in the first place can find too much protein before bed can hinder sleep. What happens is that the protein stimulates the brain where carbohydrates do the opposite and make you sleepy.

Can I get enough whey protein by drinking milk? Whilst milk is a highly nutritious drink, it only contains approximately one per cent whey protein, not enough to supplement an athlete or bodybuilder.

Is whey protein a good choice for vegetarians? Whey protein is an excellent choice for vegetarians, although a good plant protein like hemp would also bring all the essential fatty acids a vegetarian will need, especially if they’re not eating any fish as a source of protein.

What is hydrolysed whey protein? Hydrolysed protein is whey protein but broken down smaller. These new segments are call peptides. This process can cause allergic reactions as the body is forced to absorb all the amino acids available instead of breaking down what’s needed and leaving the rest.

Does protein change your body’s pH levels? Yes, especially if you’re taking a low-grade protein. Low-grade proteins are made fast, and in doing so are heated up and processed quickly. This is very bad for the shape of the protein. When a protein has changed shape it’s harder for your body to digest it and so the protein lingers in the intestines much longer than it should. This changes the pH levels by feeding any microorganisms indigenous to the intestines. When microorganisms and other bacteria feed, the by-product is acid. When the body is in a state of repair, the more alkaline you are the better the body functions. A high-quality micro-filter whey will not only digest faster than any other protein, it will also get to your muscles faster, too.