Protein: Is it really worth the hype?

Protein: Is it really worth the hype?

Laura Swingler

Absolutely!! Protein is such an important macronutrient, especially if you participate in regular exercise. In this blog, I am going to break down the importance of protein and how much you need a day. Plus I’m going to touch on the benefits of supplementation, and what to look for when choosing your protein powder. 

Before I do though, let me introduce myself. My name is Laura, and as an accredited exercise physiologist turned online coach, facts not fiction, are the foundation of my approach. I help girls nourish their body and soul through evidence-based practice, so they can ditch the diet culture and build a lifestyle that is real and will last forever. I am a full-time foodie, ready to teach you that healthy does NOT need to be boring!

So, as you may know, protein is the building block of all tissue in the body. It is essential for tissue repair and the rebuild of skeletal muscle and connective tissue following an exercise session. 

As well as recovery, protein helps with:

  1. Satiety of your meal- keeping you fuller for longer
  2. Helps with weight management and body composition changes, due to the satiety factor, and it increases the calories burned through digestion known as the thermic effect of food 
  3. Improved immune function- Proteins are the building blocks of antibodies, and serve several functions in the immune system. 

Research states that the recommended daily intake should sit at 1.4 – 2.0 g/kg/day for physically active individuals. (1) 

While it is possible for you to eat enough protein through a wholesome diet, protein supplementation is such a convenient way of ensuring that you consume adequate quality protein throughout your day. On top of this, it’s delicious! Depending on the product, it can be very cost-efficient as well! 

How to work out out your daily protein needs:

Daily Protein intake (g) = body weight (g) x 1.8

So for me, my daily intake = is 67x1.8 = 120g/day 

The specific timing of protein isn’t overly important, but what is, is to evenly distribute the protein across your day, looking for about 4 serves of protein per meal. Using me as an example, each serve would be about 25-30g.

  1. The first thing you need to look for is the quality of the protein. Protein is made up of 20 total amino acids, 9 of which are essential. Essential means the body cannot make them, so they need to be consumed in your diet. You also need to look out for leucine. Leucine is the amino acid responsible for stimulating protein muscle synthesis. You need 2-3g/serve.
  2. The amount of protein per serve- this depends on the above equation of course, but I have found that on average it comes to around 25g/serve for the average woman.
  3. Mixability, texture and taste- Be sure to read reviews! Plant based proteins are notorious for being chalky! There are definitely some good options out there! Botanika blends is definitely one of my favorites! 
  4. You want the first ingredient to be the protein source, as they are usually listed by weight of ingredients
  5. Sweeteners! Flavored protein powders will include some type of sweetener. Most often, you’ll see:

-Nutritive sweeteners, like honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar 

-Non-nutritive / high-intensity sweeteners, like sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium. 

Ideally, choose a protein powder that has less than 5 grams of sugar per serving

In saying that, Botanika blends stock some of my favourite protein flavors, plus they tick all the boxes above!

My favourite flavours:

1. Vanilla cake batter

2. Peanut butter and jelly

3. Double shot iced coffee 

These plant based proteins focus on all natural, gut friendly benefits, and you can definitely notice the difference!

  1. Jäger, R., Kerksick, C.M., Campbell, B.I. et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 20 (2017).

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