Proteins are best known as the main “food” for muscles which makes them one of the key nutrients for bodybuilders because they encourage muscle building and repair tissue damage. Protein deficiency is not an issue for majority of people because proteins are found in many foods including meat, poultry, fish and eggs as well some some plant sources such as beans and nuts which are also known for their rich fiber content. However, proteins obtained though diet alone may not be enough for building muscles. How much protein to build muscle you need depends on several factors including the level of your physical activity.
Healthy adults should obtain about 1,5 gram of protein per pound of their body weight which means that you should obtain over 200 grams of protein per day. However, people who exercise regularly need more energy as well as proteins. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends as much as 3 grams of protein per pound of body weight which is about 400 grams of protein per day. This means that you should aim to obtain between 200 and 400 protein per day to “feed” your muscles.
It is virtually impossible to get the required amount of proteins to build muscles through diet alone which is why many athletes as well as bodybuilders use protein supplements. However, before starting to use protein supplements, it is important to be aware that all proteins are not the same. For example, whey and casein are the main proteins in milk but while whey is known to be quickly absorbed, casein is digested slowly. For that reason whey protein is typically used before, during and after workout, while casein is recommendable as meal replacement. In addition, there are also various protein blends and more concentrated proteins such as whey protein isolate consisting from as much as 90% to 98% of protein, and very little fat and lactose.
Due to virtually countless protein supplements many people face a great challenge in choosing the best supplements for muscle gain. In addition, all protein supplement manufacturers claim that their products are the best which makes the choice even more difficult. So which supplements are the best for muscle gain, do they work and are they even healthy?
Protein supplements do work and as ISSN claims safe but only if combined with a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet. Even more, the ISSN recommends the use of protein supplements to people who exercise regularly because proteins help repair muscle damage that can occur during intense bodybuilding, help prevent muscle soreness, enhance the immune system, and promote skin, nail and hair health. In general, the best choice are supplements that contain a blend of different types of protein but these should not be used before, during and after exercise. In this case, you are recommended to choose fast-absorbing proteins.
In addition to paying attention to proper type of proteins, you are also highly recommended to make sure that they contain all natural ingredients because artificial sweeteners and colors, flavor enhancers and other dubious ingredients cannot create a healthy environment for muscle building.