Protein supplements, in the forms of powders and bars have long since been popular in the world of strength training.
Supplements are found mostly made from Whey, however there are vegetarian and vegan options available.
As a dietitian, one of the most common questions is, how much protein is necessary before, after, and during workouts, and whether or not a protein supplement is necessary for most individuals on a day to day basis.
Protein is a vital part of our diet. Muscles, such as the heart, are made from protein,and are used and abused daily! Protein is necessary for repair and maintenance of muscles used both passively (such as the heart) and those we purposely engage, such as the biceps during arm curls.
The recommended intake of protein for individuals is 0.8grams/kg of body weight. for most people this can also translate into 25-30grams per meal for women and 25-35grams per meal for men, and 10-20 grams per snack for both genders.
The Canadian diet in general is sufficient in protein from animal sources (e.g. chicken , beef, eggs) and does not NEED to be supplemented with additional protein beyond the above stated requirements.
So when would “supplements” be helpful?
As I mentioned, supplements can take the forms of powders, drinks, and bars. A protein rich bar, such as a Simply Protein bar or Kashi bar is a convenient snack to keep in your pocket or glove compartment to achieve the 10-20 grams at snack time.
Protein powders, can boost the protein content of breakfast smoothies for an easy breakfast on a busy morning. Only ONE protein “supplement” should be chosen daily though, with the remainder of your daily protein coming from naturally protein rich foods- and it’s necessary to view all powders, bars and drinks with ADDED protein as supplements.
So if you’re gonna drink a smoothie first thing, be sure to pack some nuts and raisins, or a container of greek yogurt for the road!
The important thing to remember is that you can achieve your daily protein requirements through balanced meals and snacks. Protein rich foods, like eggs, nuts, cheese, tofu and beans should always be chosen first, but when your meals or snacks may be a little bit low on the protein side, protein supplements may be appropriate.