– Protein Quality DOES Matter –
Our bodies need daily protein for development of our tissues and muscles, to supply vital building blocks, control certain hormone activation, enzyme contraction and relaxation and provide adequate energy to help maintain satiety levels.
An array of protein sources, whether animal or plant based vary in quality by being either complete (contains all essential amino acids) or incomplete. These two variations consequently determine the metabolic efficiency rate during digestion. Primarily known as “Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Score” – how complete the source is and is it easily digested?
For example, certain animal sources like fish or eggs have higher protein quality than other animal sources like sausages or pancetta. Certain plant sources like quinoa, chia, Spirulina or soy (tofu /tempeh) offer complete essential amino acids, while nuts, seeds and legumes need to be included with other proteins to be classified as complete.
The same rule applies for differing protein powders and bar products. Although we can meet our needs through a well-balanced diet, sometimes supplementation can be beneficial. Knowing what protein bar or protein powder to choose from can be quite daunting but remember to apply the same rule that “quality does matter”.
Protein Powders can be milk or plant based.
Milk including whey and casein are classified complete proteins, containing all branched chain amino acids. They are easily absorbed by the body and encourage muscle building during strength training. Whey and Casein are the best choices when it comes to increasing muscle size and strength, however not suitable for individuals who are lactose intolerant.
Plant based powders including soy contain the essential amino acids required for adequate muscle growth, is easily digested and a preferred choice for those who are lactose intolerant.
Additionally, individuals with soy allergies can resort to hemp, rice or pea based protein powders.
- Hemp contains the essential amino acids for muscle growth and is highly digestible, however it is not as lean as other protein varieties due to its naturally high fat content.
- Rice and Pea varieties are not complete sources of essential amino acids, meaning they need to be paired with something else if muscle building is a priority.
Bars vary widely and knowing what is best in terms of goals can be confusing. Keep in mind, most protein bars can replace a meal by containing more than 300 calories each, so be mindful when searching if you only wish to satisfy a quick protein fix. A good guide is to keep calories <150, >10g protein, >3g fibre, <7g sugar and <8g fat per bar and is primarily made with less than 20 ingredients.
– Key Note –
Remember consuming protein supplementation alone will not achieve weight loss or lean muscle mass gain GOALS unless a balance of sufficient strength and endurance exercises is included in your lifestyle.
Conclusively, including an array of complete and incomplete proteins in your diet daily will help encourage variety, as well as assisting metabolism to work more efficiently and ensure you’re consuming an overall balance of food sources. However it is crucial that you choose the higher quality of proteins that are most naturally occurring or combined with essential minerals, vitamins and other food constitutes to ensure maximum effect and contribution to achieve an overall well balanced diet.
* Include a variety of these ‘Higher Quality’ Protein Food Sources *
Animal Sources –
Skinless Chicken, Turkey Breast, Venison, Pork Tenderloins, Round-Tip Steak, Salmon Fillet, Tuna Fillet, Low Fat Greek Yoghurt, Natural Plain Yoghurt, Low Fat Cottage Cheese, Skim Milk, Eggs
Plant Sources –
Beans, Lentils, Chickpeas (Hummus), Edamame (soy), Quinoa, Hemp, Tofu, Tempeh, Spirulina, Chia Seeds, Peanuts, Almonds, Natural Peanut Butter