How often should I be eating protein or taking protein powder supplements?
Answers to this question are wide-ranging and often contradictory. If you’re looking to maintain or bulk, a quarter to a third of your calories could come from protein sources. If you’re looking to cut fat, you might look to swap some of your carbohydrate calories for protein. And there’s nothing wrong with eating a solid breakfast, lunch and dinner to evenly distribute your protein intake throughout the day.
What are the best sources of protein?
Protein is often categorised as either ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’, i.e. containing all essential amino acids or lacking in some of them. Animal meat, eggs and soy are complete protein sources, whereas beans and nuts are incomplete proteins.
Whey protein powder is typically regarded as the most quickly absorbed protein (particularly post-workout) and free-range eggs and meats are often deemed to be healthier sources of protein generally, but the best protein sources, ultimately, are the ones that work best for your goals, budget and dietary needs.
Why should I take protein supplements and which should I be taking?
Protein supplements from protein powders to protein bars can help you to achieve your daily protein requirements, not least if you’re training hard and regularly. They are often convenient, vitamin-enriched, flavoursome sources of this key macronutrient and can often be quicker utilised by the body after training to help tip the body into a state of muscle repair and growth known as anabolism.
The amount of protein you should be taking from supplements is ideally calculated from the discrepancy between the amount you get from real food and the amount you need to achieve your dietary goals. If you can stomach dairy, whey protein-derived supplements are widely researched, effective and affordable workout supplements.