It’s no secret protein powder supplements are ideal for active people, but it’s easy to fall into the mistaken belief that only bodybuilders, elite athletes or vegetarians have a regular need for them. In fact, protein powders can be used as beauty boosters, skin food, for body sculpting and even as an anti-ageing weapon.
We spoke to Swisse’s in-house accredited dietician, Simone Austin, who has worked with elite Australian athletes and sports teams for over a decade, about the difference in various protein powder sources, easy ways to include them in your daily diet and why you’ll look and feel better for adding the right type and quality to your regular health regime.
Q: Many of us link protein powder with weightlifters. What are some of the other fitness uses or benefits for women?
“We all need protein in our diets – it’s fundamental to many of our bodies’ processes, such as immune system function, hormone production, and muscle repair and building. If you’re exercising, the protein can be used to build and/or repair muscle. It is not necessarily about becoming a muscle man though – you vary your training and the quantity of protein you eat or drink to meet your needs. Protein also helps you feel fuller for longer.”
Q: And what about beauty or anti-aging benefits?
“Protein plays an important part in building all of our cells, including the skin. It also helps to maintain our muscle which can reduce with age if we are not exercising and eating sufficient protein.”
Q: What are the different sources of protein – such as whey, pea and casein – and how are they different?
“Some proteins contain all of the essential amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein that we must take in through our diet to build all the different proteins in our body; we can’t make these. Animal based proteins like whey and casein contain all of the essential amino acids. Plant based protein, like pea, needs to be combined with another plant protein to include all the essential amino acids or be complemented with a protein food. Whey protein is quite quickly absorbed and used by the body. Casein, however, takes longer to break down. After as well as before exercise, whey protein will provide a complete protein with all of the amino acids needed and be rapidly used by the body for repair and building.”
Q: Is it a case of the more ingredients in a protein powder the better or is simplicity key?
“I prefer a protein powder that concentrates on doing the protein-providing job, then I go to different supplements for other nutrients. If the powder has other vitamins and minerals in it, then it becomes hard to get the doses of these right. Generally, there aren’t enough of the added extras to be a proper dose, so you need to take another supplement anyway. Then if you have fewer or extra serves of protein powder because, for example, you vary your training, you mess up the desired doses of the extras. So I prefer to see minimal ingredients in a protein powder. This also ensures the product is formulated with more protein, delivering a higher protein dose per serve.”
Q: Can you use a protein powder in any ways other than shakes, say for cooking or raw food prep?
“Yes, protein powder can be added to food. You can add it to things like breakfast cereal or to yoghurt, in cakes, protein balls or muffins and, of course, your smoothies.”
Q: When’s the best time to take a protein powder: before, during or after exercise?
“Protein powder can be used at any of these times depending on your training and body composition goals. Taking some prior and after can be a good way to help with gaining muscle bulk. Taking it after exercise is particularly important for repair and to get ready for the next training session. During might be needed for a long work out to help refuel and repair during training.”
Q: Does protein powder have a place in a healthy woman’s daily diet and are there instances we should take more or less?
“Yes! Protein can be part of a healthy diet, but it is only part – you also have to eat well. It ‘s a great snack, but if you’re training a lot, you may need more.”
Q: Are protein powders an option for meal replacements or should they be taken on top of usual meals?
“They can be added to make a meal, but in general, they are a snack and recovery tool. They’re not meal replacements.”
Q: There are so many on the market now. Which protein powder would you recommend for health-focused women who enjoy some form of exercise every day and why?
“Try Pure Warrior Powered by Swisse™ Extreme Shape; this will add a good amount of protein to your diet. If you exercise more regularly and are serious about training, then maybe try Pure Warrior Powered by Swisse™ 100% WPI which delivers 34g of protein per serve, or Pure Warrior Powered by Swisse™ Extreme Burn, which is formulated with green coffee bean extract.”
TIP: Pure Warrior Powered by Swisse™ is a new, premium and clean protein powder range developed by leading sports nutritionists and made of 100 per cent grass fed whey. It comes in five different formulations, each in chocolate or vanilla flavours: 100% WPI, Extreme Whey, Extreme Burn, and Extreme Shape. Each formulation has just five to nine ingredients. You can find them exclusively in Chemist Warehouse stores Australia-wide.
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