Although , through the marketing and adverts may have, over time, made it seem like protein shakes are more befitting to athletes or gym goers, it can actually be a useful addition to any diet, irrespective of your goal.
Protein as we know it, helps in building and repairing muscles while also helping in transporting important nutrients and producing enzymes and hormones.
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The RDA for protein in healthy adults ranges between 0.8-1.0 gm./ kg. body weight per day. This is the protein RDA that is precise to meet the protein requirement of the major population. However, for individuals who have a higher activity level, their protein intake can range from 1.2-1. gm of protein/ kg body weight/ day.
According to studies, high protein diet as compared to basic RDA level of protein had substantially better evidence for showing improvement in the body composition especially when such diets were taken in combination with exercising on a regular basis.
Types of protein:
The common type of protein we know that is available as supplemental form is Whey. Other than that, you will also find egg white and casein protein available. There are both animal as well as plant based proteins out there, so if you are vegan or lactose intolerant you can opt for the plant protein variety.
Among the protein types, Whey protein gets the weightage because of its ability to be absorbed fast and as a result, deliver nutrients quickly. Therefore, it is the most sought after as a day-protein or a post workout option as compared to a slow acting protein like Casein that works by releasing protein in the blood stream at a relatively steadier pace therefore, it is a better choice to be taken closer to the bed time as it helps muscles continually undergo repair and restructuring.
Suggested Read: How Much Protein is Safe for You?
What to lookout for?
The ingredient list needs your special attention when going shopping for a protein supplement. While some products contain minimal amount of ingredients, some are loaded with substances and additives the names of which you cannot even pronounce properly. Other than the innumerable additives, some protein powders tend to have more of filler products to enhance the texture and taste of the product such as higher quantity of fat and/ or sugar.
An ideal protein shake should contain at least 25-30 gm. of high quality protein with minimal amount of carbohydrates and fat so as to not let anything get in the way of the product’s nutrition quality. Aim for a solid 25-30 gm. of protein per serving of product.
While it is always better to first correct your protein (and other nutrient) intake from the diet, however, for some reason if you have not been able to meet the daily requirement due to time constraints or diet choices that are challenging in terms of meeting daily protein needs, in such a case taking limited amount of supplemental protein to support the nutrient intake should be fine.
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