The Right Protein for the Job
By Onerepmaximum

Proteins are essential for growth and repair of muscle. They play a crucial role in virtually all biological processes in the body. All enzymes are proteins and are vital for the body's metabolism. Muscle contraction, immune protection, and the transmission of nerve impulses are all dependent on proteins. Proteins in skin and bone provide structural support. Many hormones are proteins. Protein can also provide a source of energy. Generally the body uses carbohydrate and fat for energy but when there is excess dietary protein or inadequate dietary fat and carbohydrate, protein is used. Excess protein may also be converted to fat and stored.

Proteins are broken down into their constituent amino acids during digestion, which are then absorbed and used to make new proteins in the body. The human body can make certain amino acids. However, the essential amino acids cannot be made and so they must be supplied in the diet. The eight essential amino acids required by humans are: leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and lysine.

The thing that separates a good, complete protein from an inferior one is how many of the essential amino acids it contains. Generally speaking vegetable sources of protein are not as good as animal sources. Plant proteins lack certain components and are digested poorly. There are exceptions to this statement and we’ll address that later in this article.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types and sources of protein.

Whey protein is the second most abundant protein that is derived from milk. It is found mainly in meal replacement powders (MRPs) and protein powders. Whey protein contains all of the amino acids that make it a good tool for you to use while trying to gain muscle. Whey protein is considered to be a fast acting protein. The body assimilates it faster than most other proteins and it is considered a very anabolic protein. It is widely accepted that high glycemic carbs, combined with whey protein is the ideal post workout meal.

Casein protein is the most abundant protein that comes from milk. This type of protein can also be obtained through (MRPs) and protein powders. Casein protein “clots” in your stomach, slowing the rate of absorption. This makes it a slower acting protein. This slowed rate of absorption helps to prevent catabolism (your body burning your muscles as fuel) if you have to go without a meal for longer than you should. Keeping in mind that your body burns calories and energy just by staying alive, casein protein is a great choice for a bed time snack. It will stay with you for more or the night while you sleep, helping your muscles to grow and recover instead of being metabolized.

Soy protein is the best non-animal source of protein. It is often accused of being an inferior protein because it is said to lack the amino acid methionine. The amount at which it is normally consumed provides a sufficient amount of methionine. Even though soy is not a staple of Americans’ diets, it can be found in products such as soy milk and soy based protein powders. Soy protein’s powerful anti-oxidant capabilities provide significant health and anti-cancer benefits. Soy based meal replacement have been found effective at lowering body weight, fat mass and reducing LDL cholesterol.

Chicken is the single most consumed source of dietary protein. Chicken can vary greatly in fat content. Depending on your fitness goals, you will need to adjust the way you use this protein source. A 100 gram serving of chicken with the skin contains 222 calories and almost 11 grams of fat. If you remove the skin, those numbers change to 173 calories and 4.5 grams of fat. If you are cutting, you will definitely want to reduce the number of calories you take in by removing the skin. Chicken contains all of the essential amino acids. I don’t know about you, but when I am on a diet and the amount of calories that I eat per day is diminished, I’d much rather eat a piece of chicken than drink a shake. Your body works harder to digest solid food than it does to digest a shake, too. Thereby, the thermogenic effect on metabolism is increased.

Beef, much like chicken can vary greatly in calories based on fat content. It is a great source of protein with all essential amino acids as well as zinc, iron and creatine. If you’re on a calorie-restricted diet, you may want to use other sources of protein as your primary option. If you are bulking, then beef is your friend.

Eggs are the cheapest protein you can get. Some people consider the amino acid profile of eggs to be the best of all food sources. For quite some time, eggs were considered the favorite protein source of athletes. There has been undeserved criticism of eggs because they were thought to have too much fat and to be high in cholesterol. Those ideas have been found to be myths. If you are on a tight budget and still want to make sure you get plenty of top quality protein, then eggs are the perfect option for you.

Fish is considered by many experts to be the best all around source of protein. Not only does fish provide all of the essential amino acids, the healthy fats in fish (eicosapenthanic acid and docosahexanoic acid) aren’t found in other protein sources. The amino acid, argnine, that is found in fish is believed to have a favorable effect on the body’s insulin sensitivity. Fat storage is less like to occur as a result of this benefit. Because of the quality of protein itself and the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, you should make fish your primary source of protein.

As a bodybuilder or just a fitness enthusiast, it is important to match the protein source to the desired benefit. You probably don’t want to take in casein protein just after an intense workout. Conversely, whey protein is probably not best suited as a midnight-snack. After reading the above paragraphs, hopefully it is easier to understand why.