Blame it on celebrities and their influence or a general shift in focus towards personal health and wellbeing, protein supplementsâonce exclusive to serious bodybuilders and health fanaticsâhave become part of day-to-day conversations. Everyone from the Bollywood stars you follow to your gym instructor will have a favourite, and with a wide range of whey-based and other protein powders available today, it is often daunting to pick out one that fits the bill for you. Do you really even need a protein supplement? Well, the answer is yes, even if you donât work out regularly.Â
Proteins are important Proteins areÂ the building blocks of almost everything in your bodyâmuscles, bones, skin, hair, blood and brain cellsâand made up of strings of compounds called amino acids. Unfortunately with our erratic schedules andÂ diet habits,Â weÂ often donât get the amount of protein required for the upkeep of our bodies. Here is where protein powders play a pivotal role. Not only will theyÂ fill in the gap in your daily protein requirement, theyÂ are also great meal replacements, keeping you full for longer, and preventing that unnecessary binge.
Whey vs plant-based protein powders
If you’ve been in the market for protein supplements, the most common categories you must have come across are whey, and plant protein powders.Â âPlant-based protein is protein derived from plants, some of these sources being peas, brown rice, hemp, sunflower and soy. On the other hand, whey protein is derived from milk,”Â says celebrity trainer, Namrata Purohit. “Protein powders in general are good for people who do not get their protein naturally. The advantage of plant based protein powder is that it is hypoallergenic, so it is rare for people to react badly to them. Whey protein comes from milk so it contains lactose, that sometimes be hard for some people to digest it comfortably.â
Rashi Chowdhary, nutritionist and founder of Protein Bake Shop, too, feels plant-based supplements are better for people with dietary restrictions. âMore and more people are sensitive to genetically modified soy and grains. Lactose and soy from whey protein powders generally tend to bloat people. Some also have a negative response where inflammation in the gut can also cause skin acne. Those who are prone to this, will benefit from plant protein powders.” One thing to keep in mind if you’re on a weight loss diet, she says, is the amount of carbs in the supplement. “If you are looking to burn fat, try finding a vegan protein powder that has less than 10 grams of carbs, because most of them have over 20 grams from peas, brown rice.â
How to include protein supplementsÂ in your daily diet Have you always been averse to the idea of having a protein shake? There are many interesting ways to include plant-based proteins in your diet. âTry chia pudding with protein powder. Or blend it with a banana and peanut butter and make popsicles out of it. You can also add 1/2 scoop to your almond milk and dunk in some granola for breakfast,â says Chowdhary.
The best time to haveÂ protein supplements That you need to haveÂ your protein supplements only immediately after your workout is a big myth. âYour body can either be in the fight and flight mode, or rest and digest mode (parasympathetic or sympathetic phase).Â We absorb nutrients best when weÂ are in the rest and digest state, which happen only 30 minutes after a workout. So, if you are looking to gain muscle, have your shake 30 minutes after, when your body is not wired,â says Chowdhary.
Looking to add one to your daily diet? Scroll through our slideshow for an edit of some of the best proteinÂ powders in the market right now.
The name derived from the Greek word for sunshine, Olena is a dairy- and gluten-free protein powder that only uses locally sourced ingredients like pea and brown rice protein from Gujarat, Himalayan pink salt, coconut flour from Tamil Nadu and amaranth from Maharashtra. It’s available in Vanilla Bean and Chocolate flavours, and doesnât haveÂ a bitter aftertaste like many other plant-based supplements.
Univedâs Lean Raw Unflavoured Protein is made of pea protein and is free of any additives and fillers. A 30gm serving of this clean powder is rich in arginine, glutamine, leucine and lysine that benefits tissue, bone, muscle and antibody development. It also claims to be light on the stomach and eliminates digestive side-effects and bloating issues.
This powder packs a powerful punch with 21gmÂ of custom bio-fermented protein per serving that is completely vegan. It is doesnât have any GMOs and is allergen- and dairy-free.
Made with a blend of premium plant proteins, multi greens, natural oxidants and no added sugars, Ace Blend is endorsed by the likes of Alia Bhatt and Shraddha Kapoor, and amongst the more popular proteins supplements on the block.
If youÂ don’t like to compromise on taste, Orgain’s vegan protein powder spoils you for choice with flavours like Vanilla bean, Iced Matcha Latte, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin Spice and Creamy Chocolate Fudge, all of which have no added sugar. Every serving has about 5gm of fibre too.
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