If you are trying to lose body fat and increase muscle mass as part of an exercise or diet regimen, then you may already know about the possible benefits of adding dietary and whey protein to your plan. One recent report noted that whey protein may reduce the risk of some dangerous diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. While using this supplement may help you lose weight and improve your overall health, there are a few tips you should keep in mind for choosing and ingesting it safely.
1. Understand the Basics of Whey Protein
Before you can use dietary or whey protein in a way that will benefit you, you should take the time to understand exactly what these supplements are and how they are created. Whey proteins are created during the separation process when cheese is made and can be found in the liquid portion of milk. Whey can often be found on the surface of commercial yogurt, although it is often mistaken for water and discarded. You will typically find dietary proteins in powdered forms that you can mix with milk, water, or other liquids for convenient and portable ingestion.
2. Read Labels
There are dozens of dietary protein powders on the market today, and they all come in a variety of flavors, from chocolate to banana to more exotic choices, such as peach or mango. While this makes it simple to add these proteins to your diet, it is important that you read ingredient labels before you buy. Some brands may have added sugar or artificial flavors, which may have a counteractive effect on your diet. This can be especially important if you are using protein shakes to replace meals more than a few times per week.
3. Consult Your Physician First
Before you add any kind of dietary protein to your meal plan, plan a visit to your physician. He or she can help you understand how these powders might help you lose weight and work with you to plan an exercise and diet regimen that may allow you to use powdered protein to its fullest potential. Your doctor may also run tests to determine whether your new exercise program requires any restrictions based on your overall health.
It is also important to talk to your doctor about any lactose issues you may be experiencing before you add whey or other dietary supplements to your health plan. Because whey is a dairy by-product, it may have an unusual impact on your digestive system if you are sensitive to such foods. Your doctor may be able to recommend a non-dairy supplement that you can mix with juice or water to avoid digestive upset.
4. Get Tested for Whey Allergies
If this is your first time using whey protein, you may want to get tested for any allergies or sensitives before you ingest any. Because of the concentration of whey in many powders, you may experience an unexpected reaction to a protein in dairy known as casein. Signs of an allergy may include tingling or swollen lips, hives, and other skin rashes. To avoid any unpleasant allergic reactions, ask your physician if he or she can run an allergy test so you can use whey protein safely and with confidence.
5. Avoid Overuse
While you might be eager to lose weight and improve your metabolism by using protein powders, it is important that you take them in moderation. Be sure to follow all label directions and heed all warnings carefully. Do not replace too many meals with a protein shake or add large amounts of the powder to any base liquids. Using more powder than is recommended on a daily basis will typically not amount in faster weight loss and may cause negative side effects, including low blood sugar and headaches.
One way to avoid overusing these powders is to plan your meals. Plan for a week at a time, which can help you see where you might replace a meal with a shake or where one might do you the most good. Using a smartphone app to plan and track what you eat may make this process more convenient, and many of them are free to use.
6. Know When to Use Protein Powders
Knowing when to drink a protein shake can be just as important as knowing how much to use. Whey or dietary protein helps provide your body with energy, can improve your metabolism, and has been shown to prevent muscle breakdown. As such, knowing when to take advantage of these benefits can help you use protein shakes more efficiently, especially if you are on a new exercise regimen.
One of the best times to drink a protein shake is before a workout. Ingesting the protein may provide you with increased energy to reach your exercise goals and protect your muscles from breaking down as you exercise, whether you run on a treadmill or are learning rolling. You can also drink a shake after you exercise; however, ingesting protein beforehand is probably the most efficient way to use it.
7. Discover Your Target Weight
If you are using a dietary protein powder for weight loss, then you may want to know your target weight before you begin using it. While drinking daily shakes and regular exercise can contribute to weight loss, having a solid goal to work toward may help you avoid overusing protein and adjust your intake more easily as you need to.
You can discover your ideal weight by working with your physician and having your body mass index measured. If your doctor has diagnosed you as obese, then he or she might recommend that you lose at least ten percent of your overall body weight. Ideally, the healthiest way to lose weight is over time, and learning how protein can have a positive effect on your BMI may help you avoid yo-yo weight loss and provide you with more consistent results.
Dietary and whey protein can be a positive addition to your weight loss and exercise regimen, but only if you learn how to use them safely. Working with your doctor, understanding the effects of protein supplements on the body, and following label directions can all help to keep you healthy during your journey to improved physical fitness.