For those looking to gain weight in a healthy way – regardless of the reason – protein can provide a huge number of benefits. This super important macronutrient is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of life, and can be a crucial part of both weight loss and weight gain, depending on how it’s integrated into your diet. This flexibility lets you customize your protein intake and reach your health goals that much easier.
Still, any nutritionist will tell you that some sources of nutrients are better than others. The reasons for this can vary, and it can be difficult to know what to grab from the grocery store shelves or add to your cart online. Continue reading to learn what kinds of protein are best to help with healthy weight gain.
How Protein Helps with Weight Gain
Although most people tend to equate fats and carbs with weight gain, the truth is that protein can be just as useful for packing on pounds – even more so, arguably, since it generally helps with healthy weight gain, not just the accumulation of harmful body fat.
Protein breaks down into amino acids that help you build muscle and preserve the muscles you already have. This makes it ideal for those looking to slow or prevent weight loss due to an illness or who want to gain muscle mass effectively. Ideally, you should look for types of protein that are easily absorbed into the body, since those are the types that will give the best returns.
Probably the most popular type of protein on the market today, whey protein can be added to a huge number of foods and drinks. Whether you want to add its powdered form to some homemade brownie bars for a protein-packed snack or to a strawberry banana smoothie for a healthful recovery drink after the gym, whey protein can be incorporated into your diet with minimal effort to achieve maximum benefits. It’s easily and efficiently digested by your gut and generally considered tastier than many forms of protein because of the lactose and fat it contains. It is also a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own.
Though its ease of use is part of why whey protein has become so popular, it’s hardly the only reason for the product’s ubiquitousness. In its natural state, whey exists as the watery part of milk. If you have ever peeled off the top of a container of yogurt, you have likely seen whey; it’s the liquid that sits on top of the yogurt itself. Whey has long been a byproduct of the cheese-making process and was discarded by cheese producers until its nutritional value was uncovered. Now it’s the most common protein supplement on the market.
There are three main varieties of whey on the market: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate. Because they differ slightly in composition, each provides its own benefits:
- Whey protein concentrate contains more fat and lactose than its brethren and is usually 70-80 percent protein. It offers more balanced nutrition on its own and is the most common of the three types.
- Whey protein isolate is a leaner, purer form of the protein. It offers upwards of 90 percent protein by volume and has fewer extra nutrients, so it’s best used in products that contain complementary sources of carbs, fats, and vitamins. It’s easier on the system than whey concentrate, though, because it has much less lactose.
- Whey protein hydrolysate is a pre-digested form of the protein. This type is the easiest on your system but often the most expensive.
Of the three options, whey protein isolate is the most effective, making it a perfect addition to a well-rounded nutrition or meal replacement shake. However, consumers looking for a dairy-free or vegan option may want to consider a soy-based alternative.
Of the myriad kinds of plant-based proteins, soy is one of the most effective because it is easily absorbed by the digestive system. Like whey, it is a complete protein, and in its isolate form it is quite low in fat and cholesterol. Also like whey, it usually comes in three forms:
- Soy protein concentrate is high in fiber but lower in protein than its isolate counterpart.
- Soy protein isolate, like whey isolate, contains a higher percentage of protein than concentrate at the expense of other macronutrients.
- Soy flour is generally used in baked goods and has limited uses outside of that specific area.
Just as with whey, soy protein isolate is the most efficient form of protein derived from soy, though it is most effective when used in conjunction with a balanced blend of ingredients. It is also high in valine, a crucial component in the operation of the nervous system.
ENU Meal Replacement Shakes Contain Whey and Soy Protein for Healthy Weight Gain
Though whey and soy proteins are each effective in their own way, together they make for a spectacular combination ideal for those looking to gain healthy weight. They promote the synthesis of new muscle tissue while guarding the muscles you already have against degradation. ENU meal replacement shakes contain why and soy protein isolates, along with complex carbohydrates derived from whole grains and healthy fats from coconut and sunflower oils, not to mention more than 20 different vitamins and minerals. If you are looking to supplement your diet with a balanced source of nutrients, including weight-boosting proteins, visit ENU online today or call us at (855) 266-6733.