For the longest time, protein supplements have been an indispensable component of any fitness regimen. Their ability to aid in muscle growth, repair and recovery make them a must-have for athletes and gym enthusiasts alike. It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for supplements online or in physical stores, these macronutrients have become ubiquitous in the health and wellness industry.
When it comes to their origin, protein supplements can be divided into two categories: plant-based and animal-based. While both types share the same goal of helping you build muscle, they differ in their nutritional makeup and the type of benefits they bring.
Benefits of Plant-Based Protein Supplements
When discussing potent plant-based proteins it’s worth noting that they often contain a combination of multiple sources – soy, wheat, pea, and rice. These mixtures create a delicately balanced nutritional profile that can provide numerous advantages, including:
Easily Absorbed in the Body
Due to their low-fat content, proteins from plants are absorbed quickly and easily by the body. This means that they’re fast-acting, allowing users to benefit from the protein’s properties sooner and take advantage of the macronutrient’s muscle-building and repair capabilities.
This is particularly true for sprouted plant proteins, which boast a higher digestibility rate and provide an even faster absorption. Their origins lie with raw plants, which have been minimally processed and contain no added chemicals or artificial flavours. As a result, they’re quite popular among vegan and vegetarian athletes who are looking for a viable source of protein without compromising their lifestyles.
Rich in Iron and Healthy Fats
We all know that red meat is one of the best sources of iron out there, but pea and soy-based products are close runners-up. In fact, as little as one serving of these plant-based products can provide you with up to 35% of your daily value. This can be beneficial for athletes, who often suffer from iron deficiency due to their diets and high-intensity workouts.
In addition, these supplements can provide a good source of healthy fats like essential fatty acids and omega-3s. This is especially true for coconut and avocado-based products, as they provide a balanced blend of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Regulate Gut Function and Boost Metabolism
Thanks to their unique nutritional profile, plant-based proteins have a minimal effect on your digestive system. This means that you can benefit from the supplement’s properties without suffering from any side effects, such as bloating or gas.
What’s more, their slow-digesting nature keeps your metabolism elevated for longer periods of time and helps prevent fat storage. This is particularly useful for those looking to burn calories and shed body fat but still need to maintain a healthy diet.
Offer Greater Calorie Control
Tracking your calorie consumption is one of the most important aspects of managing your diet. Sure, protein powders are essentially a more condensed form of food, but they don’t always contain a lot of calories. Some products can provide as little as 100 kcal per serving, making it much easier to maintain your daily caloric intake.
Have Great Alkalising Qualities
Most readily available proteins are quite acidic and can have a negative effect on your body’s pH level. When this happens, your body’s alkalinity drops, leaving you prone to fatigue and weakened muscles. More often than not, this issue results from the consumption of animal-based proteins such as whey or casein.
Fortunately, plant-based proteins are generally more alkalising in nature and can help maintain your body’s pH level while giving you the vital nutrients you need. This is why they’re a good fit for athletes and bodybuilders who are looking to enhance their performance without risking their health.
Minimise the Consumption of Harmful Bacteria
It’s no secret that animal-based proteins often come with a higher risk of bacterial contamination. If they’re not properly handled, these proteins can expose you to a variety of harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli.
On the other hand, plant protein powders are formulated using organic ingredients that have been carefully processed in regulated facilities. This minimises the risk of contamination and results in a product that is safe to consume. As an added bonus, it also ensures that the protein powder is free of any unnecessary additives and preservatives.
Benefits of Animal-Based Proteins
On the flip side, animal-based products are sourced from the milk of animals, such as cows, goats and sheep. This means that they are richer in active ingredients than plant supplements and can provide you with more complete forms of dietary proteins.
Contain More Amino Acids
The way that animal proteins are processed means they contain higher levels of nine essential amino acids than their plant-based counterparts. This makes them an excellent choice for athletes who are looking to increase muscle mass and promote healthy tissue growth.
Moreover, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and play an important role in various body functions. They can help protect against diseases, improve cognitive performance, boost immunity, lower stress levels and enhance physical endurance.
More Beneficial for Workout Recovery
When you’re doing your workouts, your muscles are going through a lot of strain and need all the help they can get to repair themselves afterwards. Animal proteins contain a higher concentration of branched-chain acids that have been found to be particularly beneficial for muscle recovery.
These ingredients tie into the muscle’s energy pathways and can help reduce fatigue and soreness after an intense physical activity. Each serving can also provide you with more energy, making it easier to get through your workout without feeling exhausted.
Keep You Full for Longer Periods of Time
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you’ll need to find ways to reduce your appetite and maintain a healthy diet. Animal-based proteins are packed full of fibre that helps keep your digestive system running smoothly. This in turn can help stave off hunger for longer periods of time, giving you more control over your cravings.