The Best Protein for a High-performance Life
Food is medicine or poison.
Your body will respond and perform according to how well you feed it. One of the macronutrients required for a high-performance life is protein.
Proteins are integral components of every cell in your body. Thousands of protein enzymes are required for the healthy growth and functioning of all the cells, tissues, and organs in your body. Bottom line: you can’t live without protein.
The Benefits of Dietary Protein
Eating lean protein has a variety of benefits since it:
- provides energy for the brain and entire body
- promotes all our essential life processes
- sharpens mental focus
- assists memory and other cognitive functions
- helps stabilize mood, behavior and personality
- curbs hunger
- stabilizes blood sugar
- facilitates tissue growth, maintenance and repair
- supports healthy weight management
Most adults need upwards of 50 grams of dietary protein daily, depending on their physical size, activity level, and metabolic demands. If you’re looking for a convenient, healthy way to start your day, you might consider drinking a protein-packed smoothie.
If you’ve thought about trying a protein powder but aren’t sure which is best for you, here’s what to look for and what to avoid…
3 Things to Avoid in a Protein Powder
Milk carries a unique sugar called lactose. Beginning as early as 1 year of age, fewer than 1 in 3 humans produce sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose. Without sufficient lactase in your gut, lactose remains undigested and becomes fermented by bacteria in your intestines, resulting in an array of gastrointestinal issues that are commonly referred to as lactose intolerance.
Milk also carries a protein called casein, which has gluten-type properties and can cause problems for many people, even if they aren’t lactose intolerant. Some other milk proteins have high potential to cause allergic reactions.
Soy is frequently portrayed as a miracle food that can replace dairy. Unfermented soy can contain substances harmful to your health, including:
- Anti-proteases, proteins which block the body’s protein-digesting enzymes
- Lectins, carbohydrate-protein molecules that can damage the cellular lining of the intestines and destroy oxygen-carrying red cells in the circulating blood
- Phytic acid, which binds minerals tightly and can impair their intestinal absorption
- Condensed tannins, which reduce the overall digestibility of soy proteins
These various antinutritional soy factors can contribute to poor absorption of nutrients (including other proteins), damage or destroy intestinal cells, and potentially lead to breaks in the intestinal wall (leaky gut), which is linked to long-term health problems.
Excessive sugar (sucrose) consumption is associated with numerous health problems. Eating foods high in sugar can raise your blood sugar, which contributes to insulin resistance. This can produce elevated levels of hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C), which is linked to tissue damage throughout the body. High intakes of fructose, as from the high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages, can cause liver damage and have negative long-term consequences.
Sucrose and other simple carbohydrates can suppress the signals sent by the hunger and satiety hormones, which are responsible for letting you know when to stop eating. In general, the more sugar you eat, the hungrier you’ll feel.
3 Things to Look for in a Protein Powder
The two most frequently used protein powders are made from whey (a derivative of milk) or soy. Both come with significant health risks. Typical soy protein powders haven’t been fermented and will likely have an array of damaging intestinal effects. Top scientists are beginning to realize what many human intestines have already made clear: cow’s milk and related dairy products are unnecessary in the adult human diet.
Whey contains casein, which, during its digestion, can be converted to substances called exorphins. Exorphins can be absorbed from the gut, cross the blood brain barrier and interfere with neurotransmitter receptors. Exorphins can mimic the effects of opiates and negatively affect the immune system, focus, mood, and overall brain function. Whey also contains substantial lactose, which can lead to physical complications such as stomach cramps and diarrhea.
The health benefits of plant-based, nutrient-dense diets are being recognized by experts in nutrition. As a result, both vegans and non-vegans are now getting their protein needs met from plant sources. A scientifically formulated, plant-based protein powder doesn’t have the side effects associated with whey protein.
The proteins of the human body require 22 core amino acids to build their sophisticated arrays of molecular structures. Of these, 13 are made by the body (called non-essential amino acids) and the other nine must be obtained through the diet (called essential amino acids). Complete proteins provide all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities.
The brain and body must always have the full spectrum of dietary amino acids available. This provides proper support for healthy mental focus, memory and learning, liver and kidney function, heart and other muscle performance, as well as maximum energy output and rapid recovery from exercise and other physical (or mental) challenges.
Unfortunately, most protein powders from single plants don’t contain complete amino acid profiles. This challenge can be solved by skillfully combining more than one plant protein source, to optimize the total protein amino acid profile while removing the negative factors associated with milk, whey or soy proteins.
Fiber must be taken along with protein to ensure a balanced, nutritious meal. Protein that isn’t fully digested in the small intestine reaches the large intestine (colon), where it can become putrefied by bacteria into harmful products. Fiber is the main natural food for these colon bacteria, and its presence helps ensure they won’t generate damaging protein derivatives.
Fiber has an overall positive impact on digestion. In the stomach, fiber absorbs water and creates bulk, which can increase the time it takes for food to move out of the stomach. The longer food stays in your stomach, the fuller you’ll feel and the less likely you’ll be to experience the spike in blood sugar that occurs when food digests quickly and glucose is dumped into the blood. Fiber is the best prebiotic – food for the good bacteria in your gut.
Most protein powders on the market lack at least one of the following: great-tasting flavor, non-gritty consistency, high fiber, low sugar, low calorie, or high-quality nutrients. Responding to the demand for a complete, plant-based protein powder, BrainMD has created…
OMNI Protein Powder
OMNI Protein takes plant-based protein powder to a whole new level. Its proprietary blend of pea, rice, quinoa and chia proteins is augmented with inulin fiber, branched chain amino acids, glutamine and an array of plant digestive enzymes to ensure a fiber-rich formula that pleases the palate, sharpens the brain, nourishes the entire body, and aids in muscle building and recovery.
OMNI Protein delivers 22 grams of complete plant-based protein and contains no artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, soy, dairy, sugar or GMOs.
For more information about OMNI Protein Powder and our full list of supplements, visit us at BrainMD.
Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to write about supplements since many of them have made a dramatic difference in his life. He is often heard around the office saying, “We have supplements for that.”
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