Health Check: the scoop on protein supplements

Physical fitness is an important component for anyone interested in living a healthy lifestyle. Part of that healthy lifestyle should also include protein consumption.
“We should be getting half of our body weight in grams of protein per day, so a 150-pound person, we’re looking at about 75 grams of protein,” said Keri Anderson, the nutrition program coordinator of the Life Time Fitness in Plymouth.
However, if you’re an athlete or a gym rat, Anderson says the protein consumption should increase.
“On a daily basis, our body is breaking down from just wear and tear of use, of going up and down a flight of stairs, all the way to an intense workout,” she said. “Protein literally is the building block of putting that back together.”
Ideally, we would get that protein through foods such as eggs, fish or chicken. But when that’s not available, people can turn to protein powder.
“So something quick and easy like a protein shake is a great way to get in a lot of nutrients with little time of prep,” she said.
Yet a quick glance at the shelves – and nutrition labels — will show that not all protein powders are made alike.
“We don’t want a lot of fillers, binders, colors and sweeteners in our proteins as well, you don’t need a lot of that junk in there,” Anderson said.
Then there’s the matter of choosing between a whey protein, or an isolate protein, the list goes on. Anderson says the right powder is based on your personal needs.
“Does it need to be more of a meal replacement or just a snack of protein? So how dense do you want those nutrients to be? How high in the calories? And do you need to fill other nutrient gaps other than just the protein” Anderson said.
To simplify, Anderson puts most of her clients on the whey protein ‘all-in-one,’ because it holds them over longer. She says the isolate protein works well for athletes doing two-a-day workouts. To avoid confusion, she recommends asking an expert for help.
“It is the best suggestion to talk to a fitness professional that has some personalized advice for you based off where you need the help and guidance,” she said.
A good goal for most active people is to eat 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal, and add a couple of smaller protein rich snacks in between.
Delane Cleveland
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