You've probably heard the term protein isolate before, but do you know what it is? Well, they're exactly what they sound like. Isolates are created by filtering the protein out of whatever the source of protein originally was (whether whey or soy or rice or hemp, etc.). This removes carbohydrates, fat, minerals, and water, leaving an end product that's almost entirely pure protein (about 90%).
What You Should Know
Protein isolate powder comes in many forms and can be made from several different food products. Soy and whey are the most common and are much easier to find. They can be found at most health food stores or online. The rice, hemp or pea protein powders are more difficult to find and don't have as much variety, but can also be found at most health food stores or at a vitamin and supplement store. The type that you choose to get is up to you. Some people have trouble digesting soy or are allergic to it, so obviously soy protein powder wouldn't be recommended for them. Whey protein is not vegan and may contain some lactose, although the filtering process removes most of the lactose.
How They Can Benefit You
Since it's almost pure protein, protein isolates have all the benefits that other protein sources have including providing energy, helping with tissue repair, helping the body recover after working out, boosting immunity, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and many more. Protein isolates are also beneficial because they're convenient, easy to digest and easily absorbed by the body since it's already broken down. The nutritional information will vary by brand and type of protein isolate, but 1 scoop (28 grams) has about 115 calories and 23 to 24 grams of protein.
Although it's almost a pure protein, consuming protein isolate powder doesn't make up for eating other sources of protein. The best protein sources come from lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, and dairy products. It's better for most of your daily intake to come from whole foods. Protein isolate powder can be used in addition to other protein sources. It's also a great source of protein for vegetarians or vegans who may not be meeting their daily protein needs with food.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Most healthy adults only need about 0.8 grams per kilogram of protein per day based on your current body weight. Body builders need about 1 gram per kilogram and endurance athletes need about 1.4 grams per kilogram. When training, protein needs may be higher. It's very common for body builders to use protein powder because they believe that the more protein they consume, the better. Protein intake has not been shown to increase muscle mass or performance, and any extra calorie intake can cause weight gain. It can, however, be beneficial to ingest protein powder after exercise as the amino acids will quickly be absorbed into the blood.
What's the Best Way to Eat It?
Since it's in powder form, it can easily be mixed into anything. You can add it to oatmeal or juice. There are some that come in different flavors, which can be mixed into water or milk. It can also be added to fruit smoothies.
Kelly Forness is a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) and a member or the American Dietetic Association. She recently obtained her Certificate of Training in Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management. She has experience working in long term care facilities and is currently working at a daycare. Kelly has always been interested in nutrition and fitness her whole life. Kelly is a vegetarian, and tries to eat mostly whole foods. In her free time, she likes spending time with her friends and family, working out, and playing with her 2 cats Chloe and Daisy and dog Charlotte. Kelly can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.