Archive for November, 2011

What Makes A Protein Bar Good?

November 17th, 2011 No comments

We are huge fans of whey protein bars.

And of course, like any other protein supplements, there are good bars and there are bad bars. Hopefully this article will help you determine what the best type of protein bar for you will be.

For starters the biggest benefit of a protein bar is that they do not have to be refrigerated. I personally keep a few boxes in my pantry and because they stay fresh for over a year, I don’t have to worry about it.

I’ve even heard about some people feeding their kids protein bars instead of candy bars. While I do agree with the sentiment, unfortunately many of the new protein bars that are hitting the market are full of saturated fats and simple carbohydrates to help give people their sweet tooth craving. Just because it also contains an extra 10 g of protein does not necessarily make it healthy. So keep that in mind when you’re reading the label ingredients.

Speaking of simple carbohydrates – I’m also seen many bars that have sugar alcohols in place of the normal sucrose or other sugars that would be in the bar. Because of the way these chemicals digesting your body, the do not create blood sugar swings like normal sugar would. I personally am not a fan of the way they taste, but if you are looking to reduce the glycemic index of food or want some kind of sweet tasting protein bar, it can be okay.

Many of these protein bars also use hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated palm oil in order to boost the fat content and try and mask the chalky or grainy taste of low-quality proteins used. While the amount of fat in the bar on a macro level is okay, this does really boost the saturated fats level in the bar. If you watch your saturated fats you should really watch out to see what types of oils are used in your protein bar. Otherwise you might be in for a surprise.

And now for protein. There are so many different types of protein bars out there that the market has become very competitive for the manufacturers. Some bars, while having lots of protein, do not actually contain whey. The protein is actually coming from soy.

The others are using a protein blend that contains various forms of whey proteins in isolate, concentrate, and full form. This can provide you a good balance between both value and nutritional content.

And of course, many of the bodybuilding supplement companies have gotten on the whey protein bar bandwagon. For the most part, they use just whey protein to supply the protein ratio. These are the ones we prefer, and of course what we recommend that you get as well.

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How To Read A Whey Ingredient Label

November 17th, 2011 No comments

When you want to gain muscle and lose weight effectively, you should not have to become a nutritional expert just to eat right. But unfortunately, with today’s society full of cheap boxed carbohydrates hitting you everywhere you go it can become extremely difficult to eat right.

So in this article we’re going to show you how to effectively read the ingredient label on a whey protein supplement. You know what it is, that big ugly black and white table on the back of everything you eat.

If you are a have a pretty good grasp about macronutrients and understanding of various types and forms of protein, feel free to skip this article. But if you would like to learn more keep reading.

Let’s take for example the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey label.


First things first. Look at the bottom where it says ingredients. The first ingredient listed is protein blend. After that in parenthesis, you will see whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides. What this means is that the largest ingredient by volume is the proprietary protein blend. This protein blend is comprised of three of the various forms of whey protein. The isolate, concentrate, and peptide form. All three have different digestion rates and are processed differently.

Second on the ingredient list are the natural and artificial flavors. This is pretty obvious what it is, and the actual flavoring will depend on what flavor of protein you purchased.

Next up is lecithin. Lecithin is an industrial emulsifier. What that means is that it is used to keep manufactured foods free-flowing and not clumpy. It might seem a little weird to be in your protein, but the majority of processed food has it in it.

The next ingredient salt, which you are very well familiar with, makes up the majority of the 90 mg of sodium in one serving of this particular protein. It is used to help balance the sweetness of the next ingredients.

Acesulfame Potassium is an artificial sweetener that has a low glycemic index and does not contribute much to the total carbohydrates and proteins it is in. For example this particular proteins contains 4 g total carbohydrates, but only 1 g of that being actual sugar. Acesulfame Potassium has a distinct flavor and is used very heavily in the supplement industry. It is not necessarily a bad ingredient, but do know that it is an artificial sweetener.

Next up we have a proprietary ingredient called Aminogen. Aminogen is used protein supplement products. It increases your amino acid levels in your blood plasma by over hundred percent and can help boost the nitrogen retention in the actual proteins by almost 30%. It is a digestive enzyme that helps you absorb your whey better. Nutritionally wise though this ingredient does nothing.

Lastly on the list of ingredients on the sample protein is sucralose and lactase. Sucralose is a sweetener, and lactase is an enzyme that helps you digest milk proteins (whey). Neither one of these ingredients significantly contributes to the nutritional profile.

Vitamins and minerals

Another thing to look for on your nutritional labels is if there are are any added vitamins or minerals. Whey protein, because it comes from milk, contains calcium. On this sample ingredient the FDA says it gives you 10% of your daily calcium. There are no added vitamins. But, with some more expensive and broader supplements that also contain protein, they might also dump in multivitamins.


Fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Let’s look at these three. This sample weight only contains 1 g of fat which comes from the proteins blend. It also contains 24 g protein. When you look at the sample serving size is one scoop weighing 31 g total, you can see that the majority of this supplement is actual protein.

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Can Whey Protein be Beneficial for Women?

November 21st, 2011 No comments

Whey protein has been a supplement choice for bodybuilders and those in strength training for some time. Through many years of careful study, scientists and doctors have found that whey protein can be just as beneficial for women as well. For many, consuming the necessary four to five eggs per day to reach the doctor recommended 25 grams of protein a day just doesn’t sound all that appealing. Of course, there are other sources of protein such as chicken or certain meats. Yet in the busy schedule of most women today, there just isn’t enough time to prepare all those protein rich foods. Additionally, most of these foods are not only rich in protein, but they can also be packed with unwanted cholesterol and fat.

Enter the magic of whey protein. Women have discovered that not only can whey help with muscle building and repair, but whey can also boost the immune system, aid in weight loss, provide the much coveted antioxidants for cancer fighting, aid in the healing of wounds, and cut down on some effects of aging. To top it off, if the right form of whey is chosen, the fat and cholesterol are only a memory. For those too busy to whip up a three-egg omelet every morning, whey is much easier to consume as well. Available first as a powder, whey can be consumed in easy to make shakes, nutrition bars and cereals. As an added benefit, all of these products are easy to transport as they require no refrigeration.

If whey protein sounds like a possibility, it might be helpful to know a little about what it is and how it is prepared. Whey is a byproduct remaining after milk has been curdled in the production of cheese. It contains many valuable vitamins and nutrients including amino acids and antioxidants. Initially, whey is a liquid by-product. Drying it into a powder makes it much easier to distribute and to use. Whey is most usually available in three different forms: concentrate, isolate, and hydroslate.

Whey concentrate is the most commonly available, and also tends to be the most economical. However, whey concentrate does contain small amounts of fat, lactose and carbohydrates and less protein than its counterpart, whey isolates. The main reason for choosing whey concentrates over whey isolates is cost. Whey in isolate form is much more suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or who are concerned about the fat and carbohydrates in whey concentrate. Whey isolates undergo an additional process in which the fat and lactose are filtered out of the whey leaving them higher in protein. Whey hydroslates are the least recommended of the three forms as they contain the least amount of protein and have an undesirable taste. As with any supplemental program or diet plan, it is best to consult a physician before beginning to add whey protein to a diet, especially for those who are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies.

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Do I Need Whey Protein Shakes?

November 21st, 2011 No comments

If you are someone who is into working out, burning fat and building muscle, then protein is something that you will want to invest in. And, when purchasing large amounts of beef or eggs is not something that you want or are able to do, protein shakes are a good way to go. Protein shakes are drinks that are composed of protein (in a powdered form) that is mixed with liquids like water, milk or juice and also sometimes mixed with fruits, vegetables, or other supplements. Whey protein has become largely popular because it is a high quality, natural protein from cow’s milk. Whey protein usually comes in three different major forms: concentrate, hydrolysate, and isolate. Whey protein has a large amount of essential amino acids that are needed by the body daily. These amino acids are used to fuel the muscles that are working, and also help repair the torn muscles that result from a good work out. One amino acid in particular, leucine, is key to initiating the process of repairing muscle tissue, also called protein synthesis. Because whey protein is the most nutritious protein available, many people have looked to whey protein shakes to supplement their workouts.

Protein shakes are a great and easy way to fuel your body after a workout. Protein powder is great largely in part because it is portable. Packing up a serving of protein is as easy as grabbing an energy bar, and a lot better for you. A lot of places that sell protein also sell mixer bottles where you put in your protein, put in the liquid you are mixing it with, close the lid, and there’s a metal whisk inside and you shake up the bottle until the protein is not lumpy, and there you go! With those bottles, it is so easy to throw your protein and bottle into a gym bag or back pack and go off to the gym, and it’s ready when you are. Most of the protein comes in three main flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla. There are also variations of these flavors, like milk or dark chocolate, and french vanilla, to name a few. These options are great because you can mix different things like fruits or vegetables with each flavor for a combination of your choice. Whey protein also tends to be very low in sugar, unlike weight loss shakes like Slim Fast. Because of this, people find that they like to use whey protein as a meal replacement shake as well.

There are many businesses who sell whey protein, such as GNC and Beach Body, and even famous people and companies like Jillian Michaels and the Biggest Loser corporation have put their names on their own brands of this famous powder. So, if you are on a budget and can’t afford to spend three hundred dollars a month on protein, it is okay. There is a form of whey protein that can fit almost any budget–Amazon and Ebay, for example, are a good market if you are looking for a deal.

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Why Creatine and Whey Protein are Needed for Building Muscle

November 21st, 2011 No comments

Before jumping into a regimen of supplements, it is important to know what they are and why they may be necessary. First on the list for muscle building is Creatine. Creatine is an organic acid which occurs naturally in animals. It helps to supply energy to muscles. Creatine supplements help to boost the amounts of Creatine in muscles. Creatine is most beneficial to those who engage in such activities as weight-lifting and strength building activities. Creatine supplements are available in powdered, chewable and capsule forms. It is also available in some meats and fish in smaller amounts.

As with any supplement, it is best to consult a physician before beginning a regimen. If using Creatine for serious muscle building, most will begin taking 20-25 grams per day. After about a week’s time, the amount is decreased to 3-5 grams per day. Taking Creatine without muscle building activities may lead to increased water weight gain. In this instance, muscle cramps, dehydration, nausea and vomiting may occur. The use of Creatine has shown to be effective in short-term muscle building when combined with a strength training regimen. However, the use of Creatine has not been evaluated nor is it regulated by the FDA. Some athletes may take Creatine in combination with a high protein supplement such as Whey powder. It is believed that taking the two after exercise can help to boost the storage of Creatine in the muscles.

Whey proteins have also been found to be effective muscle enhancers. It is high quality protein contained in cow’s milk which contains many valuable vitamins and nutrients including amino acids and antioxidants. Whey is a by-product of the cheese making process. When milk is curdled and separated, the liquid remaining is whey. This liquid is then further processed and filtered to produce the whey which is then dried into a powder.

There are three types of whey protein—concentrates, isolates and hydrozilates. Whey concentrate is the least expensive to produce but also contains the least amount of protein, ranging from 35% to 85% protein. It also contains the most fat and carbohydrates of the three. Whey isolates that have undergone a micro filtering process can be much safer and more beneficial. These why isolates will retain 90% or more of the protein with all fat and cholesterol compounds removed. It will also retain more of the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as well. Finally, the whey hydroszilates have undergone a process of predigestion which makes them easier to digest but cuts down greatly on the nutrients available.

The various forms of whey are dried into powder for distribution. These powders are available at both health food stores and supermarkets. Physicians recommend no more than 25 grams of whey protein a day as too much can result in liver conditions. Bodybuilders who wish to take more than 25 grams a day should consult with a health care provider, especially if taking in conjunction with Creatine.

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