Whey protein supplements vs protein from whole foods
Q: “What are the differences between whey protein supplements and protein from whole foods with respect to muscular reconstruction?”
A: The main differences between whey protein supplements and protein from whole foods include the amino acid composition and absorption rate of the protein. You’ve probably heard that whey protein absorbs quite quickly relative to other proteins, which is absolutely true. Egg protein and casein protein (the other protein in milk besides whey) absorb much slower than whey, therefore making each protein ideal at specific times throughout the day. Every type of protein absorbs at different rates and has varying concentrations of amino acids, so it’s important to get as wide of a variety of proteins as possible from whole foods and then use protein supplements after this basic requirement is met. As far as muscular recovery goes, it’s more important to concentrate on total protein intake rather than the types of proteins. For example, it’s much better to consume 200 grams of mixed proteins from animal meats, whey supplements, eggs, fish, legumes, and nuts than it is to consume 150 grams of a touted “super protein” like egg whites all day long.
In my opinion, I’d aim to have a whey shake first thing in the morning and pre or post-workout. I’d have a casein shake at night so the protein is able to be absorbed while I’m sleeping and help increase nitrogen retention in muscle tissues, protein synthesis, and overall muscular recovery. Finally, I’d eat 30-50 grams of lean protein with each of my 4-6 meals throughout the day, such as protein from lean meats, fish, eggs and egg whites, organic whole milk, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and even fruits. Furthermore, the vitamin and phytonutrient benefits of these whole foods in addition to their protein content should not be overlooked. Here, balance and moderation are key.