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Protein Powder Vs Food

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Why protein powder instead of just more food?

The reasons for consuming protein powders instead of food are usually because of its high bioavailability, digestion speed and cost effectiveness and simplicity.

Bioavailability (BV)

Bioavailability refers to the ability of the body to absorb a food type upon digestion. At the time of introducing the BV, eggs were considered to have the highest bioavailability of any food source and therefore it was given a BV of 100. However since this time as is covered in other articles, protein powders have been found to have a higher BV than eggs, with some protein powders rating as high as 170 when combined with digestive enzymes. Basically this means that when you supplement with protein powders your body absorbs more of the protein during the digestion process than any solid food source.

Digestion Speed

As was discussed earlier in this article, some protein powders can begin digestion in as quickly as 10 mins after consumption. Of any food source, again the protein in eggs is one of the fastest digesting proteins. However this protein in eggs will take about 2 hours and the proteins in foods like chicken and tuna can take 3 hours to digest and be absorbed into the blood stream.

After a hard workout or strenuous exercise even 60 mins can be too long for your muscles to wait for protein. It is well known by those who exercise that the most important time to have a protein shake is immediately prior to exercise. After exercise your body will have higher absorption of foods in order to rebuild muscles and replenish energy. If your body does not receive proper nutrition to begin this process it can result in continued muscle break down (catabolism) after your exercise is finished. Because of the much slower digestion speeds of food proteins it is impossible to feed your muscles with adequate protein immediately prior to exercise to maximise muscle and fitness gains without protein shakes.

Cost Effectiveness and Simplicity

People often complain about supplements being expensive but when you do the maths you will find it much more economical to use supplements over food. Typically the required before and after workout protein to ensure proper recovery is about 30g. Many protein products contain about 30g per serve and can cost less than $1. To get 30g of protein from the cheapest available food sources equates to about 1L of milk or 185g of tuna or 8 eggs. Now if you are a real bargain hunter you may be able to purchase each of these foods for $1. However most people would find it very difficult to stomach any of these foods (especially in those quantities) immediately after exercise and trying to eat these foods every day will get old very quickly. Not to mention that these foods have lower BV and much slower digestion speeds.

Suddenly the popularity of supplements is understood in a new light. It’s simple protein powders are better, faster and cheaper sources of protein than food, case closed.

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Source by Danny Tesch

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