Yes, protein beverages are popular. With the deluge of information on the subject, however, it's difficult to separate false claims from the true ones. Let's demystify the role that protein beverages play in an active lifestyle to know when and, most importantly, if it's even a winning combo for us!
Shake or steak?
Protein beverages are popular with fitness fans. Protein is an essential nutrient, particularly when it comes to repairing and building muscles. Most of the time, when we exercise for the sheer joy of movement, we usually do not need to add protein supplements to our diet. Generally, a well-balanced diet, when your meals are 50% vegetables and fruit, 25% grain products and 25% protein-rich food, provides all the essential nutrients (including protein) you need to exercise one to five times a week. However, many guidelines stress that the average North American diet typically leads to low-protein meals, particularly during lunch and dinner. Health-conscious eaters must therefore adopt certain strategies to remedy this situation.
For more information: 5 tips to better distribute protein all day
The protein needs of active people
Active people need more protein than their sedentary counterparts for a simple reason: muscle micro-tears caused by physical activity need to be repaired — and proteins perform most of this work by synthesizing new muscle tissue and repairing muscle fibres that have been damaged by exercise. Four major factors determine the amount of protein you should consume each day:
- Your age
- Your weight
- Your health
- Your level of physical activity (the number of times you exercise per week)
Ideally, your daily protein needs should be calculated by a nutritionist, who can properly assess your needs and calculate the amount you should consume. On average, though,, the estimated protein intake of an active person varies from 1.2 to 2 grams per kilogram of weight. Keep in mind that many studies indicate that there's no benefit to consuming more than 2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Good to know!
The best time to consume protein when you're active
Generally, nutritionists do not recommend exercise without eating at least a snack. Before exercising, it is wise to choose a snack rich in carbohydrates, which digests and hydrates well. But be careful! After exercising, it's just as important to have a snack or a meal! Often, we forget or neglect to do it. Whenever possible, you should have a snack or meal within 30 minutes of working out. Don't underestimate this rule of thumb, since this is the best time to replenish muscle and start the recovery process.
To best recover from a workout, it is important to consume a snack or meal that provides these health benefits:
An intake of 0.3 grams of protein per kilogram of weight
A ratio of 3:1 (three times more carbohydrates than protein) to 4:1 (four times more carbohydrates than protein).
A "perfect snack" example: 250 ml (1 cup) of Natrel Plus + one fruit (such as a banana, an apple or two dates)
A 250 ml (1 cup) serving of Natrel Plus provides 18 g of protein and has a 1:2 ratio (twice as much protein as carbohydrates), which is why it's accompanied by a carbohydrate-rich food choice for the perfect snack! This snack can help you rehydrate, replenish vital energy stores and repair muscle tissue.