Over the last few years, there has been a lot of hype around the different types of protein powders available on the market. Since we live in an era where misleading information is hard to differ from accurate details, let’s take a look at protein powders with a focus on a somewhat new product, bone broth protein.
Typically, the most popular questions about protein either involve which is better soy vs. whey or concentrate vs. isolate. Then there is the growing number of choices in the plant-based protein realm. These newer plant-based protein options include pea and legume which are higher in branched chain amino acids and lysine than soy. Brown rice protein isolate is becoming pretty popular, but lacks a few essential amino acids that would make it more mainstream. Then, of course, hemp protein is becoming very trendy since it delivers nearly a complete set of amino acids from a plant. The final plant-based protein powder that is making its way into popularity with vegans is pumpkin protein powder which does not have all the amino acids, but is very nutrient dense and full of crucial minerals.
Let’s clear up another aspect regarding protein powders and that is the whey concentrate vs. whey isolate differences. This age-old debate tends to be most important for athletes that are looking for quick muscle synthesis and repair. The idea is that refined protein isolate is achieved through the ion exchange process, removing more carbohydrates, fat, and lactose, giving the protein faster delivery to the muscles with fewer calories. Perhaps the best reason for someone who wants to use whey protein isolate is if they are lactose intolerant. Protein concentrate is about 80 percent protein and protein isolate is closer to 90 percent protein. The isolate debate will continue, with many other aspects to consider, such as fast muscle synthesis and other points of interest which I will cover in a different column.
Plant-based protein is great for vegans and vegetarians that are sticking to a rigid diet. Then the other area of debate around plant-based proteins is the fact that plant proteins rarely have a full set of essential amino acids, making them somewhat specific for the average consumer.
But what about the new trendy bone broth protein? Bone broth protein is neither plant-based or whey-based. Bone broth protein does not have lactose, is low in fat and low in carbohydrates. For vegans, it is problematic because the bone broth is based on animal byproducts. Bone broth protein is made by simmering tendons, ligaments and whole bone (primarily from beef or chicken) until condensed, then turned into powdered bone broth protein for packaging.
Bone broth protein, although cooked, is not heavily processed like isolate proteins and delivers protein plus collagen, gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin along with a bunch of essential minerals. One of the most exciting and perhaps most important aspects of bone broth protein is its effect on your gut. The gelatin and collagen in the bone broth protein supports your digestive health by reducing inflammation and helps heal your intestinal lining.
Studies have also shown that bone broth protein is more supportive of your joints and skin. Bone broth protein is perhaps a better choice for an all-around protein for those of us that are aging and running into more joint pain and loss of skin elasticity. Specifically, men and women north of 40 should ensure they are getting enough protein in their diet. Women need to pay close attention to their protein intake since it takes a bit more protein to efficiently feed their body enough to keep them healthy as compared to men of a similar age.
Bone broth protein seems to have more overall benefits then whey- or plant-based protein. I am not saying that whey isolate may not be a better choice for weight training and plant protein the best option for vegans or vegetarians. Both protein types may very well be the best options for these people.
So how much protein does your average person need each day to stay healthy? Regardless of which type of protein you choose, according to the USDA, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults for protein needs to make up 17 percent to 21 percent of your daily caloric intake. That means your average adult requires 0.36 grams of quality protein per pound of body weight per day.
Do the math, take your weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kilograms. Weight in kilograms x either 0.36, if you are sedentary, or .80 if you are moderately active, or as high as 1.8 if you are very athletic = protein grams. Example for me would be: 178 pounds / 2.2 = 81 (Rounded Up) 81 X 1.8 = 145.8 grams of protein per day
One last point to understand, you cannot live on lean protein alone and over-consuming can be harmful to your kidney function. When the amino acids are not used, they convert to calories. This process of converting protein or amino acids to calories removes the amino acids of their nitrogen, creating nitrogen waste. This nitrogen waste arrives at your kidneys as toxic urea and must be filtered out. Again, regardless of which type of protein you choose to consume, never overdo your protein consumption thinking it is a way to diet without carbs or can fix digestive problems. Follow the guidelines above and as usual, all things in moderation.
Judd Jones is a director for The Hagadone Corporation and Certified Health Coach.