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Sports Nutrition

  • 4 Reasons to Include Protein in Your Weight Loss Diet

    If you want to lose weight the bottom line is you need to burn more calories than you eat. For some people who diet rigorously this means just cutting calories at the expense of nutrition. Although you may lose weight from simply cutting calories, if you neglect to include protein in your diet you will often be disappointed with the end results.


    Here are our top four reasons why you need protein in your weight loss diet:

    1. If you eat the right protein foods, they won’t make you fat
    If you choose the right protein, and eat the right quantities, it won’t make you gain weight. Meat products and dairy products may contain fat, but your body needs fat to stay healthy. You can always select items that contain less fat. Low-fat cottage cheese, chicken breasts, egg whites and most varieties of fish are great sources of protein that contain minimal fat, as are low-fat protein shakes.

    2. High protein foods may help suppress hunger cravings
    Protein controls hunger, which is the enemy of any diet. Cravings for high calorie foods should reduce if you eat protein with your meals and snacks. Protein takes longer to digest, so it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

    3. Your body needs protein to complement all types of exercise
    Protein is required for all muscle activity, not just weight-lifting. Whether you are doing cardio, running, biking or another activity, if you don’t eat enough protein, your body will start to take it from your muscles. You may be thin, but you probably won’t look lean and toned. Protein helps rebuild muscle tissue after exercise.

    4. Protein alone won’t make you look like a bodybuilder!
    Healthy protein and even protein powders will help you create a lean, toned body. They will not cause you to create bulky muscle mass. That depends on the type of physical training you do. Bodybuilders spend an enormous amount of time in the gym and consume a huge amount of calories to create and maintain their physique.

    The optimum amount of protein you need every day is still being debated. The minimum recommended protein intake for women is 0.75g per kilo of your body weight, and 0.84g per kilo for men. However, for very active people, or people trying to lose weight, the recommendation varies from 1g/kilo up to 2.2g/kilo of body weight. You don’t need to eat it all in one sitting - you should try to eat some at every meal and use it to help control hunger cravings. For example if you want to avoid cravings before lunch, try eating more protein at breakfast.

    If you are struggling to keep calories low and include protein in your diet, you could consider supplementing with a low carb protein shake. You can also use these shakes to provide a boost after workouts to help repair your muscles.

  • How Do I Choose A Protein Shake?

    Incorporating a protein shake into your daily routine can add nutritional value to your overall diet and when compared to the cost of most traditional sources of protein such as meat, dairy, fish and eggs, protein shakes can be quite economical.


    The main sources of protein used in shakes are derived from animal sources such as eggs and cow’s milk, and include casein, whey and egg whites. For people who want an alternative to animal-based proteins, there are vegetable derived forms like soy and rice protein. Most people who choose a vegetable protein are using the shakes to supplement a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle.

    The most common animal protein found in commercial protein powders is whey, which is extracted from milk. Whey is thought to be the most neutral-tasting protein, and is naturally low in fats. There are two main types of whey protein- whey concentrate and whey isolate. Whey protein concentrate is normally cheaper per gram than whey protein isolate. Whey protein concentrate can be further processed to make whey protein isolate. The isolate usually contains more protein per gram than concentrate, and because more of the extra components have been removed, is usually lower in fats, carbohydrates and lactose. Many protein shake producers use a combination of whey isolate and whey concentrate in their product.

    Some other sources of protein that can be found in commercial protein powders or homemade shakes are casein and egg protein. Casein is the other major protein found in milk and absorbs slowly into the digestive system – great to keep up a slow dose of protein intake. Egg whites aren’t found in many protein shakes available in Australia, but are naturally high in protein and cholesterol free.

    The most popular forms of vegetable proteins are soy and rice. Some people find the texture of rice-based protein powders can be a little gritty, but newer technology has largely overcome these issues.

    Most protein powders utilize a mixture of natural and artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or stevia, so if you have a preferred sweetener, or you’re trying to avoid artificial sweeteners, make sure you check the ingredients list. Sometimes, artificial sweeteners will be listed by their ‘additive code’ number rather than their name, so you may need to do some detective work. There are a wide variety of flavours available, so you should try a range to identify the ones you like best.

    Manufacturers may add additional ingredients to protein powders to make them tastier or easier to use. Lecithin is usually added to improve mixability and reduce clumping. Amino acids are often added, since some people claim amino acids like glutamine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) and arginine aid in muscle recovery and retention, although the evidence for this is still lacking.

    Because the taste and nutritional content of protein powders varies so widely, it’s a good idea to try a few and see which ones you like. Make sure you check the amounts of fat and carbohydrates in the product – some can be surprisingly high.

    We recommend you start by purchasing the smallest size of a product to see if you like it, and then buy in bulk (to save money) once you have settled on the best product for you. So start experimenting and find the perfect protein powder for you!

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