I have searched through the other protein powder questions and didn't see this issue specifically addressed. Do you use protein powder? If so, how much, what kind and why? If not, then why not? Curious, thanks.
Yes, I do, for after workouts. There's a ton of details to look at though, depending on how anal you are about it (and your end goals). Not an expert here, but did a lot of research on it when I was picking what protein powder would be best for me to use (in my pre-paleo days). I use a CFM Whey Isolate from proteinfactory.com. This will be a bit long as I explain why.
Goal - general health. I don't take extra protein, I eat plenty of regular food with protein, life is good.
Goal - bulking up and building muscle, faster recovery after intense workouts. I take protein supplements. Generally a couple scoops (roughly 60 grams of protein)+simple carbs 30 minutes after the exercise. Then I'll have a protein high meal an hour to an hour and a half after that (chicken/steak/something similar). Protein powders are used to get a substantial amount of protein in a limited time (you would find it difficult to eat that amount of protein in a regular meal on a constant basis)
Why this way? I'm seeing it in a more structural way vs nutritional (I eat regular food and vitamin supplements for that). In recovering from exercise, your body needs resources (amino acids) from protein to rebuild structural muscle. You want to provide as much as possible as quick as possible within the correct timeframes to support that. Then you need to provide amino acids over time to continue repair (since it doesn't all happen in a couple hours). This means you need a quick digesting protein for that big hit, then slower supplies of protein over time to continue providing resources (all for a viable cost, and a taste that won't prevent you from taking it).
Quick digesting protein. Best is Whey. But there's multiple variations, so you need to know what they are to determine the best of the Wheys. The "active ingredient" in Whey is protein. So what you're looking for is protein content. To understand the contents, you need to know how the Whey's are created.
All Whey starts from milk (8% protein). It has little protein in it to start with, and they spray dry it to concentrate it down, getting rid of the water (Whey Concentrate, around 40% protein range and a lot of fats, lactose, etc). They run that through large polymer filters to get rid of the larger fats (UltraFiltered Whey 50-70% protein). They'll run that through even finer ceramic filters (CrossFlow Microfiltered Isolate 90% protein range) or chemically treat it (Ion Exchange Isolates 95% protein range) to get rid of more fat.
There's one other method not really listed above. Hydrolyzed Whey (50% range). They take whey concentrate and "pre-digest" it with chemicals. Which means it will be digested/absorbed faster by your body. It tastes disgusting, and while it has low protein content, it's faster absorbed. I avoid this. I never saw the need to take a Hydrolyzed whey since Whey already digests fast as it is.
So based on protein content, an Isolate is the best. However, there's two kinds. CrossFlow Microfiltered and Ion Exchange. Ion exchange is known to damage the protein structures. Is this good or bad? Don't know, I didn't see anything one way or the other. But I don't think that it's worth the extra few percent protein to get it over CFM.
The more processed, the more protein, the more cost (and less lactose for those that are lactose intolerant). When looking at the ingredients of protein supplements, you'll usually see mixtures. There's different reasons for it, cost and amount of time to digest. If you see "concentrate" it's the cheap stuff. If you're paying a lot for the protein powder and "concentrate" is the first on the list, you're paying a lot for the cheap stuff...
Personally, I don't like the mixtures. You don't really know the distribution, so asides from possibly paying more for cheap stuff, you usually are getting a larger amount of filler calories/crap. Look at the ingredients. Protein amount / serving size = protein content (your big bang ingredient). You'll usually see it in the low 70% range for the mixtures (compared to 90% for CFM Isolate). So that's a bunch of crud you're taking that's not targeting what you want to do.
Is that really important. Well, it depends on your goals. If you are bulking up and don't care about the extra calories, then mixtures may be fine. If you are trying to prevent weight gain from filler materials (usually to hide the bad taste of some of the whey's), then you don't want to take an unknown extra amount of calories. If it's your only source because you just ran out of the good stuff, it's probably not critical (just watch the carbs) as long as you don't do it long term.
For me, I want to get the best bang for the buck proteinwise (not altered proteins), while not taking in a lot of extra unrelated calories, so I ended up with a vanilla flavored CFM Isolate (90% protein, taste is pretty neutral, easy to mix, no extra sugars/etc).
In re. other proteins. Casein protein (86% protein) good protein, longer digesting time than Whey. A lot of people use it overnight. I found it a pain to mix, taste = meh. Egg protein (80% protein) good slow protein(slower than casein), plus is harder to mix (as you noticed). Taste = meh. Soy protein (90% range), cheap cheap cheap, but known to screw around with estrogen/testosterone levels and can be pretty allergenic. Hemp (50% protein) don't know much about (vegetarians like it and Soy). Chicken/beef run around 30% protein, slow digesting. I eat those for the long term protein distribution.
Like I said, a bit long, hope that helps.
I do not use protein powder anymore, I prefer to eat real food.
I did use them when I was more worried about keeping my protein numbers a little higher. It was never an every day thing, but more when I needed more protein to keep my ratios where I wanted them and my food wasn't quite going to cut it. I tried them before and after workouts during my time losing weight and never seemed to notice any difference in how they affected my weight loss or muscle gains.
I just bought GNC powders that fit my ratios, I have always been worried about calories, so I chose powders/drinks that had the highest amount of protein for the smallest amount of calories. I do keep some Muscle Milk Light on hand for days when I just get too busy to eat, but I hate actually using it. It's got so much nasty stuff in it.
Answering my own question here. Thanks for all your replies, I was genuinely curious. Also wanted to see if anyone had experienced similar symptoms without leading you on. Anyway, I've been thinking about the entire issue of post workout nutrition quite a bit recently, so here's the part on protein powder.
I recently started a barbell / kettlebell / occasional sprint routine. Dairy free for 9 months prior to that, but thought the powders might help in recovery. As a candidate for someone who 'should' benefit from protein powders I'm a good one. Hitting the weights hard, also doing barbells in morning and kettlebells in afternoon 3 days a week. So tried 4 different ones.
MRM whey. Good quality, no hormones, just when protein concentrate and isolate with vanilla and stevia. Price was about $25 at local stores for 2 lbs but there is a deal on bodybuilding.com that is about $47 for 3 canisters.
MRM egg white protein. Good quality but even more expensive.
Syntrax Micellar (based on Martin Berkhan's rec at leangains). Yuck! Tasted OK but didn't digest well, lingering bad taste and noticeable body odor the next day. About the same cost as MRM whey $25 for 2 pounds.
Roseacre Farms pure egg white powder. In terms of purity this is good, just dried egg whites, but this doesn't mix well and isn't very tasty. Cheap though.
Even with the better quality MRM whey, I noticed a stiffness, general muscle ache and joint pain after eating (regular 1 portion). Also experienced a mild bleck taste (though not nearly as bad as the Micellar). This got me thinking about protein powder in general (hence the question). These comments may go on a bit, but let's back up. What IS protein powder?
Protein powder whether milk based or egg based is a protein part of a food without (or very little) fat or carbs. The more I consider this point, the more un-natural it becomes. Maybe bodybuilders think eating more protein will mean more muscles, but I think this is mis-guided as 'eat fat, get fat.' Perhaps fat hysteria of the last few decades is also playing a part. Regardless, proteins in nature are always accompanied by at least some fat. Even the very lean proteins like chicken breast or canned tuna have about twice the fat of whey. And obviously egg whites are accompanied by their yolks.
Certainly adequate and maybe extra protein is required for muscle gains, but it cannot be as simple as 'eat more protein, get bigger muscles.' If all growth required extreme amounts of protein, then milk of all species would have a lot more of it and much less fat. As we know, the body is more about response to a stimulus in a certain environment. The body will respond with muscle growth if it has the stimulus (resistance exercise) and the environment (nutrition and rest). But boiling all this down to 'eat more protein' seems a little dumb.
There are bodybuilding sites everywhere that recommend protein as soon as possible after a workout for 'maximum recovery.' However, after watching my body over the past several weeks, experimenting with protein powders and sometimes without, I think this is pretty much BS. The process of recovery is obviously not a 3-4 hour process. It is a 24-48 hour or more process. Bodybuilders tacitly admit this also, because no one recommends doing deadlifts or squats on consecutive days. Anyway, the point is if recovery is a 24-48 hour process, what is the big deal about ingesting a protein concentrate that will get in your system a few hours faster than a regular meal? In fact, I am thinking the opposite is true and that overall quality of nutrition - not just post workout, but pre, post and the day after - is all part of it.
Also, the only reason people are eating plain chicken breast, canned tuna and egg whites is fat hysteria; I have no such hysteria and these foods don't really sound too appetizing without some added fat. If I wind up adding fat to whey or egg white shakes, then what is the point of the powder in the first place?
The last issue is cost. While the bodybuilding.com deal on MRM makes it more of an option, and the Roseacre egg whites are cheap enough (though difficult to get down), still for $17 I can get about 4+ pounds of humanely raised beef bottom round. This is ideal for making jerky, pemmican or rare roast beef. I think this is the real ticket for recovery. Instead of milk without its fat or carbs, or eggs without their yolks, I am eating more red meat in the form of appetizer or as-I-cook munchie and some extra eggs throughout the week. If I get to the point of a mass gain maybe I'll consider some milk, but even then probably won't bother with un-natural foods like whey and egg white powder.
These should get you started. As far as answering your question... I think most people on this site tend to avoid protein powders/bars for reasons such as additives, insulin surge, prefer to eat their calories. Depends on what your goals are etc.
Best of luck to you.
Yup, I use it -- I was a low-carber before getting interested in Primal but it's too useful to give up, and I've maintained my goal weight for several years now so I see no problem even if it isn't strictly paleo. I add it to Greek yogurt to give it enough protein to make a meal and some sweetness, and I use it for things like coconut pancakes (the core ingredients for me are eggs, protein powder, and a limited amount of coconut flour) or other things I might want to bake -- it bakes awesomely. I use Jay Robb brand, no additives, made from grass-fed milk and stevia sweetened. (I'm a middle-aged female, no body-builder, but quite lean -- 5'4" and 120.)
I do not eat protein powder because there is not a single commercial one out there that wouldn't wreck my stomach.
However, that said, I do still crave the occasional green smoothie, and a couple packets of gelatin thickens it up nicely with a hearty heft of protein to boot. (7g of protein per sachet.) I've heard both good things and bad things about gelatin, though, so use at your own risk? :)
I'm trying to add about 10 pounds and will drink about 30 grams immediately after working out only because it is about an hour before I can get to my post workout breakfast (commute, shower at work, etc). Plenty of folks on here would still try to eat real food in the car, and I have tried this. However, when I do, I'm not hungry for what I consider to be my actual post-workout meal. I use whey isolate from proteinfactory. I think I am somewhat lactose intolerant, and I do okay with this. It's not my favorite thing in the world but a tool for the time being.
I can't think of any reason other than that those that do heavy workouts feel it might help with weightlifting recovery and muscle gain. However, I consider protein powder to not be paleo and I think most people should not bother with it.
Why the love affair with protein powder? 11 Answers
Gelatin -- A Healthy Protein Powder? 4 Answers
Thoughts on this Protein Powder. 11 Answers
Sprouted Rice Protein? 1 Answer