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Is protein only for sportsmen or also for those who sit on the couch?

Aug 2, 2022

By LivGood Team

Is protein only for sportsmen or also for those who sit on the couch?

It is undeniable that protein is essential for a healthy lifestyle and that it is important to include it in our diet. According to WHO (World Health Organization), "the proteins we eat are important for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's cells, tissues, and organs. Each protein has unique functions. Proteins are essential components of muscles, skin, bones, and the body as a whole. Proteins are essential for the formation of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies, and are critical to maintaining the health of human beings."

Present in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, tofu, seeds, and in some legumes, such as lentils, beans or chickpeas. Protein brings numerous benefits to the body. For example:
- It has a satiating effect and reduces hunger. Increasing the amount of protein in a meal will make it more satiating. In a weight loss process, it may make sense to have a good protein intake distributed throughout the day.
- Helps maintain healthy bones. Protein not only helps to fight sarcopenia, it also helps maintain good bone structure. For the maintenance of musculoskeletal structure you should prefer products that mention "source of protein" or "high protein content".
- Helps increase muscle mass. This is probably the best known protein benefit, very much associated with athletes and people who workout at the gym. For those who want to gain muscle mass, not only should they include protein daily in their meals, but they should also invest in weight training;

It's on this last point that the question about extra doses of protein arises. Is it, in fact, necessary to take additional doses of protein on a daily basis or is it only for those who exercise?

The scientific community argues that if you consume protein daily you don't need to take any extra doses. It is perfectly possible to give your body the right amount of protein at meal times, as long as you make the right food choices. But for athletes, sportsmen and women, these daily doses may not be enough, and it might make sense to take the well-known protein supplements that help maintain and increase muscle mass.

Powdered protein supplements taken before a workout prevent the body from taking the protein already present in the muscles. After the workout, it helps repair not only the muscles, but also the tissues.

It also happens to be relevant to understand the right amount to take after training or even during the day, depending on weight, age, and regularity of exercise. Either way, any supplement should be taken as recommended by a nutritionist.

Types of protein powders
There are different types of protein powders for different needs and lifestyles. The most common are:
- Whey. This is one of the best known among the sports community and contains amino acids that the body needs so much. It is easily soluble and is widely used in shakes.
- Vegetable protein. It is the most suitable for those who follow a vegan lifestyle and do not consume any type of animal derivative. There are soy, pea, rice, chia, or almonds, for example. Be aware that these may not have all the essential amino acids - check with your nutritionist.
- Casein. Casein, similar to whey, is also used by athletes, and the big difference between the two is that whey is absorbed faster by the body than casein. What happens is that casein molecules are larger, so the protein takes longer to be transformed into amino acids.