Slow vs. Fast Proteins
Q. A guy at the gym told me that protein powders get digested at different rates, and that I should take in different types of protein through the day. What types of protein should I take?
A. Bodybuilders need both slow- and fast-digesting proteins in their diets because each type has certain muscle-building advantages. Here’s what you need to know.
RULE #1 – SPEED IT UP
Bodybuilders should incorporate fast-digesting forms of protein into their diets. These will initiate protein synthesis much more quickly for greater growth and recovery. Research has shown that whey protein isolates and concentrates can increase protein synthesis due to their solubility and they’re ability to quickly enter the blood stream. Further research has shown that whey protein isolates and concentrates raise leucine levels (post-meal) higher and longer than any other commercially available protein source. The big buzz for protein marketers these days is to add whey protein hydrolysate to their products claiming that since they are predigested (hydrolyzed) they must be best for building muscle. The truth is, from the research I’ve seen, if your goal is to pack on slabs of new muscle whey protein isolates and concentrates are far better than hydrolysates. That’s
because whey isolates and concentrates have been shown to raise the anabolic amino acid leucine in the bloodstream higher and longer than so-called faster acting whey hydrolysate. There is data that supports a proprietary whey hydrolysate called NatraBoost® (marketed by Ascend in Australia), for the specific claim of restoring force loss from eccentric exercise. But, that is an entirely different mechanism than stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
RULE #2 – SLOW IT DOWN
Research has shown that taking in slow-digesting proteins is an excellent way to slow protein breakdown. In essence, slow-digesting proteins ‘trickle’ into your bloodstream, feeding from breaking down your hard-earned muscles for the aminos they contain. Whole food forms of protein such as meat, whole eggs and cheese are slowly digested forms of protein. Since these foods take longer to digest, they help keep you full longer if you’re trying to lean out or walk that fine line of insanity called contest prep. In addition to whole foods, other slow acting (slowly digested) proteins include milk protein isolates, concentrates and micellar casein.