Protein is an important component that stimulates your muscles to grow and is used by men in particular to achieve faster success.
In this article we want to discuss the question of whether proteins are also suitable for women, what advantages and disadvantages they bring and how the protein intake has to take place. Also if you read further you will also learn about the notorious myths about protein for women and we will summarize the content to present you 10 useful tips for protein intake.
Protein: What is it and what is it needed for?
As you surely know protein is an important part of our body and the demand for protein increases automatically at higher loads such as sports.
These proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids, joined together in chains.
Proteins can be obtained from normal foods or from protein supplements such as protein shakes or protein bars but keep in mind that there is a limit to the daily protein requirement that should be followed by both women and men.
Why is protein for women so important?
The problem with many female diets is the lack of protein commonly found in meat, fish, eggs, quark, legumes and some cereals.
So what can a lack of proteins do to a woman’s body?
- Nervous and physical fatigue, weakness and tiredness can occur
- The condition of the skin, hair and nails deteriorates with a lack of nutrients in the body
- A lack can also lead to a deterioration of the actual body quality and a slower metabolism because muscle tissue is destroyed
It can therefore be said that proteins are needed by men and women to preserve the natural functions of the body.
So always keep in mind: When you do sports your body needs extra protein because there is a higher consumption of nutrients and amino acids and the body tries to recreate these after each workout.
The minimum protein intake per day for an inactive person of any gender is 0.8 g per 1 kg of weight, ie at a weight of 70 kg at least 64 g of protein is needed, for athletes this amount is 2-2.5 times higher.
Because it’s not always possible to obtain the necessary amount of protein with normal food protein supplements come into play to fill this gap.
What are protein supplements?
Protein supplements consist of concentrated protein in form of a dry powder. This is not necessarily chemistry as protein-based products usually consist of milk, eggs, soybeans, or meat which have been separated in the processing of fats and carbohydrates.
This protein powder is soluble in liquids and is usually consumed as a protein shake or protein bar, sometimes even as a wholesome meal.
Quite often sweeteners are added to make the drink taste better. Of course you can also buy Sport Protein without any additional flavors.
Sport protein in the form of shakes or snacks helps the body meet its natural needs and accelerate recovery as well as muscle growth.
What are the benefits of protein for women?
- Promotes the growth and renewal of muscle tissue
- Suppresses catabolism (destruction of muscle tissue)
- Strengthens immunity and supports recovery after workout training
- Provides micronutrients to tissues and organs
And what are the benefits of these protein supplements?
- Available as a snack or meal
- Reduces appetite which helps if you go for weight loss
- Convenient for consumption: as a cocktail or in the form of protein bars or diet cookies for dessert
- Balancing the required daily intake where pure protein is better absorbed by the body than protein from normal foods
But despite the many benefits of proteins for women, there are certain factors to keep in mind:
Firstly, not a single protein shake will replace natural products with the vitamins and minerals they contain.
Secondly, excessive protein intake and exceeding the daily protein standard can cause a number of various problems:
Gastrointestinal injury, loss of calcium, constipation, kidney and liver disease. Therefore protein intake should be guided by certain principles and should always be balanced.
Help proteins lose weight?
There are a number of studies proving that the intake of proteins stimulates the process of burning fat during a diet.
However, it should be noted at this point that this is just a protein product that does not play a very significant role in weight loss but a protein shake helps to reduce appetite and is definitely a low calorie snack.
The most important role in weight loss is the total amount and quality of food consumed daily and not protein intake itself.
Protein shakes were originally developed to support the growth of muscle mass, increase athletic performance and shorten recovery times.
Are proteins recommended for women in general?
There are no proven disadvantages to taking protein because it is equally necessary for men and women.
But in order to answer the question correctly we have to distinguish in which cases their inclusion makes sense, in which cases it can be taken optionally and in which cases the protein intake can have a negative effect.
When does it make sense to take additional proteins?
- In professional sports or regular, intense stress on the body to restore nutrients and amino acids
- During weight training to maintain or build muscle
- When an additional source of protein is needed due to restrictions on the consumption of products such as meat, fish, cottage cheese and eggs
So if you exercise the protein intake will have a positive effect on muscle building and its regeneration.
In these cases it is possible to consume proteins, but not necessarily:
- If you do not do sports but just want to lose weight
- For simple fitness such as jogging and light exercises, group exercises, etc.
- If you are doing strength training and are already eating enough natural protein foods such as meat, fish and vegetable protein
Of course you can use protein as a snack, whole meal or as an ingredient for a dish even if you do not do sports. Protein helps to reduce appetite and is a good option for a low-calorie snack.
When can additional protein intake be counterproductive?
- If you have a chronic or acute liver or kidney disease
- If you suffer from gastrointestinal disease you should seek the permission of a doctor
- At a protein intolerance
- If one has an individual intolerance to the components that make up the protein (e.g for lactose intolerance no whey protein may be taken but in this case it may be replaced by another type of protein)
- If one has side effects when taking a protein such as Constipation, diarrhea or allergic reactions
- If there is an intolerance to sweeteners (in which case you can choose a protein without additives)
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding (many professionals disagree on this point but it would be better not to take any risks here)
Especially in diseases of the kidneys or the liver it is not recommended to consume protein because the absorption of protein is a serious burden for these organs.
5 myths about proteins for women
Myth 1: Proteins help women lose weight
Proteins are not fat burners and no magic remedy that will help you to get rid of excess pounds.
It is simply the product obtained from the product which is provided in dry form for ease of ingestion.
Proteins can be taken as low-calorie snacks or as a meal, reducing the total daily calorie intake.
There are studies that proteins in combination with a low-calorie diet and exercise increase fat loss but it’s worth more on a daily basis calorie deficit to pay attention.
Myth 2: Women do not need protein because it makes the muscles grow faster and the figure becomes more masculine
First, it is very difficult for women to increase muscle mass due to the specificities of the hormonal background. Even strong weight training and adequate protein intake do not guarantee a serious increase in muscle mass, depending more on genetic characteristics.
Second, protein does not directly affect muscle growth but only provides a more favorable environment for muscle tissue maintenance and growth.
Therefore, the fear of losing the female figure through a higher protein intake in this case is unjustified. Muscular bodies in women are more the result of hours of heavy weight training.
Myth 3: Protein is just harmful chemistry
As mentioned at the beginning, sports protein is made from natural products such as milk, soy, eggs (depending on the type of protein).
By processing, it is separated from other components leaving a pure concentrated protein.
At the same time, protein in this form is absorbed faster and better than the protein from our diet because it has been purified from fats and carbohydrates.
It is thus a pure protein in dry form for easier storage and for consumption and is not chemistry.
Myth 4: Protein also helps build muscle mass without training
No, that’s not correct. Protein does not help build muscle mass when not doing strength training at the same time. Many people think it’s enough to drink protein shakes for the muscles to grow, but in reality it should only be considered as a form of support during regular exercise.
Myth 5: Protein does not help women at all because they do not care about their muscles – fit and slim is the goal
Well-defined muscles are not only a sign of a strong body, they also contribute to the metabolic regulation of the body. The more muscles in your body, the more calories it can burn at rest (1 muscle cell burns 4 times more energy than fat).
Different or unbalanced diets and a lack of physical activity destroy muscle tissue because in low-calorie diets the body burns mostly muscle tissue (due to its higher energy content) rather than adipose tissue.
In principle, a female body tends to lose more muscle mass with a calorie deficit.
In addition, there is a natural decrease in muscle mass with age.
All this slows down the metabolism and makes the process of weight loss difficult.
It’s no wonder that most women immediately associate the toned body on any sports nutrition product packaging with the word “protein”.
After clarifying these myths you do not have to worry about suddenly getting a more manly figure because it takes months or years of intense strength training in the gym to achieve this effect.
Does protein make you fat?
Some women complain that they are gaining weight when taking proteins.
Protein is not to blame for weight gain because this comes mainly from excessive calories that are added to the body.
For example, if your daily norm is 1800 kcal / day and you consume 2500 kcal you will inevitably lose weight, regardless of the protein taken. But if you use protein and exceed the calorie intake you also gain weight.
In addition, the calorie content of protein should also be considered in your diet.
All protein shakes usually contain a certain amount of kcal so these numbers should also be taken into account when calculating the daily calories. Calculating the calories of the protein powder is very simple and usually the amount per dose of a measuring spoon is described on the packaging otherwise you have to do a small conversion.
An example: Optimums popular whey concentrate in 100 g powder contains:
Calories: 375 kcal
Protein: 75 g
Fat: 3.8 g
Carbohydrates: 12.5 g
Accordingly, a scoop (30 g) contains:
As you can see the protein powder doesn’t have zero calories.
So if you do not want to gain weight suddenly you should consider these extra calories in the total calorie amount per day.
If the liquid in which the powder dissolves is not pure water ( e.g. milk) then you should also consider its calorie content.
It is therefore very important to keep a food diary when eating proteins because exceeding the protein standard has the same negative consequences for the body as a deficiency.
Which protein is particularly suitable for women?
Basically, one can say that sports protein can not be classified as purely “male” and “female”.
But the most popular protein products for women are based on a whey concentrate and whey isolate because these are ideal for intake before and after exercise.
If you have never bought a protein before, it is better to choose this variety.
For a start we can recommend a whey concentrate but you should definitely pay attention to the protein content (less than 80% protein should not be taken).
In addition casein protein can be purchased and taken as a snack after dinner or at night.
We can recommend the following bestseller protein powder:
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
What types of proteins are there?
Proteins are basically subdivided into fast and slow digestible variants.
Fast proteins such as whey are best consumed in the morning, before or after training.
They are suitable for rapid regeneration of the muscles and help to stop the catabolism.
Slow proteins, e.g. Casein is best consumed instead of a meal or overnight.
They are slowly digested and saturate the muscle fibers with all the necessary amino acids for a long time.
1. Whey Protein (Whey): The most popular type of protein.
It is quickly absorbed, tastes pleasant and dissolves well in liquid.
The intake takes place here before and after the training as well as in the morning.
Depending on the degree of concentration of protein there are 3 types of whey protein: concentrate (up to 90% protein), isolate (90-95% protein), hydrolysed (99%).
The higher the protein concentration the more expensive these products are.
2. Casein protein (casein): Slow protein, digested for a long time and poorly soluble in water.
Not suitable for use before and after training but ideal for a snack or meal at night.
It is high in calcium and can be consumed as a meal instead of at dinner or at bedtime.
3. Soy protein: consists of vegetable proteins that are poorly soluble in water and do not have the most pleasant taste.
But this protein is suitable for vegetarians and those with intolerance to dairy products.
Can be used between meals or after exercise.
Soy protein is particularly suitable for women because soy has a positive influence on the production of female hormones.
4. Egg protein (egg): contains the entire set of amino acids and is the most digestible of all proteins.
The only negative is the relatively high cost but it is a good alternative for those who can not tolerate the dairy products.
5. Complex (multicomponent) protein: contains a mixture of different proteins, both slow and fast.
This protein is suitable for women as a supplement to whey.
It can be taken between meals, in the morning or at bedtime.
What is the best time to take proteins?
- In the morning it is better to drink whey or egg protein
- Instead of a meal (or between meals) it is better to drink complex, soy or egg protein
- It is better to drink whey protein before training (one hour) and after training
- At night it is better to drink casein protein
10 tips on protein intake for women
1. Keep in mind that the body can’t consume more than 30 to 35 grams of protein per meal.
So if you need to consume 60g of protein divide it into two 30g portions.
2. The higher the training intensity and the more muscles you use during the sets the more protein you need to consume after your workout. For example, after a split workout with some muscle groups 20-25 grams of additional protein will be enough and up to 40 grams will be sufficient after a total body workout.
3. Proteins should be taken not only on training days but also on rest days.
If you train 3 times a week and want to progress in training and muscle building you have to take in proteins every day.
The dosage may be based on the total amount of protein of a previous training day.
4. If you want to absorb proteins from natural foods without additional protein powder one cocktail will suffice after training per day.
5. While taking proteins, drink at least 2 liters of water per day to avoid gastrointestinal problems and improve digestion.
6. Be sure to consider the extra protein in the total calorie content of the daily diet.
7. If you do not like protein shakes you can add protein powder to other meals or make fruit or berry smoothies.
8. Women love to use proteins as an ingredient for protein bars or protein cookies which are great diet snacks.
9. If you decide to take additional protein it should not be replaced with all the main meals!
Proteins for women should always be considered as supplements and never replace a balanced diet.
10. The ultimate goal of a well-defined body depends not only on the protein but also on the overall quality of the food consumed, the quality of the strength training and the genetic characteristics.
Here are the best sellers which are recommended by millions of users:
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound
BSN Protein Crisp Bar by Syntha-6, Low Sugar Whey Protein Bar, 20g of Protein, Peanut Butter Crunch, 12 Count (Packaging may vary)
TOPWARE 28oz Stainless Steel Classic Protein Mixer Shaker Bottle Dishwasher Safe BPA Free Leak Proof Mixing Shaker Cup Large Portable Loop for Sports Fitness Gym Workout Nutrition Supplements Powder