Best Protein to Gain Muscle as We Age
Question: What’s the best protein to keep and gain muscle when you’re older? Answer: As we age, we tend to lose muscle, but this can be reversed by a combination of resistance exercise and proper intake of protein — which is more than many older people consume. On their own, neither of these approaches will help — so don’t just eat more protein, for example.All meats provide complete protein, providing all the amino acids needed for making muscle and in good balance, although some, such as fish, are more healthful than others, such as red meat, due to the type of fat they contain. Plant-based foods can also provide protein and build muscle, although, individually, they may not provide the optimal ratio of amino acids.Protein powders and protein drinks and shakes can also be good sources of protein. In general, whey protein is a great all-around protein for building and maintaining muscle and it contains all the essential amino acids. Be aware that it’s made from milk, so it will naturally contain small amounts of fat, cholesterol and lactose. You can lower the amounts of these substances by choosing a whey isolate, which essentially isolates the whey protein from these other components. Whey and whey isolates taste somewhat like powdered milk. If you have trouble digesting protein or want to absorb it quicker, you can choose a whey hydrolysate in which the protein is, essentially, pre-digested, but be aware that hydrolysates can be somewhat bitter.Other types of protein are available and can be beneficial, such as casein (also from milk), pea, egg, rice, soy, and hemp. See the Protein Powder, Shakes & Drinks Review for more details about each type of protein, using protein to build and maintain muscle mass, how much protein to consume from food and supplements, and when during the day it may be best to consume protein.
Question: Some protein powders contain whey protein concentrate, and others contain whey protein isolates – what is the difference?
Answer: Whey naturally contains a large amount of water, which is removed to create whey protein concentrate. Concentrate will contain mostly protein, but also some lactose, fat and cholesterol. Isolate is further processed, and will typically contain less lactose fat and cholesterol.
Other forms of whey protein include whey hydrolysates and ion-exchange purified whey, which may be digested more quickly than concentrate or isolates, a potential benefit after exercise. However, these forms tend to be more expensive, and may contain fewer of the proteins from whey thought to stimulate the immune system.