The Protein Factor

There is one aspect of nutrition that traverses all sports conversations and that is the topic of protein. No matter what kind of athlete you talk to and even non-athletes there are always discussions revolving around protein supplementation and meal replacements. The protein market is one that is incredibly misunderstood and highly over marketed with so much sugar coating that any consumer will automatically feel there is a benefit to consuming it without really knowing why, how much and when. The entire idea of type of protein intake is completely misunderstood by most and I decided to write this blog to provide the necessary facts so that you as the consumer can make the right decision for yourself.

There are two main types of protein sources and these are animal based protein or plant based protein. The most common animal based proteins are dairy and egg. We can further break down the dairy based proteins into:

Dairy Proteins
Milk Concentrates
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
Casein / Caseinates

Whey protein is a milk derivative which has a very strong amino acid profile. There is a major difference between whey protein isolate and concentrate. The concentrate is derived from a simple filtering process which contains a varying amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the form of lactose.The structure of whey concentrate is that it is not denatured and therefore provides health benefits in its natural form.
Whey isolate is derived from further processing and purification of whey concentrate. When this is done most of the biological structures that exist in whey concentrate are broken down and only the protein chains and amino acid structures remain. This makes whey protein isolate a higher concentration of pure protein. It also generally lands up being more expensive due to the further processing involved in getting it to this stage, however it does lack some nutritional benefits due to the denaturing process.

What about whey hydrolysate or hydrolyzed protein as its called. Unlike whey concentrate or whey isolate hydrolysates are enzymatically predigested for maximal speed of absorption. There are a few methods which are utilised in breaking down the whey into a pre-digested state. Personally I am completely opposed this type of protein as its completely unnatural and as humans with a digestive system our bodies are completely capable of breaking down and digesting protein in  the unique manner for which we were created.

1. Acid Hydrolysis
Acid hydrolysis is a fairly harsh process, usually carried out at high temperature. This process attacks all peptide bonds in the protein substrate, destroying some of the individual amino acids.For example, tryptophan is usually totally lost in an acid hydrolysis. Cystine, serine and threonine are partially broken down and asparagine and glutamine are converted to their acidic forms. Vitamins are mostly destroyed by acid hydrolysis. Salt may be formed during neutralization of an acid hydrolysis, resulting in a product with high salt content.

2. Enzymatic Hydrolysis
Proteolytic enzymes hydrolyze proteins more gently than acids, do not require high temperature and usually target specific peptide bonds.The material that results from a proteolytic digestion is a mixture of amino acids and polypeptides of varying lengths.For example, the enzyme pepsin will cut an amino acid chain where there is a phenylalanine or leucine bond. Papain will cut the chain adjacent to arginine, lysine and phenylalanine. Pancreatin shows activity at arginine, lysine, tyrosine, tryptophan, phenylalanine and leucine bonds.

3. Microbial Hydrolysis
Microbial proteases, proteolytic enzymes secreted by microorganisms, are becoming more widely used in peptone production. Proteases from bacterial, algal, fungal and yeast sources offer a wide variety of enzyme activities, can be produced in large scale, and usually require only simple purification. As far as I am concerned hydrolyzed protein is a chemical treatment process. Its completely unnatural and from a health point of view its completely struck off my personal list of animal proteins.

Casein protein is another milk derivative. Its not very water soluble and the attractive property of the casein molecule is its ability to form a gel or clot in the stomach, which makes it very efficient in nutrient supply. This means it is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream, sometimes lasting for several hours. It is often recommended as a pre-bed time protein snack or for weight loss when that keep you full feeling lasts for many hours. As a post exercise recovery it is too slow as far as digestion and absorption is concerned and would serve best if it was blended with a faster digesting protein to provide some post exercise stability and reduce the hunger cravings.

Plant Based Proteins
There are a number of plant based proteins on the market. The most popular vegetable proteins are of course soy and wheat protein which make up for more than 90% of the plant base protein market. Soy protein being the most popular is a vegetable protein made from soybeans. While most vegetable proteins are “incomplete” proteins, soy protein is a “complete” protein, and it is comparable in quality to many animal-based sources. Soy protein is low in saturated fat, and it has powerful antioxidant properties that have been shown to play a role in lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease. Soy like Whey comes in a concentrate and isolate option. The soy isolate of course provides a much higher and purer form of protein content as opposed to the concentrate version.

The Soy / Whey Debate
For many years there has been an ongoing debate on which protein is better soy or whey.
There is no doubt that whey protein has a slightly stronger amino acid profile than soya. It is a faster digesting protein and quicker absorbed. Soya digests slower than whey but is 100% digested and absorbed. There has always been a lot of conversation and reference to phytoestrogens in soy however over the years this has never actually been shown to be an issue based on any solid scientific evidence. One of the things to be concerned about around hormones is actually often missed in the whey protein industry which also needs to be highlighted. Whey is a derivative of milk, which comes from cows which means high hormone levels. Its a fact that cows produce milk while pregnant which is over a large portion of the year, but moreover cows have been treated with hormones A large percentage of milk comes from cows injected with bovine growth hormone (rBGH), along with a vast array of antibiotics and other drugs. There is an expression which states a cows milk is for calf’s not for humans. Just take a look at the size of a cow. Cows milk is there to help their calf’s grow and strengthen. It was uniquely designed for a calf but not uniquely designed for a human.

Another critical element which has been pointed out is that whey of course contains IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor). IGF-1 has been shown in a number of medical studies to be a major contributor to cancer risk and cancer cell growth. Ref sites: (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/igf-1-as-one-stop-cancer-shop/ & http://www.enerex.ca/sk/articles/say-no-way-to-whey)

Personally I avoid dairy. I suffered the affects of dairy without realizing it for so long and once I eliminated it from my diet I began to see major benefits.

Another shadow hanging over the plant based proteins like soy was the introduction of GMO (Genetically Modified) version. Again this was another huge minus in the case of soy’s fight to stay credible as a vegetable protein in the market. Once the anti-GMO organizations began to expose the risks of GMO food (specifically soy and corn) consumption and the possible health risks, soy again became a protein to cast aside. I actually agree in that if a food is genetically modified then it should be completely avoided. This is not to say that all soy products are GMO, there are many on the market that are GMO free it just needs to be researched before purchase.

Both whey and soya have their issues and neither is perfect from a protein source point of view. In short I have provided some insight on the benefits of the major animal and plant based proteins and at the same time I have basically said avoid them.

What options does that leave us with from a protein perspective?

Well to be honest your major source of protein should be derived from proper and healthy nutrient consumption. What you consume in the form of protein from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night will play the most major role in ensuring you are getting enough protein in your diet.

However as active people or someone looking for a quick protein fix, especially in the form of post workout recovery what other options are available since both whey and soya leave me with a lot of questions in my mind.

Well this is where I am headed and you can join me if you like.

For the past 18 months I have been heavily engaged in testing a vegetable protein, which has none of the negative connotations of whey or soya associated with it. No hormone or GMO debates, no issues with lactose intolerance or digestibility.  In fact its a plant based protein which has an incredibly strong amino acid profile. With high concentrations of BCAA’s Glutamine, Lysine and Arginine. Its profile is very close to that of the ideal protein for humans as recommended by FAO/WHO
It also has an intermediate fast digestive rate which is exactly what is preferred especially for an endurance athlete.

What protein am I talking about?
Pea protein isolate 
is what I am on about. As a plant based protein it is genuinely  a very powerful, clean and healthy protein for anyone whether  pro-athlete or just a gym bunny. Aside from its strong amino acid profile, it is not unnaturally processed, it has a smooth texture and actually tastes great. It is superior not just in using it for a natural recovery shake but also in a pre training or racing meal. I feel this is the most complete protein and there can be no questions asked around allergens, hormones or food safety.

Once I was happy with the certificate of analysis from the supplier and my own testing phase. I gave it out to a large number of athletes to do some testing for me as well. The feedback was unanimous the pea protein isolate needed to come to market to provide a healthier option of protein to the health conscious consumer. It was very well received across a variety of amateur and elite athletes in various sporting disciplines. Pea protein is gaining a lot of momentum globally and it fast becoming a protein of choice.

The NEW 32Gi Recover Formula
32Gi has decided to re-formulate its 32Gi Recover. Over the next few weeks we will be rolling out our new 32Gi Recover formula to all 32Gi retailers globally. The new Pea Protein formula will be replacing our previous vegetable based protein recovery shake.

At 32Gi we are continuing to strive to provide the healthiest supplement choices to our consumers and we will continue to pioneer and innovate to ensure that all 32Gi users can be assured that we are a trusted brand in which health always comes first.

About 32Gi Recover Pea Protein Formula

32Gi Recover is a high quality ratio blend of 100% organic pea protein isolate combined with carbohydrates. 32Gi Recover contains all the essential and non-essential amino acids to maximise muscle recovery

Recover is an excellent protein supplement with no unnecessary ingredients only those critical to muscle and glycogen recovery. Recover can also be consumed as pre training or racing meal or even as a meal during a long endurance event. Recover is suitable for vegans and diabetics.

Recover Facts:

  • Assists with Muscle Repair
  • Assists with Glycogen Recovery
  • High Protein absorption rate
  • Cholesterol Free
  • Naturally High in Glutamine
  • Wheat, Gluten, Soy and Lactose Free
  • Improves Strength and Recovery
  • Strong Amino Acid profile
  • Digestive Friendly
  • Vegetarian
  • Kosher / Halaal Certified
  • Recover is available in Chocolate, Strawberry and Vanilla flavours

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Listen to your messages……………..

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I am a very military oriented personality, just the kind of life I have lead since birth. A naval officer father, nutrition strict mother and then my own life experiences which followed very much similar routes. My clients know when I take them on there is black and white, tolerance levels are low and I demand results.

I travel quite a bit and come into contact with all types of cultures and personalities on many different levels. South Africans generally I see as quite a soft sort of courteous kind of nation, mainly rule followers and breaking them will definitely command some sort of reaction but generally in a very subtle kind of a way to start. In Israel where I currently am it’s a completely different ball game, you can be sure people will be telling you what to do on a daily basis, because they always know better, yet the rules are consistently broken by the big mouths.

It often gets my back up and I am often in a defensive mode which in military terms means strike them down before they even get close to doing or saying something, that way you won’t have to defend. It’s an aggressive approach but generally one that has won many warsJ.

So my resistant personality wherever I am is constantly ready to go to war, don’t tell me what to do or else, because I know my boundaries, I know what I am doing and if I need your advice I will ask for it. Most people tend to similar so I am not unique ;-).

Yesterday I was out on a training ride, I was around 80minutes into the ride, in the country side and just started a climb out of the valley, music in my ears and really just soaking up the view when all of a sudden a car slows down next to me the window open and I can see muttering and hands waving. The sound completely drowned out by some Armin van Burin ASOT in my ears.

My instinctive thoughts was to tell her to shut the hell up and leave me to my training session, I know the rules of the road and I am within my right to ride here. Instead I just ignored her completely she tried several times to shout at me, but Armin kept me calm. Eventually she just drove off and I carried on with my ride.

This is not an unusual situation for me, when running, swimming or cycling, I get told why you riding here, why you running without a water bottle, where is your hat. I know sometimes they mean good but geeeez most of these people have never trained in their lives and they talking to someone that lives it. The frustration of being told what to do just wants to put me into war, sometimes I long for it hoping it will result in vented anger and then some more peace of mind.

Just the other day I was doing a swim session, I did my warm ups and some drills. By the way in South Africa 2 swimmers to a lane is like max, unless you are group training, however in Israel you have to swim counterclockwise, and if you need to overtake then do it with caution because 3, 4 or 5 people can get in your lane without warning, because it’s their right and they know better. I have had many head bashings here and the fast lane means nothing. Even though it’s labelled for fast swimmers you get back floaters, because they consider themselves fast. Anyway back to my story on my swim session. So I get into nice rhythm and start with some clockwork intervals. I was focused on my set, however at around the 4th interval I noticed something strange. Each time I swam passed a woman in the other lane “slow lane” she splashed water on my face as I turned to breathe. I thought ok she is doing some sort of exercise creating splashing, giving her the benefit of the doubt. However as my session continued I realized this was intentional splashing she kept shoving water in my face every time I did a pass. I just ignored her put my head down and finished my set. While taking a breather at the end of the pool I waited for her to reach my side. When she arrived, I asked her why she was splashing me. Of course sniper rifle in my hands ready to take aim and blow her away. She said to me I was splashing her eyes when I swam????? WTF, you in a pool lady wear some goggles and learn to swim. You afraid of water I asked. She said no but my splashes were irritating her and I must get out the pool, and she threw more water at me??

I went a little mad, I unleashed my M23A4 on her, it was locked loaded and I sent a couple of waves in her direction ensuring the water bullets hit her right between the eyes. Of course she carried on throwing water at me. I took a step back and thought no ways, is this what I am resorting to a water fight between 40 and 50yr olds in a pool no ways I was like in shock, like kids having a tantrum in a pool.

I just motioned the rest of my unit “The Lifeguard” and said tell her to stop or get out I need to train. He did just that, war over. I felt an empty victory, thinking could I have handled this slightly differently, but then I thought no screw her, I was within my right.

Anyway back to my training ride. I kept wondering about the car stopping next to me screaming and shouting at me and here I had made judgment and executed her. Something just did not seem right, but I kept on going. Eventually it hit me, I reach around to my rear bottle cage and there it was, the reason for my insubordination. My 600ml water bottle had been flung out of the cage. Leaving me with only 600ml’s of water in 33degrees of heat on a long ride. I should have maybe listened to this driver, however I was stubborn, in attack mode waiting just waiting to unleash my ammunition once again. How mistaken could I have been this time as it was a call to help.

I kept riding conserving my water, and thinking over and over about what had just happened. How stubborn I was and how I had made judgment without listening and giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Eventually at the turn around point I made my way back to that climb out the valley and tried to climb it again from the halfway point and reenact what happened to see if I could track my bottle. There it was lying in the ditch just where that lady was attempting to inform me of the incident. In the end I listened to my message, however the lesson learned was I needed to listen a lot earlier.

I guess you are wondering why I am writing about this?

The truth is most of us are very much the same. Every single day, messages come our way and each and every single one has a meaning. The thing is how many of us actually listen to these messages. We don’t we ignore them because we know better.

I especially see this when it comes to health and wellness. When injured we don’t listen we always know better we focus on the race, on the end goal and absolutely nothing will stop us from getting to the start line. When sick, we brush it off as a head cold, we can’t stop training we cannot lose fitness we just push through it. The overweight will keep eating their pizzas because a large stomach or a double chin is not a strong enough message to make them change their ways.

So which messages do make us change? It’s the messages that come with severity or shock when it’s a little too late to listen and we need to face the consequences of our actions.

When an injury becomes unbearable and crippling, when an illness becomes severe and bed ridding, and when weight issues lead to organ, heart problems or blood pressure and cholesterol worries. Why is human nature generally so stubborn as to know better when it comes to interpreting messages?

A wise man once said ” The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them”, and another

“Big egos have little ears”

The basis of this blog was to instill some thoughts into your minds and get you to understand the importance of listening. Listen to your messages whether from the mouth of another or from your body signaling your brain. You cannot go wrong you can only become wiser stronger, fitter and healthier.

Keep Going……………………..

all the best

m