Will my protein shakes lose potency if pre-mix them ahead of time?
No, but they will spoil if not stored properly or used shortly after they are prepared. For best results, mix-up no more than a day’s worth of protein at a time, store in a covered container in the refrigerator, and use within two days of preparing.
Do I still need to take my protein powder right after workouts if I’m also using a recovery shake?
No. If you are taking a post-workout recovery formula like 2:1:1 Recovery, you can skip your regular post-workout shake. Likewise, servings of high-calorie lean gainers (Pro Complex Gainer) and high-protein meal replacement powders (Whey Gold Meal) can be used interchangeably with protein powders. Just make sure that you’re getting enough total protein (1-1.5 g/lb bodyweight/day) and that you spread the total amount over 4-6 smaller servings throughout the day.
How long is my protein powder good for?
In most cases, two years from the day that it was manufactured. Though your powder isn’t likely to go bad (provided you’ve stored it in a cool, dry place), the intensities of the flavors and sweeteners and the potencies of some of the added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids may start to fade if you continue to use your protein after the “best by” or “exp(iration) date”.
What is the difference between the concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates?
These are terms that indicate the type and extent of processing that has been done to a particular protein. Concentrates have much of the water, carbohydrates, lactose, minerals, and fat removed such that the protein content is much more concentrated than it was before processing. Protein concentrates range from ~34%-85% protein, but most reputable manufacturers use at least 80%. Isolates are further stripped of non-protein materials to yield purity levels of 90% or higher. Because of the extra steps, energy, and processing losses, protein isolates are more expensive than protein concentrates. Hydrolyzed proteins or protein hydrolysates are proteins that have been partially broken down (also called pre-digested) into smaller pieces, so they get into your system quicker. Like isolates, hydrolysates are generally more expensive than concentrates because extra processing steps are required. In the end, all of these protein types are highly nutritious and basically provide similar benefits, but isolates and hydrolysates offer purity and performance advantages over concentrates.
What is the difference between faster, intermediate, and slower acting proteins?
In this case, “faster,” “intermediate,” and “slower” are all referring to the relative speed with which a given protein is broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed into the bloodstream for delivery to the liver and muscle tissues. Generally, speaking whey proteins are the fastest, egg, soy, and whole milk proteins are in the middle, and casein proteins are at the slowest end of the spectrum. By strategically taking distinct types or blends of proteins at different times of the day, you can achieve greater results than by using the same single source protein or by arbitrarily choosing what you use for every occasion.
What is biological value and how does this differ from the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score?
Both biological value (BV) and the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) are methods that scientists use to measure a protein’s quality. Put another way, these measurements give a general idea of how available (digestibility) and useful (amino acid content) a protein is to the body. In both cases the higher the number, or score, the better. For BV the highest recognized score is 100; for PDCAAS it’s 1.00. Whey and egg proteins rank higher than whole milk, casein, and soy proteins on the BV scale. But, when compared using the newer, more-accurate PDCAAS technique, all of these proteins receive a perfect score.
Is eating too much protein harmful?
Not likely – provided you’re in good health and have no history of liver or kidney problems. Protein is broken down into amino acids in the gastrointestinal tract and subsequently absorbed into the bloodstream. Any extras that aren’t used for new protein synthesis are stripped of their amine groups, rearranged and in the liver, and used for fuel. The unused nitrogen is readily excreted by the kidneys, so make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluids when increasing your daily protein intake.