Women & Protein – the 5 facts

women-and-protein-facts

There is a misconception amongst women that protein will make them look bulky, or somehow create unwanted muscle mass.

Let me start with some education on the basics of ‘protein’ before getting to some myth busting…

What is protein?

Proteins are macronutrients, chains of amino acids held together by peptide bonds. There are 20 amino acids, nine of which are referred to as ‘essential’. These essential amino acids cannot be manufactured in the body and have to be obtained through food. Common animal sources of these are meat, fish, eggs, dairy, with incomplete vegan sources coming from foods such as whole grains, pulses, legumes, soy, leafy greens, and nuts. Whey protein in particular has been noted as the most bioavailable complete source of protein, meaning it is the most easily digested and utilised source of all essential amino acids.

Why is it especially important for women?

Any woman with functioning hormones will be no stranger to cravings. These tend to lean towards more sugary, low-protein foods. Whilst carbohydrates and fats are needed for energy, protein is essential for stabilising energy levels, as well as the growth and repair of cells within the body such as neurotransmitters and hormones- not just muscle cells! Unlike carbohydrates & fats, your body does not store protein so there is no reservoir to draw from when running low. This in turn puts muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood under threat from insufficient protein uptake.

Why protein could mean the difference to your fat loss goals

If you find that you’re constantly hungry throughout the day, chances are you may not be consuming enough protein in your meals. Protein takes a lot longer to digest than carbohydrates, meaning you’ll stay fuller for longer if you base a large portion of your meal around protein. It is also the hardest to digest of the three macronutrients, or in other words- has the highest ‘Thermic Effect of Food’ (TEF). The body actually requires energy to break down and utilise protein, so essentially you burn calories during the digestion process. Therefore those on a high protein fat loss diet could potentially see faster results than those on a low protein diet.

Back to the myth busting…

Why protein will NOT make women look bulky

Even when consuming sufficient amounts of protein paired with a heavy and intense weight training program, it is still extremely difficult for women to build large amounts of muscle mass. We simply do not possess the amount of testosterone needed to stimulate large amounts of muscle growth. As mentioned before, protein helps the growth and repair of muscle cells. The body is only capable of developing a certain amount of lean muscle mass per day. Any excess protein consumed through your diet gets converted and used as energy, or excreted. If anything, consuming protein will simply make us women look and feel stronger, leaner, and healthier!

The ‘bulkiness’ which most women tend to confuse with muscle gain is usually a result of one consistently consuming too many calories in general, in turn resulting large amounts of fat mass developing on top of muscle. Provided a woman is sticking to a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle, becoming ‘bulky’ is the least of anyone’s worries!

Who benefits from protein?

In simple terms- All of us! However for those who are active, breaking down muscle tissue becomes inevitable. Therefore protein becomes an even more essential macronutrient to repair and protect muscles, as well as supporting bones and joints from breakages, strains, and sprains.

Given that whey is the most bioavailable source of protein, whey protein shakes can be a great supplement as a means of providing the muscles with an instant dose of protection. Whey protein also contains an immune boosting tripeptide called ‘glutathione’, so whether you’re undergoing intense exercise or not, supplementing with it could provide you with the immune boost you need to keep those colds at bay!

DigeZyme Digestive Enzymes and Whey Protein

DigeZyme Digestive Enzymes and Whey Protein

The benefits of whey protein have been researched heavily and include promotion of muscle growth, decreasing blood pressure, aiding recovery from exercise and reducing inflammation, but what happens if we are unable to effectively absorb the protein? Unfortunately modern lifestyle and diet choices mean that our ability to utilize whey protein is sometimes diminished, however there is a simple way to ensure our muscles can optimally use whey to support their repair and growth.

We can measure how well a protein source is absorbed and utilized by the body, we call this it’s biological value (BV). The BV of whey protein is fairly high, up to 104 for a whey isolate formula such as Instant Whey; compare this to the BV of meat 80 and milk 91, we can easily see why whey protein is deemed as one of the best post workout sources of protein. However just because it has a high BV does not mean that 100% of it is absorbed and utilized. This is because digestion of protein is reliant on proper digestive enzymes which are released by the pancreas.

The majority of the protein consumed is digested in the intestines. In order for this digestion to occur the body must be able to break down protein into peptides and then further into amino acids which can be absorbed through the small intestinal wall; and in order for that to happen the body needs enzymes called proteases. These enzymes alongside, lipases which breakdown fat and amylase which breakdown carbohydrates are released by the pancreas.

Once the proteins have been broken down into amino acids they are absorbed into the blood stream where they are circulated to the muscle tissue and other cells. When the amino acids reach the cells they can start repairing and rebuilding the tissue damaged from exercise training to make it stronger and bigger.

However, if the body cannot break down whey protein then it cannot reach the muscles and start the repair process. Symptoms of low levels of digestive enzymes include bloating, gas, abdominal cramps, constipation and diarrhea.

Although diseases such as cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis and brush border diseases such as coeliac disease are known causes of decreased digestive enzymes, diet and lifestyle choices also have a huge impact; which is why abdominal complaints are becoming more common.

There are a few potential causes of enzyme deficiency; these include low grade chronic inflammation in the digestive tract- this can be caused by food intolerances, infection or nutrient deficiencies. Chronic stress is probably the most common reason for low enzymes, when our adrenalin is high and we are in “fight or flight” mode. This can be triggered by needing to get to school or work on time, an important meeting, a deadline or just generalized anxiety; the body reduces digestive function, including enzyme output. This is due to fight or flight mode being an essential function in prehistoric times for physical survival – the body would increase adrenaline, increasing the heart pumping and directing the blood away from non-essential organs (such as the digestive system) and towards the legs to keep them running. Ageing can also decrease enzyme production.

In modern life many people may suffer from either a nutrient deficiency, which could impair digestion or chronic stress (which can also impair digestion). This means our digestive enzyme production is low and our ability to absorb amino acids is low; causing a decreased recovery from training, reducing the chance of increasing muscle strength and size.

However, this does not mean supplementing with whey protein is useless, as it is important in the recovery process due to its BV, especially if training twice per day; it simply means we need to supplement with a digestive enzyme to assist the digestion process. Ideally combining a digestive enzyme with whey protein will yield the best results to ensure absorption and maximally support recovery.

When pea meets cookie, you won’t believe the results – Protein Cookies

Protein Cookies in pile - Reflex Nutrition recipe

Putting pea protein into a cookie recipe might surprise some, but we believe that the results are fantastic – Reflex Vanilla Protein Cookies with Chocolate Salted Caramel Stuffing Recipe

How to Cheat at the Weekend Without Ruining Your Diet

How to Cheat at the Weekend Without Ruining Your Diet

The weekend can be a challenge as far as dieting is concerned. Our food-loving physique competitor, Tom McDonough, explains how to get through it without feeling guilty and ruining your diet progress.

 

Firstly I hate the phrase ‘cheat meal’… it automatically puts a negative twist on something as simple as eating a meal out with friends or family, and often leads to guilt. Start calling it a ‘free meal,’ a meal off the plan, a meal you can enjoy that you shouldn’t be feeling guilty about. I simply used the term for the article as everyone knows what a cheat meal is.

It’s pretty easy to stick to a diet five days a week. Most of us have a set routine that we can stick to and prepare food for so we adhere to our goals. When it comes to the weekend that’s a whole different ball game where routine goes out the window and we don’t necessarily want to be carrying food while out and about with friends. Hopefully this article will give you a few ideas on how to tackle the weekend diet without leaving you filled with guilt come Monday morning. You will have enjoyed your weekend without suffering.

There are many ways to skin a cat- how strict you want to be will dictate the methods you may choose.
Here’s are a few ways I do things and have successfully done in the past.

First, let’s look at options if you are being pretty strict and have a goal in mind: Simply write out a plan for the two days which include foods you’d like to eat over the weekend that are totally different to your optimal meals. The great thing is, because we are normally busy over the weekend and do not have to get up so early, your normal 5/6 meals that you eat on weekdays can be reduced to 3/4. That gives you a lot more calories to play with for each meal. You can even raise your calories a couple hundred over the weekend (don’t do this if you have someone helping with your diet.)

If you set yourself a plan through out the week heavy in “optimal” foods like the usual chicken and rice, then make a change. You could have pancakes for breakfast or eggs and bacon on toast and then grab yourself a subway for lunch. If you make the right choice even a foot long is only about 600/650 calories. Eat what ever, just make sure it fits your calorie allowance. Make sure that you maintain a good amount of protein within this and let the fats and carbs fall wherever. Eating this way is not perfect but much better than going off the rails and quite easily consuming an extra 2/30 00 calories which could set you back days.

This is obviously hugely dependent on your goals, and individual to each person. Your daily calories may be a lot lower, for example females may not eat 1500 calories and still have 1500 to play with so obviously your meal sizes would need to be reduced. You would need to design this FOR YOU. One plan for food certainly does not fit all but I hope reading this article helps you get the idea.

 

Pro Tips

Method 1- Goal Focused

  • Track your food
  • Write out a plan
  • Pick foods you look forward to eating

Method 2- Lifestyle Focused

  • Track your food
  • Consume less through out the day
  • Leave yourself plenty of calories
  • The day after have a low day
  • Weight session on following day
  • Choose food you enjoy

Plant Based Diets

Plant based food protein alternative


Plant based eating has grown in popularity lately and is widely regarded as one of the healthiest approaches to fueling your body. Our resident dietitian, Rachel Hobbs, explains the benefits and practicalities of replacing meat with two veg.

 

What is a Plant Based Diet?Plant based - rice, beans, advocado and seeds

Plant based diets are a bit of trend in the nutrition world at the moment. The media claims they can do anything from cure cancer, to prevent heart disease and reverse diabetes; but what is all the fuss about and do they actually benefit us at all?

As a dietitian I define a plant based diet as a diet that aims to maximise the consumption of … you guessed it, plant foods, whilst minimizing processed foods, oils and animal produce. Sounds identical to a vegetarian or vegan diet? Similar, yes but the main difference is that often individuals choose to become vegetarian out of ethical or environmental reasons. Meat, fish and animal products such as milk, cheese and eggs are not banned from a plant based diet, but they are minimized.

A plant based diet encourages individuals to consume lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, pulses, seeds and nuts and is generally low in fat; this can seem impossible and confusing for many, especially as for the past 10 years the fitness industry has hammered into the general public they should be eating chicken breasts, tuna and other high protein foods to be healthy.

 

 

What are the Benefits?Plant based - oats, raisins, seeds and nuts

There are many benefits of a plant based diet if it is followed correctly; science says that they are better than meat heavy diets for weight management and fat loss. This is hypothesised to be because they are higher in fibre and therefore make us feel fuller for longer; but also they are more nutrient dense, therefore contain more vitamins and minerals, allowing our bodies to work more efficiently. Research also shows they may prevent heart disease and diabetes too. Due to the increased fibre intake of a plant based diet, scientists suggest that they decrease the risk of getting some cancers, especially those associated with digestion such as colon and stomach cancer.

The jury is still out as to whether it is the increased consumption of fruit and vegetables that decrease disease risk or the reduced intake of meats and processed foods, personally I believe it is a combination of the two.
When discussing a plant based diet with my clients there are a few questions which are commonly asked; I will answer these now.

 

 

“Where will I get my protein from?”Plant based - vegetables, peppers, cabbage, green beans, chick peas and advocado

Many of my clients come to me with elevated protein levels in their diets without a balanced consideration of the role of other nutrients, often carbohydrates

Instead of focusing so strictly on grams of protein per day, I ask my clients to focus on food quality- if they consume foods of high quality or nutritional density, they will automatically meet their protein needs.

The only concern is to ensure adequate essential amino acids are consumed, these are amino acids which cannot be produced by the body. This can easily be achieved by pairing foods with differing amino acid sequences such as beans and rice or hummus and pitta bread.

 

 

 

 

“What does a typical day’s food intake look like?”Plant based - oats, almond milk, soya yoghurt, nuts and fruit

To meet average requirements, a typical day could look like:

Breakfast: Overnight oats made with almond milk and soya yoghurt, topped with nuts and fruit

Lunch: Falafel, hummus and avocado wrap with spinach and rocket.

Snack: Peanut butter on toast.

Dinner: Lentil dahl with rice and peas.

Sometimes it takes a little while for the gut to adapt to the higher fibre intake so a pea protein shake such as Reflex Nutrition’s Vegan Protein would be a great supplement to take. This would also be ideal post workout or to add into a breakfast smoothie.

 

 

“Should I not eat any meat now?”

A plant based diet is exactly as it sounds, it is based around plants, which doesn’t mean all meat and animal products are banned. I actually recommended my clients to have two portions of oily fish a week such as salmon or mackerel to ensure they consume adequate Omega 3.

 

Plant based salad

 “Where do I start?”

I think it is important to take a step by step approach when making dietary changes, so I often prescribe my clients to just start with a “Meat Free Monday” and to experiment with different meal choices every week so they can increase the variety of plant based foods in the diet and feel more confident to try two days of plant based eating.

So, all in all, I think plant based diets are positive for many individuals. They increase fibre intake, they increase vitamin and mineral intake and they decrease processed food intake. So next week, why don’t you give “Meat Free Monday” a go?

 

 

 

 

A Look for the Future

Reflex Nutrition Re-Brand and new categories

Along with a reputation for delivering unparalleled quality in the sports nutrition market, at Reflex Nutrition we are known for our unique holographic packaging.  As part of a process of ensuring that we capture the very essence of the brand and make your navigation around the different categories as logical as it can be, we have redesigned the labels and trimmed the categories down from five to three (but keeping all existing products). Each new category has a dynamic logo that reflects its individual essence;

Strength and performance

Our previous ‘muscle and strength’ and ‘energy and endurance’ ranges have been merged to form a category that contains every product needed for any strength, performance or endurance goal.
The Strength & Performance graphic is designed to represent a brightly shining force, almost star like sense capturing the sense of strength or dynamic performance.

High protein

The High Protein graphic is designed to represent a highly active, almost sense of breakthrough in whatever physical activity you are undertaking.

Vitality

Our vitality range has been expanded to include out previously named ‘weight management’ category and contains everything from vitamins and minerals to diet proteins and other weight management supplements.
The Vitality graphic is instantly much calmer and softer, representing a more rounded sense of health and wellbeing.

All new Reflex Nutrition products off the production line will have the new packaging layout with existing products coming into circulation from early March.

Guilt-Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Recipe

Reflex Nutrition athlete and talented protein chef, Gauri Chopra, shares her ultimate clean cheat recipe – indulgent chocolate fudge brownies with peanut butter frosting! 

I think I am yet to meet an individual who doesn’t like chocolate or peanut butter – and rightly so, I’d say! If you haven’t tried the two together yet, you can only imagine that combination of the two definitely becomes a force to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY in the form of a Brownie!

Not only do people tend to associate brownies with being a delicious treat, and a mouthwatering tastebud tingler, but they also get the bad rep of being an unhealthy guilt-food, and a bit of a waistline teaser! What if I told you, you could have all the flavour and fugdy texture of a naughty traditional brownie, minus the guilt? One that could offer a whole host of nutritious benefits to go with it? You wouldn’t believe me, right? Well let me prove you wrong!
As stated by my personal ‘taste-testers’, these healthy Chocolate Fudge Brownies are out of this world, and taste just as good (if not better) than your traditional, refined sugar-loaded ones! Made from natural ingredients, they are also flour-less, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and free from any artificial ingredients or flavourings.

Since these brownies are high in protein, healthy fats and fibre, they work in perfect harmony to keep you fuller for longer as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable to ensure you get a good prolonged energy supply (unlike your traditional brownie which would typically spike your blood sugar levels and eventually cause you to crash!)

Another gold star for these beauties in that they take virtually minutes to prep and make… I think the hardest part was opening the cans and jars!

Ingredients for the Brownie:

  • 1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed (200g)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 60g pure maple syrup
  • 35g extra virgin organic coconut oil or grass fed butter -(I use coconut oil because I love the slight hint of coconut it gives to the brownies but feel free to use grass fed butter as an alternative!)
  • 15g Cacao (or Cocoa) powder
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder (use gluten free if intolerant)
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or normal sea salt will do)

Ingredients for the Protein Peanut butter ‘Frosting’:

  • 2 tbsp natural crunchy peanut butter (smooth is also fine, however I like the added texture from the crunchy!)
  • 50ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Reflex Nutrition Chocolate Peanut Instant whey Pro
  • Optional: Sprinkling of Cacao Nibs for texture and extra chocolatyness!

Cooking steps:

  1. Pre-heat fan oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Whizz all ingredients for the brownie in a food processor until is has reached a smooth consistency (you may need to scrape down the sides/blender once in between).
  3. Pour the batter into a 6″6″ baking tin lined with a little coconut oil on some grease proof paper and gently tap/shake to ensure the batter is spread evenly
  4. Before placing it in the oven, make your ‘frosting’ by heating the almond milk and peanut butter together in the microwave on a low heat for 60-90 seconds. Once this has been stirred and combined, mix in your whey.
  5. Place the brownie tin in the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 10 minutes (or until the top looks like it is just about to start cooking through). Then take it out and smear on your protein peanut butter frosting and cacao nibs before placing it back in the oven to cook for a further 8-10 minutes.
  6. You should know that the brownie is cooked when it springs back a little when touched.
  7. Holding the grease-proof paper, remove the brownie from the tin, then very carefully peel down the sides of the paper. Cut the brownie into 12 pieces then use a spatula to carefully transfer the pieces onto a plate or cooling wrack before devouring… If you can wait that long!

Athlete Favourites: 3D Protein

In this blog post, Reflex Nutrition athlete and A&E doctor – Emil Hodzvic – tells us why 3D Protein is his ultimate choice of protein supplement and how it fits in with his hectic lifestyle.

 

My favourite supplement at the moment has to be Reflex Nutrition’s 3D Protein. The concept is simple – three different sources of top quality protein in one blend, each with a unique and complimentary digestion and absorption time. What this means in everyday terms is you’ve got three different ‘speeds’ of protein in a single shake from rapid whey protein, to intermediate egg white protein and then much more gradually absorbing micellar casein.

 

When do I use it?

Most people who train use whey protein powder regularly and rightly so as it’s a complete, rapidly absorbing protein. It’s perfect for after the gym when you need that immediate protein hit to optimise the hard work you’ve done during your session. What about at other times though?

In an ideal world I aim to have decent protein-containing meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This protein hit is especially important first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed though this realistically rarely goes to plan. Essentially 3D Protein is absolutely ideal for periods either when you haven’t eaten for a while or when you won’t be eating for a while whether it’s because you’re working, sleeping or travelling for example. As an Accident and Emergency doctor, fitness professional and physique athlete I’m extremely busy and my schedule is all over the place. For this reason I don’t know when I’m going to be training or eating day to day and on top of this my actual shifts can be totally unpredictable (as you can imagine in a busy A+E).

 

Early mornings

Often when I’m waking up early to get things done (4am, for example) I’m simply not hungry. However, just because I don’t want a full breakfast, it doesn’t mean I want to miss the chance to trigger muscle protein synthesis (MPS). You only get 3 or 4 opportunities in a day to spike this vital muscle building process so it’s a folly to neglect it. For this, 3D Protein is perfect. It provides the whey for the rapidly absorbing, high quality protein to initiate MPS, then it has the slower blend for a sustained release of protein to keep me full for as long as I need before I get round to my next meal. This means once I get my head down in my pile of work or get on the road to travel somewhere, I don’t even need to think about food for the next 4-6 hours. This would be sacrilege, usually as a bodybuilder, to go this long without eating but it’s OK as I’m confident I’ve got a steady stream of amino acids trickling in.

 

Post workout but before bed

I also like to use 3D Protein if my workout is delayed and I end up training late. It is the perfect post workout for me. Once I’m finished, I aim to have a shake immediately afterwards. If it’s my usual Instant Whey Pro shake, then that’s perfect for the post workout period, but I’m aware that I need to try and eat again before I go to bed to keep the protein going in all night. However after these late sessions I usually just want to shower and go to bed. On top of this, straight after an intense workout I don’t tend to get hungry for a good few hours and realistically I’d rather not stay up just to wait to eat again. For these reasons, 3D Protein covers me with both the rapid release whey protein perfect for post workout to ensure I get the most benefit from my training, but it also has the slower release egg white protein and micellar casein for overnight while I sleep.

 

Shift work

Finally, during my long night shifts I can never guarantee when (or if!) I’ll have a chance for a break. This means I need a quick snack that will last. I simply put 2 scoops of 3D Protein ready in a shaker for as soon I get a moment to add water and get it down. It fits the bill perfectly and even if I don’t manage to have a proper break for the whole 10 or 12 hour shift I can still pop out for a few seconds to get my shake in before jumping straight back in.

 

For me, 3D Protein is absolutely invaluable because of it’s unique time release formula and the requirements of my busy, non-stop lifestyle. There are other ways to get my protein in but none as neat and effective as this one.

Whey Protein and other protein powder Questions and Answers.

 

Here is our ever growing number of questions and answers relating to not just whey protein but other protein powders and anything related to them. If you cannot find the answer for your own particular query use the contact form on this website and we’ll answer it for you and publish the answer below.

Aaron Howlett asked “How much protein is TOO much ?”

As a general rule of thumb the maximum most people will need if they are training hard in the gym to gain muscle is approximately 2 grams of protein for every kg of bodyweight. This is really as much as you’ll ever need. Much more than this does not necessarily mean more muscle.

Darren Hodgkiss said “I’ve heard different reports regarding how much protein is needed. How much can the body digest in one go? For example if I consume a meal and drink that has 100 grams of protein, will the full 100 grams go into my system?”

If you ingest 100 grams of protein from a protein powder it is likely that your body will absorb a very high percentage of it. However, a very significant percentage of it will be converted to glucose and stored as glycogen. This does have its advantages if you are on a very low carbohydrate diet, but for the majority it is better to consume a meal or protein shake with between 25-50 grams depending on your weight and goals.

Joanne Simmonds asked “How do I decide if I need whey or diet whey?”

If your goal is to specifically reduce body fat then choose Diet Protein, but only if the brand in question provides the scientifically proven daily dosage of 3,000mgs and above of either Clarinol or Tonalin CLA which are the patent protected products made in the EU and USA. Unbranded CLA is nearly all made in China with questionable quality. Choosing a Diet Whey type product with anything less is really a waste of money.

Phill Brooks asked “Is whey better after a workout or a multi stage release protein for hypertrophy.”

For absolute maximum protein synthesis a time release protein is scientifically proven to be superior by a small margin.  Ideally a blend that specifies the exact ratios is ideal, a good place to start is simply mix 1 scoop of Reflex 100% with 1 scoop of Reflex Micellar Casein. Or use Reflex 3D Protein which is arguably the best protein blend you can buy.

Steve Davies asked “Why is it more rewarding to use Reflex Nutrition than the rest ?”

At Reflex Nutrition we have been committed to manufacturing the worlds best whey protein formulas for 20 years.  During that time we have continually pushed for higher quality whey, better manufacturing facilities and better quality controls. When you combine all of these factors we are able to FULLY GUARANTEE every single protein powder we make both in terms of composition and performance. So yes, Reflex Nutrition products are more rewarding because they deliver more than the competition.

Ian Tominski said “I am confused on protein content: 100% Native Whey – the purest and most natural form of whey protein. But it contains 80% protein content. I am not sure if I am comparing apples with apples here but a competitor claims 97.6g per 100g. This sounds more pure but then I have heard of Protein Spiking. So the question is how the hell can you ever tell? Sip it and see?”

Yes, some other companies will claim inaccurate claims for protein such as 97.6.  The product in question is almost certainly made by Danisco under the tradename of BiPro. Looking at the spec sheet it is actually 90-92% on an “as is basis” which what the protein will contain if tested. The figure of 97% is “dry basis”, which is misleading and illegal because it does not reflect the actual content. Unfortunately for consumers unless you happen to be in the whey protein industry you have to be careful because so many companies are more interested in selling rather than focusing on delivering the goods so to speak. Native Whey is derived from fresh skim milk, from grass fed cattle in France, at low temperature using gentle filtration to produce the purest form of whey protein. You can find out more about Native Whey right here.

Habib Noh said “I seen way too much brands! Too many types of protein types!! Whats so special about Reflex Nutrition and never have i heard about this native whey!! Whats with reflex and native?”

Again we have been making whey protein supplements for 20 years and have continually improved whey protein and the quality standards used to make protein powders. In addition we guarantee the protein content, something most companies do not and simply cannot do. Please read our blog on Native Whey Protein to understand why it is the best form of whey protein.

 

Luke Gilham asked,  “Is there any major significance to the additives in some companies whey products? Or could the product be sold in its purest form? Is the additives to lower the cost of production? Thanks!”

Lots of companies use lots of different types of additives to make them taste better, to spike protein content and to lower the costs. Please see our blog which explains which additives pose real issues.

Andy Wolta asks, “Does whey contain vitamin b-12? What whey source contains the most?”

Yes whey protein does contain Vitamin B12, although we do not list it because it varies from batch to batch. 50 grams of whey protein can contain up to 1ug of Vitamin B12 as an example, but sometimes much less and is largely dependent on the quality of the milk and the time of the year the milk is collected.

Ashley Street asked “What is the process of inferior protein supplements/blends and protein spiking ?”

Numerous supplement companies today spike protein powders with Glycine which is a cheap amino acid with a protein content, if measured using Nitrogen analysis, comes at over 100% protein. As a result it is often added by supplement companies to boost protein content very cheaply. We don’t add it to Reflex protein powder because we cannot see any benefit to the consumer.  You can read more about it here.

Andy Waring asks ,”How come whey is less expensive in comparison to casein protein? “

In short Whey Protein is usually cheaper than Micellar Casein because whey protein is a by product of cheese production and there is more readily available. Making Micellar Casein is simply more expensive for the dairies to manufacture because they are in effect producing one product and therefore have to reflect this in their pricing.

Chris Slight says “So… Other than drinking as a shake, can I use my protein in any other way such as baking? If so what’s the best one of your range to use and how can I cook with it?”

You can use any of our protein powders in your cooking, they are usually best used to make low sugar desserts. Depending on the type of dessert it may be best to use something like Instant Whey or Micellar Casein.

Geraint Williams asks, “How long should you wait until having whey after a workout to minimize any adverse effects on your insulin/ gH levels in regards to fat burning and also how can you tell which product is decent quality like reflex and which isn’t.”

If you want to keep insulin levels low and gH levels high for fat burning science indicates that slow release proteins like Micellar Casein are best, and that’s what we would recommend. When looking for quality proteins always try and find a company that will categorically guarantee the protein content, if they don’t ask why?

Adrian Willings asks “Does whey protein give you kidney stones?”

The short answer is for healthy people, no.

James Belbin asks  “Why is whey any better than a single cooked-in-advance chicken breast? Same protein but one is real food the other is processed, surely?”

Convenience is one factor with any high quality protein powder. But perhaps more relevant is the fact  that Whey Protein has the highest biological value of any protein source at 104 B.V, Chicken is 79 B.V. Biological value is measure used to show how much of the protein your body can use. In addition to whey having a higher B.V it also has the highest % of Branch Chain Amino acids and Essential Amino acids, all vital for building muscle.

Chris Summers asks ,”Is whey isolate the best version of whey?”

A Whey Protein Isolate has virtually all excess fat and lactose removed leaving only protein and milk minerals. It is indeed the best in terms of not having any fat or lactose, but you a pay a premium for this. Normal whey proteins as long as they have been made using high quality milk will deliver the same results. The only different type of whey is Native Whey, see the blog here.

Winnie Tang asks, “How different do we digest and process whey protein compared to a nice juicy fillet steak (or any other steaks)?”

Whey protein is digested easily taking around 2 hours.  Part of the reason for this is because it is in a soluble powder format and secondly whey protein is small in structure and easily broken down. By contrast a nice juicy piece of steak will take your body up to 6 hours to digest, this because the meat itself needs to broken down and in addition the physical structure of beef protein is larger and therefore takes more time to digest.

Garrick Murdie asks “By using whey for cooking, does it damage the whey in any way?”

Yes it will denature it and will reduce the bioactive properties (potential health benefits), but NOT the actual protein content in terms of essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids.

Mike Silver asks “Is there any evidence that organic grass fed whey has any more nutrients or less chemicals in than standard whey.”

First its important to understand that all milk in the EU has to meet extremely strict criteria with regard to impurities, so ANY milk/whey product in the EU from any of the top dairies will be pure. Second nearly all milk whether it be organic or standard is nearly always from grass fed cattle because it’s the most economical way for farmers to rear and maintain dairy cattle. As a result, the differences are minimal, in fact in some cases they are often the same. The only occasion where there are differences are during the year when weather effects the growth of grass, during the spring it is normally best and the milk will have slightly higher levels of protein and fat, but this applies to both standard and organic milk. But again it is very weather dependent. The best organic fresh milk does sometimes contain lower levels of saturated fat and slightly higher levels of certain vitamins. However during processing and filtration most of the fat is removed in the first place when making whey protein.

Marcus Rees asks “Is it True/False that too much protein is bad for your kidneys?”

If you are healthy and do not have any kidney related disease then high protein diets are completely safe as demonstrated in numerous scientific studies.

Carl Saunders asks “What is required in the product to ensure it is easily digested into the body? And how does the amino acid profile benefit the rate at which you absorb protein? And last question does the carb profile in One Stop spike your insulin, and if so is this a good thing, dependant on whether you are taking straight after training or just supplementing a meal during the day?”

First additional enzymes like Digezyme and friendly strains of bacteria play their part in helping your body fully digest the protein and carbohydrates found in Reflex protein powders. In addition, in a product like One Stop you will see the addition of a patented nutrient called Bioperine® which improves the absorption of micro nutrients. The amino acid profile has no bearing on the rate at which a protein is absorbed, the size of the protein molecules makes the difference. Whey being smaller means faster and Micellar Casein molecules being larger means longer. The carb content in both versions of One Stop will spike insulin, One Stop Xtreme more than standard One Stop. It is best to take One Stop Xtreme after a workout for maximum benefit, if you take it before a workout it should be at least an hour before.

Andrew Robinson asks “What do you recommend is the ideal amount of protein to take regarding body weight?”

As a general rule of thumb around 2 grams of protein for every kg of bodyweight.

Hamzah Muhammad asks “Normal or hydrolysed whey?”

If you are training for maximum size and training on a regular basis, then hydrolysed whey with plenty of carbohydrate as found in Growth Matrix. If you are a recreational athlete, then normal whey.

Ronnie Raido Riley asks “Should I only consume a whey protein shake after intense exercise to aid with weight loss and lean muscle or can it be used throughout the day too?”

It depends on your diet. Aim to take around 2 grams of protein for every kg of bodyweight and adjust your diet accordingly, use whey protein shakes to supplement where necessary. So yes you might want one extra shake between meals as a snack.

Rebecca Murphy-King says “I am type 1 diabetic. I train 11 times a week and have a full time job on top. Different flavour whey vary in sugar/ carb content so much. Why can’t the sugar that’s added to whey be less complex?”

The trouble with whey and milk proteins is the simple fact that both contain lactose, a sugar. The differences in composition usually come down to chocolate varieties where cocoa powder is used. In Reflex Nutrition products the differences are so minimal between flavours we are able to use one set of nutritionals that applies to most flavours.

Nick Swann asks “How does whey protein stack up against beef protein drinks ?”

Whey Protein is superior to beef protein, whey has a higher Biological Value at 104 vs Beef at 74

 

Ryan Palmer asks, ”Is it true that if you don’t consume whey immediately after a workout you will become catabolic?”

In theory yes, because you have just trained you will probably already be in a catabolic state. More to the point by not eating a form of protein whether it be chicken, fish or whey you will be losing a window of opportunity to boost protein synthesis.

Tristan Webb says, “I always buy high quality whey with little or no carbs, but I’ve been reading that it’s better used with carbs so I’ve been eating a banana with my post workout shake. Should I just buy a shake with carbs in? “

A banana will be just fine, the idea is to provide the body with a carbohydrate source to raise insulin levels maximising protein and glucose delivery to muscle tissue post workout.

Lewis Briggs asks “As such a big sport supplement company how can you prove to us the consumer that what you display on your products is true, as a few big supplier companies have been in deep water as of late for not displaying the correct nutritional information on their products.”

It is simple from our perspective because we are fanatical about quality since the company was formed in 1996. So much so that we came became the first sports nutrition company in the world to become ISO9001 registered for quality control. We were the first sports nutrition company in the world to have our protein products independently tested. We were the first and only sports nutrition company to test and publish competitor results, and we were the first and one of only a couple of sports nutrition companies to have our own lab with the very same lab equipment used in leading laboratories worldwide to assay protein. We test every batch we make and in addition we also send samples off for full group 2 nutritional analysis to verify our claims. Finally we fully guarantee every single product we make for the life of the product.

Eamon Ferguson asks “Why is there so much influence on protein supplements especially whey protein on its supposed effects on the human body relating specifically to muscle repair and growth when there are no in-dependant scientific studies which prove that such supplements have these affects? It’s all just hypothesis and theory that it “works”?”

There are numerous peer reviewed scientific studies that clearly demonstrate the superior nature of whey protein and its ability to stimulate protein synthesis.

Here are some:

1.   Whey protein intake after resistance exercise activates mTOR signaling in a dose-dependent manner in human skeletal muscle.

2.     Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise

3.     Post-exercise whey protein hydrolysate supplementation induces a greater increase in muscle protein synthesis than its constituent amino acid content

Arif Banduwale askes “Is whey protein different from casein???”

Yes whey protein is different. In milk there are two proteins, one is whey protein and the other is casein. Whey protein is a smaller component and is fast digesting. Casein is the larger component is is slower digesting.

Ewelina Dolata asks “ I would like to know why your Native Whey is the purest and most natural of wheys and why it would be any better for me than any other whey ? x”

To understand why Native Whey is better than normal whey please read our blog here.

Jon Martin asks “Mixing with milk or water, is there any real difference other than taste..?”

There is a difference aside from taste. Since milk contains casein it will turn your whey protein into an effective time release blend because casein takes longer to digest.

Connor Mayhew “What is a cold pressed protein?”

There is no such thing. There is cold filtered but not cold pressed, this often arises from supplement companies quite literally inventing descriptions to confuse consumers. Either that or the supplement company in question doesn’t have the extensive knowledge required to formulate products.

Kalie-Dee Jones says “The amino acids in protein are obviously present in the standard whey protein. But as a vegetarian I have to look for v friendly whey. I know tofu and quorn products have the aminos absorb differently and can leave you deficient in certain aminos. Is this the same with vegetarian whey protein? And if not, how do you make it so all aminos are absorbed adequately? And is this stuff vegetarian?”

Vegetarian whey is made from cheese whey that does not use animal rennet as a starting culture to make cheese. Most cheese these days is made from non animal rennet. In addition whey like Native Whey uses no rennet. It makes absolutely no difference to the amino acid composition. All of our whey protein supplements are suitable for vegetarians.

 

Why whey protein? What is the best form of whey? How is whey protein made?

Your questions about whey protein are answered right here in our latest article!

Reflex Nutrition has been making whey protein supplements for 20 years since the company’s inception in 1996. Everything we know, discovered, developed, innovated and researched has been brought together to provide everyone the absolute facts in a very easy to understand article that is outlined below. We answer the questions to what is the best form of whey protein and how it is made.

A quick word from James Phillips, “Whey Expert“ and founder of Reflex Nutrition, “I have a feeling I’ve spent more time working with whey protein and introduced more variations of whey protein and formats than any other company or person in the industry, I’ve now very nearly spent half my life, that’s 22 years, devoted to this business so it is fair to say that myself and the team at Reflex Nutrition are well placed to offer the real facts, I hope this article will point anyone wanting to know more about whey protein in the right direction.”

The Basics of Whey Protein

First of all we’re guessing that you’re interested in whey protein because you want to take additional protein to build lean muscle, to help you lose weight or for the health benefits associated with whey protein. Whey protein is found in milk, it is the small part of milk protein, the larger part is called casein or micellar casein. Nearly all whey protein on the market is derived from cheese production, we’re sure you’ve heard of curds and whey? To make cheese, rennet or starter cultures are added and it makes the milk curdle forming “curds and whey”. The curds are collected to form cheese and the whey is the liquid part which is then collected and filtered to produce whey protein using various filtering techniques.

So what is so special about Whey Protein?

Well first of all, it sits at the top a table which measures the biological value of protein from foods, it’s a measure of how well your body can utilise protein found in food. Whey protein is the best, your body can utilise every last gram. Not only is it the best, it also contains three important amino acids which are used to build and maintain muscle. The amino acids are called Branched Chain Amino Acids, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine. This is one of the reasons why whey protein has become so popular with sports people and bodybuilders.

What is the best whey protein?

The best whey protein comes from the best raw material so before you can answer that question you have to ask a different question. Where does the best milk in world come from or where are the best dairy herds? And how do you define best?

At Reflex Nutrition we have four very specific criteria which we use to select our milk proteins.

  1. The cattle must be within the EU, this guarantees that the cattle are free from banned antibiotics and growth hormones like rBGH or rBST which unfortunately are widely used in the USA.
  2. The cattle must be grass fed or be grass fed on pasture in all but the most extreme of circumstances. Why? Because grass fed cattle produce the best milk, that’s a fact.
  3. In an ideal world we’ll select only from Ireland, Germany, France, Belgium and Netherlands based on their exemplary dairy industries and reputation for producing the world’s finest grass fed, milk, butter, cheese and beef.
  4. Processing techniques used to make whey protein. They must be the least invasive using techniques that gently filter out unwanted fat and lactose whilst retaining the nutrition qualities of whey protein. These filtering techniques are cross flow micro filtration, ultra filtration and membrane filtration. They all produce whey protein concentrates or whey protein isolates depending on the time and grade of filter. The ONLY difference between them will be the protein, fat and lactose contents in all but ONE instance (see below). The whey protein isolates being the most expensive because it takes a disproportionate amount of time to filter out all of the fat and lactose.

So what is the best form of whey protein ? This refers to the ONE instance from the above paragraph. The whey protein that employs the least processing of ANY whey protein and that is Native Whey which is filtered at cold temperature from fresh milk and NOT a by product of cheese production. Reflex Nutrition uses this whey protein extensively and manufactures a stand alone Native Whey product. You can read more about Native Whey Protein here. Suffice to say it is whey protein in its most natural perfect form as nature created it, hence the name Native Whey.

 

What forms of whey protein do we avoid and you should avoid too?

There are a few and we avoid them for a few reasons.

  1. Whey protein made in the USA where the milk has been derived from cattle which are fed growth hormones like rBGH or rBST, these cattle are often fed grain and as a result the quality of the milk if inferior to that of grass fed cattle. Welfare of the cattle is also a consideration, the use of growth hormone increases the chances of infections and the subsequent use of antibiotics. Google “USA Mega Dairies” for more info.
  2. Ion exchange whey protein, the process uses both acid and chemicals to produce whey isolates. Although ion exchange whey has a very high protein content of around 90% it lacks a few valuable protein fractions that have unique nutritional qualities, so compared to cross flow micro filtered whey, ion exchange is inferior.
  3. Acid whey, dairies produce huge quantities of this material and unfortunately the process used to make it during cheese manufacture employs quite harsh acids which can denature the protein making it difficult to mix. Acid whey is not the best tasting either. We’ve never used acid whey at Reflex Nutrition, it simply does not meet our standards.

Other forms of whey protein

Hydrolysed Whey Protein

This is a whey protein which has been treated with enzymes to effectively pre-digest the whey protein for easier digestion. A process originally developed to make whey proteins hypoallergenic for infants and individuals in hospital who are allergic to certain whey fractions. A true hydrolysed whey protein has a considerable proportion of its whole proteins broken down into small peptides which may be listed on some labels by their molecular weight in Daltons. At Reflex Nutrition we use a couple of hydrolysed whey proteins, the main being of high degree of hydrolysis whey which has been treated very extensively which results in a protein which is absorbed extremely quickly and easily. It is the sole source of protein in our focus post workout supplement called Growth Matrix.

Conclusion

Whey protein is immensely popular and hopefully this article has highlighted the main benefits of whey protein with a brief insight into how it is made. The market out there is a minefield, if you want to choose the best remember to look out for the companies that offer whey that is derived from the EU guaranteeing protein content, have a registered quality control process and you shouldn’t go wrong.