Protein supplements are now everywhere, and by everywhere, we mean everywhere! In the past, if you wanted to pick up a protein powder, you had to visit a specialist health store in town. Then came the internet and sourcing protein supplements became much easier, but even so, they were still considered to be a very specialist niche product. Over the last few years however, the world appears to have gone protein mad, and you can now find a variety of protein supplements, in the most obscure of places. If, back in the 70s, during the Golden-Era of bodybuilding, you had told Joe Weider that you’d be able to purchase bodybuilding supplements from gas stations, he would have thought you’d gone insane, yet decades later, and that’s exactly what you can now do. We have high protein cereals, high protein versions of our favourite candy bars, protein desserts, protein bread, protein pizza, and more protein powders than you can shake a stick at, whatever that saying actually means. Protein is arguably the most important of the three macronutrients, especially from a bodybuilding perspective, but is whey protein really the only big-hitter in town? Well, as it turns out, absolutely not. You see, lately there has been a lot of interest show in beef protein isolate, but can beef protein isolate live up to its hype? Well, it certainly looks that way. Here’s the lowdown on beef protein isolate so you can make your own mind up about this awesome protein supplement.
Why do bodybuilders need protein?
As you know, the main reason why protein supplements are so popular is because they are incredibly popular in the bodybuilding community. Every day, bodybuilders worldwide chug down copious amounts of protein shakes, consume vast amounts of protein bars and flapjacks, and eat so much chicken, egg, and beef, that they feel fit to burst. But why do they do this? It isn’t necessarily because they’re pure carnivores at heart, no, they do it to enhance their physiques. Protein is comprised of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue, and therefore, are the building blocks of protein molecules. Ensuring your body has a constantly supply of quality protein throughout the day is vital if you wish to reap the benefits associated with consuming so much protein. One key benefit is the growth and repair of muscle tissue. You see, without these amino acids making up protein molecules, your muscles, or rather, the cells that make up your muscles, would not be able to function correctly. This means that your muscles would not grow adequately, they wouldn’t be able to repair themselves, and you wouldn’t even maintain muscle tissue. Protein molecules are comprised of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and of nitrogen. In order for your muscles to grow, repair themselves after a workout, and for your body to maintain muscle mass as it is, your body must be placed in a constant positive nitrogen balance. This is achieved when you have enough protein in your system. A lack of protein will put you in a negative nitrogen balance, which would place the body in a catabolic state. This is the last thing a bodybuilder wants because muscle catabolism is basically a process where the body, starved of important nutrients, eats away at existing muscle tissue to give itself what it needs. So, put simply, when you have enough protein, your body will be placed into a positive nitrogen balance, thereby putting you in an anabolic state where you are building and maintaining muscle, rather than losing it.
Has whey had its day?
For decades, whey protein has ruled the roost when it comes to protein supplements, and for very good reason. Whey protein is an affordable, often high-quality protein source that is easily digested and absorbed, making it perfect for bodybuilders and people looking to increase their protein intake. Whey protein comes from a cow, though not in the same way as beef protein does. You see, to create whey protein, milk from cows is taken and has enzymes added to it to cause it to split and separate. This is how cheese is made. The milk separates into solids known as curds, and liquid, which is where the whey protein is found. This liquid then undergoes additional filtration, drying, and processing, before having various amino acids, flavourings, vitamins, and minerals added to it. Now it is ready to be bottled, labelled, and shipped off to various supplement companies, and various other businesses worldwide. Beef protein however, is slightly different. Now, it’s a great source of protein, and it comes from a cow, but that is pretty much where the similarities end. If you go with a good quality beef protein, you’ll find that the protein is purer, you get more protein per serving, there are additional health benefits when compared with whey (more on those later), plus you will find other goodies in there.
So, what’s the big deal about beef protein isolate?
Whey protein is still the number one sports supplement in the world, and honestly, that’s not going to change anytime soon. With that said however, whey is not quite as dominant now as it ways years ago, because we are now discovering other viable alternatives. One of which is beef protein isolate, but what the heck is it? Beef protein isolate is made from, drumroll please, beef! Who knew? To make good quality beef protein isolate, beef flesh is added to huge vats that have been specially designed to strip away the flesh from all of the nutrients found inside, leaving you with a protein-packed liquid jammed full of amino acids, both essential, and non-essential. Now, it may sound pretty disgusting as this point, but don’t worry, it gets much better. The protein-rich liquid is then filtered to remove excess fats and carbohydrates, leaving you with just the good stuff – the protein. Beef protein isolate, like other isolates, removes much more of the fats and carbs, so you have a much purer form of protein. After this filtration process, the liquid is around 98 – 99% pure protein. As a contrast, most good quality concentrates will leave you with 80% protein, sometimes 85% if you find a good brand. This liquid protein is then spray-dried in order to provide you with the protein-rich powder you all know and love. Additional vitamins, minerals, and flavourings are also often added shortly after, before the beef protein isolate is bottled, labelled, and sent off to help bodybuilders get bigger and more jacked than ever.
Why should you choose beef protein isolate?
By now, although beef protein isolate sounds appealing, it doesn’t sound all that much different to whey protein isolate, so why should you go with beef? Well, in reality there are a number of reasons why beef protein isolate is so popular, and these include the following:
Rich in amino acids
One reason why beef protein isolate has proven to be so popular lately is because people have discovered that it is rich in important amino acids. There are countless amino acids out there, each one providing a different benefit for the human body, making them great for bodybuilding. In particular you will find high traces of alanine, arginine, and glutamic acid in beef protein isolate.
More protein per serving
Remember, we’re talking about beef protein isolate here, and like all isolates, this does mean that you are getting more protein per serving, which is exactly what you want. Because of the complex filtration process that beef protein isolate undergoes, you will find that almost all of the excess fat and carbohydrates found in the beef have been removed, leaving you with an incredibly pure powder which provides between 98% and 99% pure protein with each serving. One typical 30g serving would provide you with more than 29.5 grams of protein.
Slower digestion rates
Beef protein isolate does not digest and breakdown at the same speed as whey protein. Beef protein isolate digests and breaks down much slower, making it great for keeping protein supplies topped up during the day. Whey is a rapid absorbing protein, which is why it is consumed immediately after training. Beef isolate however, digests and is absorbed much slower, and takes around 3 hours to be fully absorbed. When consumed between meals therefore, it’s great for helping to maintain a constant nitrogen balance because it ensures that you have protein in your system for a number of hours.
Rich in nutrients
Finally, the last benefit associated with beef protein isolate that we’re going to look at today, is the fact that it is enriched with nutrients that contribute to overall health and well-being. Beef for example, is packed full of minerals such as zinc and iron, which help boost immunity and testosterone levels in the body. It also contains phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins, which play an essential role in metabolic health and function. That means that not only does this supplement contribute towards the growth and repair of muscle tissue, it also promotes overall health and well-being, and helps provide you with plenty of energy in the process.