What is protein and why do we need it?

Literally every cell in our body contains proteins. We need proteins for healthy growth and repair of all our body tissues - muscles, internal organs, skin and hair.

Proteins are made up of different combinations of amino acids. Amino acids can be thought of as the “building blocks” of the human body. There are 20 amino acids that we need, of which our body can itself create only 11. The remaining 9, which are called “essential amino acids” cannot be produced by our bodies and therefore must come from the protein we consume as part of our diet. When we eat any kind of protein, our body breaks it down into amino acids, which are then rearranged into different proteins that our body needs.

During and after exercise our body requires a higher amount of amino acids in order to help repair those that have been depleted during physical activity. 3 of the 9 essential amino acids are called the “branched-chain amino acids” (or BCAAs). BCAAs are specifically responsible for lean muscle growth and help us recover faster from exercise.

Which foods contain protein?

You may have heard the expression “complete protein source”. This means that this particular source of protein contains all of the 9 essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins contain some of the essential amino acids, but not all of them.

In order for our body to get all the amino acids that it needs to function, various food sources need to be combined therefore a varied balanced diet is essential to us.

Animal sources (such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs) are complete proteins although they can also be high in fat. However, there are also several plant-based complete proteins, such as soya beans, quinoa and hemp. Beans, pulses, nuts and seeds are examples of incomplete proteins. However, given that we typically consume a wide range of different foods as part of our diet, even if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you are likely to be getting all the amino acids that your body requires.

How much protein do we need?

How much protein we need depends on many factors such as our age, weight, level of activity etc. People who are highly active (for example professional athletes) need more protein. Protein is essential in repairing and building new muscle tissue, therefore those people who are actively trying to build muscle will in general also need to consume more protein.

On average, our body requires around 0.75g of protein per kilogram of our bodyweight. This equates to approximately 56g/ day for men and 45g/day for women. Depending on your lifestyle, it is generally recommended that 10-35% of your daily calorie intake comes from protein.

What is whey protein?

Whey is one of two proteins contained in milk, the other being casein. Whey protein is considered a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids and is one of the best sources of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).

What are the different types of whey protein?

Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) contains between 25% – 89% protein and is higher in fat, carbs and lactose. Protein powders that use whey protein concentrate as their main ingredient typically contain around 80% protein. The rest of the product consists of lactose, fat, minerals and moisture.

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is the purest form of whey protein and typically contains between 90-95% protein by weight. WPI is also very low in fat and cholesterol and contains little to no lactose (ours contains less than 0.2%).

Why do we use whey protein isolate?

Whey Protein Isolate is a purer, better quality source of protein, which has a very high protein content (our whey contains 95% protein in its unflavoured state). Whey is very low in fat, lactose and cholesterol and it is very easily absorbed and digested by the body, making it a great protein to take after workouts, when it is important to supply muscles with amino acids. Whey is also high in the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which stimulate fat oxidation, allow for faster recovery and help repair and grow lean muscle tissue.

Our whey is unique as it is produced directly from skimmed milk and not from whey liquid (by-product of cheese making). Our whey is also not heat treated but produced at low temperatures via micro- and ultra-filtration. This means that our whey has a superior amino acid profile to typical whey proteins produced from whey liquid (which are also typically treated at very high temperatures).

See Our Ingredients page for more information about our whey and vegan proteins.

Can lactose-intolerant people consume our protein blends?

Our whey protein contains almost no lactose - less than 0.2% and is therefore suitable for individuals with lactose intolerance. You can also opt for one of our vegan protein blends, which are made using vegan source of protein from hemp seeds.

Can vegetarians and vegans consume our protein blends?

Depending how varied your diet is, it can sometimes be more difficult to get enough protein as a vegetarian or vegan. Our whey protein is suitable for vegetarians (but not vegans) and our vegan hemp protein blends are suitable for both vegans and vegetarians.

Can our protein blends help you lose weight?

Protein-rich foods tend to make us feel fuller for longer than foods rich in carbohydrates or fat. Including a lean source of protein into your diet can help minimize feelings of hunger and decrease overall energy intake. When trying to lose weight and reducing energy intake, it is a good idea to maintain the intake of low-fat protein rich foods.

What is the best way to consume our protein blends?

It really depends on your preference and creativity. The simplest and quickest way is just to shake the suggested 25g serving amount with some water or milk (nut or dairy – whichever you prefer). You can add our blends to your breakfast bowls, oats, raw treats, smoothies, protein pancakes etc. See our blog and recipes page for recipe inspiration and make sure you share your own creations with us by tagging @pureblendco on Instagram.

When is the best time to take our protein blends if you want to gain lean muscle?

Taken directly after exercise mixed with water or your favourite nut milk or blended into a shake with your favourite greens, berries or fruit will provide your body with the essential amino acids and nutrients for lean muscle growth as well as help your muscles recover post exercise.