Protein is everywhere. You only need to be scrolling through social media for 30 seconds before you’ll find a post or an ad extolling the virtues of a new protein powder or, if you’re vegan, someone double checking that you’re aware of the existence of protein and how important it is. We are, by the way.
With the rise of plant-based diets, and vegan athletes taking centre stage in popular documentaries such as Game Changers, our protein requirements have never been under more scrutiny.
The human body needs protein for growth and repair, and it also performs vital functions in our internal organs, keeping our muscles healthy and our hair and nails strong. Understanding protein, and your individual requirements, is a must for anyone who wants to keep themselves healthy.
In a previous article, we focused on what women need to know about protein powder. In this guide, we’re switching the focus to men. Protein powders that target men, and let’s face it, that’s most of them, are almost solely focused on gaining weight, bulking up and getting Arnie style musculature. Whether you want to be Mr. Universe or not, the principles and guidelines to consuming protein are much the same – you just need more or less. Even if you’re not looking to bulk up, protein powder is a great way to help reach your health, wellbeing and fitness goals. This guide explores:
- What is protein?
- How much protein do men need?
- Do men’s protein needs differ from women’s?
- How protein benefits men
- Protein powder for male weight loss
- Protein powder for male weight gain
- Protein powder for men over 50
- What is the best protein powder?
What is protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient. A macronutrient is a food type that is required by the body in fairly large amounts. There are 5 macronutrients; protein, fat, carbohydrate, fibre and water. These work in balance to keep you healthy and functioning efficiently. At their base, proteins are made of amino acids, which form long chains called polymers and are responsible for keeping your body in a good state of repair. This includes keeping hair and nails healthy, your blood oxygenated and flowing, and increasing your metabolism over time.
How much protein do men need?
There is no hard and fast rule on how much protein the average man should consume per day. Protein consumption is largely dependent on your lifestyle, what you’re trying to achieve and your protein intake relative to your bodyweight.
If you regularly train with weights and resistance training, for example, you’ll find yourself needing more protein to aid in muscle protein synthesis for recovery.
The Recommended Daily Allowance of protein is anywhere between 0.36 grams and 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight, with the lower figure representing the average person with a relatively sedentary lifestyle, and the higher being for those looking to gain muscle, or who lead very active lives. If you’re an athlete, some research suggests you should consume up to 1.2-2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
As protein is essential to having a healthy body, having a protein deficiency can have an impact on your health. A protein deficiency can include symptoms such as fatigue and weakness, swelling (edema), changes in mood, and changes to your hair, skin and nails. These are all indicators that there is not enough protein in your diet, and a supplement might help to build your protein levels, especially if you find that you are becoming more active.
Do men’s protein needs differ from women’s?
The short answer is no – there is no reason why you can’t use the same protein. Women may use less protein that men in their supplementing, but that is generally because women weigh less than men.
Other than the amount of protein you should be consuming, there is no difference between protein consumption for men and women – our bodies are maintained by protein in the same way regardless of biological sex.
How does protein benefit men?
The benefits of ensuring that you have enough protein in your diet are manifold. Not only does protein benefit your body’s ability to repair itself and recover after exercising, but it also keeps your skin and hair in good condition. Studies have even shown that protein intake promotes hair growth as your hair follicles are mostly made of protein.
Protein also helps to build and repair muscle, ensuring that your rate of muscle protein synthesis is increased. Depending on the levels of protein consumed, this will either help to maintain your current muscle mass or build on it – with the help of exercise, of course.
Protein powder for weight loss:
Protein powders for men are almost exclusively targeted towards those people who want to bulk up, but protein powder can also be a great tool for weight loss, should you want to shed a few pounds. In combination with a slight calorie deficit, protein powders are an effective method of keeping you satiated for longer, making you less likely to snack on those pesky empty calories.
We have covered this topic in more detail in a previous post; Protein Powder for Weight Loss: How does it work? Check it out if you want to learn more.
Protein powder for weight gain:
Speaking of bulking up, let’s take a minute to talk about protein’s most well-known use. If we were going to play a round of word association, answers relating to protein would most likely include: muscle, gains, weights, and bodybuilding.
But did you also know that protein can help to build and maintain lean muscle? That’s right, protein doesn’t mean that you need to bulk up, but if you want to, the option is there. Whilst you don’t need protein powder to gain muscle, having a protein shake directly after exercise is shown to help with muscle recovery and repair, and give you a good foundation to build on in the future, should you wish to!
Protein powder for men over 50:
As we grow older, the body can begin to lose muscle mass in a process known as sarcopenia, which means that you might need more protein in your diet day to day. Sarcopenia can reduce your muscle mass by 3-8%.
Over time, the body may also develop what is known as anabolic resistance, which means that the body finds it harder to break down and use protein.
What’s the best protein powder?
Not all protein powders are made equal – in fact, the Clean Label Project tested over 53 protein powders from leading brands and found that there was elevated levels of heavy metals and BPA. A whopping 75% of all tested powders had elevated levels of lead.
When we created our PERFORM vegan protein powder, it was really important to us that everything was third-party tested for heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, and other contaminants.
Along with 25g of digestible plant-based protein and 6g of BCAA’s (to aid in recovery), we’re confident that PERFORM is the best protein powder on the market.
Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2016)