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50SGRANNY SparkPoints: (17,477)
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6/23/13 2:23 P

PALMSANDPRADISE, I'm so happy to see that you prefer Greek yogurt over powders as a source of protein. I'm on a limited income, and have been trying to decide if I should be trying harder to budget in protein powder. I love Greek yogurt, and have been using that and/or PB 2 powdered peanut butter for the protein in my smoothies. I guess I'll just stick with that!

6/23/13 10:26 A

I think you are taking an "all or nothing" approach to this concept---and that is causing the confusion. On a low protein breakfast, one will still lose weight and body fat; but subjects get better results on a higher protein breakfast.

As I piece together this protein issue, I see it going something like this. This is strictly an example to help with explanation. I made up the numbers as an example.

Researchers first find out that during weight loss; people who follow a higher protein diet (75 grams daily vs 45 grams daily) have a better fat loss, and maintain muscle mass. Did both groups show improvement? Yes, but the higher protein group had better results.

So then the researcher wanted to see if the distribution of that protein played a role. They discovered that the subjects who had a higher protein breakfast (20 grams, vs 7 grams) had better results. So the researchers then state that in their preliminary research this is what they found. They probably say something like more research is needed, etc.

The research is not saying that you get "no" weight loss results when you have a lower protein intake, or a lower protein breakfast; However, the best weight loss results were seen when one eats XXX grams of protein daily and takes in XXX grams at breakfast.


BITHOO SparkPoints: (9,600)
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Posts: 353
6/22/13 10:59 P

I guess I'm still not understanding the concept that it "takes 20g of protein in a single serving to turn on protein synthesis upon waking,"

If that's the case, then most Americans never turn on protein synthesis?

Does that mean that if you, for example, eat 14 grams of protein at breakfast and then go work out, you WON'T build muscle?

Does it mean that if you eat 21 grams then you WILL build muscle whether or not you work out?

Perhaps it's because I don't really grasp the whole concept of "protein synthesis," because I am not immersed in nutrition research.

But it certainly sounds like you need to eat very large quantities of protein at a single sitting in order to derive any benefit from exercise. Which is something I have never heard before from any source.

That doesn't mean it's wrong, but it does mean that it's outside of the "typical" media information about diet, nutrition, exercise, and protein.

6/21/13 9:02 A

The research done on protein by D. Layman is very important to health and weight loss. To see the studies he has been involved in, do a search at this site using David Layman, protein:

This type of research is one of the reasons why sparkpeople has set a lower protein intake of 60 grams for women and 75 grams for men. With that amount, it almost "naturally" happens that a large quantity (for example 20 grams---3 ounces of cooked meat) would be included at one eating episode (meal) during the day. I think the confusion occured because GDBEAR's post made it sound like protein was having no benefit in the body if it didn't occur in at least 20 gram amounts. Total protein intake is important and so is getting a larger amount at one time at a meal during the day. In fact, preliminary research is showing benefit of getting the larger amount at breakfast---which many people do not currently do. Something to think about as we move forward in our knowledge of weight loss.

Hope this helps to clarify.


6/21/13 8:18 A

In my own opinion, a protein smoothie is a smoothie high in protein. Honestly I have no idea in a set amount of grams but I have been LOVING my smoothies in the morning!! Seriously addicted!! I use a cup of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (23g of protein & a lot less sugar than flavored yogurt) also add whatever fruits I want (I cut them & freeze them for better texture) & for sweetness I add the energy MIO ( I also need that initial boost in the morning). I know you weren't asking for a recipe but I had to share emoticon I'm not against powders but I found out how much higher protein & less sugar is in the Greek yogurt compared to powders (at least the ones I was using) & now I'm in love. Good luck on your journey!

GDBEAR65 SparkPoints: (2,095)
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6/21/13 7:31 A

Bithoo, your last post is insulting. I'm not saying anything, merely relaying the findings of Donald Layman's research showed that it took 20g of protein in a single serving to turn on protein synthesis upon waking. There's no magic to it - it's like priming a pump. Building muscle takes a lot of hard work, but if you don't lay a foundation of good nutrition you won't get good results. Donald Layman has been researching the effects of protein on metabolism for a long time - approx. 30 years - so I believe he knows a little about the subject. 20g of protein is 80 calories, which is not much for a single a meal or shake. Layman's research has also shown macro-balance is important and advocates an even split of macronutrients. You asked for a definition of a protein smoothie. Take it for what it's worth.

6/20/13 1:38 P

It really comes down to the personal and medical situation---a medical nutrition assessment would be needed, and interventions/goals set.

For example:
There are more strict protein guidelines for someone who is training as a "professional athlete" (hours and hours of training daily), someone who is dealing with a large wound, amputation, burn, etc.

However, for the general, healthy adult (or the healthy adult working towards a weight loss of 1-2 pounds weekly)--as are most of the 12 million Sparkpeople member; the Sparkpeople protein range is appropriate and spreading the protein amount into meal and snacks throughout the day is all that is needed.

Hope this explanation helps.

SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

BITHOO SparkPoints: (9,600)
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6/20/13 1:07 P

Greg: it sounds like you're saying "eat 20+ grams of protein at one time to see anabolic effects." Still not quite sure how that would work, unless you're somehow instantly utilizing that protein through exercise and turning it to muscle... but that sounds a bit like magic (eat this food and it turns instantly to muscle!)

GDBEAR65 SparkPoints: (2,095)
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6/20/13 7:22 A

6/20/13 7:10 A

To clarify some information:
The body maintains an amino acid pool, from which it can draw upon for its protein needs. Things like:
buidling, maintaining and reparing body tissues of which muscle is one example.
making hormones, enzymes, etc
making hemoglobin which carries oxygen

The pool is maintained by the protein you consume throughout the day---it does not have to be a "magic number" of 20 grams to be beneficial and meet the needs of the body.

SP Registered Dietitian

GDBEAR65 SparkPoints: (2,095)
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6/20/13 5:53 A

Anabolic means tissue-building, which is the opposite of catabolic. You may have heard the term anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids have a positive effect on muscle-building due to their tissue-building properties.

As for finding good product, if you're in the US or Canada, offers a variety of proteins at good prices, which you can buy pre-mixed or you can make a custom mix.

Edited by: GDBEAR65 at: 6/20/2013 (05:56)
EMSR2D2 Posts: 1,320
6/20/13 2:04 A

If you can't find decent protein powders etc in your local chain health food store, try to find a good independent store. They're not tied to any particular brand and they should be able to choose their stock based on the knowledge of the owner/staff. Of, of course, try online. Higher Nature do a great hemp powder, and the pea protein powder I use is by Pulsin. Linwoods do a couple of delicious ready-ground flaxseed powders too.

BITHOO SparkPoints: (9,600)
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6/19/13 8:29 P

Greg -- you say "in order for a protein drink to have an anabolic effect it should have at least 20g of complete protein," what does that mean -- an anabolic effect?

BITHOO SparkPoints: (9,600)
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6/19/13 8:28 P

wow -- where do you find all these nutritious goodies?? my grocery store had just the "biggest loser" protein powder! is it all at GNC stores, and similar?

EMSR2D2 Posts: 1,320
6/19/13 5:08 P

In the UK, very few people seem to whizz flax seeds or nuts into their smoothies, I think that's why protein powders made from other sources are so popular.

BRAVELUTE SparkPoints: (93,427)
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6/19/13 5:06 P

For me, it's just a a couple of fruits, usually frozen banana, a green like spinach, possibly with a wham of flax seeds or raw nuts, processed in my Nutribullet with water. I get plenty of protein in that delicious combination!

I believe others are creating something with pricey protein powders. I can't think of any protein powder that I would want to use, unless it was ground seeds or nuts.

Or possibly dehydrated egg whites to use in a dessert.

EMSR2D2 Posts: 1,320
6/19/13 5:01 P

Pea protein and hemp protein are great too, especially if you're trying to cut down on unfermented soy or aren't keen on whey (which you can't have if you're vegan and if you're veggie, you would need to check if the whey was a by-product of vegetarian cheese or not).

MICHELE319 Posts: 43
6/19/13 4:04 P

I'd like to make my own but I just use Atkins or Advantage EAS carb control (I think that is what its called).

GDBEAR65 SparkPoints: (2,095)
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6/19/13 3:52 P

as Becky has pointed out there is no legal definitions per se. I didn't realize Greek yogurt was so high in protein, so I am retracting the bit about a smoothie being a just a smoothie even with Greek yogurt. I have read that in order for a protein drink to have an anabolic effect it should have at least 20g of complete protein, so I guess that could be a good starting point. My personal preference for protein powder is Milk Protein Isolate which I order online, unflavored and unsweetened from True Nutrition. Liquid egg whites are fine as long as they are pasteurized - pasteurization will kill any salmonella and it neutralizes avidin which is the anti-nutrient that inhibits biotin uptake from raw egg yolks. Though the chances of getting salmonella poisoning from a raw egg are about 1 in 30,000, but I would not recommend ingesting them raw as the protein from eggs is more bio-available when cooked.

Edited by: GDBEAR65 at: 6/19/2013 (16:11)
6/19/13 3:29 P

Protein smoothie is not a "legal term" so it means nothing. It would be strictly up to the individual.

Since the smoothie is often being used as a meal---I would encourage at least 10-15 grams of protein in the serving. Protein powder, nonfat dry milk powder, yogurt, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter, etc...could all be used in reaching the goal.

SP Registered Dietitian Becky

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,390
6/19/13 2:50 P

I dunno, I'd say that depends on how much protein is in the yogurt. A good Greek yogurt can add close to 20g of protein, which is almost identical to a serving of whey. Personally I like to use a little of both together. It seems to me, though, that if their protein content is the same and one makes it a "protein smoothie," the other would too. I guess it depends on how one defines the term: as a smoothie that is high in protein, or as a smoothie that specifically has protein-based additives. I tend to mean the former, but I guess the latter seems logical too. I don't think there's an official definition.

Do you have a personal preference on what to add, GDBEAR65? I like whey and I've tried soy protein but wasn't hugely fond of it (although I may have used too much). I like the idea of egg white, although I've never consumed it raw and I'd have to look into that a little before I tried it. What are your favorites?

Edited by: BITTERQUILL at: 6/19/2013 (15:33)
GDBEAR65 SparkPoints: (2,095)
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6/19/13 2:35 P

Protein smoothies means protein, in the form of whey or other protein powder or pasteurized liquid egg whites, has been added to provide a high protein content. A smoothie made with just yogurt, including Greek style, is just a smoothie.

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,390
6/19/13 2:28 P

Yep. A "smoothie" refers to the method of making the food, and it's final consistency, much more than it refers to what is in it. Kind of the way "sandwich" could mean anything from sprouts on a whole wheat pita to a double bacon cheeseburger. Both are technically sandwiches (ie bread and filling) even though they have little else in common. There are no hard and fast rules for what defines a "protein smoothie," but they generally have something added to increase protein content in comparison to the most basic form of smoothie, plain blended fruit and ice. Everyone will have a different recipe for their favorites.

I occasionally make smoothies out of Greek yogurt, whey and frozen fruit (I like banana, blueberries and strawberries). The yogurt makes it creamy, the fruit makes it tasty and adds a little fiber (while also making it thicker and colder if it's frozen, without watering it down the way ice would), and the whey adds a bigger boost of protein on top of the yogurt. I've seen lots of recipes that involve greens as well, but I have yet to try any since I have smoothies pretty rarely.

Edited by: BITTERQUILL at: 6/19/2013 (14:30)
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (58,043)
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6/19/13 2:01 P

It can be all of the above. Usually, smoothie implies a blended drink with multiple ingredients like ice, milk, fruit, etc. However, the term can apply to pretty much any drink that has protein added for a boost. :)

BITHOO SparkPoints: (9,600)
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6/19/13 1:36 P

When people talk about protein smoothies, do they mean protein powder plus water and ice? Or yogurt and fruit? Or juice and powder? or green veg? I'm new to the whole idea!

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