Maintaining the right diet for optimal swimming performance isn't easy. There's the ideal amount of carbohydrates to eat, recommended levels of hydration, and different types of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep it going at top levels.
It's no different when it comes to protein shakes. Since your body needs protein to function, to heal, and to build muscle, you want to make sure that you are getting this important nutrient from top quality sources. And paying attention to these 3 ingredients will help you steer clear of brands that are selling something less than ideal for your swimmer nutrition plan.
1. Soybean oil
This ingredient is highly controversial because it often comes from GMO sources. If you see this on your ingredient list, make sure that the product is using non-GMO soybean oil, or avoid it altogether. Companies use this, and other emulsifying agents, to thicken the shakes and make them taste better.
2. Hydrogenated ingredients
When you see "hydrogenated" on your ingredient label, it might be best to put it back on the shelf. Hydrogenated whey protein, or other hydrogenated ingredients in your shake, have been heated to extremely high temperatures, and have been denatured. This creates a form of trans fat that you do not want in your body. Companies use this as a way to thicken the ingredients and give more of a "shake" consistency to the product. But beware - trans fat leads to a host of health problems including heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity.
3. Xanthan Gum
A popular food additive, xanthan gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with a bacteria and is usually derived from a variety of sources such as corn, wheat, and soy. This is often used as a filler, and some protein powders may have this ingredient to give users the illusion of feeling full from the shake, when instead you are full from fillers like xantham gum. And definitely avoid this ingredient if you have an allergy to such food sources like wheat or soy.
When shopping for a quality protein shake, look for:
- Whey Isolate - this has a higher concentration of essential amino acids that your body needs, and usually less sugars like maltose and lactose. It also supports your immune system and helps balance blood sugar levels.
- Casein Protein - this slow-absorbing protein will balance out the immediate effects of the whey protein in your shake. Having both present in your post-workout meal will lead to more effective recovery for swimmers.
- Key Vitamins - there are vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function, and swimmers need even more than what's recommended for most people. Look for vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and others to prepare your body for intense training.
At P2Life, our Nutriboost shake is formulated with the highest quality ingredients and is used by everyone from Olympic medalists to Masters swimmers across the U.S.! For more articles about nutrition and performance tips for swimmers, take a look at our blog today.