People usually associate grass-fed whey protein powder with muscle growth. But, how does this process actually work? Does grass-fed protein have any advantages over your standard protein products?
To really answer this question, we need to start with looking at how muscles grow and what role protein plays in that process.
When you exercise, you're actually damaging your muscles. Sorry, but that's what happens. Don't worry, though, that's what you want.
Specifically, the stress of exercise creates tiny tears in the fibers of your muscles. In response, your brain starts to repair the damaged tissue. But your body likes to be prepared.
So, instead of bringing things back to where they were, your muscles are rebuilt bigger and stronger. This way, that same activity won't damage them again. This is how you get bigger, faster, and strong.
Just like any other building project, though, this work requires certain materials in order for the repairs to be done properly. In this case, amino acids are the necessary building materials.
As you may remember from high school biology, proteins are made of several amino acids chained together. When you ingest the protein, though, it's broken down into those individual amino acids so that they can be used to build muscle and other necessary tissue.
When you exercise and provide that stimulus then, it's important to you also give your body everything it needs to get the job done. Granted, your body can make certain amino acids on its own – stringing them together by repurposing other substances.
Others, called essential amino acids, must be supplied through your diet. Grass-fed protein powder provides all of these amino acids in impressive quantities – ensuring that your body has everything it needs to improve your muscle fibers.
But, in all fairness, all whey and casein protein powders contain these amino acids, regardless what the cow's diet was like. So, why should you opt for grass-fed whey protein powder?
Because protein powder does not just contain protein and ignoring these other nutrients can greatly limit the progress you see. Since they are both taken from milk, casein and whey contain fairly high quantities of fat. This also means that they have considerable amounts of total calories.
If your protein powder supplies the wrong kind of fats, then, you can gain the wrong type of weight. While you may see some muscle growth, it will likely be obscured by a layer of fat, as well.
Grass-fed protein powders, however, are leaner – meaning that they contain less fat than your average protein powder. It's also important to note that the type of fat in grass-fed protein powder makes a big difference.
Unlike protein powders sourced from cows that were fed an unnatural diet of grains on a feed-lot, grass-fed protein powders are high in healthy omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs).
Both of these fats contribute to fats loss and can improve several aspects of your health, including cardiovascular and cognitive function.