The Best And Worst Protein Sources To Eat For Your Health According To Dietitians
It’s important to eat enough protein throughout the day, as it aids in muscle recovery and repair, boosting your metabolism and keeping hunger at bay. However, it’s all about quality, too, and different types of protein bring different nutrition to the table.
“When determining what types of protein are the best, I first think in terms of bioavailability, which is the portion of a nutrient that is absorbed in the digestive tract, its essential amino acid composition and its digestibility. But we also must consider sustainability and other nutritional benefits that are included in the source,” says Nicole Magryta RDN, author of Nourish Your Tribe: Empowering Parents to Grow Strong, Smart, Successful Kids.
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And that means considering whether it’s a whole food, made of good ingredients, offers a hefty dose of protein per serving and tastes just as good as it is for you. These are the best and worst sources of protein to eat for your health, according to dietitians.
What Makes A Clean Protein Powder
Ignore the marketing jargon and look straight at the ingredient label. Heres your checklist to find the cleanest protein powders:
Now Sports Egg White Protein
NOW Sports Egg White Protein Powder is free of dairy, so its a good choice if youre lactose intolerant. Its also paleo-friendly and free of fillers, additives, and sweeteners.
Additionally, this product is certified by Informed Sport, a third-party organization that tests supplements to ensure that theyre free of banned substances.
The smooth, unflavored powder is a great addition to shakes, smoothies, and baked goods.
Still, some reviews note that it can be somewhat hard to mix, so it may not be suitable for all types of recipes.
What Are The Different Protein Powders
- Protein concentrates: These contain 60 to 80 percent protein, with the remaining 20 to 40 percent being fat and carbohydrates. Theyre created by using heat and acid or enzymes on whole foods to extract the protein.
- Protein isolates: The process is filtered even further so that it removes more fat and carbs. Protein isolate powders contain 90 to 95 percent protein.
- Protein hydrolysates: When the process of using heat with acid or enzymes continues, the amino acid bonds are broken down. This allows your body to absorb them more quickly, which is what happens with protein powders containing protein hydrolysates.
A 2017 study found that supplementing with whey protein hydrolysates reduced exercise-induced muscle damage symptoms and improved recovery of muscle function. This could help enhance muscle growth after exercise.
Whey isolate and concentrate are both high quality proteins and will produce similar effects. A 2016 research review found that people who took whey protein containing both isolate and concentrate improved their lean muscle mass and strength. You may want to opt for isolate rather than concentrate if youre aiming to limit carbs and fats.
Many protein powders contain a blend of the different forms.
Which Is Better: Whey Or Plant
Pros and Cons of Whey Protein Powders
Whey protein is derived from cows milk, which makes it a dairy product. During cheese production, whey is separated and isolated. Most dairy milk contains two types of protein: casein and whey . After that, whey protein goes through some processing to make it whey powder, and this is where it can get unhealthy.
Most whey protein alone tastes pretty terrible, so many manufacturers add sugar and ingredients to make it more palatable. To keep it clean, look for powders where the whey is either an isolate or hydrolysate form.
There are three main types of whey protein powders:
When it comes to building muscle, animal protein reigns supreme over plant-based protein. Some research shows plant protein is inferior when it comes to digestibility and the muscle-building response to consumption. This is most likely due to one specific amino acid called leucine, which is responsible for starting the muscle-building process in the body.
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Should I Take Protein Powder If I Want To Lose Weight
The best protein powder for weight loss will also depend on the overall health and lifestyle of a person. For instance, animal-based proteins such as whey may not be appropriate for vegetarians and vegans while plant-based proteins like hemp and pea powders may not appeal to people who do not follow a vegan diet.
The same protein powder may be good for one person but bad for another. A protein supplement should also be taken as part of a well-balanced diet and not as a replacement for whole foods such as meats, seafood, beans and legumes, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.
Workout gains may be lost if protein intake is not adequate. Protein can also help you feel full which will decrease your cravings for junk food. Therefore, choosing the right protein powder should be based on your specific needs, lifestyle, and fitness goals.
For example, if you are vegan or vegetarian then look for a plant-based protein that uses organic ingredients. If you have a dairy allergy then soy protein powder is a good choice for you.
Some people may choose to use protein powders as meal replacements or snack alternatives because they are delicious and nutritious. While many types of protein can help promote weight loss, there are some other things you should consider first.
However, choosing high-quality protein powders could help you reduce your calorie intake when used as part of a balanced diet or fitness plan.
Ranking The Best Protein Powders Of 2021
Protein powder is a highly concentrated and powderized supplement thats derived from protein-rich foods like milk, peas, soybeans, and bone broth.
Its widely used by athletes for better strength gain and muscle recovery following tough training sessions, but its also incredibly useful if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a lean physique.
Protein powder has a number of special biological properties that make it ideal for dropping fat and maintaining muscle mass. Our researchers have ranked the ten best protein powders for staying fit and healthy, whether that means adding muscle at the gym or fighting body fat.
Ladder offers two types of protein: whey and plant-based. Their whey protein contains a mix of whey isolates and casein protein to consistently fuel your muscles with amino acids, ensuring maximum protein synthesis.
Ladder whey only uses natural sweeteners, without the use of fillers, additives, or coloring. With its NSF-certified badge, you can be confident that every serving of Ladder whey is compliant with even the strictest Olympic standards. If you are going to buy any protein powder, this is BodyNutritions top choice.
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How Much Protein Are Most People Eating Now
Because high is a relative term, discussions about whether you should eat a high protein diet are based upon a reference point. The typical reference point is the Recommended Daily Allowance for daily protein, which is set at 0.8 grams per kilo.6 For an average 154-pound person , that equates to 56 grams of protein per day about six ounces of steak. For women, the RDA is even less, around 46 grams.
However, the RDA recommendation addresses the minimum amount required to prevent protein deficiency. The minimum to prevent protein deficiency is not the same as the recommended amount to improve health a distinction that many people misunderstand.7
American men average 88 grams of protein per day, and women average 66 grams, which equates to only 14 to 16% of total calories.8 Of those protein calories, approximately 30% come from plant sources.9
The main take-home message is that most people are likely not eating enough protein for weight loss, metabolic health, and improving lean muscle mass.
Find Out Our Favorite Protein Powders For Building Muscle In 2022
Healthy protein intake is an essential part of gaining strength and muscles, as well as muscle recovery. This is why protein powder supplements are so beneficial to athletes and strength trainers.
It can be difficult to determine which protein powders are actually effective and healthy when it comes to muscle gain. Luckily, though, weve compiled our list of the 11 best protein powders for muscle gain.
Lets take a look at the highlighted features, benefits, and specs of these protein powders. Youll get to examine the pros and cons of each.
Well discover which are most ideal for muscle gain and bulking up. Well also discuss how protein powders work and how to use them safely.
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Does Hair Type Matter
Different hairs need different cares. Hair condition and intended usage are more relevant to protein treatments than hair type, though. Light protein treatments are more suited for routine care. For repairing damaged hair, an intensive treatment with a higher protein content is better.
Protein is beneficial for all hair types, but some treatments are more effective with certain hair types than others. Most products advertise clearly on the packaging if theyre for a specific hair type. This is especially true for Black hair in recent years, as many brands and stores are finally recognizing Black hair care needs and stocking products that cater to it.
Many hair care products contain harmful hair-damaging chemicals. Protein treatments are no exception. Always check ingredients before using any new hair product, and for best results, its advised to avoid the following:
What Are The Best High
The best choices for high-protein diets are foods with a high protein percentage. The protein percentage of a food tells you how much protein per calorie a food has.10 Foods with a lot of protein and less fat and carbohydrate are ranked higher, as are low-fat, low-carb foods with a lot of fiber.
Foods in the middle range of protein percentage can help you maintain your weight and your muscle mass. Going a little higher over 30 or 35% may help you lose weight.
Foods with a lower protein percentage may lead to weight gain, while foods with the highest protein percentage may be good choices for someone who is really trying to reduce body fat and become lean and fit.
Fortunately, most high-protein foods are delicious and have plenty of vitamins and minerals, too. You can start with this list of the best high-protein foods.
- Meat and poultry: beef, chicken, lamb, turkey
- Seafood: shrimp, crab, salmon, tuna
- Eggs: whole eggs or egg whites
- Dairy: cottage cheese, greek yogurt
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, and soy
- Non-starchy vegetables11: spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms
If your diet consists mainly of the above foods, you are on your way to eating a healthy diet with plenty of protein.
Here are a few tips to help you increase how much protein you eat and ensure you get adequate protein without adding too many unnecessary calories:
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How To Use Protein Powder
Keep in mind that protein powder should not be used to replace healthy sources of protein in your diet, because high protein foods also provide other valuable nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Still, supplements can be an easy and convenient way to increase your protein intake, as there are many ways to use protein powder.
The simplest way is to mix it with a beverage, such as water or milk, or blend it with other ingredients, such as fruits and veggies, to create a smoothie.
You can also mix protein powder into simple foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, or dips.
If you feel like getting creative, experiment with using protein powder as an addition or substitution in your usual recipes. For example, you can use protein powder in soups, veggie burgers, and baked goods.
They Help To Repair And Restore Damaged Hair
Proteins lost in damaged areas of the hairs structure are replaced by ones absorbed from your protein-rich shampoo/conditioner/treatment/mask/whatever.
Trials like this 2018 study of recombinant keratin K31 treatment found the additional protein led to a huge boost in mechanical strength and increased strand diameter up to 49% in chemically damaged hair.
So, if your hair is already damaged, protein treatment will help.
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What Should I Be Looking For In Whey Protein
Before you part with your hard-earned cash, it’s important to understand what it is you are buying, and, most importantly, what to look for when you’re looking for the best whey protein.
After all, what’s the point in sifting through the digital aisles of of your go-to sports retailers and parting with your hard-earned cash, when you don’t know what you’re investing in? It’s cash worth parting with, as research suggests that whey protein, when partnered with regular resistance training, can help the user maintain lean mass while increasing strength all over the body. Below, we line up everything you need to know about when it comes to shopping for whey protein. Consider this your inside scoop.
Should I Take Protein After Working Out
The idea of an “anabolic window,” or a small period of time post-workout when protein foods will translate more directly into gains, has been popular among bodybuilders for decades. However, recent research suggests that it’s not as short, or as important, as once thought.
“Even if you delay your post-workout meal for a couple of hours, your body is still using the amino acids from your pre-workout meal to stimulate maximal growth and recovery,” explains Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., in the article “Is the Anabolic Window Real?” “It certainly doesn’t hurt to throw back a shake immediately after your workout, but you can still gain a substantial amount of strength and size even when delaying post-workout nutrition.”
However, especially if you tend to train in a fasted state, where you haven’t eaten for several hours before training, there’s an argument for having that shake as quickly as possible after training.
“If the ritual of having a shake right after exercise helps you remember, then do it!” recommends Douglas Kalman, Ph.D., in Bodybuilding.com’s Foundations of Fitness Nutrition Course. “If you can have both a shake and a solid meal in that so-called ‘anabolic window,’ all the better. By contrast, waiting for several hours doesn’t offer any benefits.”
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Best Protein Powder : Boost Your Nutrition
Our guide to the very best protein powder to help with your fitness.
The best protein powders are a great way to supplement your protein intake if you struggle to get enough in your day-to-day diet. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps to build muscle, so if you’re looking to make substantial gains then you might want to consider investing in a good protein powder.
“A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes Most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight,” says Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified diabetes educator and national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines, between 10% and 35% of your daily calories should come from protein alone.
“Most people are able to meet their protein needs through whole foods,” says , RDN, CSSD, a registered dietitian and certified sports dietitian. “Athletes who have high-calorie needs appreciate the ability to get additional protein in a small amount of food. After an injury or an illness dietitians often recommend protein powders for people with poor appetites or high protein needs for healing.”
Best Overall: Naked Casein
Boasting 19 grams of protein at just over a dollar per ounce, this cost-effective, unflavored protein powder more than deserves a place in your pantry. Its another micellar casein formula, ensuring that youll feel fuller for longer. You can tell this is a superior quality to other micellar casein by the lack of grittiness, an Amazon reviewer explains. Bonus: It contains just two ingredients.
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