How To Choose A Protein Powder
Protein powders are popular choices for fitness enthusiasts looking to build and strengthen muscle while improving athletic performance.
Theyre also popular among people interested in supplementing their diet due to dietary restrictions or simply adding a healthy source of protein to it.
Protein powders can also be a quick and easy way to get protein when youre pressed for time.
Protein powders are made from various protein sources. To find the protein powder thats right for you, youll need to decide which ingredients are best for your needs.
Animal-based protein powders include:
Meanwhile, plant-based protein powders often include pea, rice, and hemp.
Some blends also include other sources of plant-based protein, such as whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Look for protein powders that have as few ingredients as possible, and always check the labels carefully and look out for any additives, including sodium, sugars, or artificial colors and flavors.
Additionally, be sure to opt for protein powders that have undergone third-party testing whenever possible.
Athletes may also want to consider choosing a protein powder that has been tested for banned substances by organizations like Informed Sport.
You Might Be Using The Wrong Protein Supplement For Your Goals
When you walk into your local supplement shop, youll likely come face-to-face with an endless selection of supplements namely, protein powders. The colorful shelves and assorted tubs can be overwhelming, even for advanced bodybuilders who have been lifting weights for a long time.
Before you make a panic purchase or fall prey to the sales pitch of the employee behind the desk, you should probably have a working knowledge of the various types of protein powder. Believe it or not, not all protein is cut from the same cow. Knowing the difference can help you make an informed purchase, or even reach your lifting goals a little quicker.
Editors Note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldnt take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns.
How To Choose The Best Protein Powder
As you scan labels, Jennifer McDaniel, M.S., R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommends choosing options that include their specific type of protein as the first ingredient then, its best to go for ones that dont use artificial sweeteners, keep their ingredient lists short, and have neutral flavors like vanilla or unflavored. Now, its time to pick the right kind of protein for you.
Know your diet. Theres a protein powder out there for every diet imaginable plant-based eaters can enjoy soy and pea protein, for example, while paleo adherents can reach for egg white protein. And if youre dairy-free, avoid whey or casein and reach for hemp or soy. Before you settle on one, make sure youre clear on your eating plan.
Understand PDCAAS.One of the more recent, accepted ways to assess the protein quality and bioavailability is the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score , McDaniel explains. PDCAAS ranks proteins on a quality scale of zero to one. The closer to one, the better whey, casein, and egg white score 1.0, collagen scores 0.0, and plant-based options score in the middle.
Ready to explore some new options or learn more about your favorite? These are the best protein powders to try, according to dietitians and reviewers.
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For Additional Protein While Still Keeping A Plant
Tyler wrote that hemp protein is plant-based and contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Pea protein, also rich in amino acids according to Healthline, has also become more popular these days due to an increase in vegetarian and vegan diets. Pea protein is also more digestible, especially for those with milk sensitivities.
Brown rice protein has been around for a long time but has been considered subordinate to other sources of protein.
Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE said “early research on brown rice protein powder suggests it may have beneficial effects on body composition. However, it is low in the essential amino acid lysine.”
Gold Standard Whey Protein
Reasons to avoid
Many protein powders come complete with a range of flavors some more palatable than others.
The main objection to this product among reviewers relates to price, and especially to recent price rises in the product. “I think its a quality product overpriced”, says one. Unless you have a great recycling service, you may find that you cant recycle the black tub, either.
However, if you want the flexibility to add your own flavors, or you dislike the sweeteners found in flavored whey products, this is a great choice. Its not entirely flavor-free, but the taste is neutral enough that it wont come strongly through your own flavors.
In common with most protein powders, it has added soy lecithin as an emulsifier, which is the only added ingredient beyond the whey products . It mixes well, without too many lumps.
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How Do You Use Protein Powder
If you have a unflavored protein powder, try adding it to your mashed potatoes, blend it together with dip/dressing, and even put it in your fave burger mix. Start with a small amount and build up.
What Are The Different Types Of Protein Powders
Protein powders can come from animal or plant sources, but both types contain at least one of the following three categories of proteinâand often, all three.
Protein Concentrates: Concentrates contain 60-80 percent protein. The remainder of the concentrate is made of fats and carbohydrates. This is the most common and easy-to-produce type of protein.
Protein Isolates: Isolates are a highly filtered type of protein that contains 90-95 percent pure protein that’s been stripped of fats, carbs, and, in the case of whey isolate, nearly all traces of lactose. For those searching for a lean and ultra-pure protein, isolates are often the way to go.
Protein Hydrolysates: To create a protein hydrolysate, manufacturers partially break down or “pre-digest” in order to make it easier to digest and absorb.
In addition to these categories, you’ll see proteins from numerous sources, including:
Whey protein: The most popular protein on the market, whey is a complete protein, meaning that all nine amino acids necessary for protein synthesis are present. The three branched-chain amino acidsâleucine, isoleucine, and valineâare found in high concentrations in whey protein. Whey protein is a fast-absorbing protein and can be digested in as little as 20 minutes for whey protein hydrolysates. This makes it ideal for post-workout recovery.
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How To Pick The Perfect Protein Powder
With so many protein powders on the market, how do you know which one to buy? Here are some simple guidelines to help you pick the perfect protein for your goals!
I like to think we’re living in the golden age of protein. Protein has never been as popular as it is today, and I’m glad people everywhere are finally embracing the power of this mighty macronutrient. Protein is a critical building block that aids in the growth, maintenance, and repair of muscle, and there’s no denying its impact on strength, performance, and body composition.
As a nutritionist, I find it interesting that so many myths about protein have come and gone, including the claim that the Recommended Daily Allowance was perfect for all adults, regardless of how much they trained, and that if you ate more protein than the RDA your kidneys and bones could be in danger. Obviously a lot has changed. In recent years it has become clear that people who exercise regularly need more protein than the RDA, and that higher intakes are quite safe.
However, with so many protein supplements on the market, one of the most common questions I get asked is which one to buy. Below are some guidelines to help you pick the right protein type and product for your personal fitness goals!
Protein Powder Isnt A Nutrition Essential
But it is a useful tool.
And here at Precision Nutrition, were all about picking the right tool for the job.
So if youre struggling to meet your protein goalswhether because of convenience or appetitethen protein powder may be exactly what you need.
Its worth noting you may have to do some experimenting before you find the right one. Our advice: pick one and stick with it for two weeks, and treat this time period like an experiment.
Pay attention to how you feel, and note any changes. Do you have more energy than before? Are you experiencing new, weird digestive issues? Are you feeling less hungry in the hours after your workout? Consider how these changes might be getting you closer toor further away fromyour goals.
If the changes are positive, you may have found your winner. If not, try a different flavor, brand or type of protein.
In the end, choosing the best protein powder for you ultimately comes down to asking the right questions, then experimenting with different options.
And that advice? Its solid not just for picking a protein powder, but pretty much any decision in the world of nutrition.
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Whole Foods Vs Protein Powder
You can meet your bodys daily protein requirements whether you drink shakes or eat only whole foods. However, they dont offer equal nutrition.
What you may find surprising is that shakes generally contain fewer nutrients than whole foods. For that reason, shakes may help you lose weight, but whole foods can offer a bigger nutritional punch.
Navitas Organics Hemp Powder
In addition to offering 13 grams of hemp-based protein, Navitas Organic Hemp Powder is a good source of magnesium, iron, and fiber. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and all nine essential amino acids.The powder is suitable for people who require gluten-free options and have digestive sensitivities.
Plus, it has an earthy, nutty taste with no chalky aftertaste and can be used as a flour substitute.
The powder also dissolves well, so it can be a delicious addition to smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods. You can even add it to dips, salads, and soups.
According to the companys website, Navitas Organics products are third-party tested to ensure quality and safety, though the name of the testing organization isnt disclosed.
Just keep in mind that its a bit lower in protein than other products on this list, which may be a drawback for some.
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What Is A Protein Shake
Protein shakes are a protein drink typically consumed before or after a workout in order to aid in muscle recovery. Protein shakes are usually made with frozen fruit/ice, a protein source such as protein powder, and a liquid.
Are protein shakes good for you? The healthiest protein shakes are the ones you make in your own blender because you can control what goes in them. The goal here is low sugar + high protein and no additives.
Benefits of protein shakes Protein shakes are an excellent thing to drink after a workout to help your muscles properly recover. In addition to post-workout, protein shakes can be used as a meal preplacement if they have enough calories ore even a high-protein snack.
Protein shake before or after workout? Our preferred time to drink a protein shake is post-workout, but it has been said that either before or after a workout will provide the same benefits!
How Can You Use Protein Powders
If you have a flavored variety , you can simply mix the protein powder with water. This also helps you avoid the added carbs or sugars that many smoothies contain.
If you want something a little more hearty , try Mangieris delicious recipe for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake.
Ingredients: 1/2 scoop whey protein powder 1/2 cup nonfat milk 1 tablespoon peanut butter 1/2 banana
Directions: Blend all ingredients together with 1/2 cup ice.
If you want to boost the nutrition, add a cup of spinachit may turn you shake a little more green, but you wont be able to taste it!
This contains 30g carbs, 22g protein, and 10g fat, Mangieri says, making it a nicely balanced recipe.
With all that protein, youre ready to build some muscle! Get moving with Aaptiv.
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The Big Three Protein Powders
Whey is a liquid left over from milk once it has been curdled and strained and is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Whey protein powder is one of the most popular sports nutrition products in the world because of its availability, cost and effectiveness. Once consumed whey is rapidly digested, then absorbed by your digestive system so it gets into your bloodstream and your muscles very quickly, initiating the recovery and rebuilding process.
Whey protein powder comes in one of four forms: concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate and native. All four types are abundant in BCAAs, the amino acids that are essential for rebuilding and repairing the muscular damage caused by working out. Some whey products use one type of protein exclusively, typically a higher-quality protein source for a premium product, or an inferior type to keep the cost down. Other products contain different combinations of whey, as well as other sources of protein, such as casein or soy, again depending on the products recommended use or to reduce manufacturing costs.
Casein is the main type of protein found in dairy, making up around 80% of the protein content of cows milk. Whereas whey protein is rapidly absorbed by your body, making it the perfect post-workout protein source, you break down and digest casein much more slowly, over many hours, to give a slow and sustained release of amino acids into your bloodstream and then to your muscles.
The Scoop On Protein Powder
- By Emily Gelsomin, MLA, RD, LDN, Contributor
Eating enough protein is not just for athletes or would-be Schwarzenegger types. It is necessary for a healthy immune system and required for organs like your heart, brain, and skin to function properly. The nutrient is also touted for its ability to help control appetite and enhance muscle growth.
How much protein you need typically depends on your exercise routine, age, and health. And whether to supplement protein intake with a protein powder has become a common query.
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How Much Protein Do You Actually Need
To gain lean muscle and recover effectively from your workouts, you need around 1.6g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, per day.
A 2018 systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression, led by McMaster University, Canada, found that protein supplementation in conjunction with resistance training above 1.6g per kg has no further impact on muscle strength or size.
When it comes to fueling your body, more protein isnt necessarily better. Consistently exceeding your daily protein requirements can have undesirable effects, including putting stress on your kidneys, dehydration or disruption of the digestive system.
Once youve been training for a while and your body has adapted, you can decrease your protein intake to approximately 1.2g per kg.
When you arent doing resistance training, you still need around 0.8g of protein per kg to stay healthy.
What Are Protein Powders
Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas.
There are three common forms:
- Protein concentrates: Produced by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. These typically supply 6080% protein, with the remaining 2040% composed of fat and carbs.
- Protein isolates: An additional filtering process removes more fat and carbs, further concentrating the protein. Protein isolate powders contain about 9095% protein.
- Protein hydrolysates: Produced by further heating with acid or enzymes which breaks the bonds between amino acids hydrolysates are absorbed more quickly by your body and muscles.
Hydrolysates appear to raise insulin levels more than other forms at least in the case of whey protein. This can enhance your muscle growth following exercise .
Some powders are also fortified with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
However, not everyone benefits from these powders. If your diet is already rich in high-quality protein, you likely wont see much difference in your quality of life by adding protein powder.
However, athletes and people who regularly lift weights may find that taking protein powder helps maximize muscle gain and fat loss.
Protein powders can also aid individuals who struggle to meet protein needs with food alone, such as people who are ill, older adults and some vegetarians or vegans.
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How To Choose A Dairy
Between whey and casein protein powders, whey tends to be your best bet, especially if you are using the supplement to recover after a workout. This is because whey protein is more readily digested and absorbed for use by the body, while casein protein has a slower release. This is why professional athletes or bodybuilders will take casein protein before bed, and whey protein after a workout.
Whey Concentrate vs. Whey Isolate:
You may have seen that theres different varieties of whey protein available. Specifically, whey concentrate and whey isolate. So which one is best?
Generally speaking, it really depends. A whey isolate protein has been further processed to filter out more fat and carbohydrates than whey concentrate, leaving a more isolated protein source, hence the isolate. That said, with further processing comes a higher price tag.
Whey concentrate tends to be slightly lower in price and protein content, and slightly higher in carbohydrates and fat. While whey isolate tends to be slightly higher in price and protein content, and slightly lower in carbohydrates and fat. Because the carbohydrate content is lower, whey isolate protein is also lower in lactose, which may be more tolerable for an individual with lactose intolerance.
Whether you choose a whey concentrate or why isolate is up to you, your needs, goals, and budget!