When it comes to protein powder, there’s a huge variety to choose from and it can get very confusing. How do you pick which protein powder is best?
Well, firstly we should start by saying that protein consumed from food is where we reap the best nutritional value.
In most cases, for the everyday person, if you eat enough whole foods, you can get all the protein you need, even if you do a moderate workout a few times a week.
However, protein powders are increasingly popular because they are a quick and easy way to keep our body feeling nourished.
Quality protein powders are packed with lots of great nutrients to ensure we are getting the required intake to help us meet our goals (but attention: cause they may be also packed with a lot of undesirable ingredients that will overload your body with sugars and added chemicals).
Protein powders are primarily used for weight loss, muscle gain and to improve performance in sports and exercise, however they can also be used to improve overall well-being. When choosing a protein powder, you should choose one based on the benefit you are looking for.
If you are not vegetarian/vegan or dairy intolerant, then a whey protein isolate can be a good choice. This is a complete protein that is easily absorbed.
Weight loss – Choose a protein whey that is low in carbs without added sugars or sweeteners. You don’t want BCAA’s added either, as these promote muscle and weight gain. Your shake can be used as part of your high protein diet, but always aim for whole foods as your main source of all nutrients. If you need to use it as a meal replacement, you might like to add some healthy nutritious food and enjoy it more like a smoothie. Think blueberries, kale and coconut water.
Muscle gain – You want your body to absorb and use the protein, so choose one with a high BCAA (branched chain amino acids) value and consume within 60 minutes of exercise for the best results.. BCAA’s are what will reduce fatigue, improve performance, reduce muscle breakdown and help with recovery. In most cases, you will enjoy your protein as a straight drink after exercise.
Wellbeing – Protein can have a positive effect on boosting energy levels, reducing stress and anxiety, improve sleep and brain function. For this purpose, we recommend a high-quality whey protein, consumed in conjunction with a healthy balanced diet. You can enjoy as a meal with added foods included, or simply take straight as a snack during the day.
What to avoid?
As mentioned above, try to avoid added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and flavours. Other ingredients to avoid include vegetable fats & oils, skim milk powders & milk solids, fillers, Casein + WPC, and gluten.
If you are vegetarian/vegan or dairy intolerant there are lot’s of plant based alternatives on the market to consider like egg, pea or soy protein.
We hope the above is helpful, and if you are on the hunt for a good protein powder, we do recommend visiting a reputable store and discussing your goals with trained staff who can assist you in choosing the right protein powder.