With so many protein products out there, it can be hard to narrow down which one to use….and I know first hand that it can be confusing too!
In an ideal world, we would get all of our protein from what we eat on a daily basis, but that isn’t always the case…and the ease of protein powder makes getting enough protein super simple…and delicious! I rely on protein powder daily: you know I love my dessert-esque shakes! So I am a huge fan of finding a protein powder that fits your needs, tastes good and you’ll want to use day to day. It shouldn’t be something you choke down and hate! It’s doing good for your body and aiding in muscle recovery AND it can become a delicious meal replacement you actually look forward to. For recipe ideas, my personal favs are:
Now, before you start whipping up your favorite protein smoothie….you need to find the right protein powder for you.
First you need to decide if you want protein in the form of plant based products, whey (dairy), whey isolate (more on this guy in a sec), egg white, or beef (weird but true!)
THEN, you need to immediately look at the nutrition label. I look for a calorie count between 100-150 or so….and at least 24g of protein (more is better though). My favorite one I use has 140 calories per scoop and 30g of protein. Great calorie to protein ratio. You want to get the biggest bang for your buck and calorie. I also look for something super low carb, which is pretty standard among most powders (no more than maybe 2 carbs is typical). If you know anything about protein absorption, you’ll probably know that it takes about 1 and a half hours for whey protein to make your blood amino acids peak, so keep that in mind. Then from there, experiment and read reviews- you want to make sure its something that most people like the taste of!
Here are the most common types of protein powder….
Whey Protein is probably the most popular across the board. The protein comes from milk, and is separated from casein (the other protein in milk). It has low levels of fat and is fairly low in lactose (due to the process of concentrating the whey protein) so for many people, it’s a great option. I, personally, can’t stomach it- it causes major mayhem inside my body so I stay away (because of the lactose). BUT, if you can stomach a whey protein, most of them have the best calorie to protein ratios and are more affordable (because so many companies make this type of powder). Ben uses a Whey protein concentrate by Gold Standard that he really loves and doesn’t bother his stomach….and I gotta say, the shakes he makes smell like heaven- like delicious birthday cake, frosting yumminess! Another popular one at a great price is made by Body Fortress.
Whey Isolate is the other whey. I’ve known about it for some time but never tried it….until recently, and I am hooked. Whey isolate is processed and purified further than whey concentrate is, resulting in it having MUCH less lactose- almost none at all, and it has a bit more protein. Because it undergoes a longer purification process, it is more expensive than whey, so thats the downside. Some powders are a mix of whey and whey isolate…but for me the only whey I can digest is pure isolate. It has become my new go-to protein! The one I use by Gold Standard has 140 calories and 30g of protein per scoop! AND it doesn’t bother my stomach….At. All. Another good one (I use one scoop per shake) is Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder.
If you are vegan or just like to stay away from dairy protein products, a plant based protein is best. Rice protein is popular, and some are pretty good. Many tend to have a chalky consistency, so if that’s something that would really bother you, try something else. I stay away from soy protein because soy tends to upset my stomach a bit. My favorite plant based protein that tastes great (to me), has a great consistency and blends really well is Vega Sport Nutrition in Vanilla. Another rice based protein I have used and like is Growing Naturals Organic Rice Protein, but it is a bit more chalky than Vega is (Vega is pricey but worth it based on the quality and taste).
Egg White proteins are also a great alternative to dairy! I find that some of them get a bit too foamy for my taste when blended, but for the most part they are great and super healthy. I like these two brands: Less Naked Egg and Paleo Protein
Beef protein. Ok- confession: I haven’t dabbled in this yet! It seems weird to me, but I do consume collagen protein every day, so I guess I can’t really turn my nose up at it! I just bought one and plan to give it a try- once I do I will report back on taste, blendability etc… BUT, nutrition wise, it looks pretty good. It’s obviously not for vegans/vegetarians….so if you’re feeling adventurous, maybe this is for you!
Have any favorites of your own?? I’m all ears!