How to Pick a Protein Powder

It’s one of the first things you hear about when starting out on your fitness journey: Protein. And there are tons of powders, shakes, and bars out there to fulfill all of your protein needs. But that’s the problem. There are a ton of different types of protein powders on the market. How is a girl supposed to choose? Do I even need protein powder? Should I be avoiding anything? I had all of these questions floating around my head, so I decided to look for some answers. Let’s take a look at what I found.

Do I Need Protein Powder?

The short answer is no. You don’t need any type of supplement to lead a fit, healthy lifestyle.  You should be able to get enough protein in your daily diet. Even if you’re vegetarian.

Protein Shake by Sandstein
Photo by Sandstein @ commons.wikimedia.org

As I stated in my Quick Guide to Protein post, 0.36 grams per pound of body weight is all we need per day. That isn’t too hard to do if you’re eating a balanced diet. Now if for any reason you do find it hard to meet your basic daily protein requirement protein powder could help you out. Also, anyone on a fat loss journey could also benefit from protein powder. Protein shakes are a low-calorie way to fill up your tummy and keep your appetite in check.

What Types Are There?

Whey ProteinWhey protein is sourced from milk and it digests very quickly. Whey is full of BCAAs, so it helps promote healthy muscle growth. Depending on how the whey is processed it could contain lactose. This is no good for those with an allergy or intolerance to lactose.

Casein protein is also sourced from milk. This protein digests a lot slower than whey and becomes gel-like when it comes into contact with stomach acid. This leaves you full for a long time.

Egg protein is sourced from egg whites. It is the easiest form of protein to digest and may help lower your appetite. Unfortunately, since it is only made from egg whites, egg protein doesn’t make you feel full for very long.

Pea protein is sourced from yellow split peas. This option is perfect for vegetarians and those with allergies to dairy and eggs. Pea protein is high in BCAAs and essential amino acids (minus methionine).

What Should I Avoid? Brown powder

Artificial Sweeteners and sugar should definitely be avoided.  There are healthier options available if you’d like to sweeten up your protein shake, so skip the processed added sweeteners. Fillers like psyllium allow manufacturers to bulk up their product in an inexpensive way. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in paying for cheap fillers. Also, try to avoid oils and fats. The purpose of protein powder is to meet your daily protein needs, not to waste calories on cheap, processed oils and fats. Any cheap, overprocessed ingredient is soy protein isolate. There are many vegan protein options that aren’t overprocessed and cheaply made, so I suggest avoiding the soy. Other things to avoid include dyes, preservatives, and carrageenan.

I plan to use all of this information to help me pick the best protein powder for me and my dietary needs. I’ll be sure to make a post on what powder I pick and give a full review, so subscribe to be notified when that post goes up. Keep in mind that I only listed a few of the types of protein powders available on the market. There are powders sourced from hemp, rice, and even chia seeds.  The perfect protein powder for anyone’s ethical or dietary needs is out there. Just keep your eye on that ingredient label.

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