The beginning of each New Year many of us set health goals for ourselves. It can be losing weight, exercising more, improving food choices, or maybe all of these. When improving food options, some may be considering adding protein powders to the diet. What is the best protein powder for you? There are so many options; it can be difficult to know what type is best.
What is protein powder? It is a powdered food consisting mainly of the macro-nutrient protein, concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, simple right?
So which is best for you?
Animal-based protein powders are the best source of amino acids, have the ability to preserve lean muscle mass, and improve metabolic health during weight loss. These protein powders can lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. Animal-based sources come from whey, casein, and egg.
What to look for with animal-based protein powders:
- Raw or cold pressed, this will maintain the fragile immune factors.
- Hormone Free
- Grass-Fed source
- Tested for low heavy metals
- No sucralose or added sugar
- No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners
Plant-based protein powders will be less likely to cause bloating (animal-based can do this) and less likely to have artificial sweeteners. This is the form vegetarians, vegans, or those with a lactose intolerance/allergy would choose. Plant-based sources will have fiber and protein which can be helpful with weight loss. Plant-based protein can be from pea, brown rice, hemp, or a combination. Soy is also a source but it can be carcinogenic, may cause chronic inflammation, and may produce mineral deficiencies.
Rice: It is best if the brown rice has been sprouted as this reduces the amount of carbohydrates and heightens the amount of protein. The sprouting changes the genetic make-up and the nutrients become more bioavailable.
Hemp: It will be rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
Pea: It is particularly rich in branched-chain amino acids, highly digestible, hypo-allergenic, and economical.
What to look for with plant-based protein powders:
- No added sugar
- No additives like artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors
Another option is protein hydrolysates. These are processed to break the bonds between amino acids. This allows your body to absorb the amino acids more quickly: your muscles will take them up more quickly. Collagen hydrolysate is a non-gelling form of gelatin that can be blended into hot or cold beverages. This product can benefit hair, skin tissue, muscles, cartilage, ligaments, and blood cell growth. There has been some challenges with hydrolysates raising insulin levels more than the other forms.
Not everyone needs to add protein powders to their diet. If you are eating a diet in high-quality protein, protein powder may not make much difference for you. Choosing the best protein powder for YOU is the most important step. Protein powders can help with weight loss by boosting calorie burn, increasing satiety, and preserving lean muscle mass. They can be helpful for those that find it difficult to meet protein needs such as the elderly, vegetarians/vegans, or those battling an illness.
It is best to view protein powders as a supplement, not a replacement, for a well-balanced, whole-food diet. Taste is going to be another factor that is going to be different for everyone. You may have to try a few before you find one or two that work well for you.
Do you regularly use protein powders? Do you have a favorite one? Leave your comments below!! If you found this post helpful, consider sharing it with others.
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