It can seem a little overwhelming trying to find the best protein powder for your specific, individual needs. There are so many to choose from and you want to find the perfect match, so it’s understandable that you might have felt overwhelmed. Rest assured our guideline is here to help you feel like a confident protein-pro. Let’s take a look at the world of protein supplements in powder form and how to find the perfect kind for you.
Why Is Protein Important?
The human body uses up three macro-nutrients for energy. Protein is one of the three and can be scientifically defined as a series of amino acids that are joined together in a chain-like manner. The amino acids are held together by peptide links and play a great part in ensuring that the body is well supplied with nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential element in the human body and helps in the growth and repair of muscles.
- Protein Is Important For Active Lifestyles: Protein should make a greater part of your diet if you exercise regularly and do any resistance training. The human body is always in need of protein during these times because muscle is being repaired and replaced. Those who have an intense workout program need even more protein. You can find your needed daily protein amount by using the protein tool at the top right of this page.
- Protein Is Key In Fat Loss: More energy is used in breaking down proteins as compared to fats and carbs. This increases the body’s metabolism, which aids in fat loss. Additionally, protein helps the body in converting stored fat into energy. It is very important to have the adequate amount of protein on a daily basis or otherwise a protein deficiency will force the body to turn to muscle tissues for energy (not the fat). No one wants their body to use muscle tissue for this. Symptoms of this are feeling fatigued and weak and having lower muscle mass.
- Protein Provides Many Health Benefits: Apart from muscle building and repair, protein also helps the body in many other ways. It maintains and balances PH blood levels and hormone levels, ensures the body’s immune system is functioning well, regulates the body’s fluid balance and enables important chemical reactions to take place. Additionally, it preserves muscle tissues and acts as a source of energy in the absence of carbs and fats, which are the other two key macro-nutrients.
Types of Protein Powders
There are many different types and they range in a variety of ingredients. When choosing a protein supplement you need to make sure it contains an easily digestible protein source. This is key so your body is able to absorb those amino acids properly, which are the building blocks of protein.
Top 3 Easily Digestible Proteins:
- Whey: Stays in your body for a shorter amount of time and is fast absorbing. The best time to supplement with whey protein is after having an intense workout. This form of protein is proven to be effective and the least expensive. It is naturally found in milk and makes up 20% of the protein found in cows milk. It is also a by-product of cheese production. If you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, it would be best to chose a different protein supplement.
- Casein: Stays in your body for a longer amount of time and is slow absorbing. This kind of protein is ideal when using for a meal replacement or if you would like to take a protein supplement closer to bedtime. Casein protein is also found naturally in milk and makes up 80% of the protein in cows milk. If you are lactose intolerant you should steer clear of consuming this kind of supplement.
- Soy: Stays in your body for a longer amount of time, slow absorbing and perfect for a meal replacement. Soy is as effective as the animal sources of protein listed above and is known for its antioxidant capabilities. This form of protein is suitable for individuals with milk allergy’s or who have a plant based diet. The powder is made from isolated soybeans. There has been some debate on how safe it is using soy as a main protein supplement. However, soy protein has been used in our foods since 1959. If you feel you would rather choose another plant based protein, our vegan protein guideline can possibly help you with that decision.
How to Use Protein Powder
There are many ways to incorporate powder into your diet. If you get bored with the typical way of mixing it with milk or water, rest assured that there are tons of unique and tasty ways to incorporate your favorite powder into your day. Here are a few of the popular ways:
- Smoothies – The best known way because it turns protein into a delicious treat. You can sneak extra fruits and veggies into your drink with ease. The base of a smoothie is milk. (You can use almond or soy if vegan.) To the milk, add frozen fruit (or fruit and ice), a scoop of powder and blend until creamy. It is a great idea to add additional nutrition-packed foods to your smoothie, such as baby spinach, chia seeds and berries.
- Oatmeal – One of the best things you can do for your health is eat a bowl of oatmeal each morning. We’re not talking about artificially flavored and colored oatmeal packets here, but actual whole old fashioned oats. Our favorite way to mix up a bowl of oats is with fruit, nut butter and a touch of maple syrup and a scoop or two of powder. You’ll start the day with a protein packed, yummy, fiber filled breakfast that will keep you satisfied till lunch.
- Energy Bars – Homemade energy bars are the ideal way to sneak some protein into your snacks. Next time you whip up a batch of date and oat bars, mix in a scoop or two of powder to add a protein packed punch to your bars. If you are short on time, try one of these store bought protein bars.
Do You Need Protein Powder?
They are proven to be effective and there’s nothing wrong with trying one that fits into your diet. However, honestly, not everyone NEEDS them. You should take some time and evaluate your dietary needs before investing in a big container of powder. If you’re not reaching the daily recommended amount of protein for your activity level than a protein supplement can definitely help. Others feel that they simply enjoy a tasty protein shake after working out or in place of a meal to save time cooking.
Once you find the best protein powder for your needs, you’ll want to make sure that you have a steady supply of it. There’s nothing worse than craving a tasty shake, getting ready to whip it up and finding the container empty. When your container gets empty, try shopping online to buy in bulk to save some good money.
Protein supplements have the ability to:
- Provide sustained energy
- Maintain fullness
- Build strong muscles
- Repair muscles after a workout
- Become an easy, tasty, nutritional meal replacement
Overall, the right supplement can improve health and boost energy all while satisfying your taste buds. So if you’ve decided to invest in a powder that fits your needs, go ahead and drink up! Cheers!