You may want to intake protein powders to build muscle, or you may be an athlete who needs to maintain a high energy level. You could also be someone recuperating from an injury or sickness.
They can be used to make shakes, smoothies, and other recipes. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones.
No matter what your reasons are for wanting to include protein powders in your diet, it is important that you pay attention to a few key factors when selecting the right product for you.
But with so many different types and brands on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. Here are a few things to look for when buying protein powder:
1. Two Types of Protein Powders
There are mainly two types of protein powders: animal-based protein (ex. whey protein and casein protein) and plant-based protein ( ex. Soy protein, hemp protein, rice protein, and pea protein).
Whey Protein and Casein Protein
Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese-making process and is separated from the curds. Casein protein, on the other hand, is found in milk and makes up about 80% of its protein content. Both whey and casein are complete proteins that contain all the essential amino acids your body needs.
Whey protein is absorbed and digested quickly, making it ideal for post-workout recovery. Casein protein, on the other hand, is slowly absorbed and can be helpful in preventing muscle breakdown overnight. If you are looking to build muscle, a whey protein powder would be a better choice.
If you are more interested in weight loss or maintenance, a casein protein powder would be a better option. Plant-based proteins are usually incomplete proteins, meaning they lack one or more of the essential amino acids your body needs.
However, you can often find plant-based protein powders that are fortified with all the essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins are a good choice for those who are looking for a vegan or vegetarian option.
Pea protein and Hemp Protein
Pea protein is made from yellow peas, also known as field peas. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. It is also a rich source of iron and fiber. Pea protein is a good choice for vegans and vegetarians as well as those with allergies or sensitivities to dairy, soy, or gluten.
Hemp protein is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. Hemp protein is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
2. Choose a Protein Powder for Your Needs
You may have different reasons to eat a protein powder, so it’s important to find one that fits your needs.
For example, if you are an athlete who is looking for a protein powder to help with muscle recovery, you will want to look for a powder that has a high amount of protein and is easily digested.
If you are someone who is looking to lose weight or maintain your weight, you will want to find a powder that is lower in calories and has a higher amount of fiber.
And if you are looking for a protein powder to help with general health, you will want to find one that is rich in vitamins and minerals.
You may also want to stay vegetarian or vegan, so finding a protein powder that fits your lifestyle is important. Therefore, plant proteins like soy, pea, and hemp would be more suitable to you instead of animal-based ones like whey or casein proteins.
If you have diabetes or are prediabetic, you will want to find a powder that has a low glycemic index (GI). So you need to pick a powder with low sugar content that is slowly absorbed by the body like casein protein.
If you’re looking for a low carb or keto diet, you need to pick a powder with higher protein content and lower carbohydrate content like whey protein.
If you have allergies or sensitivities, you’ll want to find a powder that doesn’t contain the ingredients you’re allergic to or sensitive to.
Protein powders can be a helpful addition to your diet, but it’s important to find one that fits your needs. With so many different types and brands on the market, paying attention to a few key factors will help you select the right powder for you.
3. Look for Trust in the Third-Party Seal
Look for third-party seals from organizations like the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), or U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP). These organizations test products to make sure they contain what they say they do and don’t have harmful impurities.
4. Check the Protein Content
Pay attention to the amount of protein per serving. Protein powders vary in their protein content, so you’ll want to find one that has the amount of protein you’re looking for. For example, if you are an athlete who is looking for a post-workout recovery drink, you’ll want a powder that has at least 20 grams of protein per serving.
If you’re looking for a powder to help you lose weight or maintain your weight, you may want one with lower protein content.
5. Check Ingredients
Also, read the label to see what’s in the powder and how much of each ingredient there is. This will help you find a powder that contains the nutrients you’re looking for and avoid any ingredients you’re trying to avoid.
6. Compare Prices
Protein powders vary in price, so it’s important to compare prices to find the right powder for your budget. You can also look for sales or coupons to get the best deal.