There are so many protein powders on the market. How do you choose the one that’s right for you?
Many individuals ask me if protein powder is necessary. Some individuals believe that protein powder should only be taken if you work out to gain muscle. This is not necessarily true. I see protein powder as a convenient, calorie- controlled way to help you get your nutrient needs when you are short on time or just need some extra help at a meal.
I’m a curious individual and have tried many types of protein powders on the market as I recognize it’s hard for me to get enough protein at breakfast so I need these powders to supplement my intake.
Here’s some of the key points for types of protein powders I use frequently:
- High quality protein that contains all essential amino acids needed for growth. Soy protein isolate is equal in quality to animal products and is almost fat free containing less than 1 percent fat and unlike animal products contains no cholesterol and little or no saturated fat.
- Scientists have found that soy protein may help reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol and increasing the flexibility of blood vessels.
- The FDA has approved a health claim stating “25 grams of soy protein in a daily diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol that is moderately high to high.”
- Pea protein contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein. There is no need to combine with another protein source to effectively build, repair and maintain muscle
- Pea Protein is well digested and highly bioavailable
- Example: Vega All in One Shake
Rowena’s Personal Favourite Flavour: Vanilla
Why does Rowena like Vega All in One Shake?
- 20 grams of protein in one serving
- Tastes good when mixed fruit & vegetables, nut butter and a liquid other than water
- Probiotics are added for gut health benefits
- For those that don’t like to swallow pills, this protein powder is like your multivitamin (you get a little bit of everything so it’s like your insurance policy)
Protein Shake On The Go Recipe:
- 1 c unsweetened almond milk
- handful of berries
- handful of dark green leafy vegetables (baby kale is Rowena’s preferred choice)
- 1 scoop of Vega Protein Powder
- 1 Tsp all natural peanut butter or almond butter
- 1/2 banana (small)
I usually have a container of Vega Protein Powder at home; however, my husband is trying to break the “creature of habit” in me. He’s helping me to open my mind to other options. My husband says the protein powder industry is changing so often; it’s hard to keep up but it’s important to try the newer products as the technology is always changing and improving the formulation.
Whey protein is a by product of the cheesemaking process. Milk is naturally made up of 20% whey protein.
What’s the difference between whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate?
The main differences between a serving of whey protein concentrate vs. whey protein isolate is :
- protein content
- lactose content
- fat content
Whey protein concentrate ranges anywhere between 10-15% protein content per serving with over 50% lactose and almost 2% fat. Whey protein isolate contains over 90% pure protein content with under 1% lactose or milk fat.
For an individual with lactose intolerance, whey protein isolate is the way to go as there is essentially no lactose.
My husband recently bought the Naked Protein option off of Amazon. He was intrigued as this protein powder has no additives whatsoever (no artificial sweetener, colour or flavour). It’s pure protein; in 1 scoop, it offers you 120 kcals, 25 grams of protein, 2 g of sugar and 3 g of carbohydrates. It is sourced from grass-fed cows who have not been given growth hormones. This type of protein is whey concentrate.
I tried this type of protein powder in my oatmeal; I find whey protein concentrate harder to blend into foods. With whey protein concentrate, you will need a good blender to make sure it is nicely blend; when mixed into oatmeal, it can be a bit chunky.
I do think this is a good option if you are an individual who is very conscious of consuming only clean products and want to keep additives to a minimum.
New Zealand Whey Isolate:
Add a scoop of this powder into water and it is DELICIOUS!!!! This is such a fast and easy on the go option. Love it! It tastes like a vanilla milkshake! 🙂
I found this option at Popeye’s. I have had the chocolate banana and vanilla option.
- Hemp seeds are a powerhouse when it comes to protein with at least 20 amino acids including the nine essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine)
- Hemp protein provides the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in a healthy 3:1 ratio. Hemp is also one of the few sources for the hard-to-get gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
Verdict: I find this protein powder goes nicely in baked products. You won’t even know the added protein is in there! 🙂
- Whey protein concentrate is obtained from goat milk. For individuals who can’t tolerate cow’s milk can potentially tolerate goat milk. Scientists question why this is the case but it may be due to anti-inflammatory compounds known as oligosaccharides found in goat milk which can ease digestion while inside the intestines.
- Goat milk protein contains some of the highest level of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) found in any natural food source
Verdict: I may not be a huge fan of goat milk as I find there is a “goaty” aftertaste. With this protein powder, you won’t even know that it is made from goat milk as there is no goaty aftertaste. For those have trouble digesting cow’s milk, give St. Francis Herb Farm-GoPro Matrix- Goat Milk Protein a try. A scoop will give you 13 grams of protein and it tastes GREAT! This company is a Canadian company; let’s support our fellow Canadians.
The discussion would not be complete without the newest type of protein powder on the market…
- Nutrient Dense Option- packed with protein but with less calories and fat when compared to meat products
- Rich source of iron, magnesium and zinc
- Environmentally Friendly option as crickets require less water than cows or pigs
- A type of protein of the future
- Contains the protein, chitin, which can help to grow the healthy bacteria in your stomach to help boost your immune system
- NOTE: If you are allergic to shellfish, do not take cricket powder.
Bug protein may be a newer concept in North America; however, in many countries around the world, bug protein has been a way for individuals to get protein for a long time. I found eating the cricket in Thailand was crunchy and delicious! In NYC, my husband, a friend and I went to a Mexican restaurant where they served cricket in the salsa. We didn’t mind it at all. 🙂
Have you seen the commercially ground cricket powder on the shelf? If you’d like to try, why not make a protein bar using cricket protein powder? Here is a recipe you can consider:
1 c quick oats
3/4 c unsweetened coconut flour
3/4 c pitted dates
1/2 c cricket powder
1/2 c candied pecans (I happened to have some available @ home as my sister in-law loves to make these at home)
1/3 c maple syrup
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
If you would rather try cricket powder in a smoothie, I suggest you mix sweet fruits in the mixture (e.g. peaches and/or mangoes) along with strawberries to help disguise the earthy taste of crickets. A recipe I’ve tried is:
1 c unsweetened almond milk (vanilla flavour)
2 c frozen fruit mix (strawberries,peaches, mango)
1 Tbsp honey
1.5 Tbsp cricket powder
Food For Thought:
When considering what protein powder is right for you, here are some questions to ask for you:
- What am I using this protein for?
- Supplement my protein intake?
- Am I looking more for additional benefits (e.g. multivitamin)?
- Are you one that plans to blend this protein powder into a shake with other ingredients or are you only hoping to blend the protein powder with water and be on the go?
- What are my diet restrictions?
- Are you vegan? vegetarian? soy free? dairy free?
- Is Environment and/or Sustainability that is an issue close to the heart for you?
- Price Point- what are you comfortable in spending?