Choosing a protein powder could be a daunting task unless you equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to make an educated decision and subsequently reap the rewards a good-quality powder has to offer.
Know the ratio
One of the first factors to consider when you are looking for a top-quality powder is to determine its protein ratio. This is fairly easy to achieve by merely finding two pieces of information on the label.
- How many grams of protein a single serving contains (X)
- How big the serving size is in grams (Y)
Once you have established the above, just calculate as below:
X ÷ Y = Protein Ratio
For example: The powder has 25g of protein per serving. One serving is equal to 30g.
25g ÷ 30g = 0.83 or 83%
You then need to ask yourself: What does the remaining 17% consist of?
Matching a powder to your needs
As indicated, there are many protein powder choices available on the market. By determining what your desired outcome is, you can make the correct purchasing decision from the get go. Medical conditions such as food allergies and diabetes must also be taken into consideration.
If you want to lose weight it is important to pick a protein powder that contains no added sugars or dextrin/maltodextrin. It is also recommended to steer clear of powders with added BCAAs, as they promote weight gain and muscle growth.
To stimulate muscle growth, you should choose a product with a high biological value. Whey concentrate and whey isolate are good options here.
If you are either vegan or vegetarian, and wish to remain so, stay away from milk-based products such as whey and milk proteins. Opt for a plant-based protein powder containing pea or hemp instead.
Individuals who suffer from diabetes should opt for protein powders without added sugar. It will also prove beneficial to look for a product that is not high in carbohydrates.
Avoiding gastrointestinal problems
Individuals suffering from gastrointestinal ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome should opt for protein powders that are free of artificial sugars, lactose or gluten. Plant proteins such as pea and hemp protein are good choices to consider.
Types of protein powder
At some point, you are more than likely to ask yourself “What protein powder is best for me?” There are a variety of protein powders on the market to choose from, each offering distinctive features and possible advantages.
Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements available simply because it is known to encourage both weight loss and muscle growth. Of all the proteins, whey is the most thermogenic, which simply means that the number of calories burned per calories ingested is more than that of other proteins.
- Promotes a boosted immune system
- Improves muscle recovery after working out
- Easy to flavor
Casein is a slow-digesting protein and the main protein found in milk.
It can take as long as 6 hours for your body to fully digest and absorb casein, which makes it great for sustained amino acid transfer to the muscles. Unfortunately, because of its slow absorption rate, it is not an ideal choice as a post-workout supplement.
- Few side effects known from long term use
- Long shelf life
- Can offer between 50-80% absorption
Hemp powder is a plant-based protein that is rapidly increasing in popularity. It is very rich in valuable omega-3 fatty acids and is seemingly easy to digest.
- It is extremely high in dietary fiber
- It can reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure
Pea protein is made from the yellow split pea and is a great choice for vegans and vegetarians alike. It is not only hypoallergenic, but it is high in BCAAs and boasts a 98% digestion rate. Although isolated pea protein is considered a complete supplement, it still lacks certain amino acids and should not be utilized as a primary supply of dietary protein.
- Pea protein is known to regulate blood sugar
- It may decrease the risk of contracting kidney disease
Egg protein is a complete protein made by removing the egg yolks and drying the egg whites. It is a celebrated source of vitamins and minerals, and is a great alternative for people with milk allergies. Egg allergies are unfortunately common, and egg protein powder is also one of the more expensive supplements which reduces its general commercial appeal.
- It mixes well with other food to increase the overall protein content of a meal
- Contains a casein protein molecule
Brown rice is becoming a popular source of vegetarian protein powder despite the fact that rice is commonly referred to as a carbohydrate. Rice protein powder is a sound source of not only carbs, but fiber and vitamin B as well. As with pea protein, rice protein lacks certain amino acids and should not be utilized as a primary supply of dietary protein.
It is low in fat, sugar and sodium
What to look for in a good protein powder
There are a few things to look for in a protein powder. Make sure it
- Is made from natural ingredients
- Contains no artificial sweeteners and fillers
Contains a comprehensive amino acid profile in every serving to aid muscle development, increase metabolism and support tissue repair. Once you have decided on which protein base is best for you, it is imperative to read through the ingredients list. Keep an eye open for things such as artificial sweeteners and flavors, vegetable oil and fillers.
Don’t be disheartened if the first protein powder you pick does not work for you. It is often only by trial and error that you will find the one that perfectly matches your needs!