How To Choose The Best Protein Powder For You
Looking at the massive amount of protein powders available on the market, it's easy to feel disheartened. The task of choosing the best protein powder is indeed daunting, but the good news is that there are probably several types that would suit your needs.
Protein powder was once a rather niche product, reserved for pro athletes and hard-core weightlifters. Today, the benefits of protein for the regular person are widely acknowledged, but not all protein powders are created equal.
Some are definitely better than others, and the trick is to find out which type of protein powder is the best for your particular needs.
Let's have a look at how to choose the best protein powder to include in your diet.
- How much protein do I need?
Before embarking on research to find the best protein powder, it's important to understand why exactly protein matters in the first place and how much of it you need.
It's always good to use a nutrition calculator to get personalized recommendations for your macros, including protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
If you don't get enough protein in your diet, you may lose muscle mass, resulting in a drop in your metabolism, experiencing mood swings, healing more slowly when you get bruises or cuts, and having skin and nails, and hair problems.
Even though you might meet the bare minimum of protein from your diet, you are highly likely to benefit from eating more protein because this contributes to an improved immune function, better strength, faster exercise recovery, muscle growth or maintenance, as well as weight and body composition management.
- What should I consider when choosing a protein powder?
If you have decided that supplementing your protein intake is right for you, it's time to decide what type of protein makes sense for you.
Here are the most important factors to take into consideration when shopping for protein powder.
- Protein quality — the quality of the protein source is the highest priority for many people. Look for a complete protein that contains enough amounts of essential amino acids because these play a key role in building and repairing muscle.
- Animal protein vs. plant-based protein — depending on your preference, you can opt for animal protein, usually made from milk, and plant-based protein powders, which are usually made from peas, rice, or hemp.
- Intolerances and sensitivities — if you have a food intolerance or sensitivity, avoid protein powders that contain that specific ingredient you are allergic to. For example, if your intolerance to dairy and eggs, a plant-based protein powder might be the best option for you.
- What are the main types of protein powders to choose from?
Whey protein is one of the most popular protein powders available for day-to-day use. Made from whey, which is a by-product of cheese production, whey-based proteins contain all the essential and mineral acids and are also easy to digest. Whey protein powder is widely available and is one of the most affordable protein types on the market.
Pros: Whey protein powder is one of the cheapest options around, and it's easy to mix with water. It is also widely known that whey protein is also the best tasting protein source on the market.
Cons: It only contains approximately 80% protein, with the rest being carbohydrates and fat. Because it contains lactose, it's not a good option for people who are dairy intolerant.
Casein is the main protein in milk, and it may take only six hours to be fully digested. This makes it great if you want a protein for a sustained amino acid delivery to muscle. Moreover, because it is digested and absorbed slowly, casein protein powder can help you feel full longer, reducing your appetite.
Pros: Casein protein powder has all the amino acids you need to build muscle and helps promote fat loss. It also mixes quite thick so it is perfect for baking and cooking healthy treats.
Cons: Many people have casein sensitivity, and because this protein is slow acting. If you are sensitive to dairy based products we strongly recommend staying away from Casein Protein Powder.
Collagen Protein Powder has become a fan favourite and popular protein source in recent years. Collagen protein has many benefits over the likes of Whey Protein Powder with its added ability to improve skin, nail, hair and connective tissue health, along with being very easily digestible.
Pros: Collagen protein powders are very easy to digest and provide you with a high-quality type of protein of animal origin. As mentioned, you also get the extra benefits for skin, nail, & connective tissue health.
Cons: These are almost always derived from animal sources so if you are looking for a vegan friendly option, this generally isnt for you. Unfortunately, the flavours also dont quite pack the same punch as Whey Protein Powder.
Made from rice, hemp, and peas, plant-based protein powders are perfect for vegans or people who have lactose intolerance. Each type of plant-based protein powder has its benefits. Pea protein helps you increase muscle mass, brown rice protein is very similar to whey protein, and hemp protein contains all essential amino acids.
Protein powders are excellent choices if you want to supplement your protein intake in a convenient, concentrated form. Choosing the best type of protein powder depends on your particular preferences, and you also need to take into account any food intolerances you might have.