Like a good bra (or jockstrap), a great protein powder can be hard to find, provides support and can make you look (and feel) great.
Not convinced you need one? Well, the average person requires 0.8g/kg of protein per day and if you’re an athlete or at all active, your requirement goes up. For a 120lb female, that’s 43g of protein daily. For your reference, a chicken breast has about 21g while a quarter brick of tofu has about 13g.
Ready to find your perfect protein powder match? Here are 5 tips for choosing one that’s juuuust right.
1. Scary Sweeteners. Watch out for artificial sweeteners. While sorbitol or sucralose mean less carbohydrates and calories these chemical culprits come with side effects like gas and bloating – not exactly sexy symptoms. Remember we’re aiming for protein here, not carbs, sugar, or sweetness, so make sure your powder has more protein in it than anything else.
2. Funky Fillers. While additives may seem attractive (especially with the shiny health claims on the bottle) you likely don’t need them. These ingredients are often in such a small dose you’re not getting enough to gain much benefit – it’s just marketing. Look at the total grams of protein vs. serving size, the difference between the two shows you the amount of filler. When you blend your protein powder with fruit and veggies, you’re adding your own fillers – in a good way.
3. Classy Completeness. Most protein powders out there are complete, which means they contain all of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts for your body to build muscle and other proteins. Studies show that egg white and whey-based proteins are best absorbed for most people, however, if you have an allergy or specific dietary preferences these may not be an option. In selecting a plant-based protein, you’re looking for one with a mix of protein sources like rice and pea for completeness. Soy is an option if you don’t have a dietary sensitivity, but in this case go organic to avoid GMOs.
4. Groovy Glutamine. Glutamine is an amino acid necessary for healthy gut function and muscle repair. In fact, glutamine is the primary fuel for your enterocytes (your gut cells!). The daily dose to have an effect is pretty high, so you can also buy glutamine on its own and add it to your shake/smoothie daily. Some brands of protein do have this compound in a reasonably high amount – so if you’re an athlete or have impaired digestion, this is for you.
5. Numbers. Remember how much protein you have to get in a day? Yeah, it’s a lot. So make sure you source out a brand that has a reasonable protein content, for plant based, they range from 17-25g, while whey based proteins can get a little higher.
Similar to our underwired friends, no one size will fit all when it comes to protein, so choose yours based on your specific needs for optimal wellness.
**We are not licensed healthcare providers, please ensure you see your ND, nutritionist or MD if you have severe dietary or lifestyle limitations ***