A Mini Scoop on Protein Powders

21 Nov

DISCLAIMER: Let me start by saying, no, you don’t NEED to supplement with protein powder. I do because I lift very heavy and my job is physical. I get the majority of my protein from food and for a long time food-only worked for me. I am at a point now where it is difficult to physically eat the amount of food I would need to in order to reach my protein goals. I feel better when I’m getting (roughly) 1g per 1lb of body-weight. That’s me. I encourage you to play around with your macros (fat/protein/carb ratios) to see what works best for you.

Moving on…

There are a lot of protein powders on the market and they’ve all come a LONG way in taste (hello Fit Frappe and Cake Batter!) and texture over the last 10 years. That being said, taste and texture varies depending on the kind of powder you’re using and the brand. Annoying.

There are two basic kinds of protein supplement powders:

Animal
-whey (isolate, concentrate, hydrolysate)
-egg (whites)

Vegetable
-soy
-pea
-cranberry
-hemp

These all vary in taste an texture as much as powders do brand to brand. For me, taste is important, but its not the be all, end all when picking a powder. There are other things to consider.

  1. Is it heat stable? Can I cook with it? Protein pancakes are amazing. Protein blueberry muffins make my knees weak. Yes, these recipes will be posted very soon.
  2. What are the other ingredients? I don’t like using artificial sweeteners and avoid them as much as possible. HOWEVER the ones with a bit of sucralose or aspartame DO taste better, on average. Since artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than sugar, a fairly insignificant amount is used. All in all, it boils down to personal preference and allergies/sensitivities, of course.
  3. Am I sensitive to dairy? Whey is dairy. Make a note.
  4. What am I using this for? What are my goals? Protein powders and not meal-replacements. Sure, you can make a killer meal-replacement smoothie, but don’t drink 3 a day and think you’re doing your body a favor. Protein powders are to be used as supplements. You need real food. Got it? Good.

These are the 3 I have in my house right now.

20131120-173539.jpg
I primarily use Gold Standard ON – which I can make pancakes and muffins with! It’s pure, bare-bones, nothin’ fancy whey isolates and concentrate. AND MY FAVORITE.

Sunwarrior is good, especially for raw-vegan powders, but I’m not crazy about the chocolate. In fact, anyone who wants the giant tub of chocolate can have it. There’s nothing wrong with it, chocolate powders just aren’t my thing – and I knew that going in. Thanks, PMS. $40 lesson learned. I’m a recent-convert to whey, anyway, and very much not vegan, so if you want it let me know.

Honorable mentions: Trader Joe’s Vanilla Whey and Cellucor anything (seriously, if you’re a flavor junkie start here!)

If you want a more in-depth analysis of protein powders, follow the links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey_protein

http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/protein.htm

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/whey-protein

http://www.nutritionexpress.com/article+index/authors/mark+g+taylor+ms/showarticle.aspx?articleid=896

http://www.sunwarrior.com/

Do your own research and find what works for you. A lot of places will offer sample sizes if you ask, so experiment!

Have a favorite of your own? Share it!

Now I have to go make those protein-packed blueberry muffins. I started drooling as soon as I typed it. Happy Friday!

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