With so many protein powders on the market today how do you know which ones to buy? Whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, egg white, rice, pea, hemp, with so much to choose from how does one know where to start?
The market has become so heavily saturated that unfortunately it can be difficult for the average consumer to discern what is good vs. bad quality protein powders. It is very rare in my practice that I meet a new client that has already been purchasing quality protein powder. At least 95% of the time when I ask to see the protein powder a client is currently using, it is poor quality. This is because most supplement manufacturers try to cut corners on ingredients to stay competitive on the shelves but also turn a profit. They figure most consumers will not know what to look for. It is for this very reason alone I always recommend buying supplements direct from the manufacturer for better quality for your money. Below are some tips for picking the right protein powder for you given your goals and eating habits.
The first question you have to ask yourself is do I eat dairy, and does it agree with me? If so, I recommend getting a whey protein isolate from grass fed cows. This is the fastest absorbing, highest quality protein you can provide your body with pre or post workout. However, some of us cannot tolerate dairy, so in that case I recommend egg whites. It still has the essential amino acids your body needs to fuel and recover but will not aggravate the stomach. If you are vegan, pea and rice are pretty comparable so it comes down to taste and texture preference.
Once you have picked the type of protein you need, next look at the nutrition facts. Here you want to see how much protein, carb, and sugar grams are in a serving. Ideally you want between 20-25g of protein per serving; less than 5g of carbs (unless you are looking to gain weight or are an endurance athlete then up to 15g); less than 2g of sugar.
Finally, look at the ingredients. You want to avoid anything that contains: soy protein isolate (especially as a male as this affects testosterone levels) and most soy is genetically modified for that matter; artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium, sucralose, Splenda, or Nutrasweet they can cause digestion distress, migraines and weight gain; natural and artificial flavors; dextrin/glucose as they can cause a high glycemic load.
When should you use protein powder?
If your goal is weight loss having a protein shake for a quick and easy breakfast is great, or as a post-workout snack. A lot of it depends on when your workout is during the day. Ideally, you want to plan to have the shake either pre or post workout, as this will provide the body with needed branched chain amino acids to fuel and recover from the workout.
If your goal is to develop lean muscle mass then having it after your workout is the best option.
I just come across a local protein powder company in Vista that offers completely customizable protein powders. They are called True Nutrition, and you can customize the type of protein powder, boosts, flavors, and size of your orders. Go online and check them out, and use promo code coachdrea to get 5% off your order.