The protein powder industry is massive, with the U.S markets estimated at 4.14 billion USD. Almost every health and fitness enthusiast is drinking at least one or two of these shakes a day!
There are hundreds of different brands, flavours, and uses for a seemingly simple powder. The sheer number of choices makes it necessary to choose the suitable protein powder – if it’s required at all. There are three tips to help you buy protein powder suitable for you.
Protein shakes aren’t the only way to boost your protein intake – whole foods do a great job too!
Depending on your body’s requirements, you may need to eat purely whole foods instead of consuming protein shakes. Whole foods contain more nutrients than a protein shake, nutrients you might need. Speak to a doctor before making a decision.
There are several protein types, and each one has a different use:
- Whey Protein: Best for day-to-day use for greater energy and reduced stress levels
- Soy Protein: Reduces high cholesterol and might ease menopause symptoms.
- Egg Protein: This can be taken throughout the day, unlike other proteins.
- Milk Proteins: Supports immune function and enhances muscle growth.
- Hemp Protein: 100% plant-based and a great source of omega-3 and fatty acids.
It’s best to match your protein shake to your requirements:
- Build muscle: Proteins like whey that have a high biological value are good to build muscle.
- Lose Weight: Avoid added sugars, dextrins, and maltodextrins. Also, avoid BCAAs as they promote weight gain.
- Vegetarian or Vegan: There are plant-based proteins available such as hemp.
- Diabetes: Avoid sugars (if listed in the first three ingredients, it’s bad). Go low on carbohydrates; anything more than 5g-15g is going to cause problems.
- Kidney Disease: Low range protein content required. Not more than 10g to 15g per serving.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: If you have irritable bowels, avoid dairy-based protein powders such as whey. The artificial sweeteners can also irritate your bowels further.
- Budget: Buy protein powder in tubs instead of ready-to-drink shakes.
Protein powders have their unique taste depending on the source of the protein. For example, egg proteins taste different to whey proteins. Many companies mask the flavour using flavour enhancers, but strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla are available.
You can mix your powder with milk or a milk alternative to make it more like a milkshake for added flavour. Otherwise, you can add some fruit or peanut butter to mask the taste.
Nutritional supplements like protein shakes aren’t regulated as medicine by the Australian Government. While there is some regulation, companies that provide third-party testing results and certification tend to be more reliable.
Third-party tests can confirm the company’s claims while also shedding light on any unsavoury aspects of the protein powder. It is indispensable to check for such results if you’re an athlete or allergic to certain food supplements.
The initial search for a suitable protein powder can be overwhelming. With hundreds of options, opinions, and conflicting suggestions, you’ll find yourself second-guessing your choice all the time.
But, when you buy protein powder, it should be with the right amount of research and a consultation with your doctor. Despite the simple appearance, drinking protein shakes when you don’t need to can cause unsavoury effects.
So, avoid the drama, do the research and enjoy the protein powder!