When you walk into the health food store, you are bombarded by countless brands and flavors and types of protein powder options. Which one do you choose? The giant canister with the jacked guy on the label? The one on sale? The one the kid working there recommends? The highest protein content? Aaahhh! Let me help you find the right protein for you.
Types of Protein Powders
The first thing to consider is what the protein source in your shake is. I’m not saying that one is necessarily better than the other, but it is important to know what you are putting into your body and to be making an informed decision. Certain varieties can be better for particular goals or health concerns.
Taste: Whey protein is considered light and creamy. It is typically the preferred taste and texture.
Whey protein comes from cows, so it is crucial to find a hormone free whey protein from grass-fed cows. Some whey proteins are full of hormones and antibiotics from the cows. If it is not hormone free, don’t buy it! It will almost always say it on the label, but you can also check out the brand’s website to be sure.
Remember, whey protein comes from cows, so those that are lactose intolerant will want to choose another protein source. Whey protein can cause gas, bloating and general GI discomfort for those lacking the enzymes to break down lactose.
Pro Tip: Whey protein absorbs into the bloodstream very quickly, so it’s a great post-workout protein option.
Taste: Pea protein has a relatively smooth mouthfeel and a lighter taste, making it a preferred plant protein source. Rice and hemp protein powders tend to be “earthier”.
Plant based proteins are great options even if you are not a vegetarian. They digest easily and can still give you the right protein to carb ratio that you are looking for. I personally prefer to use pea protein. It digests easily and keeps me full. Like any food though, I do like to rotate my protein sources as well, so every now and then I will switch it up.
Taste: Soy protein is the creamiest of the vegetarian protein options.
Soy protein is another option available to you. I am not a fan of soy, so I do not use this ever. There is simply too much research pointing me away from it. If you do choose to use soy protein, be sure it is non GMO soy.
Checking The Labels
Once you’ve decided the right protein type for you, you’ll still want to read the ingredient labels to ensure you aren’t getting something that is full of harmful ingredients, like fake sugars, artificial colors and other dangerous fillers. Look for an ingredient list that is rather short and that you can actually pronounce.