Does the sport supplement aisle at the health food store have you pulling out your hair?
Trying to choose a protein powder that best fits your needs and lifestyle can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re trying to make it easy to choose the best fit by examining all the options.
Let’s start by discussing why protein is so important. Protein is critical for so much more than just muscle growth. Amino acids, the building blocks of protein protect us as we age, are used to make hormones and enzymes and support the immune system. Without adequate protein intake our hair, nails and skin would also suffer.
As you can see, protein powder is for more than just bodybuilders and athletes; we all can potentially benefit!
Considering the Options
Whey protein concentrate is about 80% protein and is best taken between meals or in smoothies, as it helps to keep you feeling full. Generally the taste and texture of whey protein is similar to a milkshake, but without all the sugar. Keep in mind that whey concentrate does contain lactose and dairy. Most whey protein powders, including those by Precision are free from antibiotics and growth hormones.
Who should use it, and how: With such a high bioavailability (easily absorbed), whey concentrate can be used by both athletes and individuals with an average activity level. The taste and creamy texture is often well received. Whey protein can be added to your favourite smoothie recipe, incorporated into baking or simply mixed with water.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey protein isolate has an even higher percentage of protein at about 90%. It is best taken after a workout as it is quickly absorbed and utilized to repair muscle. Whey isolate is virtually lactose-free making it safe for most individuals with lactose intolerance.
Who should use it, and how: Best suited for athletes and individuals who are trying to build lean muscle mass. Throw a scoop into a Kardish shaker cup, add water from the gym fountain and you’re good to go!
Plant-based proteins are often a blend of vegetarian ingredients like grains, legumes, seeds, nuts and even algaes. Plant-based protein powders like Vega contain no animal byproducts, making them entirely vegan. Plant-based options are great for individuals with a dairy allergy or those who cannot tolerate whey. They are free of the growth hormones and antibiotics found in animal proteins, and alkaline-forming.
The most popular plant-based options are hemp, brown rice and yellow pea. Plant-based protein powders can sometimes be difficult to digest, so try to look for sprouted or fermented options. They can often be grainy in texture, which can be remedied by adding avocado or frozen banana into the blender along with your scoop of powder.
Who should use it, and how: Plant-based options are easily mixed into a morning smoothie as you head out the door with kids in tow. Also a great option for seniors who tend to eat less and subsequently are deficient in protein.
With all the great choices that are available, try to stay away from ingredients like artificial flavours, sweeteners and colours along with added sugar. It’s also important to mention that you should consider switching up the type and even brand of protein powder that you use on a monthly basis. Not only will this assure that you are consuming an array of amino acids, but it will also limit the possibility that you will develop an allergy or sensitivity.