By Mitchell Blume, RD, CDE, PA
“What protein powder is best for me?” “Are they all similar?” “How do I choose the right one?” These are all questions that I’ve received from clients over the years.
Protein powder comes from a variety of sources and in a multitude of flavors. Based on your eating practices and/or food sensitivities, there may be specific protein powder that is a better option for you. Overall, when choosing a protein powder, there is a general recommendation that I give all my clients.
Attempt to choose a powder that has at least a protein to carbohydrate ratio of 4:1. You want the protein powder that you choose to be primarily protein and not have additional fillers, such as sugar, etc.
The majority of protein powders on the market consist of whey. One reason for this is that whey, a byproduct of dairy, appears to be more readily available and is considered a complete protein (contains all nine essential amino acids). For vegans, there are other options, such as soy-based, nut-based, or other plant-based protein powders. These are considered to be just as effective but may be more noticeable when added to certain foods since they aren’t water soluble. Ultimately, it is important to choose a powder that has the consistency and taste to your liking.
The best time of the day to utilize protein powder is during the day as a snack or meal replacement if needed. It can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or of course drank also mixed with water or milk. One big misconception is that protein is all that is needed after a workout so you should utilize protein powder post workout in an attempt to get as much protein as possible. Generally, protein powder will give you an excess of protein that won’t necessary be used. Our bodies need protein for recovery, but not as much as you would think.
Research shows that before, during, and after workouts, our bodies primarily crave carbohydrates, since this is what our bodies use for fuel. Generally, it is recommended to achieve a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1 or 5:1 immediately following a workout.
Below is a list of quality protein powders on the market:
|Whey Protein Powder||Vegan Protein Powder|
|Zero Carb Isopure||Hammer Soy|
|Nutricost||Garden of Life|
|Staunch Whey||Optimum Plant|
|Optimum Whey||PEScience Vegan|
|BPI Iso-HD||MusclePharm Plant|
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