Keep in mind that while supplements can be greatly beneficial, the best way to get your nutrients is from a whole food source! If you are trying to lose weight, and get plenty of protein from food sources, adding a protein shake is still adding additional calories to your nutrition plan. Always be sure to read the labels on your supplements to be clear as to what it is you are consuming.
Whey Protein: By far the most common on the market. Whey protein comes in many different flavors and has an easy to drink texture. You can mix it in a smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal or just drink out of a shaker cup. Whey protein comes from milk and is a fast absorbing protein, which means that after consumption it will work quickly to repair your muscles. It is an easy and often palatable option to get your protein in quickly following a workout.
Soy (and other vegetarian) protein: Soy is one of the few vegetarian choices that contains all of the 9 essential amino acids to make it a complete protein on it’s own (quinoa is another one of these amazing foods). It also mixes well with food and liquids, which makes it a popular option for many vegetarians and vegans. There are other vegetarian/vegan friendly proteins out there- rice, pea, hemp- but check the label to make sure that they contain a blend of all the essential amino acids. A lot of these powders double as meal replacement powders and can contain a lot more calories, carbs and fat than you may want to consume.
Casein: Casein is a protein that comes from milk; but unlike its cousin whey protein, it is slowly absorbed. Casein may be a good choice to drink before bed so it can be absorbed over a longer period of time and aid in muscle recovery. Casein is typically thicker in texture and can be hard to mix with liquids and other common foods that handle protein powders well.
A few key points:
- Test out powders in a small amount to see how your body reacts to them.
- Read labels! Many products have a lot of artificial sweeteners and are jam packed with calories. Be aware of the difference between a protein powder and a meal replacement.
- You may not need the suggested serving amount. Often labels will recommend two scoops when for your specific needs you may only need one.
- Try to get your protein from whole food sources. Use powders only when necessary.
If you have any questions on anything related to this blog or how much protein you may need to reach your specific fitness goals feel free to reach out to us!
Lauren Kallen, CPT, CES, FNS