Want to know what to look out for when choosing a protein powder supplement?
When you regularly exercise you need to make sure you consume enough protein as this will help your muscles recover faster and enable you to make faster progress with your training regime.
For some, getting enough protein is really easy, all they need is some eggs, chicken breasts or steak and they are good to go.
For others, reaching the recommended daily protein intake is more difficult. Especially, if they don’t consume meat. While it’s possible to get more protein by increasing the intake of protein-rich vegetarian foods, some people still struggle, especially the ones that are super active and are also doing weight training. Solution? Protein powder supplement!
Just be aware that not all protein powders are created equal and not all are of good quality.
To make sure the protein powder you are considering buying is of good quality and something that will help you achieve your fitness goals, you should consider the following:
Does protein powder contain all 9 essential amino acids?
Different types of protein powders will provide you with a different quality of protein and will contain different essential amino acids, in different quantities.
For our bodies to function properly, we need all essential amino acids in the right proportions.
Luckily, you don’t need to worry about amino acids too much if you choose non-vegan protein powder such as whey protein. That’s because animal-derived protein sources contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs to function effectively.
But plant-based proteins are different and many lack one or more of the essential amino acids that your body needs.
So it’s not good buying pure brown rice protein powder as it’s not well balanced in terms of amino acids. It’s better to go for a blend that will contain a mix of different plant-based proteins which will balance each other and give you all the amino acids you need. If you need some recommendations, I love Vegan Protein Powder from Bulk Powders.
Does protein powder have any sugar added to it?
Surprisingly, there are still protein powders on the market today which contain sugar. While it’s recommended to consume carbs after a workout, this doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself with sugary snacks, desserts and cakes as soon as you finish your exercise.
Imagine if you eat plenty of unhealthy carbs every day, what would that do to your body? You’d probably gain weight, not to mention the negative effects of sugar on your health. For this reason, it’s best to avoid protein powders that have sugar added to it. It’s better to consume carbs in a form of fruits, whole grains and potatoes. Although, cake once in a while will certainly not harm you.
Does protein powder contain artificial sweeteners?
When I was trying to find the best protein powder for my needs, it was not easy. Many protein powders contain artificial sweeteners (I’ve even tried some of them) but that’s not a good thing. Although you avoid sugar, consuming artificial sweeteners comes with certain downsides so I am strongly against them.
When choosing protein powder pick the one that doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and Acesulfame K. If you like the protein blend to be slightly sweet go for protein powder that is naturally sweetened with stevia or xylitol.
How much salt does protein powder have?
Salt is normally added to protein powders to boost the flavour but you don’t want too much salt in your protein powder.
Sometimes, it’s beneficial to consume more salt than you would normally – that’s when your body is losing lots of salt naturally through sweating. So basically, when you are doing lots of training and spend hours exercising every day. In summer, your body will lose more salt than when the weather is colder so you may need to add some extra in.
Just keep in mind that people normally consume more salt than recommended and if you are already exceeding that allowance, you have to be careful with protein powders that are high in salt.
When considering various protein powders, compare them and see which one has less salt.
However, if your diet is quite healthy and you don’t eat processed or junk food, then consuming additional salt coming from protein powder should not give you any issues.
Does it contain soy?
Soy is quite a controversial topic these days. Some people are all for it while others avoid it like a plague. I personally avoid it as much as I can as most of it is genetically modified but sometimes I consume organic soy products which are non-GMO.
It’s up to you whether you want soy in your protein powder or not. I recommend you do a bit of research about it and then make your own decision. Try and consume only organic soy if you can.
Is it organic?
The best protein powders are the ones which are made with organic ingredients and those certified organic. If you can afford organic protein powder, go for it. In this way, you will avoid some of the pesticides found in non-organic protein powders and GM ingredients (organic products are not allowed to use GM ingredients).
I must admit though, I currently don’t use organic protein powder due to the cost but I am certainly planning to change that in the future once I have some spare cash.
I hope this little guide gives you something to think about and hopefully helps you when you are purchasing your next protein powder.
How do you feel about protein powders and do you use them regularly?
Petra is very passionate about health and loves helping people on their healthy living journey. On her health blog, you will find a variety of topics, from natural health and healthy eating to fitness and natural living. You can follow Petra on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.