The right protein powder can make or break your fitness regimen. You need protein in your diet, and supplements could be a great way to reach the recommended daily amount. Protein powders are convenient but may be confusing when finding one, especially for the first time. It is essential that you choose the right kind for your needs.
#1 Know your goals
The type of protein powder you choose will depend on individual needs and goals.
Many people use protein powder to supplement their meals or as a convenient pre-and post-workout snack. But protein powder isn't one size fits all — there are different kinds of protein for different goals. Knowing what you want to get out of your protein powder can help you make the best choice.
Here are three common goals and the types of protein that can help you achieve them:
Goal: Build muscle. If you're looking to put on some serious muscle mass, whey protein is your best bet. It's absorbed quickly and contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle. Whey also has anabolic properties that promote muscle synthesis after a workout.
Goal: Lose weight. For this goal, casein protein is often recommended because it's slow-digesting and keeps you feeling full for longer periods. Casein also appears to increase metabolism and fat oxidation, making it easier to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time.
Goal: General health and wellness. If you're not focused on any particular goal but want an easy way to get more nutrients in your diet, a plant-based protein like brown rice or pea can be an excellent option.
#2 Check the labels
It may seem obvious, but it's easy to forget that the first step in making a smart shopping decision is to check the label. You can learn a lot about what you're buying by looking at the information printed on the package.
Looking at nutritional facts should tell you how many calories are in a serving. It also shows how much fat (including saturated and trans fats), cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein the food contains.
If you have special dietary needs or restrictions — such as if you're diabetic or lactose intolerant — check for ingredients to which you may be allergic or sensitive. (If you're unsure about something on the ingredient list, ask your doctor or dietitian.) You might also want to see if there are any vitamins or minerals in the food you'd like to have more of in your diet.
While you're checking the label, don't forget to look at the serving size and how many servings there are per container (serving sizes are standard for each type of food). If you eat two servings instead of one, you're getting double everything listed on the label — including calories.
#3 Don't be fooled by protein powders marketed as "natural."
Don't be fooled by proteins marketed as "natural." This term is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and its meaning can vary widely among companies.
Don't be fooled by protein powders marketed as "natural." Natural does not equal healthy. Companies will put the word natural on their labels to make you think they're offering a healthier version of the product. The word natural is unregulated, and companies can label their products as such even if they contain sugar or artificial ingredients.
When it comes to protein powders, you want to look for those made with whole foods, like whey protein isolate. Whey isolate comes from dairy and contains all the essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle and recover after a workout.
#4 If you have a nut or other allergy, look for a powder that does not contain any allergens.
Choosing a protein powder isn't as simple as grabbing the first tub of whey powder you see. There are a lot of factors to consider.
If you have a nut or other allergy, look for a powder that does not contain any allergens. Some people are lactose intolerant or vegan and will be looking for plant-based proteins like soy and hemp. If your goal is weight loss, look for powders that contain additional metabolism-boosting ingredients like green tea extract or fiber. If you are an athlete, look for something with creatine and L-carnitine.
On the other hand, if you're looking to boost your protein intake, look for a plain whey powder with minimal ingredients.
#5 When buying a protein powder, look for one that contains at least 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Protein powder is one of the most popular fitness supplements. It comes in a variety of flavors, mixes easily, and can be combined with other supplements.
It's important to choose a protein powder that fits your needs.
Before choosing a protein powder, decide why you're taking it. If you're an athlete or bodybuilder, you may need more protein than the average person.
A high-protein diet won't directly make you gain muscle. When buying a protein powder, look for one that contains at least 20 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbohydrates per serving. That requires exercise as well as proper eating.
#6 Choose a protein powder that contains digestive enzymes and probiotics to aid digestion
One tip for choosing the right protein powder is to choose one that contains digestive enzymes and probiotics to aid digestion. Such additions support gut health by aiding the breakdown of complex proteins into amino acids, making them easy for your body to absorb and use for energy.
When trying to pick the right protein powder, you can follow some general guidelines. Remember that as with any supplement, you don't have to take all of the products out there—just the one that works best for you. No matter what nutrition or dietary supplement you're looking for, it's important to pay attention to what's inside and how it affects your body. Get familiar with your options first before choosing any particular protein powder, and always be sure to read the label. You may find that your preferences change over time, but only you can determine which protein powder is right for you.
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