In our last blog, we talked about how to add more protein to your diet. One of the suggestions was using a protein powder in shakes, smoothies, or even a pancake mix. But choosing a protein powder is more than just going to your local nutrition store and picking up a case. There are some important things to consider as you’re shopping for a protein powder that is right for your body and goals.
Atlas Nutrition is a team of fitness trainers in Greeley and the Denver area who are passionate about fitness and nutrition, and helping our bodies look and function as best they can. While we try to encourage our clients to get protein from a variety of sources — primarily from foods such as eggs, fish, and nuts — we understand that life can get hectic and sometimes it’s just easier to make a quick protein shake. So if you’re here looking for some nutrition guidance on protein powders to bridge the gap between meals, we’d love to help provide some insight into the dozens of options.
Types of Protein
There are a variety of types of protein, and two that you’ve probably already heard a lot about are whey protein and soy protein.
- Whey Protein: Whey is a liquid that is separated from milk during the manufacturing process of making cheese. Whey protein is highly digestible and provides a high concentration of essential amino acids. There are also a variety of whey protein forms, including whey protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysates. The difference between these forms is mainly how many calories come from the protein.
- Soy Protein: Derived from the soybean, this type of protein can help reduce cholesterol and help build bone mass. Soy can also be developed into soy flour products, protein concentrates, and soy protein isolates. You can find soy protein in tofu too.
- Egg Protein: Egg protein powder can be used throughout the day, as it’s released in your body more slowly. Many people look for flavored egg protein powder or mix it with fruits or vegetables to hide the egg flavor.
- Milk Protein: This type is often used to promote a healthy immune system and can help enhance muscle growth.
- Rice Protein: If you’re vegetarian or vegan, rice protein is a great option as it’s 100% plant-based.
- Pea Protein: Another easily digestible protein, pea protein is hypoallergenic and one of the less expensive options.
- Hemp Protein: Another protein that is 100% plant-based, hemp protein is becoming more popular. It’s a great source of omega-3 fatty acids as well.
Choose a Protein-Based on Your Goals
Everyone has different fitness goals and will use appropriate equipment and nutrients to reach those goals. When you’re shopping for protein powder, keep your goals in mind as they can be a guide. If you still feel confused about what is right for you, contact the fitness trainers at Atlas Nutrition. We’re more than happy to answer questions or discuss the differences between the options.
If You Want To…
- Build Muscle: When trying to build muscle, you want a protein that can be absorbed easily and one that your body can use easily, this is known as a high biological value. Look for whey protein and whey isolates.
- Lose Weight: Many protein powders can be full of sugar to help them taste better. Stay away from added sugars and dextrins or maltodextrins. You’ll also want to avoid powders with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which promote muscle growth and weight gain.
- Stick to a Budget: There are a variety of great protein powders that won’t break the bank. Look for larger tubs of powder instead of ready-to-drink shakes.
- Avoid Gastrointestinal Issues: If you are allergic to gluten or are lactose intolerant, look for plant-based and gluten-free protein powders.
No one will argue that protein is an essential part of any fitness strategy, whether you’re looking to lose weight or build muscle mass. And protein powder is a convenient way of helping you achieve your goals. If you want additional support, guidance, and motivation, get in touch with the fitness trainers at Atlas Nutrition. With years of experience working with a variety of clients, we can’t wait to help you achieve your goals. Located in Greeley and Wheat Ridge, schedule your free consultation today or a sign up for a fitness program!