How to Choose Protein Powder For Your Needs:
3 Must-Know Essentials
We've all said it — "New year, new me!" Getting in shape is the most common New Year's resolution, yet the hardest to keep. If you're one of the dedicated few to stick with it so far, you're probably in search of the best diet tips and supplements to help keep you on track.
One of the most commonly used supplements is a convenient solution to consuming essential nutrients — protein powder. Adding a healthy protein supply to your diet is necessary for building muscle, improving your immune system, and burning fat. (Not to mention it keeps your bones, hair, nails, and blood healthy.)
Protein powder is easy to find but comes in a variety of options. How do you choose the right one for you?
Here's a guide for how to choose protein powder best-suited for your specific lifestyle:
1. How to Choose Protein Powder for Your Specific Goals
The first question to ask yourself is the most obvious: why are you choosing a protein powder in the first place? Is it for weight loss, muscle gain, or a healthy snack during busy work hours? By determining your overall goal, it's easier to choose the right protein powder for you.
Want to give your workouts a boost? Whey protein is the top choice for muscle-building or weight gain. Need to curb your appetite or repair muscles? Casein protein may be the best fit. For weight loss, whey or soy protein can be used as meal replacements. On a vegan diet? Organic vegan protein powder is plant-based and packed with nutrients.
Of course, workouts and weight-control are not the only reasons for protein powder — collagen powder is a popular option for improving the appearance of skin, nails, and hair.
2. Dairy vs. Plant-Based Protein Powders
Worried about dietary restrictions? Good news: there are plenty of protein powder types to choose from.
The two main types of protein powders — whey and casein — are dairy-based, which poses a problem to those who are lactose-intolerant or following a vegan diet. So, what are the other options? Let's take a look at the different powders:
- Egg Protein: A lactose-free option packed with protein and all essential amino acids
- Soy Protein: Plant-based and perfect for vegan diets, this powder is a good alternative to whey protein
- Pea Protein: Rich in iron and amino acids, but with lower levels of methionine
- Rice Protein: Made from brown rice and best used when combined with pea protein
- Hemp Protein: Plant-based and contains most of the essential amino acids, plus omega-3 fatty acids
Whether you choose a dairy-based powder or opt for a plant-powered one, it's essential to examine all of the ingredients and determine whether or not you should combine them with other forms of protein.
3. There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Protein
It's true — too much of a good thing has its consequences. While protein is a healthy and essential part of any diet, consuming too much can lead to kidney problems, constipation, and increased risk of cancer.
Keeping this in mind, it's imperative to determine whether or not you actually need protein powder. Most people are able to get enough protein from their normal, everyday diet. On average, Americans consume 65 to 90 grams of protein per day, which covers the recommended amount. Eggs, chicken, fish, milk, whole grains, and nuts are just some of the common foods rich in protein.
That said, protein powder is an excellent option if you want to build muscle mass or recover after a workout.
The Best Protein Powder for You
At the end of the day, it's up to you to determine the best protein source for your diet and lifestyle. Knowing how to choose protein powder best-suited for your goals is a crucial part of reaching them.
From dairy and egg-based products to vegan-friendly options, protein powder is a convenient option for adding essential nutrients to your diet.
Need more diet and supplement tips? Be sure to check out the rest of our Health & Fitness articles.