09 Feb The Scoop On Protein Powders
The Scoop on Protein Powders
By: Reva Schlanger MS, RD, CDN, LD
A lot of us know that protein in our daily intake is important but little know how much protein is enough. The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) reports that to prevent protein deficiency, an average sedentary adult requires 0.8g per kg of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 75kg (165 lbs) should consume a minimum of 60g of protein daily. For those who are very active, your needs may be closer to 1g per kg of body weight. If pregnant or nursing, speak to your doctor/dietitian about how much protein you should aim for daily as these stages in life require higher protein needs. Getting enough protein is vital for building and repairing our bodies tissues i.e. building muscle instead of breaking it down. Protein also helps us recover faster from injury or illness. Unfortunately, many people do not get enough protein to fulfill their daily needs. That is why protein powders are a helpful supplement to hit our daily protein goal. Below we will discuss protein powders in greater detail.
What are Protein Powders?
Simply put, protein powders are dietary supplements created to help increase people’s protein intake. While once originally targeted for athletes, protein powder is now widely consumed by the general population. This is because protein powders are a fast and convenient way to get enough protein in throughout the day, especially in the morning or after a workout. A couple scoops of this powder can provide a nearly 30 g of protein!
Different Types of Protein Powders
There are two categories of protein powders: animal-based and plant-based. Animal-based protein powders often contain either whey or casein. Whey comes from the clear liquid part of milk while casein comes from the top solid portion of milk. Both contain all nine essential amino acids, an excellent protein choice. Plant-based protein powders typically include protein from soy, peas, hemp, rice, or chia seeds. Choosing between animal-based or plant-based is really your preference as they both give our bodies sufficient protein. Powders that come from whey are typically less expensive which is helpful if starting out on protein powders and not wanting to break the bank! If you follow a dairy-free or vegan diet, then plant-based protein powders are the best choice.
How to Choose
Below is a review of various protein powders however taste preferences are individualized. Lifestyle, budget, and personal protein goals may factor into your choice. That is why it is always helpful to look at the nutrition label to see how much protein per serving, what are the ingredients and if it has any other added benefits. Some protein powders contain other nutrients like added vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids or fiber increasing its nutritional profile. I recommend starting off with one brand in a vanilla flavor which is a great neutral base for smoothies or pancakes.
Reviewing Protein Powders
- Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein + Superfoods Powder
Orgain is typically a popular choice for those seeking a good plant-based protein option. It offers 21 grams of protein in every serving as well as a hearty dose of fiber. It comes in both chocolate and vanilla flavor making it the perfect addition to your morning smoothie. The taste is smooth and does not have that chalky aftertaste that some powders give you.
This powder contains high quality ingredients allowing you to increase your intake of several important vitamins and minerals.
It is also vegan, kosher, certified organic and gluten-free, making it a great choice for those with certain dietary constraints.
- Naked Whey Grass-Fed Protein Powder
This protein powder is a great animal-based powder designed for those looking to increase their protein intake. It contains 25g of protein per serving and is free of any artificial sweeteners, additives, and growth hormones. This brand also sources its whey from grass-fed cows on small dairy farms in California.
It comes in a couple different flavors: unflavored, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. All the flavors are sweetened with coconut sugar. If using the unflavored powder, I would recommend adding it to a smoothie with other flavorful ingredients like fruits and spices.
It is certified gluten-free and soy free, as well as tested by Informed Choice which is a third-party company that evaluates the quality and safety of ingredients.
- Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder
If you’re an athlete looking to refuel after a workout then this powder if for you. It contains a whopping 30g of protein per scoop as well as probiotics for proper gut health. Vega also has 5g of branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) to help repair muscles after rigorous activity.
The powder also contains tart cherry powder, which may help reduce inflammation and improve endurance exercise performance.
It was a wide array of flavors including peanut butter, berry, mocha, and vanilla.
This powder is plant-based and is vegan, gluten free, and GMO-free. Additionally, this supplement is NSF Certified for Sport, meaning that it’s third-party tested to ensure that it’s free of substances that are banned among athletes.
- Orgain Clean Whey
This powder has a great taste and texture and is made with all organic and non-GMO ingredients — including whey concentrate from grass-fed cows. It comes in chocolate or vanilla.
A serving contains 21g of clean, grass-fed protein, a complete amino acid profile and nearly 5g of Branch Amino Acids (BCAAs). This powder is made without any additives or preservatives. It is kosher, gluten-free, and soy-free.
- ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
This plant-based powder is naturally sweetened and comes in two flavors (chocolate and vanilla). It contains 18g of protein and 5g of fiber per serving. Fiber helps stimulate regular bowel movements as well as stabilizing our blood sugar levels.
It is kosher, vegan, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO. It is free of any artificial additives or preservatives. This is a great choice for adding into smoothies or even baked goods! A great way to get extra protein into a picky eater.
- KOS Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
For someone looking for more than just a vanilla or chocolate flavored powder, you’ve come to the right place. KOS has a variety of flavors including blueberry muffin, salted caramel coffee, chocolate peanut butter, and chocolate chip mint.
It contains 20g of protein per serving is rich in B12 and Vitamin E – an antioxidant that helps with immune function. The brand reports that nearly all their ingredients are certified organic and therefore free of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, and GMOs. Ingredients are certified by the USDA and CCOF.
KOS is so confident that you will love this great tasting powder that if you aren’t satisfied, you have 90 days to send back the powder for a full refund.
Remember that while protein powder is a convenient way to get some of your protein in, it should not be your only source of protein. If struggling with your protein intake, I would recommend setting up an appointment with a registered dietitian to discuss further.