Once you’ve gotten used to your gym schedule and started religiously following your diet, you will most likely reach a point where you realize that your gains are not as significant as you’d want them to be. Proteins are essentially muscle food and you most certainly need to have them as part of your daily diet but sometimes, the amount of protein is just not enough.
With the increase in exercise and desire to lose weight successfully, consuming adequate protein is an important step. This is where protein powders can help fill the gap. However, zeroing in on a protein powder can be quite a task with so much variety available. So here’s what you need to know before you go shopping.
Whey is probably the most common type of protein you can find. It comes from dairy and is made of two parts: whey and casein. Manufacturers separate the two proteins and sell them separately as whey or casein powders. To remove the protein from the milk though, there usually is a lot of further processing involved. If you are choosing to use whey powder, choose options that are organic, and as minimally processed as possible. A good way to find out is to take a quick look at the list of ingredients; more ingredients mean more processing. If you don’t have lactose allergies, whey powder is very rich in protein. It allows your body to extract and use a larger percentage of the protein that is in the powder.
Whey Protein Isolate Powder
This is a more processed form of whey powder which is why it’s priced at a higher range. Whey Protein Isolate is sometimes considered better because it is a more concentrated form of protein. But that means it requires more processing and manufacturing to get it to that stage resulting in higher nutrient loss. If you decide to go for isolates, go with a brand of good repute so that you get the best protein. For those of you who are lactose intolerant, whey protein isolates contain less lactose and may be tolerable.
If you’re vegan or want to avoid dairy-based products due to lactose allergies, you can opt for plant-based powders. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from with increasing awareness and people choosing veganism. Some of the most common ones include pea protein, brown rice protein, hemp protein, and nut- and seed-based proteins such as pumpkin and flax. You will also find that these powders will have added greens, spirulina or sea algae to increase the overall protein content. When you are choosing plant-based proteins, go for organic ones with as few added ingredients as possible.
All-in-one powders are often used as meal replacements and contain more carbohydrates and additional ingredients such as greens or fruit extracts than typical protein powders. They are best had when you are working out and know you won’t be able to eat right away. Do scan the ingredients though. If they contain just fillers, extra sugar or a big boost of carbohydrates, it may not be that beneficial to your weight loss goals. It’s also not a good habit to have them regularly. Make your own smoothies and eat real food because nothing can beat it in nutritional content.
Pre Vs. Post Workout Powders
You will find powders labeled as pre- or post-workout. Some are called performance, some are called build up, lean out etc. These different powders are mostly for people who are bodybuilding or working on gaining a lot of muscle. However, if your requirement is just a protein to help fill you up, boost your recovery after workouts and ensure adequate protein intake, steer clear of these other powders.