There are thousands of protein powders out there to choose from so picking one can be a little bit overwhelming at times. It can be especially annoying with an 20-year-old Popeye’s broscience expert in your ear. I’m going to break down 5 things you need to know before your next purchase!
Whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate is the best way to go. Whey protein concentrate will digest slightly slower than isolate will, however I find the difference to be inconsequential. I’m not a huge fan of vegetarian protein powders because they often lack adequate essential amino acids (proteins) that you need in your powder.
The closer the amount of protein in grams per serving is to the serving size itself the better. For example, if the serving size is 30 grams and the amount of protein per serving is 25 grams you’re doing well. That means there are only 5 extra grams for carbohydrates, fat, added sweeteners and fillers. A good powder will contain about 24-25 grams of protein, 2-3 grams of carbohydrates and anywhere from 1-2 grams of fat per serving.
Whey protein concentrate or isolate should be the first ingredient only always. You don’t want ingredients like sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose, fructose or high fructose corn syrup. They all act just like sugar in the body so you want to avoid them. When you follow the serving size guideline above you shouldn’t have to worry too much about a bunch of added junk in your protein. The less ingredients the better!
Most powders out there taste pretty good. Adding cinnamon to shakes is a great way to enhance the flavor as well as increase the health benefits. Cinnamon has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity (the way your body handles carbohydrates) so go crazy with it! Also if your at home blending your shake on ice will always taste better than chugging a warm shake on the way to work!
Water or Milk:
Add water to all of your protein shakes. I’m not a huge fan of conventional pasteurized milk, especially in North America. Use water for your shakes and if you want it thicker you can always add a little more protein and a little less water! Psyllium husk powder is another great way to thicken up a shake while simultaneously bumping up your fiber intake!