How to Buy Protein Powder
Updated: Sep 14, 2018
Personally, I'm not a big protein powder kinda gal. I really like to eat, I have no problem eating and I also reallyyy love me some protein rich Greek yogurt and eggs.
That said, a lot of people benefit from protein powder. It's convenient, it packs a whole lotta protein in a small serving and it can be pleasantly yummy & dessert-like when you have a high protein goal to hit and are sick of the usual jerky, edamame, etc (see here for lots of ideas on how to boost protein intake without protein powder).
I get a ton of questions from you guys asking me how to know which protein powder to buy! And since its my goal to always leave you with the knowledge you need to make your own well-informed decisions without my help, I thought this would be a good topic.
Personally, I am a big fan of whey protein. Whey protein has been studied as the most "filling" protein you can eat. Meaning, that before-bed-protein-shake is "whey" (ha.ha.) more likely to actually fill you up when its made from a whey protein powder compared to other proteins. Whey protein, when paired with resistance training, has good data to suggest it helps you burn body fat and build metabolism-boosting-muscle. Gimme some o' dat! (1, 2, 3)
Worried that you won't tolerate whey protein because its made from dairy protein? I think its worth trying. Whey does not contain the milk sugar "lactose" which causes most people discomfort. Make sure you buy a "whey protein isolate" which only contains about 10% of calories from carb, or a "whey protein hydrolysate" which also low in carb AND is pre-broken-down to ease digestion. Whey protein isolate is also the form I would recommend if being taken pre-workout or in a mid-workout shake.
Okay, so besides the type of protein, what do I recommend? There's tons of not-healthy whey protein on the market, so its important to look at the whole picture.
I recommend a whey protein isolate or whey protein hydrolysate from grass-fed cows.
I recommend a protein powder that has a minimum of 20 grams of protein PER ONE SCOOP.
I recommend a protein powder with less than 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving, and optimally a ratio of 4:1 protein to carb. Remember, carbs are cheap (think: oats, bananas, potatoes). We should not be paying premium price for a protein powder loaded with carb. Let protein powder be your protein source and consume your carbs from whole foods. Protein powder is too expensive to be filled with cheap calories frm carb.
So let's compare powders:
1. This ingredient list is uncessarily long. I prefer my ingredient list to just list its protein source and NOTHING else.
2. The serving size for this protein powder is two scoops. This means one scoop contains a meager 10 grams of protein. Doesn't seem worth the money.
3. No matter how you cut it, this protein powder contains wayyyy too much carbohdyrate to be considered a true "great source" of protein.
For every one scoop you get 10 grams of protein but also 6 grams of carbohydrate... or a ratio of 5:2 protein to carb.
1. Look at that ingredient list! Short, sweet, and to the point. Its protein powder and its incredient list is protein. (The front of the bottle specifies its from grass-fed cow milk)
2. The serving size is ONE SCOOP! What a glorious bang for my back, I can stretch this protein powder for twice as long as compared to that top choice, and get 20 grams of protein for every scoop.
3. This is truly a source of protein, with only 3 grams of carb for every 20 grams of protein, or a ratio of nearly 7:1! Where is that meager carb coming from? Its from trace lactose content.
No this is not a sponsored post by BlueBonnet (the protein powder I enjoy occasionally), but rather just a means to teach you guys how to think for yourselves.
Even if you prefer to choose a vegan protein sources or dislike whey protein, I do encourage you to consider the serving size and how many grams of carbohydrate you receive per serving.
For the laziest of lazy (hey, I totally fall into this camp many days of the week!), simply mixing flavored protein powder (I loveee BlueBonnet's strawberry flavor) with unsweetened coconut or almond milk is a great low carb, filling, low calorie treat.
But if you are feeling more creative and need some protein shake inspiration, my Real Foodie Chocolate Shake is FREAKING DELISH.