How To Pick A Healthy Protein Powder
Written by: Kavata Kithome
When I began my fitness journey, I was like most people who have no clue where to begin. So I went to the one place where I felt that I would get some good idea about where to begin. I went to GNC (a wellness shop) and aside from a myriad of supplements the salesman tried to sell me, he insisted that I get protein powder.
He said “anyone who is serious about working out should get protein powder.” I felt I had no choice but to concede and purchase $70.00 worth of protein powder because I was very serious about working out and getting my health together.
Fast forward about 10 years and I begin my transformation with Fitlife. I learned a few different things about protein powder and now as a certified transformation coach, I am more equipped to pick out a great protein powder.
In making this choice, I advise my clients to focus on these five factors:
1. Purpose Of Powder
An important aspect to consider is the purpose of the protein powder. As you know, getting enough protein in your diet is essential to boost your metabolism, stimulate fat loss, preserve lean muscle mass and most importantly, improve your overall health.
2. Nutrition Facts And Ingredient List
When assessing a protein powder (or any other food item) you ignore the pretty and eye-catching front of the package. This is how the food manufacturers get you. The nutritional info you really want to pay attention to is not on the front – it’s on the back of the panel. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you get in the habit of reading food labels.
When assessing a protein powder, it’s very simple: first, you want to check out the Nutrition Facts on the back label for calories per serving and then you want to assess the macronutrient breakdown. The three macronutrients are: fat, carbohydrates and protein.
I usually opt for a protein powder with 120 to 140 calories per scoop. I also look for those that are low fat (less than 2 grams of fat per serving), low sugar (zero to no more than 1 gram of sugar per serving) and high protein (more than 25 grams of protein per scoop).
The next thing I look at is the ingredient list, which is typically found below the Nutrition Facts. When you look at an ingredient list, keep in mind that the ingredients listed first are the most abundant. The lower on the list the ingredient, the less of it there is in the product (this rule applies to all packaged foods). When examining the ingredient list, I try to find a product that doesn’t have a laundry list of ingredients.
As a general rule of thumb, I tend to choose protein powders with no more than 10 to 12 ingredients. (Note: For protein blends, each type of protein is often listed and I do not count each separate protein as a separate ingredient. I count all of the protein types together as one single ingredient.)
3. Amino Acid Profile
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The 20 amino acids found within proteins are separated into two categories: essential and nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be created in the human body and must be obtained from food. Non-essential amino acids can be synthesized, or created, in the human body. There are nine essential amino acids.
Since non-essential amino acids can be manufactured by the body, it’s important to look for a protein powder with a good essential amino acid profile.
Branched-chain amino acids, also called BCAAs, refer to a chain of the three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three essential amino acids make up over one-third of skeletal muscle in the body and play a vital role in protein synthesis.
When selecting a protein powder, you want to pay close attention to whether the protein supplement contains leucine, isoleucine and valine. You can also look into purchasing stand-alone branched-chain amino acid supplements.
4. Sugar And Sweetener Content
Protein powders will often contain sweeteners and flavoring agents, which is not exactly the definition of “clean” foods. Still, there are in fact many high-quality protein powders that also contain sweeteners. The short and sweet (no pun intended) is to look for powders that have 1 gram (or zero grams) of sugar per serving and scan the ingredients list for added sweeteners like stevia (a natural sweetener) or sucralose (an artificial one).
Honestly, I won’t shun a protein powder just because it contains an artificial sweetener. I weigh things on a case-by-case basis. The choice is yours when it comes to artificial versus natural sweeteners. However, there is one type of sweetener I make no exception for in any protein supplement – high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). If you see high-fructose corn syrup anywhere in the protein supplement ingredients, don’t buy it!
5. Taste And Mixability
For many folks, this is really what it’s all about – taste! And who doesn’t want a protein powder that tastes good? Protein powders really have come a long way and many brands make a variety of flavors that taste delicious. The best way to find the right one for you is obviously to sample a few.
Stores like Whole Foods and Vitamin Shoppe sell single serving-size samples, so try those. And don’t forget to ask your friend if you can bum a taste of her protein powder.
As far as mixability, you’re looking at two options: shaker or blender. Will you need to make a protein shake when you’re already out and about? Or, do you plan to be at home, in the presence of your handy-dandy blender?
For those of you who need to throw together a shake while you’re on the go, I’d suggest picking up an easy mixing powder. You’ll also need an efficient way to mix the powder; I find that shaker bottles work well. They’re about $10 and are completely worth it if you want to avoid the unpleasant taste of unmixed, dry protein powder in your shake. That said, if you have a blender and the time to use it, mixability won’t be much of an issue.
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You read that right. Not only is Organifi Complete Protein the perfect protein supplement, with a combination of hemp, pea and quinoa protein, but it is also a reliable source of your daily vitamin and mineral needs when used as directed. Where do these nutrients come from? Straight from whole foods. We use only vitamins and minerals from real, whole foods like shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, carrots etc and never anything synthetic. This was your body knows exactly how to use and absorb the nutrients for maximum benefits!
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We created Organifi Complete Protein for people like you who have lofty health and fitness goals but simple don’t have a lot of extra time to spend in the kitchen. We get it! You’ve got family, a career, education, or whatever else is on your plate that takes up the bulk of your attention right now. Let us take care of the details of making the best meal replacement shake on the market, you just have to mix it with liquid and go!
Your health is important. Maybe you’ve been putting your needs on the backburner while you cater to everyone else. We respect that, but we also know it is time for you to focus on what is equally important: YOU. We want YOU to feel complete, balanced, whole and taken care of. That’s the big reason behind everything we do here at Organifi. We believe that amidst your busy schedule and many priorities, you deserve that transformation you’ve been longing for.
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Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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