What protein powder should I take?
Try posting THAT question on Facebook and watch your comments section blow up with opinions, sales people, and a ton of non-evidence based advice that will have you throwing in the towel, walking into your local GNC, and saying “Ok – Just tell me what to get.”
From this guy.
Get people started about protein powder and it’s like asking someone for new-mother baby advice. They are ALL over that, and they’re all experts somehow…
Here’s the true breakdown along with a chart of someone the top protein powders out there right now. (Be wary of Pop-up, Trendy sounding sources of protein!!!)
- Quickly absorbed by the body.
- Best post-workout
- Naturally abundant in the amino-acid Leucine (a building block for muscle!)
- Promotes weight-loss by sparing muscle (WebMD)
- Whey ISOLATE is very LOW in lactose. If you are lactose intolerant you may still be able to handle whey isolate protein. (HERE)
- There is controversy behind benefits of ISOLATE VS CONCENTRATE. Do your research!
- Digested slowly
- Better before-bed protein for muscle recovery
- Higher in lactose
- Great micronutrient profile
- LOW digestible protein content -(only about 30-50% protein by weight, whereas other options discussed in this article are 90-100%. Furthermore, the protein it does contain isn’t nearly as digestible as rice or pea protein, let alone animal products like whey, casein, or egg protein. MIKE MATTHEWS)
- Sounds cool. But is not cool.
- Very good source
- High amount of leucine
- High “biological value” about 80%
SPIRULINA and Chlorella – two main phytonutrients from algae found in many protein powders today. It is better to not try to bulk up on these greens once a week, rather small regular amounts are best. Chlorella has been used to prevent cancer and treat radiation patients. Some Spirulina sources have been found to contain high levels of heavy metals. Cheap sources of spirulina will most likely contain heavy metals, including sources that have not been tested. A few years ago, Shakeology was found to contain high levels of these heavy metals causing them to find better source of Spirulina. This is a GOOD thing. Many protein powders and sources have NOT been tested for heavy metals (mercury). (WEBMD)
Inulin from Chicory Root – This one interested me because it is a main ingredient in Fiber One bars. This is a main ingredient in VEGA Protein (except Chocolate and Mocha) and is also present in the VANILLA SHAKEOLOGY Flavor. Here are reasons I do not like Inulin derived from Chicory:
Avoid chicory if you are allergic to ragweed. It is in the same family. Chicory is also related to chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.
Inulin may also cause:
More frequent bowel movements
Inulin-type prebiotics are generally recognized as safe. Chicory itself, however, is not recommended in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It may lead to miscarriage.
Sacha Inchi – “Peruvian Peanut”. High in amino acids and essential oils. No known side effects. Thumbs up!
Goji Berry – this is a big seller for me. I used to buy my husband bags of dried goji berries to take on deployment to boost his mood but now I don’t have to. Goji Berries are known in China as “happy fruit”. It symbolizes longevity and good mood. “Some studies using goji berry juice found possible benefits in mental well-being and calmness, athletic performance, happiness, quality of sleep, and feelings of good health.” (WEBMD) Thumbs UP!
MACA ROOT – Still harvested entirely in South America and mostly Peru. Uses have a wide range of benefits from Anemia and Depression to increased Sexual Potency and Energy. (WEBMD) THUMBS UP!
Meal-Replacement VS Simple Protein
Meal replacement protein shakes are excellent for weight-loss and those that lack a well rounded diet. They are also good for filling in the gaps and providing optimal nutrition to those that have a hard time accessing health foods or can’t afford it. They help keep you full and reduce overall calorie consumption. Be wary of ingredients as this is something you will most likely take every day or close to. Stay away from meal replacements containing artificial ingredients, sugar (or any form of sugar) other than Stevia. WHY? Stevia is extremely LOW on the glycemic index while remaining 100% natural. Interested in how high GI foods cause food cravings and over eating? (Go HERE)
Simple Proteins are just that. Simple. You might want to have this only on days that you lift. If you are taking this everyday avoid artificial ingredients. They are not a good source of nutrition, just an added source of lean protein.
Try: NAKED Protein for 100% Natural, non-sweetened, non-denatured Whey from Grassfed Cows in California
CHECK OUT THE CHART HERE
Advocare – . With pretty much ZERO natural ingredients (mostly synthetic, processed nutrients) you could get this a lot cheaper from GNC if you really want to go that route. Hydrolyzed Fructose as a top ingredient?? And I can’t even find info on what that IS? PLUS it’s 45$ plus tax for only 14 servings. That’s almost 100$ for 1 month… wow.
Check out their ingredients HERE.
Isagenix – RED FLAGS: silicon dioxide,isomaltooligosaccharides (wtf…), d-fructose and maltodextrin…to name a few. FRUCTOSE is the main sweetener. (LIST HERE)
Arbonne – it always raises a red flag when it is difficult to find listed ingredients. The ingredients are listed under “marketing” and not on the product site. And then it only lists “other ingredients”. My turn off – Cane Sugar, Corn Starch, Cranberry Protein (whaaat? only 20-30% protein. WHY WASTE the effort?) (Ingredients LIST HERE) 70$ for 30 servings
VegaOne – getting better! This was one of the first comparable proteins that caught my eye. The ingredients are great and almost fully organic. The ONLY downside is that the protein biological value in VEGA is low due to its use of hemp protein as a main source AND it includes Inulin for Chicory which has been shown to possibly cause miscarriage. Brown rice and Pea sources are best. Over-all though, if you need a vegan source of protein vega is a good choice as long as you are not trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding. 70$
Garden of Life: Like VEGA but better. They leave out the hemp protein and inulin from chicory root. All natural ingredients with an impressive list of balanced organic superfoods.
Shakeology – Both regular and vegan formulas and completely natural ingredients. I love that the vegan formula sticks to Pea and Brown Rice sources. (LIST HERE) 0-129$
I have 2 complaints about it though: the vanilla flavor contains Inulin from Chicory.
Lastly, after drinking Shakeology for a year I noticed that it seemed to spike my insulin and crave sweets, which is normal for higher GI sweetened shakes. Shakeology claims to be low on the GI, but how low – I’m not sure. 9g of sugar is rather high to be certified low GI.