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Protein is one of the three macronutrients (along with fats and carbohydrates) that your body needs to repair tissue and build muscle. If you don’t eat meat or have a very active lifestyle, you might want to consider taking a protein powder to get your daily protein intake.
There are different kinds of protein supplements available on the market for every diet and preference. Here is a selected list of seven of them that you can use to enhance your diet.
Garden of Life Raw Organic Plant Based Protein Powder Shake with Probiotics & Enzymes
This Garden of Life protein powder is made of a blend of plant proteins, including organic pea, brown rice, lentil, and quinoa protein. Each serving has 22 grams of protein. The raw organic protein powder is made at a low temperature which preserves more of the integrity of the ingredients.
The powder also contains 4 grams of naturally occurring branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which can only be obtained through your diet. In addition, you’ll also benefit from fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and vitamin K, probiotics, and enzymes that will help with your digestive and immune health. Specifically, there are 3 billion CFU of live probiotics and 13 digestive enzymes.
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder
Whey is one of the proteins (along with casein) that is derived from milk. The Dymatize whey protein powder is made of whey and packs 25 grams of protein per serving. There are also 5.5 grams of BCAAs, including 2.7 grams of L-Leucine, commonly referred to as the ‘main’ BCAA.
It’s about 140 calories a serving and contains two grams of sugar and less than three grams of carbs.
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
Another good plant-based option is this Orgain protein powder. It’ll give you 21 grams of protein per serving and is derived from pea, brown rice, chia seed, and more. In addition, it has two grams of organic dietary fiber, which can help you feel fuller and prevent constipation.
There’s zero sugar in the powder, and one serving is only 150 calories, so a smoothie made with it would be a good snack between meals. The ingredients are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, kosher, and non-GMO.
Naked Whey Vanilla Protein
This extremely simple Naked protein powder only has three ingredients: 100% grass-fed pure whey protein, natural vanilla flavor, and organic coconut sugar. This is a good option if you don’t like added ingredients like artificial flavors.
Each serving contains 25 grams of protein, five grams of sugar, eight grams of carbs, and 5.9 grams of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acid) and is 150 calories. The carbs and sugar mainly come from coconut sugar, which contains more micronutrients than processed cane sugar.
VINTAGE BRAWN Protein
The Vintage Brawn protein powder is an interesting product because, in addition to whey and casein protein, it also contains protein derived from eggs and beef. While this is not totally necessary, each protein source has different amounts of amino acids that you can benefit from.
Each serving contains 24 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and zero sugar. This is a suitable protein powder if you follow a ketogenic diet because of the lack of sugar.
KOS Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
The KOS protein powder is yet another plant-based option that uses organic pea, flaxseed, quinoa, pumpkin seed, and chia seed proteins. One thing to keep in mind with plant proteins is that fewer plants are complete proteins (contain all nine of the essential amino acids we need), so you’ll often see a blend of multiple protein sources in plant-based protein powders.
As a result, you’ll typically see higher levels of fiber and nutrients but lower BCAA levels.
The flavourings are all-natural ingredients with organic Peruvian cacao, Himalayan salt, organic coconut milk, stevia and monk fruit. If you can’t get past the taste of straight protein, then this could be a good option for you. Just keep in mind that these ingredients increase the sugar and fat levels.
There are 170 calories in one serving of this protein powder, 20 grams of protein, six grams of fat, and nine grams of carbs.
Raw Grass Fed Whey
The aptly named Raw Grass Fed Whey protein powder only has one ingredient — 100% grass-fed whey. This is the second protein powder on the list that contains grass-fed whey, and what exactly is the benefit of grass-fed over grain-fed wheat? Grass-fed cows produce milk with more omega-3s and linoleic acid (CLAs) than grain-fed cows.
However, the whey isolation process reduces some of these benefits so they may not be as potent as you would see in full-fat milk or beef. They are often hormone, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO, though.
One serving of this protein powder contains 21 grams of protein, one gram of fat and two grams of sugar. It’s only 97.5 calories per serving.
Ingredients to avoid in protein powders
The general rule of thumb with any type of food or supplement is that the simpler the ingredients, the better. Try to avoid protein powders that contain gluten if you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease. As well, steer clear of artificial sweeteners, fillers, and vegetable oils.
How to take protein powders
You don’t need to overdo it when it comes to protein intake. In fact, a sedentary adult only needs about 0.8 per kilogram of body weight. There are many ways to implement protein powders in your routine, such as blending it in a smoothie or adding it in oatmeal.
Timing is another element to consider when taking protein powders and depends on your lifestyle goals. If you are looking to lose weight, then starting your day with a protein shake can keep you fuller and reduce snacking. To build muscle, try to take your protein within two hours of your workout or right away if you exercised fasted. For those wanting to maintain muscle mass, like the elderly, taking protein right before bed allows it to absorb and recover muscles while you sleep.