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Choosing The Right Protein Powder For You

Choosing The Right Protein Powder For You
Sophia Power, BA Media, BHScNutMed

Looking for a super simple addition to your routine to support your health goals? There’s a protein powder out there that’s right for you, but how do you choose? 

Protein isn’t just for gym junkies, it’s a macronutrient that is essential for life. Protein, or more specifically amino acids that are the tiny building blocks of proteins, are found throughout the body. From healthy skin, hair and nails, immunity, gut health, and even healthy hormones - getting enough protein is a high priority. We all lead different lives and have different goals or health requirements. When it comes to supporting your health, protein powders are a no-brainer - they provide convenience, peace of mind and fit into any schedule. But with so many protein powders to choose from these days, it can be hard to know which one is going to hit the mark for you. 

Read on to find out how to choose the best protein powder based on your goals. 

Is it better to use whey protein powder or plant-based protein powder?

If you’re trying to decide whether to choose whey or plant-based protein - both are high-performing options that will get you to your goals, it all depends on your individual needs. 

Whey is a ‘complete’ protein - which means it contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs (and can’t make on its own) this can be an excellent option. However, whey is a dairy-based protein, so anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to dairy should not use whey. 

Plant-based protein powders have come a long, long way since they first started hitting the market. While most* single plant-based protein sources don’t contain optimal amounts of essential amino acids, combining plant-based proteins solves that problem. These can be easier on sensitive guts and provide that protein boost for vegans and vegetarians. 

*Pea protein is a complete protein source.

Can you use protein powder for kids? 

Protein powder can be a secret weapon when it comes to fussy eaters. If your child is going through a phase of refusing to eat what’s put in front of them, try adding a protein powder in the mix. 

You can use protein powder in fruit smoothies, yoghurt, protein balls and even baking to boost essential amino acids for growth. 

Or for a multi nutrient and protein blend designed to support growing kids, try Nuzest Kids Good Stuff

Which protein powder is best for muscle gain?

If you’re looking to build muscle and overall strength and tone, look for a protein powder with around 30 grams of protein per serve. Some protein formulations include BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) which also helps to decrease muscle soreness, prevent muscle loss and even support greater muscle growth - according to this study.

Can a protein powder help with workout recovery?

After a tough workout, muscle and tissue need amino acids for repair and recovery, as well as to support growth of new muscle fibres. This doesn’t mean you have to knock back a protein shake immediately after a workout like previously thought.

Protein at each meal, which can include a few scoops of your favourite protein powder, will help with continued muscle recovery for regular workouts. If you’re struggling with sore muscles, look for a protein powder with magnesium to relieve muscle soreness and tension. 

Which protein powder is best for weight loss?

Prioritising protein at each meal is one of the best ways to support healthy weight loss. Why? Protein increases something called ‘thermogenesis’ - meaning that digesting proteins actually burns off calories at the same time. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer and stabilises blood sugar levels, preventing those afternoon sweet treat cravings. 

So, most basic protein powders can be used for weight loss - but of course there’s always other clever ingredients that can boost thermogenesis and support blood sugar. Nutrients like chromium and inositol can help with blood sugar and sweet cravings. Ingredients like cayenne pepper and green tea help to increase that thermogenic effect.  

Is there a protein powder that helps with digestive issues? 

Navigating the protein powder choices can be overwhelming when you’re trying to keep things calm in the digestive department. Steer clear of whey-based protein, instead looking for an easily digestible plant-based blend of proteins such as pea, brown rice, hemp and other seeds. 

Many protein powders now come with digestive enzymes, plus pre- and probiotics for optimal digestion and absorption without bloating and stomach upsets.

Is protein powder safe in pregnancy? 

Protein powder can be a wonderful addition during preconception and pregnancy. Adding a protein powder ensures you’re getting plenty of amino acids to support foetal growth and development. But don’t forget about your changing body during this time! Amino acids help to keep skin, muscles and ligaments healthy and strong. 

A protein smoothie as an afternoon snack can help keep less healthy cravings at bay during pregnancy or make a great breakfast when you’re struggling with morning sickness.  

Look for a protein powder with other essential nutrients like iron, B vitamins and folate to support you through preconception, pregnancy and even into breastfeeding. 

No matter what age or stage you are at in life, protein will always be a key part of supporting optimal health and wellness. You can explore our entire range of protein powders and protein snacks here.   

References:

Blomstrand, E., Eliasson, J., Karlsson, H.K.R. & Kohnke, R. (2006). Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr, 136(1).


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