By Jacquelyn Nause
Protein powders are a popular and convenient way to optimize nutrition, increase performance and help build muscle. While they are an easy way to pack in nutrition on the go, some powders have sneaky ingredients or are less healthful than they may seem. How do you choose the right one?
Protein is a necessary macronutrient that helps repair tissue, build muscle and create hormones. The recommended daily intake is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. Research shows that people with intense workout regimens, older adults or people with chronic illnesses may benefit from increasing their protein intake, especially after exercise.
Specialty diets and busy schedules can make protein goals difficult to meet, which makes protein
powders a convenient way to increase nutrition on the go. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which one is the healthiest. Products vary based on their protein sources, added nutrients such as probiotics or superfoods, as well as their flavors and sweeteners.
The Basics of Protein Powders and Plant-Based Supplements
Protein powders sourced from animals are generally made from whey protein. It is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. However, it also contains lactose, which is not easily digested by some people. Whey is a byproduct of the cheesemaking process and undergoes many different chemical processes in order to become whey protein powder. Many products also contain added sweeteners, flavors and artificial ingredients to mask the flavor.
Plant-based protein powders can be sourced from many plants including hemp, soy, pea and rice. Often, multiple protein sources are combined in a product so that it contains all nine essential amino acids. Because the protein is derived from vitamin-rich plant sources, plant-based powders tend to be high in vitamins and minerals and contain fiber and digestive enzymes to ease digestion. Most plant proteins are also hypoallergenic.
Total Nutrition with Plant-Based Powders
Most people get a good amount of protein from their diet, but when trying to increase performance or build muscle mass it can be difficult to eat enough protein from whole foods alone. If you are looking to just add protein to your diet, whey protein may be the right choice for you. Look for a pure, additive-free whey protein powder.
Alternatively, plant-based powders pack in extra nutrition, antioxidants and fiber in addition to protein. If you want to be sure you are getting all of your daily vitamins and minerals as well as increasing your protein intake, a plant-based supplement is the way to go. True Vitality comes in unsweetened as well as vanilla and chocolate flavors, and provides all the daily essential vitamins you need.
Plant-based nutrition provides additional health benefits such as:
- Helping prevent and reverse heart disease
- Helping prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes
- Promoting lower blood pressure
The Best Choice
Gram for gram, most plant-based proteins contain more vitamins and minerals than whey-based proteins and are more easily digested. Ultimately, the right choice for you is the one that is easy to digest and keeps you feeling your best. If you try it and it leaves your stomach in knots, it’s probably not the right one for you.
Whether starting your day or recharging after a workout, protein supplementation is a great way to increase energy and meet your nutrition goals.
Jacquelyn Nause is a contributing writer specializing in plant-based diets, parenting and wellness. She enjoys traveling with her husband, being a doting mother to her two incredible kids and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest playground.