Picture this: walking the aisle of a supermarket, health food store, supplement shop or even big box store in the protein powder section. I just felt your energy constrict at the mere thought of scanning what’s on offer, weighing up the claims and promises and then crossing everything that you’re choosing the right one amidst the downright confusion.
Those massive tubs of muscle-building, weight-loss-promising, be-healthy-faster powders can not only break the bank, but be a risky business. Risky, because what if that monstrous tub tastes awful? What if it gives you the runs? Makes your skin go crazy? Or worse – what if it contains toxins like lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury or bisphenol-A–BPA (which is used to make plastic) that you’ve tried desperately to rid your life of? Then there’s pesticides, herbicides or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions. It’s a health minefield that I constantly get asked about with layers of questions from the enquiring minds that want to know.
Protein powder can be magical in its use at times, and downright confusing almost all the time. Which is best? Do you go for whey, casein, soy, powdered egg white, collagen, pea protein, hemp or pumpkin seed powder? And what makes it the best for your body, and your wallet? Today on EAT THIS with Lianne, quite simply, what is the best protein powder and why?
The questions are endless – from what type of protein, to how much to take and what brand. This is a time where a spreadsheet distilled down to a checklist would come in handy. There’s the most popular whey and casein, both protein sources that come from dairy. Then there’s bone broth powder and egg yolk powder, to round off the animal based options. In the plant based world there’s soy, pea, rice, pumpkin seed, hemp, chia and combinations of all of these together to choose from.
Taste is key, of course, because that scoop or two that goes into your smoothie can be like a bad apple and ruin the whole batch, and then what? Do you plug your nose and get it down you anyway? I’ve been there, done it, and am totally trigger shy to ever have to do that again. I’ve advised clients who say that their protein powder tastes great and not like funky sawdust to dig deeper, because often the great taste comes from artificial sweeteners or enough carbs to cancel out the benefit of the protein.
Eating protein isn’t new. You get it from nuts, seeds, dairy products like plain Greek yogurt, milk, cheese and legumes (which are beans and lentils). There’s some in rice and soy and of course, fish, poultry, eggs and lean meat. When it comes to protein powder, the amount of protein per scoop can vary from 10 to 30 grams. Supplements used for building muscle contain relatively more protein, and supplements used for weight loss contain relatively less.
In my own protein powder trial and error, my go-to person to ask is always ahead of the curve with this because he, himself, knows what to blend into a smoothie or add to muffins or pancakes while also knowing what to steer clear of. I think we can almost call him a regular here: Dr. Davis Brockenshire is a functional medicine expert who is not only on my healthcare team and that of my daughters’, but a world renowned speaker. We are blessed to have him back with us today to share his knowledge and experience. Listen in to welcome back Doctor B.
What to look for on the label of your next purchase
- If your protein is marketed as a specific type of protein (e.g., whey isolate), make sure that’s the first ingredient in the ingredient list.
- Does it contain for artificial sweeteners? Sugar is a carb and to keep the carb count low, companies sometimes use these instead of real sugar.
- Make sure the ingredient list is short. You’re buying a protein powder for the protein, after all, not all the additives to make it taste palatable.
- Pick a neutral flavor to get the most bang for your buck. The most versatile protein powders are the unflavored and vanilla-flavored options. I’ve tried a bone broth one before, and trust me, it didn’t go well with my blueberries and mango.
As always, I tackle topics that you want to know about. So, if there is something you’d like to know more about, reach out! Let’s keep this conversation going, and remember to EAT THIS, one mouthful at a time.