Protein powders are all the craze right now, and let’s face it they make getting our protein requirements for the day easy! Athletes and gym goers tend to refuel with protein powder after a workout, but are you getting the right protein source for your needs?

There are so many different protein powder options on the market today, it can make choosing a product confusing. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly consumed protein powders and talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly.


 

ANIMAL BASED PROTEIN

Whey Protein Powder

This is probably one of the most popular protein sources and likely one you have had in the past. Whey protein is readily available and is often the protein powder your gym’s smoothie bar offers you at the end of your workout. While whey protein isn’t all bad, there are some things to watch out for.

First, let’s talk about the benefit of this particular protein option.

Pros:

  • Grass fed whey protein contains antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.
  • Rich in BCAA’s
  • Rich in Leucine which can help support fat loss
  • Considered a complete protein

Cons:

  • Not suitable for those with a dairy intolerance or allergy
  • Not suitable for vegans
  • Many brands contain artificial ingredients

 

Bone Broth Protein

While not a protein powder, bone broth has become increasingly popular in the health and wellness field. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Powerful immune supporting benefits
  • Excellent for gut health
  • Protects your joints
  • Supports a healthy metabolism
  • Rich in minerals
  • Some brands are now offering bone broth in powder form

Cons:

  • Not as readily available as other protein powders
  • If buying store bought you run the risk of adding too much sodium to your diet
  • If making it homemade, it can be quite time-consuming
  • There have been some reports that chicken bone broth may contain fairly high levels of lead. However, these studies have not been very conclusive

 


PLANT-BASED PROTEIN

Rice Protein

Rice protein is a very commonly enjoyed plant-based option for those who choose to stay away from animal products or those who may have a dairy allergy.

Pros:

  • Easily digestible
  • Hypoallergenic: Generally, well tolerated by most

Cons:

  • Taste: Not all people enjoy the flavor of rice protein
  • Potential for contamination. Some rice proteins have been reported as being contaminated with arsenic, although this has not been confirmed
  • Not a complete protein source

 

Pea Protein

Another plant-based protein that is commonly enjoyed and probably one of the more popular options.

Pros:

  • May be easier to digest than some of the other animal-based options
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Deficient in certain amino acids.
  • Taste: Not everyone enjoys the taste of pea protein

 

Hemp Protein

Here’s a protein powder that has recently stepped out into the spotlight. Hemp protein is becoming more popular for its health benefits as well as flavor.

Pros:

  • Hemp is commonly referred to as a superfood
  • Contains a large mix of essential fatty acids
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons:

  • Often more expensive as compared to some of the other options
  • May not be offered in all stores or juice bars

 

The bottom line with protein powders is that there’s great options and then not so great options. When it comes to purchasing your next tub of protein, keep these tips in mind and be sure to check the ingredient list for added sugar, artificial ingredients, and even artificial coloring. If going animal based, stick to organic and grass fed whenever possible, and if looking for plant-based go for organic and choose an option that’s free from added sugar.

If you follow these guidelines and stick to the recommended serving size, you should be on your way to supporting healthy muscle growth and fueling your body right!

 

Resources:

  • Paleo Leap. Paleo Foods: Bone Broth. Retrieved January 31, 2017. http://paleoleap.com/eat-this-bone-broth/
  • Dr. Nibber. The Pros and Cons of Protein Powders: Plant VS Whey. Retrieved January 31, 2017. https://drnibber.com/pick-your-perfect-protein-plant-vs-whey/

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