How to Choose a Quality Protein Powder
Protein is often a common topic of discussion in the nutrition world. Most people think they need to consume more protein but they often forget that quality is just as important as quantity!
This macronutrient is vital and needed for proper growth and repair, as well as hormonal health and detoxification. Protein requirements increase in active individuals, athletes, and in times of injury. Protein can help increase satiety and balance blood sugar levels thus it is a great way to start the day and avoid those mid morning crashes!
This is where a protein powder can come in handy; when you don't have time to make breakfast or you're on the go!
There are so many protein powders available these days, for all diets and all demographics. However, it can be daunting to find one that is suitable to you and your needs!
It is so important to focus on quality sourcing when choosing a protein powder.
So Let me break it down for you and share what you should look for when choosing a powder as well as some of my personal favourites!
What to look for in a protein powder:
Sugar is in everything! And many protein powders pack on the sugar. Many of these added sugars are also highly processed and can contribute to inflammation in the body. There are many powders that I love and that taste great that have 1g of sugar or less. Try to avoid anything with over 5g of sugar. Some sweeteners that do not affect insulin levels include stevia and monk fruit.
2. Additives and fillers
Most protein powders are loaded with junk like artificial flavors and fillers. Not only do these cause all sorts of problems but they do not promote repair whatsoever. You want to replenish your body with natural and whole ingredients and not nasty chemicals and fillers. Watch out for added ingredients like artificial flavours, maltodextrin, carrageenan and sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame potassium and sucralose. These are void of nutrients, highly processed and have been shown to negatively affect human health (linked to cancer, diabetes, allergies, and heart disease and interfere with hunger signals).
The protein content per serving is another important number to look for! A dose of 20-30 grams per serving is usually ideal as we can only optimally digest 25-35 grams of protein at a time. The proper amount of protein will promote repair and avoid muscle tissue breakdown after a strenuous workout.
4. Quality ingredients
You always want to make sure that the sourcing of your protein powder, animal or plant based, is of high quality! Many companies use conventional products that are GMO sourced, filled with pesticides, heavy metals, antibiotics, and hormones. These are highly inflammatory and linked to endocrine disruption, birth defects, nerve damage, and cancer. Always look for a certified organic or non-GMO certification to be sure that the product has been tested and is certified to be free of these harmful substances!
My favourite vegan protein powders:
Probably my favourite protein powder, I love the taste and that they incorporate organic chaga mushroom as well as enzymes into their blends. Chaga mushroom is an incredible superfood as it boosts the immune system, provides support for the adrenals and stress response, as well as a ton of antioxidants important for quenching free radical damage. Protein sources include fermented pea protein and organic sprouted brown rice which help support digestion and absorbability. This product is Canadian, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and free of preservatives, colours, or artificial flavours.
Available in chocolate, vanilla, or unflavoured.
Protein:30g Carbs:6g Fat:0.2g Calories:110
2. Garden Of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder
Another one of my favourites! I love adding this to smoothies, smoothie bowls, protein balls, or oatmeal in the morning! Their chocolate and vanilla powders are super tasty and have a great texture, easy to mix into any drink. It has 13 different vegan sprouted proteins such as buckwheat, garbanzo bean, and pumpkin seed. It also features raw probiotics and enzymes to support digestive function. This product is certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and raw.
Protein: 22g Carbs: 2g Fat: 2.5g Calories: 110 Sugar:0g Fibre:1g
3. Iron Vegan
Iron vegan protein powders include a variety of sprouted vegetable sources such as pumpkin seeds, millet, brown rice, and amaranth. This is great to help with digestion and increase bioavailable nutrients. Their protein powder is only sweetened with stevia thus there are no added sugars. Iron vegan is a Canadian company and certified organic, kosher, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Protein:18g Carbs:3g Fat:0.2g Calories:110 Fibres:3g Fats:0.5g
4. Genuine Health Fermented Vegan
I like the fermented line from Genuine health because the fermentation process helps increase absorbability, improve gut health, and support digestion. They offer vanilla, chocolate, coconut, and unflavoured. They also have a great texture and flavour profile! Their protein powders are soy free, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan.
Protein:20g Carbs:1-5g Fat:1.5g Calories:110 Fibres:1g Fats:0.5g Sugar:0g
My favourite non vegan protein powders:
- Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein by Dr.Axe
I have become a big fan of bone broth as it has so many benefits and has been shown to be one of the most healing foods on the planet. This is the first bone broth protein powder I came across. Dr. Axe formulated this line using cage free, hormone free, antibiotic free, non-GMO chicken that are raised with cruelty-free practices. This protein is paleo friendly and can be a good option for those suffering from digestive symptoms. Bone broth provides a significant source of collagen which is healing to the gut and supports healthy immune function. Flavors are available in chocolate, vanilla, turmeric, and unflavoured. Dairy free, soy free, gluten-free, & grain Free.
Protein:20g Carbs:2g Calories:98 Fat:<1g Sugar: 1g
A note on dairy: I have found most people do better off dairy but if you do prefer choosing a dairy based protein powder always make sure you are choosing a quality product! Most dairy products are filled with added hormones and antibiotics. Most animals are also fed GMO feed which increases inflammatory markers and decreases nutrients. Always choose organic and grass fed sources of dairy protein.
2. AOR Advanced Whey
This whey formula is New Zealand sourced from organic cows. It includes fractions such as lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin and sialic acid. Fractions are immune supporting nutrients that are found in whey. They have also been shown to be anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, promote gut health, control inflammation and cholesterol, and enhance the micro-biome. AOR Advanced Whey Protein is available in vanilla and unflavoured. Cross-flow microfiltration is used to minimize protein denaturation and they are free from sweeteners, soy, wheat, gluten, corn, peanuts, sulphites, soy, and eggs.
Protein:22g Carbs:2.5g Calories:100 Fat:0.6g Sugar:0.7g
3. Kaizen Whey Isolate
Kaizen whey is sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows. Their powder is great tasting and easy to mix into a drink with no gritty texture! Their ingredients are tested and certified by NSF International which ensure the company meets all standards of testing and purity and that all ingredients included in the product are listed. Certified gluten-free, peanut free, cold processed, non-denatured, non-GMO, and free of any artificial colours, sweeteners, and flavours. Flavours are available in strawberry and cream, decadent chocolate, and Vanilla Bean.
Protein:25g Carbs: 2g Calories:110 Fat:0g Sugar: 0g