Q: How do I know which type of protein powder is right for me?
A: Making a decision on which type of protein powder to take in this day and age can be quite confusing. Many modern diets strive to avoid dairy products or prefer to steer clear of animal products completely. The problem is that most protein powders are whey protein, which is derived from cow’s milk. The good news is this has begun to change in recent years.
While the protein market was initially catered toward bodybuilders and men looking to gain muscle, the health benefits of a diet high in protein have become more and more apparent for all body types and fitness levels. This surge has created a high demand for new breeds of protein – from gluten-free formulas to purely plant-based proteins.
Q: So why exactly do I need protein in my diet?
A: Protein is not just another item line on food labels or something only meatheads obsess over. It’s actually part of our DNA and plays a role in nearly every bodily function. Proteins are whole molecules, which are comprised of several different amino acids. Each amino acid plays a different role – we literally cannot live without them. Adequate amino acid levels are necessary to keep our bodies’ systems healthy. In addition to this, there are nine amino acids (known as the essential amino acids), which we don’t produce and can only be obtained through our diets. You’ll often hear the term “complete” protein. Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids.
Q: Is a protein powder really necessary?
A: While your diet doesn’t need to be particularly high in protein, it’s very important that you consume an adequate amount of protein. For restrictive or allergen-friendly diets, this might be difficult. While various nuts, legumes and grains contain decent amounts of protein, diets with little to no meat in them can certainly benefit from supplementing with a flavorful powder. Keep in mind that a protein powder is not used as a replacement for real food (nothing trumps whole food!). But powders can certainly help balance our nutrition, especially when we’re pinched for time.
High-quality protein powders are isolated from their food sources and generally have incredibly low fat and carbohydrates. For those of us who are in the gym and looking to build muscle or create definition, a little extra protein goes a long way!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.