Protein Powder: 7 Best Types and How to Use It
The potential benefits of protein powder extend way beyond the gym; research shows that this superstar supplement may help with everything from improving skin health to enhancing immunity and more.
[Food is Medicine] Although once considered a supplement solely for bodybuilders and professional athletes, protein powder has gained widespread popularity among those looking to gain muscle mass and increase protein intake while also improving their health. In fact, the potential benefits of protein powder extend way beyond the gym; research shows that this superstar supplement may help with everything from improving skin health to enhancing immunity and more. (Photo Credit: Dr. Josh Axe/ Food is Medicine)
Produced from both plant-based and animal sources, there are many types of protein powders available to tailor to any diet plan, taste palate or personal preference. So what are the best protein powders and how can they impact your health? Let’s take a look.
What Is Protein Powder?
Protein powder is a common supplement that provides a concentrated amount of dietary protein from both plant and animal sources. Some popular examples include whey, casein, hemp and bone broth protein powder.
Most people take protein powder looking to build muscle mass and maximize fat burning, but protein powders can also be a useful way to increase protein intake for those who may have difficulty meeting their needs, such as vegans, vegetarians or older adults. You can also use protein powder to increase your caloric intake if you’re wanting to gain weight in a healthy way by using it to supplement your meals and snacks.
And in addition to supplying an extra bit of protein to your daily diet, protein powder benefits many other aspects of health as well. In fact, several types are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits such as lower cholesterol levels, better blood sugar control and improved skin health.
Plus, protein powder is available in a wide array of different flavors and can be incredibly versatile. Although most commonly mixed with milk or water, it can also be incorporated into recipes like breakfasts and baked goods to add a punch of protein to your favorite foods.
Common Forms of Protein Powder
Protein powders can be derived from many different plant-based and animal sources. Some of the most common types cropping up on the market today include:
There are also several different forms of protein powder, each of which vary based on their nutrient profile and the way that they are processed. The three most common types include:
- Protein concentrates: This type of protein powder is made by extracting protein from whole food sources, resulting in a final product that contains 60–80 percent of calories from protein with the remaining calories from fat and carbohydrates.
- Protein isolates: Protein isolates are further filtered to remove much of the fat and carbohydrates, resulting in a more highly concentrated form of protein powder. In general, protein isolates typically contain between 90–95 percent protein.
- Protein hydrolysates: This form of protein powder undergoes a process that breaks the bond between amino acids, creating a type of protein that is more easily absorbable by your body.
Quality Protein Powder vs. Protein Powder with Fillers
Not all protein powders are created equally. And not only are many pumped full of fillers and added ingredients, but they often contain misleading labels, making it impossible to tell what you’re really getting in each serving. In fact, a slew of recent lawsuits have found that many popular brands of protein powders actually contain less than half of the amount of protein listed on the label.
These lawsuits allege that many companies use a practice called “amino spiking,” meaning that they use cheap filler amino acids like glycine, leucine and taurine and then count these amino acids towards the total protein content on the label. The problem is that these amino acids are incomplete proteins and don’t contain the same health benefits as the complete proteins found in organic protein powder. Lab results even showed that MusclePharm’s “Arnold Scharzenegger Series Iron Mass,” one of the most popular brands of protein powder, delivered just 19 grams, which equates to less than 48 percent of the amount listed on the label. (1)
So how can you skip the scams and make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck? Take a closer look at the ingredients label and skip the supplements that add extra amino acids or fillers like maltodextrin or artificial sweeteners. Instead, opt for organic, naturally sweetened protein powders with minimal ingredients and be sure to always purchase from reputable retailers... Subscribe for free to Amazing Health Advances here.
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