Tips For Buying Protein Powder

Which is the best protein powder? Your Super founder Kristel gives you tips on what to consider when buying protein powder.

I grew up as a professional tennis player and had my first protein shake when I was 12. Between tennis practice and conditioning, I exercised about 20-25 hours a week. Because it was hard for me to gain a lot of weight, so I ate more and my trainers advised me to look into protein shakes for faster recovery and lean muscle gain.

After I researched more and more about where I could buy something like that (online shopping wasn’t really that big back then), my father took me to a fitness bodybuilding store. I won’t forget that tall, muscular human who advised me to try vanilla protein shakes mixed with milk and fruit in a smoothie.

Tips for buying protein powder

Every night after a long day of training I would make myself a vanilla whey protein shake. And let me tell you, I didn’t like that artificial taste at all! I tried mixing it with everything but always ended up tipping the shakedown with my nose pinched. (And trying to convince my dad to drink half because I thought he could use some muscle too.)

For the last few years, driven by my passion for a healthy lifestyle, I have been studying to become a certified herbal health coach! I wish I knew when I was 12 what I know now: how to read the ingredient list and understand where the ingredients come from. I had no idea what I was putting in my body!

I don’t want others to make the same mistakes I’ve made, so I’ve created a simple guide showing what to look out for when buying and using protein powder.

How to choose the best protein powder

The first step in choosing the best protein powder is to read the label. It sounds so simple, yet so many get it wrong. The most important information on the back is not the nutritional table, but the list of ingredients. Why? Because it’s important to know what you’re putting into your body.

8 ingredients that should NEVER be in a protein powder

  • Whey protein (and other dairy products)

Have you ever removed the lid from your yogurt and seen the liquid on top? That’s whey (or whey, for that matter) – it’s one of the two products that come out of making cheese (the other is casein). As Rich Roll puts it very eloquently: the highly processed, low waste of cheese production.

One of the biggest problems with whey protein is that it’s difficult to digest. That’s because it’s made from dairy products. When you consider that 65% of people have a decreased tolerance of lactose after childhood, that makes a lot of sense too. Dairy products are also hosts to diseases like cancer. A study has shown that whey creates insulin-raising effects similar to white bread.

  • Soy Protein

Soy is very controversial (and often misunderstood). More than 90% of soy is genetically modified.

  • Heavy metals

If you’re trying to build muscle, heavy metal might be great for the workout playlist – but not in the protein powder. In 2018, the Clean Label Project tested 134 of the top-selling protein powders for toxins and the results were shocking! Many protein powders contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury)

  • BPA plastic

Also known as Bisphenol A, this chemical is commonly found in plastic and food cans. The Clean Label Project found that 55% of the protein powders they tested contained BPA, which is known to be an endocrine disruptor.

  • Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils, including soybean oil and canola oil, are used primarily as a thickener or a defoamer. according to dr Caldwell Esselstyn vegetable oils are devoid of any nutritional value and contain no fiber, no minerals, and are 100% fat calories.

  • Thickeners & Stabilizers

Thickeners and stabilizers can cause digestive problems and inflammation. Often used thickeners and stabilizers are carrageenan, lecithin, and xanthan.

  • Filler

Did you know that a lot of manufacturers stock their protein powders? In this process, proteins are replaced with cheaper compounds that look like proteins but cost 10 times less.

  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners

Many ingredients with protein, like whey, don’t taste very good on their own. To make them tastier, manufacturers often add sugar or other artificial sweeteners. Unfortunately, what should actually be “healthy” becomes unhealthy faster than you can squat.

Animal vs Plant Protein: Which is Better?

The main reason many people choose whey protein is that it is a complete source of protein. This means it contains all 9 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). This is the most efficient way to build lean muscle.

Plant-based protein does not always contain all of the essential amino acids, but this can easily be changed by combining 2 different plant-based protein sources.

Our bodies shine best when we eat whole foods. He knows how to digest these natural ingredients, absorb them and use them to heal himself. I’ve lost a whopping 7kg by changing my diet (thanks, Skinny Protein). At 21, I switched to clean, plant-based protein. I also noticed that I was able to recover better after the workouts, had stronger muscles even though I was doing less exercise, and my energy was getting better and better too!

My advice to you: try different protein powders and see what works best for your body. We are all different. Still, make sure you read the ingredient list and use a really clean protein powder.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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