There are so many protein powders on the market now that it can seem like an impossible task to choose the right one. Is soy or whey better? How much protein do you actually need per serving? Which ingredients should you avoid?

We know it can get overwhelming, which is why we’ve put together a list of our top guidelines. Our goal is to help you find a great protein powder without breaking a sweat. Here are our do’s and don’ts when it comes to choosing your perfect protein powder.

DO

Address the reason you are looking for a protein powder. Is it weight loss? Strength training? Meal replacement? Different protein powders will help you achieve different goals. For example, whey is great for strength training because it will stimulate muscle production. On the other hand, plant-based protein powder is a good option for those looking to lose weight.

Opt for organic-based powder. This will help you avoid chemicals, GMOs and hormones that may cause harm to your body. 

Try a sample before you buy the whole tub. The last thing you want to do is buy a huge tub of protein powder only to bring it home and discover that you don’t like the taste or consistency. Many times, you can buy a sample of the protein powder without having to commit to an entire container. 

Address dietary restrictions. Vegan or lactose intolerant? You’ll want to stay away from whey protein since this is derived from cow’s milk. Gluten intolerant? Avoid protein derived from wheat, barley or rye.

DON’T

Ignore the nutrition label. This is one of the first things you should look at when choosing a protein powder. While the front-facing label is sure to catch your attention with health claims and colorful artwork, the true test comes when you look at the nutrition facts on the back.

Overdo the protein. Yes, we know the whole goal of a protein shake is to consume protein. However, don’t let it get out of hand. You shouldn’t consume a protein powder that has more than 24g of protein per serving. If you do, it could cause damage to your kidneys which are responsible for filtering protein in your body.

Choose a soy-based powder. We often try to eliminate soy from our clients’ diets. It’s full of GMOs and pesticides and has too many phytoestrogens (which aren’t good for men or women). Thankfully, there are plenty of other options to choose from that taste great and offer plenty of health benefits.

Go crazy with sugar. When looking at the label, make sure that the sugar content is low. You’ll want to avoid artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose or aspartame — these are highly acidic and inflammatory. Fruit or honey are great alternatives if you’re looking to sweeten up your smoothie.

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