Are you overwhelmed by the wide variety of protein powders in the sports nutrition aisle and aren’t sure which will best meet your individual needs? This series of articles, written by Harmons Dietitian Hannah Langley, takes an extensive look at protein powders to help you make the most informed choice when shopping for your health.
Access the articles here
Key Takeaways from all Articles
- Protein powder can be very helpful to meet daily protein needs but should not be used as a replacement for food and meals.
- A quality protein powder should have medium-high to high bioavailability and be a complete protein. If using protein powder for post-exercise recovery, a medium-high to high rate of utilization is also optimal.
- If using a protein powder to increase total daily protein intake, protein concentrates or casein are best.
- If using milk protein powder for post-exercise muscle recovery, whey protein isolate is best. Protein hydrolysates are typically beneficial for only high-level athletes.
- People with lactose intolerance can typically tolerate whey isolates and hydrolysates.
- Many plant-based protein powders use a combination of protein sources to offer a complete protein. Individual plant-based proteins may contain all 9 essential amino acids, but not in sufficient amounts for health.
- If using a protein powder to increase total daily protein intake, protein concentrates are best.
- If using plant protein powder for post-exercise muscle recovery, pea or soy protein isolate-based is best. Protein hydrolysates are typically beneficial for only high-level athletes.
- Those with Celiac disease should choose a protein powder that has been certified gluten-free.
- The flavor of protein powders is generally reminiscent of their original ingredient but can vary depending on what flavors and extra ingredients are added. Hydrolysates tend to be bitter, while plant proteins and casein tend to have a more granular texture.
- Out of many alternative sweeteners used, stevia and monk fruit are typically tolerated the best.
- Third-party certifications ensure the quality and purity of protein powders.
- Third-party certifications are the gold standard for protein powder.