What you should know before buying a protein powder
By Naturopath, Amy Hotz
Do those bliss balls you love or your banana bread recipe call for a scoop of protein powder? Or are you looking for a nutritious snack to cure that 4-o’clock slump? Protein powder has risen in popularity as a convenient meal replacement, snack or dietary supplement, and while it’s always best to eat a wholefood source of protein, powders do have a place in our busy lifestyles. This blog will help you navigate that crowded protein aisle and pick the powder that is best for you.
What to look for in a protein powder
Before selecting a protein powder, it’s important to consider the following four things
1. Source of protein
The first thing to consider when buying a protein powder is where it comes from. Always opt for quality. If you are choosing a whey based protein, ensure your whey is from ‘grass-fed’ cows (rather than grain fed) or if you are choosing a vegetable base protein always go for organic. The better quality the source of protein, the better it will be for our body.
2. Simple is best
Choose a protein powder that has a small amount of ingredients. As a rule of thumb, If I don’t know what an ingredient is or would not keep it in my pantry, I would probably put the product down. We should always aim to eat natural, simple and whole foods.
3. Quality not quantity
Don’t get fooled by marketing or store specials. Pretty packaging does not guarantee you’re getting a quality product. Always take the time to read the label and choose high quality over quantity. Remember, you generally get what you pay for.
Which protein powder is best for you?
We all have very different nutritional needs and health goals. Some of us with strong digestion would be able to break down and absorb any protein, while others who are more sensitive may need to opt for a protein powder that is easy on the tummy. An individual who is very active may want a protein powder with added oats for energy, whereas someone looking to lose weight may want a pure protein blend. Assess what you’re looking for and buy accordingly.
What to avoid in a protein powder
Unfortunately, not all protein powders have been created equally. Some are filled with cheap fillers to bring down the cost, and some are filled with artificial sweeteners to make them taste good. Try steer clear of powders with the following ingredients
Skim milk powder
Vegetable oils and fats
Thickeners, emulsifiers and gums
Flour and filers
Is it good to take whey protein?
Every individual has got a unique constitution and make-up. Our digestive system, taste preferences and body types will favour different protein sources. People who are sensitive to dairy or lactose may not be able to digest and absorb a whey protein easily and would be better off with a vegetable based protein. However, those who are ok with dairy can enjoy a high-quality whey protein powder.
My top 4 protein powder picks!
Happy Way Vanilla
Nothing beats a vanilla protein that actually tastes like vanilla. Made from grass-fed whey, this protein is supercharged with added fibre (chia and psyllium) and an energy kick with Maca powder. Perfect in a breakfast smoothie or as an afternoon pick me up!
Sunwarrior Classic Protein
The Sunwarrior range is my go-to for those with sensitive digestive systems. This vegan protein has been around for years and is made from 100% organic fermented brown rice. It has a natural sweet taste and won’t cause any bloating or digestive upset. It’s also a great substitute for flour in baking and makes one mean banana bread.
Nuzest Rich Chocolate
Another super clean protein is this little tub of goodness. Free from gluten, dairy, GMO and artificial ingredients it’s 100% natural. It contains 90% organic pea protein and is very easy to digest with a rich chocolate flavour. Mix it with a teaspoon of peanut butter and 200ml of almond milk for a guilt-free but delicious smoothie.
PranaOn Primal blend
If the paleo way of eating is your calling this ‘primal’ protein powder is a clean and nutritious option. Made from fermented pea, Sacha Inchi, artichoke and chia protein this is one seriously wholesome blend. With added herbs for digestion (licorice root) and digestive enzymes (bromelain, papain) to help you break down and absorb all the protein goodness, this powder is for the true health food enthusiast.