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Protein Powders (a pumpkin pancake post follow-up).

Posted Sep 22 2010 1:00am

(so many of you had protein powder questions after this post I figured we could start here & hoped you’d ask any additional questions in the comments…)

Hey Miz, I know there is a lot of controversy about whether we need to supplement with protein powders or not.  My question isn’t about that as, right now, my life is so hectic I think they’re a good choice for me.  (Do you agree?)  I am curious what powders you use? Can you give me the basics on some different kinds? I went to buy some and the selection is overwhelming.

I entirely second that emotion, emailer.

The vast selection of protein powders out there (even in grocery stores & not nutrition specialty stores) can be really overwhelming.

And Im one who kinda-sorta knows what she’s looking for!

Right now I’m using this protein shake & this protein powder .

The former I do because I love the taste (powder + cold decaf instead of water & popped in freezer for a bit = perfection) & the latter because it’s what I currently have in the house.

I mainly use protein powder on the rare occasions I slow down enough in the mornings  to make protein pancakes or, more typically, mixed in my oatmeal for breakfast/a snack.

Even though I don’t rely upon powders as a main source of protein I still try to mix it up (the type) quite frequently.

I figure just like with workouts (and Im not sure there’s science to back this up with regards to protein powders) my body will “plateau” if I eat the same foodstuffs week in & week out.

One deciding factor for me when I choose  the powder du jour (du week?) is, since I plan to use it with a carbohydrate, I scan labels to find an option containing as few carbs as possible.

All that information? Not really very important.

Ive discovered the powders which agree with my mouth & stomach (some protein powders upset people’s stomachs) and I think we all need to try a variety until we uncover a few which work for us on all (taste, digestability etc.) levels.**

Can you give me the basics on different kinds of powders?

I’m glad that you asked this question as Im certain you’re not alone in wanting more information on the myriad choices out there.

Please to consider the below a *start* and feel free to jump in with your fave protein as well:

Brown Rice protein powder: Beats me how they do it, but the rice is ‘treated’ with enzymes to separate the carbs/protein & what results is a powder which is 70% protein.

Ive never tried this before (have you? please chime in!) but it’s good for vegans, people with milk allergies & gluten allergies.

Hemp protein powder: This powder is made from hemp seeds (please to insert joke here about puff, puff, pass or somesuch), has less protein than many powders (50%ish) but provides essential fatty acids & fiber. Good for those on a gluten free diet and vegans. (this is another Ive not tried—have you?)

Pea protein powder ( I do enjoy me some pea protein ): As with the rice, peas are dried, ground, concentrated & then the carbohydrate is pretty much zapped out of them.   The result is a powder which is 85% protein (pretty cool huh?).

I initially purchased mine out of curiosity & keep using it for variety. It’s good for vegans, people who are allergic to milk, and gluten-free eaters.

Whey protein powder: This is a fairly common choice and a powder which is made from cows milk.  It’s low in fat and carbohydrates, too.  Whey is a naturally complete protein (contains all essential amino acids) & is fairly easy for most people to digest.

Soy protein powder: There is a lot of controversy surrounding the use of soy in powder and other forms.  Ive chosen to NOT use soy protein powder as I do eat it in other places (meat substitute) and, whether the fears are founded or not, I believe in all things in moderation.

Some people firmly believe (and there is science behind this) that a serving or so of soy (25 grams) daily has strong anti-cancer properties.  I’ve used soy protein powder in the past and, when Im eating less soy in other ways, will most likely use the powder again in the future.

Egg protein: I like egg protein powder.  It contains all essential amino acids, is low in fat and carbohydrates, and works well for people who are allergic to cows milk (cant use whey protein).

There you go, emailer.

A shortish answer to a dissertation-worthy question, but the basics just as you asked for.

Now you.

Have a fave protein powder I failed to mention?

Got any good stories for us about powder likes or dislikes?

Want to chime in on the Great Soy Debate?

Please to hit us all up in the comments.

**When I owned my personal training studio I would frequently purchase a number of different protein powders and host a taste test of sorts for my clients.  That way they had the opportunity to sample a few varieties & see which ones they liked.  As gooberish and potentially dull random as this sounds I highly suggest grabbing a health-minded friend or three and doing the same thing at someone’s home.

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