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Protein Four Ways

Posted Jun 29 2012 5:35am

Once upon a time, a New York City blogger received a package so large that she couldn’t even fit it in her New York sized pantry. Come one, come all she begged her friends and family to help her sample and enjoy the protein powder. This box contained containers of protein larger than she even knew existed.

Based on this opening, I think you all get my drift. The amazing folks at GNC sent me a package of assorted protein powders to review and experience in hopes of finding one that fit my needs and taste buds perfectly, like a glass slipper.

For the past two weeks I’ve used protein in at least one meal or snack per day, ranging from oats to smoothies of multiple flavors.

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  • Apple Oats: 1/2 cup oats, diced apple, dash of cinnamon, scoop of Vanilla Whey protein powder, and boiling water.
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry Oats: 1/2 cup oats, sliced strawberries, scoop of chocolate egg protein powder, and boiling water.
  • Simple Chocolate Shake: 1 cup Almond Breeze or water mixed vigorously with chocolate egg protein powder.

Some people ask, why the protein? Or, why can’t I just get it from whole foods. My answer to that is pretty simple. I do get a great deal of protein from whole foods like chicken breast, shrimp in salads, and cheese but as someone who tends to have a ravenous appetite, protein helps keep me full longer. By adding a scoop of protein to my oatmeal, I’ve eliminated the need for a morning snack. A simple chocolate shake in the afternoon is a great way for me to stop the afternoon hunger/sugar monster and help repair muscles. In addition, as I start marathon training next week I really need to keep my eating in check. I’ve worked too hard to get back into all my size 6 and 8 clothes and within a few pounds of my goal weight to lose it all to afternoon snack binges brought on my “marathon mindset” and an insatiable hunger.

If I can reach in my desk drawer and pull out a hunger buster like this, then I’m a happy camper!

012  Really, the only thing that I worry about in regard to protein powder is the sodium, sugar, or cholesterol levels. Luckily, these proteins were all low in sugar and cholesterol, but a few of them had more sodium then I’d like.

Protein Recap

As I mentioned above, GNC sent me four different types of protein to sample (egg, whey, soy, and casein). Before this, I really didn’t know casein or egg existed. I didn’t realize that GNC carried such a wide variety of powders both in flavors and types!

Here’s what I learned about each type and my thoughts:

012GNC Pro Performance 100% Whey Protein:  Whey is a fast absorbing protein and therefore perfect for right before or after workouts. It is perfect for my morning oats since I enjoy them right after my workout each day. This powder also mixed very easily and the vanilla wasn’t too sweet. A full scoop is 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, 2 g of sugar, and 4% sodium but 13% cholesterol. I found that I didn’t need a full scoop to help keep me full and energized so after a week I reduced it to a half scoop.

GNC Pro Performance® 100% Casein Protein - Chocolate - GNC PRO PERFORMANCE - GNC

GNC Pro Performance 100% Casein Protein : This protein is very slowly absorbed and therefore many people take it at night to gain lean muscle. Who knew you could develop muscle while you slept. As you can tell, I’m not sold on this one. It mixed horribly, didn’t taste as delicious as the egg and was overall sub-par. Now, one interesting fact is that while it delivers 25 grams of protein, it also includes 5 grams of fiber.

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GNC Pro Performance 100% Egg Protein : This protein is lactose free which is pefect for people who have lactose sensitivities. One serving equals the protein of four eggs but without the cholesterol. This one has less cholesterol than the whey while delivering more protein (25 grams) but I found that it didn’t mix quite as well. However, I did enjoy this a few evenings as “dessert” when mixed with water or Almond Breeze. I still which it had less sodium (20%)!!

GNC Pro Performance® Soy Protein 95™ - Unflavored - GNC PRO PERFORMANCE - GNC

GNC Pro Performance 100% Soy Protein : This protein is completely plant based while also containing all the essential amino acids. I love that this one is cholesterol free while still delivering 25 grams of protein. Unfortunately, I could only stomach the flavor when mixed in my chocolate covered strawberry oats and in a smoothie. Mixed with water, milk, or Almond Breeze this was too chalky and didn’t mix as well as the egg.

While I enjoyed all of these powders more than expected, I foresee myself returning to GNC in the future to restock on either vanilla whey or egg protein as I use this flavor the most in my oats and smoothies. I also really liked the nutritional profile of these two the best and felt they mixed well and had great flavors. While these both have cholesterol and sodium levels that surprised me, I don’t think a half serving per day will hurt me and if it helps keep the weight gain away during marathon training then bring it on!

Each of these products is available in your GNC or in their online store !

Do you use protein powder? If so, what is your favorite type of protein powder?

Disclosure: I was provided this selection of protein powders for review purposes as part of a campaign with GNC and FitFluential . As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

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