Today more than ever, people are on the protein shake and smoothie CRAZE! Wherever you go, you see people gulping down their favorite protein smoothie concoction.
The good news is everyone can benefit from some amino acids and other nutrients provided by a protein shake or smoothie.
Protein shakes are very popular and for good reasons. These delicious drinks offer:
- A great and convenient way to get some high-protein in during the day, instead of foods like meats, fish, eggs, and dairy,
- A fat and cholesterol-free alternative or only a small fraction of the fat and cholesterol found in other high-protein foods,
- Lower cost per serving when compared to high-protein foods like meats and fish,
- Much cheaper and healthier alternative to fast foods and 100 times more nutritious,
- Great meal replacement option for weight loss or weight management,
- Convenient to take on the go and having a delicious meal in seconds,
- So many varieties and flavors to choose from so there’s no boredom,
- Great-tasting and family friendly.
Who doesn’t love a tasty, nourishing, high protein smoothie when the weather is warm, and you want to keep it light? But if you are like me, you may have walked into any health food store and found the number of choices when it comes to protein powders to be pretty overwhelming. I have done the research for you so let’s have a look at some of the types to help with choosing the best one for you.
The types of protein used in protein powders can be divided into two categories: animal source proteins and vegetable source proteins. Animal source proteins include milk protein derivatives like whey and casein, goat’s milk and egg white protein. Vegetable source proteins include soy, rice, pea, and hemp proteins.
Nutritionally and taste-wise, animal proteins may be superior and usually favored over vegetable proteins on the popularity scale. Of the animal protein types, the most popular is whey protein. Of the vegetable protein types, pea has become popular with soy next in line.
Let’s break it down further to see what protein powder offers you what kind of nutritional benefits.
1. Whey protein
Whey is one of the best protein powder for weight loss. It is produced as a by-product of milk and cheese and has been promoted for its health benefits for hundreds of years. Whey can help maintain blood sugar levels after meals, supports the immune system and helps preserve lean body tissue among many other benefits. And if you’re on the go a lot, a high-quality whey protein shake is a much better choice than most other nutritional bars and processed convenience snacks. Whey is a favorite choice for women as it works well on hormonally stubborn fat loss, increases satiety, delivers essential nutrients and even improves metabolic activity. An ideal whey product is called WheyMeal™ which is great-tasting and provides an optimal intake of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals needed for overall wellness. It comes in three delicious flavors: vanilla, strawberry or chocolate.
2. Beef protein
Beef protein powder has been a chosen source for many bodybuilders for a while now and with the popularity of the Paleo diet, is being used as a good source of protein for others too. It is important to note that you want to make sure you are getting a good quality beef protein powder made from hormone-free, antibiotic free, grass-fed animals.
My favorite recommendation is Pure PaleoMeal® protein, a great-tasting, hormone and antibiotic-free, dairy-free protein powder, yielding 21 grams of protein per serving. It contains HydroBEEF™, a highly concentrated, bone broth protein isolate, produced through an exclusive proprietary process that allows the protein to be hydrolyzed into more peptides which in turn results in easier absorption and assimilation. My patients agree it tastes really good, without the gritty consistency some other powders have and comes in vanilla or chocolate flavor.
Using beef powder in your shake helps strengthen bones and muscles while eliminating the dangers of the high fat and calorie content of eating a steak. It also supplies your body with other healthy nutrients including, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, and potassium which you won’t necessarily get from using whey or plant-based protein sources.
3. Soy protein
Soy is good for lactose intolerance or if you’re looking for a vegetarian protein with low-fat and zero cholesterol. Studies show it may reduce the risk of heart disease. But soy isn’t for everyone. Among some of the reasons for this is that soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones. For men, this can lead to a testosterone imbalance, infertility, low sperm count, and increased risk of cancers. For women, it can cause estrogen dominance, which has been linked to infertility, menstrual troubles, and cancer. Also, soy contains high levels of phytic acid that can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb important minerals, including zinc, calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium. So, for some, I recommend having a look at pea or rice formulations.
4. Vegan protein powder
Pea protein is one of the best plant-based choices because of its high Lysine content as well as a unique array of essential and non-essential amino acids. Our bodies can’t make lysine, so you have to get it through your diet. Lysine is the precursor of carnitine, the molecule responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol. Lysine also appears to help absorb calcium and plays an important role in the formation of collagen—the building block of connective tissue like bones, cartilage, skin, tendons.
Pea protein is especially great for vegetarians, vegans and those following a restricted diet as it is entirely gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free.
A favorite of mine is VegeMeal™ protein powder, an organic, natural pea protein isolate that is a true vegan protein with high bioavailability and excellent digestibility and created from non-GMO, North American grown yellow peas. And good news – this protein can be used in your daily smoothies or as part of my 14-day detox program. It comes in three amazing flavors: vanilla, berry or chocolate!
5. Rice protein
Rice can be a good choice for a protein powder that can help with weight loss or weight management, with the advantage of being very low fat and low calorie. Preliminary research has tied rice protein to fat loss and lowered cholesterol. Recent research has also indicated rice protein can help with recovery and gains in muscle when taken after exercise.
6. Hemp protein
Hemp is slowly growing in popularity among vegans and non-vegans alike. Hemp can be considered a superior protein source due to its above-average digestibility, which also makes it ideal for athletes. The better a protein is digested, the more efficiently it can be used by the body. Studies show that other hemp protein benefits include potential immune enhancing and anti-fatigue properties, as well as a high fiber content which can lower risks for heart disease, type-2 diabetes, constipation and diverticulitis.
Protein powders may also be enhanced with digestive enzymes to help improve the absorption of large servings of protein or extra amino acids like glutamine, BCAAs, and arginine, extending and enhancing their nutritional benefits. The addition of carbohydrates and nutritional fats to the protein and/or the addition of vitamins and minerals may make the protein powder useful as a meal replacement.
Using a protein shake as an occasional meal replacement may help you lose more weight and fat than you would by following a reduced-calorie diet. Studies show that obese women and men lost more fat when they drank two protein shake meal replacements per day and followed a low-calorie diet. Subjects who only followed a low-calorie diet without the shakes lost less total body fat and more lean muscle mass.
Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss
Casein protein which is found in WheyMeal™ is one of the best protein powders for weight loss. It is very slow digesting and for this reason, will make you feel fuller longer and help to curb your appetite thus reducing eating extra calories. A recent study found that people who drank casein protein vs. other protein powders during a twelve-week study lost more body fat and gained more muscle.
Many protein shakes don’t have much of a taste so when you add wholesome fruits like bananas or berries, it can really taste like a real milkshake. This makes it not only very nutritious but leaves you feeling very satisfied without feeling deprived.
When you build your protein shake as a meal replacement it should be around 200 calories (approximately 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber). Be careful not to load up on too much sugar, even fruits. I like to recommend about ½ a cup of frozen berries at most. This is an excellent time to get additional veggies into your diet such as spinach, kale, celery or cucumbers. For your base, you can choose any nut milk, yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese in any combination or simply use plain water.
Don’t forget to include some form of exercise to help boost your metabolism and speed up weight loss.
Best protein shake for muscle gain
Studies show that whey protein is ideal for women who want to build muscle mass while still maintaining a feminine figure. It is a perfect protein after a workout to rebuild muscle and stay strong. However, any of the protein powders mentioned will also be suitable after your workouts. Sometimes it just comes down to preference and what will make you stay the course.
For a great-tasting high-quality whey protein, I like to recommend a product called WheyCool™ which comes in three flavors: unflavored, vanilla or chocolate. It is high in protein and low in low carbohydrates making it an ideal functional food powder to build muscle. This product is pesticide and chemical-free, non-GMO and free of hormone and antibiotics delivering the highest quality and purity.
My Favorite Protein Shake Recipes
There are so many delicious protein smoothie recipes available that you can feast your fancy with a different flavor every day. Here are some of my favorites to get you started.
Best Protein Shakes
All protein powders work in the sense that they do a good job of supplementing protein and other nutrients to your diet. But whether you are choosing an animal or vegetable protein powder, quality is important. And the most common concerns when looking closely at the powders are allergies to protein components such as lactose, soy, casein or eggs, as well as artificial ingredients and sweeteners which are best to avoid.
When looking for the best protein shakes there are a few things I look for when recommending any protein powder. Here are some things worth mentioning:
- high-quality and purity
- no growth hormones
- organic protein powder
- sugar-free protein powder
- no artificial sweeteners or flavors
- no fillers or thickeners
- optimum nutrition
- delicious flavor
- low carb protein
- mixes easily
So, it begs the question: Should you eat protein bars in your diet? It depends! If you are already incorporating an ample amount of protein from protein shakes and are getting closer to your fitness goals, then no.
However, if you feel you are not getting enough protein, or you are living an active lifestyle or need to curb your appetite, then you may want to consider a protein bar. Beware of bars that are loaded with artificial sweeteners, fructose, hydrogenated oils and other unhealthy ingredients.
I like to make my own protein bar using one or any combination of the protein powders mentioned in this article. If you don’t have the time or want to make your own, consider these natural and healthy protein bars. They are balanced with proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and micronutrients for a healthy snack food. They are also high in fiber and make an ideal low glycemic option.
Read on to learn about the best-tasting protein bars you can buy now. There are numerous varieties to choose from such as chocolate mint, chocolate almond, Cocommune™, double dark chocolate, coconut almond, mixed berry, vanilla almond, mocha NRG, peanut butter, and Pure PaleoBar™. Too good to be true! There are so many delectable protein bars for every body’s preference from meat eaters to vegetarians, Keto and Paleo type.
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Still want more information on “clean” protein powders for your nutritional needs? CONTACT me and let’s talk more about your choices and how to incorporate them into your diet.
What do you think? I would like to hear about your experience with different protein powders.
Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share? I would love to hear YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES in the comments section below.