What is the BEST Protein Powder for Weight Loss and Toning?
“What kind of protein powder will help me lose more weight?”
“WILL protein powder help me lose weight?”
“My friend started doing these protein shakes and she’s lost 10 lbs. Should I buy that shake?”
Here is the answer:
There is NO protein powder that makes you lose weight or helps you tone.
(here is a quick rant I did after this blog was posted)
“WHAT. What does it do then. Why am I spending my money on it? Why am I told to use it. ”
OK, OK, calm down… here is the deal—> PROTEIN is one of three macronutrients: Carbs, Proteins, Fats.
Lets do a quick lesson in nutrition:
Carbs (Carbohydrates)– carbs are used for ENERGY. Carbs convert to glucose which is the only fuel your brain functions on (hence, why you feel so dumb on low/no carb diets) Carbs include sugars and many people have dubbed them BAD… this is not the case. They are essential. Carbs are found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and sugars.
Fats – another “bad” one. Fats don’t make you fat.(too many fats can… but, I digress) Fats are essential for making hormones as well as feeling FULL. Fats are pure energy, but are used/digested slower than carbs. Fats are found in seeds, nuts, meats, and oils.
Protein- - protein is essential for building structure– hair, nails, skin, etc. Proteins are slower digesting and can help you feel full as well, and therefore (you might) eat less. Protein is found in some grains, eggs, cheese, and meats.
Soooo… that being said, as you can see, there are no “Special fat-burning powers” or “magic slimming properties” specifically of protein or even any kind of protein powder. In fact, due to the fact that protein powders are mixed to make a liquid, most of them are digested faster, so they don’t even provide the same benefits of satiety as, say, chewing on a big piece of meat.
HOWEVER– you still NEED protein. EVERY DAY. If you work out, you need MORE protein. Protein helps build/rebuild muscle. Many successful weight-loss programs (and even I suggest) that you eat protein with each meal. The point here is, its NOT the “brand” or the kind of powder that matters. Powders do have their place. They are convenient– a lot of people find that they don’t have time to prepare “meals” all the time. They are a great alternative for vegetarians or for people who don’t digest meat well. Protein is essential in any weight-loss program because it helps build muscle (which increases metabolism) and it helps the “dieter” feel full and doesn’t create a spike in blood sugar.
“Should I even bother buying protein powder then?”
SURE. If you have a hard time eating meat or getting in enough protein for your daily needs, then yes. its still a good idea to supplement with a shake. It still is always best practice to choose REAL food, over processed food when you can. Powders are great for travel and in between meals or post-workout.
“What kind of protein powder should I buy?”
Whey is a quick digesting protein that is generally cheap and easily mixable. If you are allergic
to whey or dairy, you may want to try a liquid egg white protein or powdered egg white protein. Try and steer away from soy, as nearly all US Soybeans are genetically modified and soy has been shown to raise levels of estrogen, increasing cancer risks.
If you are vegan– look for pea, rice or hemp protein powders, (VEGA is one Vegan brand that I am aware of) You can read up on different kinds on the Bodybuilding.com Protein Guide.
“What else should I look for in a Protein Powder?”
QUALITY! Very often with protein, you get what you pay for! Did you know that most of the whey protein companies get their whey as byproducts of the cheese industry? Interesting stuff. Just understand that if a product is significantly cheaper than other products, they are probably using substandard ingredients. This is not always the case, but do not purchase based solely on price.
TASTE! You have to drink it, so make sure you like it. There is no one brand that I suggest to everyone, because some people like thick shakes, some people like a “chocolate milk” consistency. It really just depends on YOU. Some supplement stores will let you try a sample before you buy.
Here are a handful of brands that I have tried (or have had friends recommend) as a place to start– understand that I don’t recommend them over a whole-food based diet, but do recommend for reasons stated above. (and YES I still use powders)
Isagenix — made with no artificial sweeteners (sucralose/ aspartame), no soy or gluten and adaptogens for adrenal health, with some of the highest quality I have seen. The IsaLean also has enzymes for digestion and live cultures for gut health. It has AMAZING ingredients and quality, you get what you pay for on this one.
Gaspari Myofusion – a thicker whey shake, I love the taste of this one, but def. a preference thing. Some people do not like the consistency. Great mid-priced brand and reputable company
Optimum Nutrition (ON) Whey – this one is thinner and I think tastes better with almond milk than water. Not a personal favorite but it has great reviews on bodybuilding.com. I prefer to cook with this one. Uses sucralose.
Muscle Pharm Combat – similar to ON. High reviews. Has a blend of 5 different proteins for sustained release. My husband actually works for this company so I can get it free but I honestly don’t care for it all that much. (just goes to show you how much tastes vary!!) Uses sucralose.
Nature’s Best ISOPURE – a whey protein ISOLATE. not a blend, more grams of protein per serving. Isolates are great if you are really dieting for a show or need straight protein, no carbs, etc. Great taste.
Muscle Milk - have a lot of great flavors, but higher in fat. Some controversy on possible lead. I think Muscle Milk tastes delicious, but haven’t heard the best things about the quality.
Dymatize Elite - a thicker protein, similar to Gaspari, a little higher price, but popular brand and reputable company.
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