Protein Powder: Yes Whey Or No Whey

Protein powders are commonly-used supplements to a person’s workout. Over the past years, there has been an ongoing debate whether protein powder is actually healthy and beneficial to your body.

First, let’s clarify who protein powder is most beneficial for. This mostly depends on your end goal and your exercise habit. If your end goal is to have strong muscles and you focus on bodybuilding every day, protein powder is probably necessary for you to attain enough protein to successfully build muscle.

However, if you are more focused on living a healthy lifestyle and partake in less intensive exercise habits, other forms of protein would be better for you. Although protein is always an important component of your diet, less intense forms of protein, such as nut butter or different types of milk are a better choice for your body.

The most popular protein powder is Whey Protein. Whey is a by-product of cheese production, and the protein is isolated from this by-product to create the protein powder. Whey protein is rich in Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), which are needed for energy and muscle growth. Whey protein also contains other functions that assist with immune function and muscle growth and recovery as well as boosts immune function.

A great form of plant-based protein powder is Hemp Powder. Instead of being formed from whey, this powder is formed out of hemp seed. This is a great source protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Fiber is great for digestion, and omega-3 fatty acids help you metabolize foods quicker. [Side note: Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly acquired from fish, so hemp protein is an excellent way to attain omega-3 for vegetarian and vegan options.]

In order to pick out the healthiest Whey Protein Powder or Hemp Protein Powder, follow these guidelines:

Always make sure the first ingredient is either whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed whey protein isolate. “Hydrolyzed” means that the whey is fragmented into smaller pieces. You want these two because the isolates are considered the purest form of protein powder available, and your body absorbs it quickly. This is a good choice for vegetarians too!

Stay away from long ingredient lists or protein powder products high in fat or sugar. Long ingredients mean that there were extra ingredients or preservatives added into the mixture, which are unnecessary for your body. If you are trying to turn fat into muscle, you wouldn’t want to add excess fat or sugar into your body and you are probably also getting enough just from your diet, so this is why you should avoid having any in your protein powder. Also, high fat and sugar products will make you wear out sooner.

Be careful when buying protein powders from well-known brands. Instead of getting carried in by advertisements and big names, focus on the ingredients and nutrition label. You want to use what’s best for your body and not what will make you look more macho. Also, the supplement industry is very unregulated, meaning unless there is a deathly occurrence, the FDA does not look into all the health claims. Therefore, these brands can promise benefits from a product that are not actually true.

A typical Whey Protein Powder should contain 17 grams of protein and less than one gram of fat. A typical Hemp Protein Powder should contain 14 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat.

What you put into your body is your choice, so just make sure you are treating your body right!

Yours in Health,
Nicole