Top Three Things to Look for in Protein Powders
Protein is a critical component in the healthy growth and functioning of cells, tissues, and organs throughout your body. Eating lean protein everyday has a variety of benefits, including:
- chasing away hunger
- improving focus
- stabilizing your blood sugar
- boosting energy
- speeding up weight loss
- enhancing cognition
Most adults need an average of 45-100 grams of dietary protein daily, depending on their size, activity levels, and metabolic demands. For some, the prospect of needing to ingest that much protein each day may be daunting.
To ensure that you are receiving optimal health benefits from protein powders, and other sources of lean dietary proteins like fish, here are the top three things to look for when you’re comparing protein powders.
Look for a Plant-Based Protein Powder
The two most frequently used protein powders are made from whey (a milk protein) or soy, but they come with significant health risks.
Top scientists are beginning to recognize what many human intestines have already made clear: Cow’s milk and subsequent dairy products are unnecessary in the adult human diet. In fact, many humans have trouble properly digesting dairy products at all. Additionally, bovine growth hormones, commonly given to dairy cows to increase their milk production, are suspected of contributing to early puberty in our children because of elevated igF-1 (insulin growth factor).
Soy Proteins May Not be the Healthiest Choice
Soy contains components with high concentrations of lectins (carbohydrate-binding proteins), which can contribute to leaky gut, according to Dr. Daniel Amen, MD. He says eating too much soy protein can also affect other systems of the body:
- Soy proteins may include too much phytic acid, believed to reduce the absorption of vital minerals.
- It may contain too many phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) that can contribute to the development of some cancers.
- Too-high levels of phytoestrogens can contribute to premature puberty in girls and impotence in men.
New research is demonstrating that plant-based protein is a healthy alternative, providing the same protein benefits as whey and soy but without the potential health detriments.
According to a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, plant-based protein performed just as well as whey protein (the industry’s dairy-based standard).
Plant-based protein is also good for the health of your heart. In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers found that intake over time of plant-based proteins (rather than animal-based proteins) decreased the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, plant-based protein is very hypoallergenic, easy to digest, and doesn’t cause bloating, a common side effect of many other protein powders.
Choose a Protein Powder with “Complete Proteins”
Your body requires 22 amino acids to function properly – 13 are made by the body (called non-essential amino acids) and the other nine must be obtained through external sources, usually food (called essential amino acids). The presence of these essential amino acids is what determines if a protein is considered complete or incomplete.
Complete proteins provide all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities.
Unfortunately, most plant-based protein powders do not contain complete protein and therefore need to be supplemented with other proteins. Having a full-spectrum of amino acids provides powerful support for healthy mental focus, muscle energy production, and overall recovery from exercise and stress.
Make sure to choose a protein powder that provides complete protein by combining a variety of plant-based proteins.
Choose a Protein Powder with Adequate Fiber
Fiber impacts nearly every phase of digestion, starting from your fist bite. In the stomach, fiber absorbs water and creates bulk, which can increase the time it takes for food to move out of the stomach. The longer food stays in your stomach, the fuller you feel — and the less likely you are to experience the spikes in blood sugar that occur when food digests quickly and glucose is dumped into the blood.
In your small intestines and all the way through to the colon, fiber keeps things moving, yet provides bulk. Bonus! Fiber is a prebiotic – food for the good bacteria in your gut – thus improving your gut health too.
In many cases, when people start to increase the amount of protein in their diet, the amount of fiber they ingest often decreases. This can create problems, so ensuring that you’re getting fiber at the same time as protein can prevent this.
Most protein powders on the market seem to lack one thing or another – taste, fiber, consistency, low sugar, complete protein, and even certain nutrients. BrainMD created OMNI Protein to provide 22 grams of complete plant-based protein in a delicious, non-gritty, fiber-filled way without any artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, soy, dairy, sugar, or GMO’s.
If you are interested in learning more about protein powders, make sure to check out one of our related blogs, Top 3 Things To Avoid When Purchasing Protein Powders.
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