CHOOSING A PROTEIN (made easy)
When most of us think of supplemental protein powders immediately we think of the mainstream powdered protein on the market today that have become so popular. These protein powders come in jumbo sized containers with beautiful labels to catch our eyes. Many use metallic finishes, with bold bright lettering designed to stand out among a sea of their competitors across store shelves. Open any bodybuilding magazine and you’ll find pages upon pages of eye catching ads touting that one is better than the next. Let’s face it, for the person looking to find a solid high-quality protein powder it can get confusing really fast. My goal is to break it down for you quickly and easily.
I’ve been supplementing with protein products since the 1980’s when Weider Nutrition first hit store shelves and Tiger’s Milk offered the only bars on the market. They actually tasted pretty good too! Since then we’ve seen major strides in protein supplementation from their quality to improved consistency, mix-ability and of course taste. I’ve taken them all! With that said here is my journey across the powdered protein landscape. I’m not going to bore you with all the details of why you should supplement with protein as there are a billion articles on the worldwide web that will give you all those details. Rather, the purpose of this article is to offer information based on my personal experience to help shed some light on your decision the next time you’re standing in the health food store among a sea of powdered protein products.
This is the mother of all protein powders on the market. Whey protein is the bodybuilders choice for high-grade, easily digestible muscle building protein. The popularity of whey protein powder is evident by the sheer number of diverse brands on the market that offer it. It comes in just about every flavor that you can come up with, like cookies and cream, peanut butter, mocha java, strawberry swirl, banana split and of course your basic chocolate and vanilla.
THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I LOOK FOR:
1. Container size – I don’t like to purchase garbage can sized or jumbo sized containers of protein powders because I feel over time they can become denatured through oxidation (opening the lid or package numerous times allows oxygen to enter the container) as well as prolonged shelf life.
2. Sweetener – Artificial sweeteners are common practice among most all of the popular brands on the market. For example, look for sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame potassium and opt for natural sweeteners like stevia and cocoa.
3. Source – Where is the protein powder coming from? This is a question people often overlook because it’s a powder, but whey originates from milking a dairy cow. Do you buy conventional milk or organic milk at the grocery store? If you answered “organic milk” then you should consider choosing a protein powder that is derived from organically fed, free range cows that have been raised without hormones and antibiotics.
Once you pay attention to the 3 things listed above all of a sudden that massive list of protein choices narrows very quickly. One way to narrow your search on a superstore site is to search for “natural” or “all natural” whey protein. You may find 2 out of 3 that pass my criteria, but it’s always best to find a protein that passes the full enchilada (all 3 important things that I look for as stated above). Some that I use and recommend are WellWisdom Vital Whey , BB3 Formula 1 Whey Protein , Optimum Nutrition 100% Natural Whey Gold Standard, Dymatize All Natural Elete Whey Protein and MRM All Natural Whey Protein.
This form of protein is popular because it is a slower digesting protein. Usually it is recommended for evening supplementation as well as times during the day when you may not eat for several hours. Recently I have had some concerns about casein protein as noted by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. In his book he says, “Casein, the major protein in milk, has been shown in animal studies to powerfully promote cancer growth.” This research came from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, and while thought provoking, there have been some discrepancies found in the research when it comes to human trials. Overall, casein is found in dairy products, notably cottage cheese. Because there is no comprehensive proof I still enjoy cottage cheese as a late night snack mixed with a little stevia.
EGG WHITE PROTEIN
I don’t really supplement with egg white powdered protein too often. It actually tastes a little weird to me because I can taste the egg whites (maybe that’s just me). I’ll have it now and again and when I do I usually pick up a packet or two of Jay Robb’s Egg White Protein because it’s about as pure as you can find. My only issue with powdered egg white protein is that I have yet to find one derived from cage-free egg laying hens.
PEA, RICE & HEMP PROTEINS
These make a great protein alternative source for those with any allergies to gluten, yeast, milk, eggs, soy, nuts, and shellfish. They are also perfect for vegans and anyone who wants to take a break from animal based whey, casein or egg proteins. Out of the plant based pea, rice and hemp proteins, I use pea and rice the most. They actually taste good, have an impressive amino acid profile, digest easily, and when combined they create a complete protein. Pea protein alone is considered a complete protein! Some of the ones that I currently use are Rainbow Light Protein Energizer Chocolate (which has greens mixed in), Olympian Labs Pea Protein Vanilla (which I get at the Vitamin Shoppe), Sun Warrior Raw Vegan Protein Chocolate, and Lifetime Life’s Basics Pea/Hemp/Rice with Chia Seed Plant Protein (chocolate flavor). With that said there are many more quality plant based protein products out there. I suggest you go to Whole Foods or your local health food store and grab several single serving envelopes to try a few for yourself.
If you’re into building and maintaining your best body ever, protein supplementation is a smart choice to help supplement a healthy diet. In my last monthly newsletter I gave a protein shake smoothie recipe called “The Hulk.” I’ve had tremendous feedback on it and how much people love it as much as I do. If you don’t receive my free monthly newsletter, please be sure to sign up today.Live a High Integrity Life, Gregg
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