Wellness - Dec 21, 2022

3 Things to Consider When Choosing Protein Powder Supplements

Christian Luera

With so much information available to us regarding nutrition, there can be a lot of confusion around what is actually best. The most important thing is to figure out what works best for you and your body. What works for others, may not work for you. So, when choosing a protein powder supplement, ask yourself these 3 initial questions:

  • Why do I need it?
  • What kind should I use?
  • How much should I take?

Why Use Protein Powder, Anyway?

First of all, when it comes to protein powder (or any supplement, for that matter), you need to answer the question, “Why do I need this?” Supplements are just what the word says, a supplement, meaning it should only be used if you aren’t getting enough from your normal food. 

There are three scenarios that will promote the use of a protein supplement. One, if the amount of protein you are getting isn’t meeting your body’s minimum needs, putting you in a state of deficiency. Deficiency can cause your body and brain to not function well. So, be sure to at least meet your minimum needs to survive (more on requirements later).

Two, you have decided to start increasing your exercise routine or want to build muscle. Your body’s metabolism increases as a result of muscle growth and increased activity level, changing the requirement for protein.So, congratulations, you can eat more! And if you haven’t changed your eating routine to account for this, then you will not see the desired results from your hard work.

Three, you realize you haven’t eaten enough for the day, you are nowhere near a place to eat, and you could eat a cow. Keeping a stash of protein powder, a shaker bottle, and bottled water on hand will give you that boost you need and temporarily satisfy your hunger. Protein has more function than just building or repairing muscle. It helps improve recovery, support immune function, manage body weight, helps produce important cells in our body, and transports important substances in the body. If you want to improve your body composition (decrease fat or increase muscle, or both), an improve health and wellness, you need to make sure that you are intaking enough protein.

Types of Protein Powders

There are many different kinds of protein powders to choose from. It’s really about personal preference and how your body digests them. Below are some examples:

100% Plant-Based Options

  • Rice 
  • Pea
  • Hemp
  • Soy
  • Artichoke
  • Cranberry

Animal-Based Options

  • Egg
  • Milk

As with any dietary options, you get the most out of a variety of choices. Choose one that tastes good and digests well by trying a few different ones. Some have certain benefits over others, but in general, just make sure you are getting enough protein. 

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Everyone’s protein requirements differ depending on goals, needs, and activity level. The more active you are, the more you need. However, just like many medications, it is based on your current body weight. 

Untrained, generally healthy, sedentary adults should get about .36g of protein per pound of body weight. So, a 150-pound individual would need about 54g per day. This is really just for the basic minimum needs to prevent deficiency. For active people or high intensity workouts, consume .64-.9g per pound of body weight. The same 150-pound person would need 96-135g per day. This is the amount for optimal protein synthesis in the body to help it thrive. But, in addition, physique athletes like bodybuilders, have relied on 1g per pound of bodyweight to enhance muscle development.

Protein supplements are not a necessary part of your eating habits, but they can provide a needed boost to your health if you are deficient. Aim for getting the protein you need from whole food sources, first. Then choose the right protein powder that makes up the difference, if necessary, to meet your goals.

For nutrition coaching and improved health, wellness, and fitness, contact PJCC Master Trainer Christian Luera at cluera@pjcc.org.

  1. https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein-powders
  2. https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-protein
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