where beauty | meets nutrition

Everybody these days wants to be healthier. Whether they want to lose weight, tone up, or build muscle, fitness is bigger than ever. If there is one thing that people are not getting enough of, however, it would be protein.

The amount of protein that you should take in is determined by your goals for fitness and your present physiology. A good rule of thumb if you are interested in bodybuilding, for example, is to take in 1 gram of protein per pound of your weight. However, if your goal is simply to lose weight then you would multiply your weight by 0.36. Different needs require different levels of protein and getting that right amount is paramount for achieving your fitness goals.
Unfortunately getting the right amount of protein is not always manageable or easy.

Enter protein drinks. Protein powders are a great tool to have on hand because they offer a significant source of protein in a form that is easy to regulate and control. Some protein powders are better than others though, which means that you have to be mindful of the quality of the powder that you are interested before you commit to buying. Here are some of the things you need to know if you want to enter the world of protein powders and develop a healthier lifestyle.

Powder Types

When choosing a protein powder you essentially have two types to choose from. You could either pick a whey protein powder or a soy protein powder.
Soy protein is best used short term. You can use it to combat high cholesterol, building up bone mass to deal with osteoporosis, and even easing menopause symptoms.

Whey protein, on the other hand, is the best protein to use in day-to-day terms. It has all of the amino acids that you need and can be digested easily in addition to giving you energy and reducing stress levels. This is what you are most likely to use after you have worked out.

The actual amount of protein

A good protein powder will have at least 15 grams of protein per serving. Anything less is not worth your time or hard-earned cash. There are many protein powders out there that are cut with filler content. This means that while you may have a full can of powder there may not be very much content that actually helps you.

In a recent study of 82 of the best selling protein products in the country it was found that a sweeping amount of them, including a rather large brand that was publicly endorsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, used filler content to pad out their powders. The previously mentioned powder was even sued for deceptive labeling.

This is a practice known as “protein spiking”, which is basically a type of fraud. What happens is that aminos, which look like proteins and are significantly cheaper, are used in place of actual protein. This leads to a product that is minimally effective, leaving you out of pocket and far behind where you would like to be in terms of your development.

What You Should Expect to Pay

There is a varied price range when it comes to protein powders, and the unfortunate truth is that most powders on the market are overpriced. You should generally expect to pay more than $20 for a two pound can of protein powder, though that price is at the very low end of the spectrum. The cheaper protein powders usually have filler content. The fillers they use are roughly one tenth of the price of the real protein, which is how they keep cost down.  So make sure to check the ingredients before deciding whether or not to make the purchase.  
Common ingredients used as filler are as follows:

  • Asparagine
  • Alanine
  • Glycine
  • Taurine
  • Leucine

It needs to be said that a higher priced protein powder is not necessarily higher quality. It simply means that you are more likely to find a decent powder at a higher price. Remember that the most important thing is the ingredients rather than an arbitrarily placed price.

Betting on Taste

One of the last things that you want to do when you are choosing a protein powder is pick one that tastes bad. It's not good for you to have a powder that tastes awful and it's worse for the company that makes the powder. When you return a can of protein powder that has been opened it is no longer sellable, which is why many companies will not take back opened cans. The good news, however, is that if you find a brand that will accept returned cans that have been opened it means that you have found a company that is confident in their product. This means you are most likely taking less of a gamble on the flavor.

Matching Powders To Your Lifestyle

One of the most important things to know is that different protein powders serve the needs of different lifestyles. If you live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle then you can use powders that utilize plant proteins and are not milk-based. There are plenty of low-sugar options for those with diabetes. Look to the ingredients and what you need to best utilize the powder and that will help you pick the powder that will best serve your personal needs.

The sugar content

One of the biggest things that people worry about before they use protein powder for the first time is whether or not the powder will taste bad. This is why many protein powders will use sugar to improve the taste. You want to keep in mind that anything with up to five grams per serving of sugar is considered to low-sugar. This is the most important factor to keep in mind before choosing your powder.

Whether you are utilizing protein powder to put on muscle or to help you lose weight you need to understand that your efforts will be for nothing if you are drinking a lot of sugar. Sugar may make the protein powder taste great, but there are numerous reasons why it could actually derail your whole regiment.

First of all, sugar both combines and destroys phosphatase. Phosphatase is a digestive enzyme which increases the difficulty of digestion. It can also lower tissue elasticity, which means that workouts will become more difficult and even painful. Of course sugar intake can also lead to obesity, which is the exact opposite result you are likely looking for.

What this means for you is that you need to be sure that you are not trying to compensate for flavor by adding in ingredients that are packed with sugars or other unhealthy additives. You should be especially wary of different names that the food industry uses for sugars such as juice, syrup, fructose, or sweetener. These words may not necessarily mean sugar on a context by context basis, but these words should at least be red flags of a sort.

It needs to be said that your protein powder will not likely be packed with sugar. However, you will still want to take the sugar content of your protein powder into account when making your choice and adjust your normal sugar intake to compensate for the additional amount. This will ensure that you do not accidentally take in more sugar and that your diet remains balanced. Even a seemingly nominal amount of sugar can make a negative impact on your overall daily progress.

Find What Works and Stick To It

Like many aspects of the health industry there are many companies out there that just want your money and do not really care about providing you with a quality product. That is why research is the be-all, end-all of finding the protein powder that will best suit your needs. Remember to read labels carefully, make sure you are not buying something that is half made of filler, and remember to look out for any ingredients that could actually hinder your progress. The beautiful thing about fitness is that once you find what you need and apply it to a process that works you can meet your goals.

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