How To Choose The Best Protein Powder
Most of my smoothie recipes contain protein powder so today I want to explain to you how to choose the best protein powder. Whenever I am buying a new one, I look to the label for the following criteria:
1. >15g of protein
Any less than 15g and you won’t be full for very long. Ideally you could get up to 25g of protein per serving, but I would say 15g is a minimum.
2. <5g carbohydrates
Not all protein powders are <5g carbohydrates, and it’s not necessarily bad if they are higher than 5g, depending what ingredients are in it. Often, it’s straight sugar that’s making it have over 5g carbs, in which case you definitely want to avoid that. In general, you want the lower carbohydrate amount so as to not spike your blood sugar at all.
3. Stevia sweetened
Most protein powders are sweetened, because otherwise they would be pretty gross. The key is to understand what they’re sweetened with. First of all, you don’t want it to be straight sugar (per the carbohydrate point above), but you also don’t want it to be artificially sweetened with something like sucralose, aspartame, or acesulfame. Stevia is the best option, as it’s a natural herbal sweetener.
4. Plant based
This depends on personal preference for taste, but there are a variety of different foods the protein can be derived from. I prefer rice or pea based. Hemp is great nutritionally, and if masked with other ingredients, works, but I find the flavour to be pretty awful, so I stay away from it. I do like adding the full hemp hearts instead though as protein, and find the flavour much more palatable.
Whey protein has a good nutritional profile, however if dairy bothers you, which for so many it does, I would not recommend that either. Lastly, there are some protein powders out there that are soy. As for soy based, this depends. If it’s organic, and you aren’t consuming it all the time, soy can be a good source of protein. However, soy on a continual basis (and it’s a filler in a lot of packaged foods too) is a no-go in my opinion because repeated soy consumption can mess with your hormones, and nobody needs that!
5. Pronouncing the ingredients
This is probably a given, however you’d be surprised at how many additives and icky ingredients can be in some protein powders.
My favourite brands of protein powder are below and can be found at the majority of health food stores or online:
- Sun Warrior Rice Protein
- Genuine Health Vegan Proteins+ or Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+
- Vega Sport (100% protein)
- Vega One (is protein + a multivitamin with greens) – note, I have had some clients tell me this one bothers their digestion, so if you are sensitive, and want Vega, try the sport version
- Progressive Harmonized Protein
What are your favourite brands of protein powder?