Protein Powders: What’s the Scoop?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Protein Drink Powder / Weight Loss Shake
By Stephanie Perruzza MS, RD, Contributing Blogger

Protein powders have consistently made their way into our daily eating routines. Whether you’re adding some to your morning smoothie or mixing it with milk for a pre- or post-workout shake, the increased popularity of protein powder has piqued the interest of many.

Breaking It Down
People choose protein powders to amp up gym workouts or for a quick and convenient way to add protein to meals and snacks. Most of your recommended daily protein can be obtained from diet alone by consuming a variety of high protein foods like meats, poultry, fish, eggs and legumes. For specific groups like vegans, vegetarians and athletes, protein powders may come in handy to help meet the recommended daily amounts.

Protein Picks
There are many types of protein powders available. It’s important to understand each kind so you can find the best choice for you.

#1 Whey
Whey is the most common type of dairy protein powder. It’s considered a complete protein source, which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Whey protein is also favorable for post-workouts because it’s broken down and digested faster than other protein sources, helping rebuild and maintain muscle. If you have a milk allergy avoid whey protein powders.

#2 Pea
Peas are part of the legume family (along with beans and lentils) and are naturally a great source of protein. You must be thinking, how do these sweet little green pea pods turn into powder? Well, dried spilt peas are often used to create its fluffy consistency. It’s easily digestible and very popular for those following vegan or vegetarian diets. Pea protein isn’t a complete source of protein so it must be paired with another source of protein in order to get in all of your essential amino acids.

#3 Hemp
Hemp protein powder is made by cold pressing nutrient-rich hemp seeds and is a great source of heart-healthy omega 3 fats. It’s a complete protein source, containing all 9 essential amino acids and rich in fiber aiding in weight and appetite control. It’s also very popular for those following vegetarian or vegan diets.

#4 Peanut Flour
Peanut flour is the powder that remains after grinding roasted peanuts then pressing to remove the oil. There are two types of roasts: light and dark, which vary in percent fat content, aroma and flavor. Due to its favorable taste and rich nutrient profile, it’s often used in baked goods and sauces.

#5 Brown Rice
Though rice mostly contains carbohydrates, it does have protein, which is extracted from whole brown rice grains to make powder. It’s 100% plant based so it’s not a complete source of protein. It’s hypo-allergic and gluten-free, making it a favorable choice for those with allergies. It’s also cholesterol and fat-free.

 

SO TELL ME: How do you include protein in your diet?

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