According to a study conducted by Lumia Intelligence in December of 2018, there are a whopping 411 brands of protein powder with 1,174 brand variants1! That’s 1,174 different types of protein to choose from—and they are certainly not all made the same. How do you navigate all of those options to find the protein that’s best for you?
Here are three questions you should ask before your next [protein] purchase:
- Does it contain all nine essential amino acids?
Essential amino acids are protein-based building blocks your body can’t produce on its own. You have to get them from the foods you eat. These acids help with muscle growth and body repairs, so they are vital to a well-rounded diet. You can get essential amino acids from foods such as beef, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and legumes. And while these are great sources, they can be expensive and are not always convenient, which is why protein powders have become such popular alternatives. A majority of protein powders come from dairy sources. These powders usually contain all nine essential amino acids. However, there is a growing number of protein powders that are sourced from plants. Unfortunately, many plant-based proteins don’t include all nine essential amino acids. These acids are so important that if you’re going to consume protein powder, make sure you choose one that has all nine of them.
- What’s the source of the protein?
Most proteins come from three categories: whey, casein, and plants. Whey and casein proteins both come from milk, which is good because they are inexpensive, taste good, and are good for you. These proteins generally have balanced levels of all nine essential amino acids; however, because they come from milk, whey and casein proteins may cause digestive problems for some users. Others, who live vegetarian or vegan lifestyles that don’t include dairy products, need a different option. Plant-based proteins come from a variety of natural sources including: soy, peas, rice, and hemp. These proteins offer many benefits in addition to the protein (carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals), are typically hypoallergenic, are easier to digest, and are more sustainable. The main drawback to plant-based proteins: most options don’t contain all nine essential amino acids. Therefore, if you choose a plant-based protein, look closely to make sure it’s providing everything your body needs.
- How much protein do you need?
The amount of protein that’s right for your body depends on your age, lifestyle, and wellness goals, and a healthy diet alone may not provide the protein you need. A good rule to follow when considering your protein needs is that sedentary individuals should consume .38 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. Those who live an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise should consume .8 grams per pound of body weight. People over 60 should ensure they take in at least .54 grams of protein per pound. To easily calculate your needs, use the calculator provided on Melaleuca’s protein powder product pages.
With the vast number of protein options available, it’s important you choose the one that’s right for your needs. So the next time you’re looking to add that extra boost of protein to your diet, remember these questions so that the choice you make will ensure your body is powered up and ready to take on everything from grocery shopping to the toughest workout.
1 “Sports Nutrition Market: Size, Trends and Analysis: Lumina Intelligence,” Lumina Intelligence Marketing, January 11, 2019.