How To Pick A Protein Powder For Smoothies – A Definitive Guide!

scoops of superfood - healthy seeds and powders (white and brown

After hours of comparisons weighing the pros and cons – here is the definitive guide to a variety of protein powders for weight loss!

First, you have to understand why incorporating a protein powder can be vital to weight loss. Depending on your lifestyle (and workout routine), your daily amount of protein will vary. As a general rule, and for a sedentary lifestyle, you will require 0.40 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are strength training you will require up to 0.80 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Let us assume that we fall somewhere in the middle; working out about three times a week and at a moderate pace. In our case, we will need about 0.48 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

This what these numbers look like in a chart:

 

DAILY PROTEIN REQUIREMENT Activity Level: Sedentary Activity Level: Moderate Activity Level: Endurance Training Activity Level: Strength Training
Your Weight: 135 pounds 54 grams 65 grams 81 grams 97 grams
Your Weight: 150 pounds 60 grams 72 grams 90 grams 108 grams
Your Weight: 175 pounds 70 grams 84 grams 105 grams 126 grams

For most Canadians, the amount of protein isn’t really the problem, with an average amount of 0.55 grams per pound of body weight. The problem is the type of protein! Protein powder is a great way to get the required protein without the saturated fat and cholesterol. Yay!

Now, you might be wondering why we need so much protein. Well, every single cell in our body contains protein – so that’s pretty important.

Nevertheless, protein can:

  • Reduce the signs of aging
  • Increase bone strength
  • Improve muscle power
  • Balance hormones
  • Lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease
  • Help you to lose weight

Losing weight by increasing lean protein uses a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis means that your body is using up stored energy, burning more calories, and it is using fat that is stored in love handles, muffin tops and saddlebags for fuel. Protein consumption can equal an extra 250 calories burned without the effort.

Another bonus is that you will feel full so will have want and need less food. The effect of a high protein diet is that it will increase fullness for longer, causing you to eat less food on a daily basis. For this to work though, protein must be coupled with fiber. What is the easiest way to do this? SMOOTHIES! Check out the 9 green smoothies in my 48 hour green smoothie challenge.

Now that we can agree that Protein Powder is awesome, it is time to start incorporating it into our daily routine.

TOP PICKS

1. Whey: the most popular protein powder

We feel that traditional whey protein is a bad idea because even though it may contain 20g or more of protein, less than half of it can be broken down and absorbed in the amount of time it is spent digesting. There is also an insulin spike associated with it, so it actually reduces the body’s ability to burn fat. Traditional whey powders have a similar impact on blood sugar to that of a marshmallow or soft white bread.

According to the BioTrust website, it is possible to get the positive benefits of whey without the downsides. The website says, “the trick is to combine whey with other medium-speed and slow-digesting proteins such as milk protein and micellar casein, respectively.” Recommended here is BioTrust’s Low Carb Vanilla – with a whopping 24 grams of protein per serving size. Of course, sometimes less is more, so you can use ½ the serving size and still get a decent amount of protein.

2. Garden of Life Raw and Organic: the winner For a vegan alternative (to whey)

Whether you are allergic to casein or lactose intolerant, a vegan option will be best protein powder choice for you. The best choice for flavor, ingredients and bioavailability, is Garden of Life: Real RAW Vanilla. Made up of organic sprouted grains, seeds, beans and legumes- this protein powder has the full spectrum of essential amino acids and then some. It also has probiotics, a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals and digestive enzymes specific to protein. The price is great too at only $1.35 a serving.

Here it is:

The Definitive Guide to Protein Powder!  Our favorites are listed under each type of protein powder category and they have been broken down by price, ingredients and amount of protein.

Type of Protein Brand and Flavor Serving Size/ Protein per Serving Avg. price per Serving Total Fat/ Chole-sterol Total Carb Type Of Sugar Good Ingredients Bad Ingredients
WHEY BioTrust: Low Carb Vanilla 38g/24g $3.50 2g/25mg 8g Stevia, Erythritol,  Monk Fruit Extract Hormone free whey, digestive enzymes Casein, lactose, “Natural Flavors”
BROWN RICE Sun Warrior: Classic Protein Vanilla 21g/15g $1.42 0g/0mg 4g Stevia Gluten free, Non-GMO, no artificial flavours None
SOY Nature’s Plus:Spiru-tein Vanilla 34g/14g $2.19 0g/0mg 11g Fructose Non GMO soy,Digestive enzymes Not G-F, soy contains phyto-estrogens, cheap Vitamins and Minerals added
COMBIN-ATION Vega: Vega One French Vanilla 37g/15g $2.49 3g/0mg 11g Stevia Vitamins, Minerals, omega 3s, Chlorella, probiotics “Natural Vanilla Flavors”
COMBIN-ATION  (RAW and Organic) Garden of Life: Real RAW Vanilla 23g/17g $1.35 0g/0mg 4g Stevia Sprouted grains, beans, legumes and seeds, probiotics, digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals None
HEMP Manitoba Harvest: Hemp Pro 30g/20g $2.49 3.5g/0mg 9g Coconut Sugar Hemp protein concentrate, organic coconut sugar, organic vanilla flavour, natural plant extracts. None
PUMPKIN SEED Omega Nutrition:  Pumpkin Seed 15g/9.5g $0.75 1g/200mg 1.5g No sweetener Only 1 ingredient: Organic pumpkin seeds None

N.B. Soy is included because it is second in popularity to whey, but because of its effect on estrogen and has the potential to cause estrogen dominance, it is not recommended.

The most common way to use protein powder is to add it to a smoothie, if this is the case for you make sure your smoothie contains a lot of fluid because protein powder can be dehydrating.Also, add fiber as this will help improve the feeling of fullness for longer – 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseed will add 5g of fiber. Most of all be creative, check out my recipe for a Creamy Berry Green Shake below.

As the weather is getting cooler (-19 here in Orangeville today!!!) many people will start to move away from their smoothies and onto a warmer kind of breakfast. Oatmeal is a great choice and adding protein powder to your oatmeal is a great way to add a protein source to a grain.

Start with 2 tablespoons of warm (not boiling) water or milk in a bowl. Pour a scoop of protein powder into the bowl and mix until smooth. If the consistency is too clumpy, add small amounts of water or milk until it mixes smooth. Once the oatmeal is cooked or warmed, add the warm protein mixture to the oatmeal and stir until blended. Enjoy!

Creamy Berry Green Shake

Makes 1 Serving

 

Ingredients:

2 scoops BioTrust protein powder

½ cup frozen mixed berries

½ small frozen banana

2 handfuls of spinach (you can’t taste it)

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tbsp ground chia seeds

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and blend for 90 seconds.

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