All three macronutrients are equally important, but the one we see lacking the most with new clients is protein. If you lack quality protein, you’ll have a hard time maintaining a healthy body composition. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, especially muscle mass.
Building your diet on a foundation of natural and wholesome foods, especially protein-rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish, and eggs is a great way to ensure adequate protein intake. Additionally, having an alternative option like a protein powder is great for a pre or post-workout shake as well as a convenient snack option.
So how much protein do you really need? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that those individuals who are strength training regularly need 0.5 – 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. You may need more or less depending on your individual goals, but this is a healthy range.
We recommend the following protein powder supplements if you aren’t getting enough protein from whole foods.
Whey Protein Powder. Whey is a type of protein derived from milk. It contains all the essential amino acids our body must obtain from food so it’s a top choice of many athletes or those wanting to maintain and build muscle. Whey should be avoided by those with lactose issues or those who may have an intolerance to dairy products.
Egg Protein Powder. Egg protein is generally a powdered version of egg whites. It contains all the essential amino acids and many vitamins and minerals so it’s also a great source for muscle-building protein. Egg protein is lactose free so it may be a good option for individuals who can’t tolerate whey protein.
Collagen Protein Powder. Collagen protein powder is made from the connective tissue, skin, and bones of animals. It might not sound appealing, but collagen contains a substantial amount of protein that supports your muscles, bones, joints, and skin.
Plant-based Protein Powder. Vegetarians as well as those wanting to get more plants in their diet may benefit from a plant-based protein supplement. A combination of rice, pea, and hemp protein will give you a dose of all the essential amino acids and adds the benefit of phytonutrients as well.
With any supplement, it’s important to understand that its safety and efficacy will be dependent on the ingredients. Is the source mass produced on a factory farm? Are the animals treated with hormones and antibiotics? Were chemical pesticides used or artificial sweeteners added? Was the protein powder heated during processing or chemically treated? These are all important questions that should be answered before you make your purchase.
So if you need more protein in your diet, supplementing with a protein powder may be a great option.