Protein powders are a necessity for those that want to make the biggest muscle gains. Besides muscle growth, these nutritious powders also work for weight loss, a healthy breakfast, meal replacements, or any time that you need nutrients on the go. But is protein powder healthy?
Protein powders provide the body with Amino Acid proteins, fiber, vitamins, minerals and some even contain superfood greens. These powders are developed for fitness minded individuals that also watch what they eat closely. Because of this, they are designed to be a healthy alternative to a well balanced meal.
We are going to list the benefits of taking protein powder as well as any potential negatives. You may want to know what is in a protein powder, so I will list the various sources of protein and the types of powders available. And of course, if protein powders are healthy or not.
What Is Protein Powder
Protein powders are designed as a protein supplement to use in addition to eating real food whenever possible. Protein is the most nutritious food source and these powders are packed with it.
There aren’t many things that you can eat that are this healthy for such a low amount of calories that they contain.
They are designed for a low-calorie meal replacement, muscle recovery after your workout, weight loss or an easy and convenient source of nutrients.
These powders are a concentrated protein that comes from an animal or plant source. Animal and dairy protein sources are the most popular and have the highest concentrations of protein per serving.
The other type of powders come from plant sources such as pea, chia, hemp, brown rice, pumpkin, and others. Plant based protein powders will have less protein per serving. Based on your athletic goals, you may have to take a little more. However, they will contain more fiber, fewer calories and are considered healthier.
Of course, the healthiest option is still eating a high protein meal that includes vegetables.
Is Protein Powder Healthy
Doctors recommend that you choose a nutritious, well balanced meal over protein supplements if you have that choice. It’s not a good idea to live by protein powders alone. Because of this fast paced world that we live in, it is not often that we are able to eat a healthy meal.
This is where a good protein supplement comes in. These proteins are derived from basic food sources that we eat on a daily basis. Part of the reason that this is such a healthy powder is because of its simple ingredients.
Many protein powders contain additional vitamins, minerals, and fiber. There are rarely any additional additives or fillers.
Without proteins, your body wouldn’t be able to make muscle, enzymes or hormones to run itself. It’s also important for strong bones, healthy skin and nails and even necessary in your blood.
The proteins in these powders are made up of 21 different Amino Acids that your body requires. You may have heard of these because they are the building blocks for protein synthesis, and they run all of your body’s most important functions. Many of these your body manufactures on its own, and others must come from the food you eat.
I’m going to list a few types of powders that may be a bit healthier than the traditional ones.
All Natural Protein Powder
This type of powder is free of artificial colors, flavors, and sugars. All natural protein powders may look and taste a bit more bland, but they do come with high concentrations of protein. These are priced close to that of the traditional powders.
Organic Protein Powder
The ingredients in an Organic protein powder are grown and manufactured without the use of any man-made chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides. This category doesn’t contain any ingredients that wouldn’t be found in your body naturally. They can come from both animal, dairy or plant based sources.
Vegan Protein Powder
A Vegan protein powder is made with zero animal or dairy products, so it is 100% plant based. Some of these are Organic as well as Vegan, so be sure to check the label based on what you are looking for. If you are going will a Vegan protein powder, I recommend a mixed plant protein since these will contain all 21 Amino Acid proteins.
If you have any questions or comments about the different types of protein powders, please leave a message at the bottom and I will respond.
Protein Powder Benefits
The most significant thing that post workout protein powders are known for is weightlifting. These gym enthusiasts and athletes consume protein supplements to increase their muscle size and strength. These powders work well for both men and women.
Amino Acid proteins are necessary for muscle growth. Consuming protein after your session stimulates protein synthesis, therefore, starting the recovery process. The rebuilding of your muscle fibers also helps to enhance performance during your next workout.
After exercising your body starts searching for the nutrients it needs to begin to build muscle, repair muscle tissue, as well as making enzymes and hormones. The body’s needs for these nutrients for any strenuous physical activity.
Protein powder is also known to tone muscles and help with weight loss. One of the ways that protein powder can work for weight loss is that protein is the most filling nutrient that you can eat. This will cause you to feel fuller longer, which cuts down the size of your meals and snacking.
Convenience is also a large benefit. They’re an easy and convenient source for a complete, high-quality protein. Many grocery stores even carry protein drinks to go, so you don’t need to go home to mix your powder.
Whether your sport of choice is cycling, Cross-fit, weight training or running, your muscles require certain nutrients to rebuild stronger for the next time.
Here is a full list of protein powder benefits:
- Weight management from a low calorie/high protein food
- Increases muscle tone
- High protein curbs hunger
- Promotes muscle growth
- Maintains muscle mass
- Provides after exercise muscle recovery
- Added nutrition from protein, vitamins, and minerals
- Amino Acids are necessary for skin, nail and hair growth
- Vegans may need to consume more protein
- Works as a meal replacement
- Convenience – nutrition on the go
If you have any comments or questions about the benefits from protein powder, please leave a message below and I will respond.
Best Time To Take Protein Powder
For Muscle Gain
For muscle recovery after exercise, studies have shown that the body’s peak absorption time is about 45 minutes to 1 hour after exercise. This is called the “sweet spot” since it is the prime time protein powder is needed to rebuild.
The benefits to the protein powder are to fulfill these needs quickly, and these nutrients are the best fit. Many times it’s not possible to prepare a meal to accommodate the body’s needs at this important time. If you aren’t able to get your protein post workout, just be sure to get it later.
If you are trying to gain muscle mass, another important time is before bed. Protein goes to work in your body while you sleep. Most of your muscle growth and repair goes on during rest.
For Weight Loss
Eating a high protein breakfast can be important for weight loss. These powders are some of the healthiest sources of protein and without a lot of calories. Have protein at this time benefits your body since it has not had any nutrition all night. This will also keep you from eating throughout the morning as well as having a large lunch.
Protein is the most filling nutrient that you can eat, and feeling full is one of the best ways to keep your body feeling alert and satisfied. Protein even burns more calories during digestion. It can also to burn fat by eating protein as a meal replacement or an afternoon snack.
In case you are going to give protein powder a try, I’m going to leave you with a link for something tasty I enjoy making with my protein powders. Almond Butter and Banana Protein Smoothie
How Much Protein?
This all depends on your goals. One serving of protein powder usually contains around 15-25 grams of protein, while a chicken breast contains approximately 30 grams of protein. So for weight loss, one serving of protein powder one to two times a day should be sufficient.
For muscle gain, they say that you can never get enough. That’s because it’s recommended to get about 1 gram of protein per pound that you weigh. This is a lot, so don’t attempt to get this through protein powders alone. However, I do recommend looking for a powder that contains a higher concentration of protein such as 25 to 30 grams per serving.
Protein Powder Negatives
Protein powders are made of basic and healthy ingredients. There’s no reason to build your body stronger and healthier using harmful ingredients.
Protein powders are not FDA approved. This means that this product is somewhat unregulated. However, the individual ingredients by themselves are regulated. If you choose Organic, the ingredients are under strict USDA Organic regulations.
Protein powders haven’t been found to have any long term negative effects. However, many of them contain artificial flavors, colors, and sugars.
It is unhealthy to take nothing but protein powder since this supplement doesn’t contain all of the nutrients that your body needs. If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to stay away from Whey or Casein powders.
These are the most popular protein sources but could cause you stomach issues. Some powders contain excess amounts of sweeteners, so keep an eye out for this as well.
Please let me know if you have any “cons” on protein powder that I haven’t listed. You can leave a comment in the box at the bottom of the page.
The Pre Workout, Intra Workout and Post Workout Trifecta
If you are interested in maximum performance and muscle growth, many athletes, as well as amateurs, use this supplemental trifecta. To get the most out of your workout, first, take a Pre Workout Supplement. This gives you the energy and endurance to get an intense workout.
The Intra Workout Supplement is used to drink during your workout. It’s packed with Amino Acids or BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) and hydrating nutrients to help with stamina and recharges your body as you go. And of course, the Post Workout Protein Powder aids with the recovery and muscle building afterward.
This trifecta ensures that you have the proper energy source and nutrients before, during and after training!
Is Protein Powder Healthy – The Conclusion
Protein Powders are an easy and convenient source of nutrients as well as a complete, high-quality protein source. They are healthier than most of the foods that many people eat.
There are no side effects or long term health issues that are known. Just be sure to eat a well balanced, high protein meal when possible.
A high protein diet comes with many benefits. This includes maintaining and building muscle mass, getting healthy and toned, and as a weight loss supplement.
You may want to take this healthy supplement a step further and select one of the more natural options that leave out the artificial ingredients.
If you have any further questions or comments about, is protein powder healthy, please leave a message below and I will respond.