Protein powder can be a great addition to your daily nutritional routine. Adding a vitamin powder supplement to a smoothie or blended drink adds a great nutritional addition and refreshes after a good workout by revitalizing and replenishing the body with nutrients. Protein powders are also a great way to receive your vitamin intake because protein consumption is important to build, maintain and repair muscle. Meat, or animal proteins are complete protein sources because they provide all the essential amino acids. However, there are many downsides to consuming very high intakes of meat these days due to meat processing methods, but the good news is you don’t have to rely on animal meat alone (or at all) to receive protein. Other ways to consume protein without eating meat is by combining servings of incomplete proteins, such as legumes and grains. Some protein powders and drinks can also offer a protein alternative without increasing your daily consumption of fats, carbohydrates, cholesterol and calories.
There are four main forms of protein powders and shakes that include whey, casein, soy and rice. Whey and casein both derive from milk. According to Dr. Oz’s website, “most protein products are made with whey, which is a complete protein and contains the highest branched chain amino acid (BCAA) content found in nature. The branched chain amino acids tend to become depleted following exercise and are needed for the maintenance of muscle tissue. Whey protein is believed to digest faster than casein and more completely than soy protein.”
Supplements and Protein Powders a Good Source of Fuel
However, soy and rice are highly used and acceptable to vegetarians. According to Dr. Oz, soy is also the most “heart healthy” source of protein, and eating 25 grams a day in a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. Although rice protein is a good solution for vegetarians, rice protein is not a complete protein because it lacks one of the essential amino acids, isoleucine. However, when combined with the right other protein sources it can provide all the essential amino acids needed in your diet.
When you’re shopping at a health food store for your protein powder supplement, take notice of the ingredient label on the container. Sometimes powdered supplements are loaded with chemicals, preservatives and fillers. If using a powdered supplement try to go organic. Other good powders to use are spirulina, a vitamin powder derived from algae, and green superfood powders.
editor’s note: if starting a meat-free diet please consult a dietitian or research thoroughly a meal plan that will give you all the nutrients your body needs.