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February 9, 2019

What Is the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss? Our Simple Guide

As with all protein supplements, protein powder is a concentrated source of protein made from extracting the nutrient from both animal- and plant-based protein sources which are known as vegan proteins. It is generally associated with gym lovers interested in building muscle stacks. In truth, however, it can be used both as a bodybuilding supplement as protein blends to gain muscle mass as well as for weight loss or a high-protein diet. They can also be used by vegetarians and vegans who want to increase their intake of protein products without necessarily having to drink milk or eat meat.

Types and Forms of Protein Powder

There are three main types of proteins powder that are designed to increase protein intake:

Protein concentrates

These are made by extracting the nutrient from whole foods using heat and either acid or enzymes. They contain both fats and proteins in 20–40% and 80–60% respectively.

Protein Isolates

These are made in the same way as protein concentrates, only that additional filtering is carried out to remove the fats and carbs. The result is a high concentration of protein ranging between 90 and 95%.

Protein hydrolysates

Also produced in a similar manner, hydrolysates are quickly absorbed into the body as the bonds between the amino acids are weakened or broken down. This is done by heating isolates further with enzymes and acids.

The Role of Protein Powder in Weight Loss

Reducing hunger and appetite

Protein shakes (protein powder mixed with water or milk) keep you feeling fuller which means that you will take fewer snacks and smaller meals for the rest of the day. In one study conducted by dietetics and nutritionists, participants who had a high-protein breakfast consumed up to 135 fewer calories in the day.

Protein powder also stimulates the production of hormones that reduce appetite control and those that induce hunger.

Increasing metabolism

Protein powders help build muscle which burns more calories than fats. They also increase metabolism during digestion; a lot of calories are needed to digest the protein fully. This helps burn fat, especially around the belly.

Features of the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss

That said, we recognize the fact that many protein powders are being sold and that arriving at one choice is not easy. Here are a few factors that everyone should consider before choosing a protein powder:

  1. The number of calories contained: is it calorie-stuffed?
  2. The amount of protein: the more, the better.
  3. The source of the proteins: from what source was it extracted?
  4. The level of manufacturing: choose the one with minimal processing.
  5. The grams of carbs it contains.
  6. The level of artificial sweeteners that are included.

 

Five Protein Powders for Weight Loss

Here are five of the best protein types of protein powder for weight loss:

Whey protein

Whey protein powder is made up of two proteins: whey (the liquid that separates from curd during the making of cheese) and casein. Lactose is found in the protein concentrate, but very little of it is contained in the isolate, which makes it easier to absorb.

The powder is useful in both bodybuilding as well as weight loss; it keeps you feeling fuller for longer; therefore, effectively reducing your intake of calories contained in additional healthy snacks and smaller meals.

Additional benefits of whey protein (as found in studies) includes a reduction in cholesterol levels, blood pressure,and blood sugar.

Casein protein

Casein is a protein obtained from milk that absorbs much slower compared to whey. It works by forming a gel when mixed with the acid the stomach. It then slows down the emptying of the stomach and absorption of amino acids, effectively reducing hunger and appetite levels. Casein also contains high amounts of calcium which also aids in weight loss. It is an excellent replacement for meals.

Soy protein

Soy protein is particularly ideal for vegetarians to those intolerant to milk. It is plant-based and contains all nine essential amino acids. Studies have shown that it reduces hunger levels effectively reducing the number of calories consumed per day. Studies have also found the protein to be successful in reducing belly fat, especially in women. It is, however, controversial due to its potential link to breast cancer.

Egg White Protein

This is a great alternative for anyone who cannot take milk proteins. Egg whites proteins have the best quality and digestibility scores. Eggs proteins also have the nine amino acids that the human body cannot produce. They play a significant role in weight loss.

Pea protein

Just like the soy protein powder, the pea contains all nine necessary amino acids and is also a great alternative for vegetarians or people with allergies and into lerances to milk proteins. However, it has a low amino composition compared to other dairy-based proteins. It is useful in reducing appetite and comes in different flavors for those who don’t like the taste.

Protein Powders as Meal Replacements

Protein powders are meant to be food supplements, especially for people who do not have good access to high protein foods. Depending solely on them for optimum nutrition is unwise, as the body still requires other nutrients that are not available in the powders. To lose weight, take your protein shakes with fruits and other foods that make up a balanced diet. Do not forget to limit your intake of carbohydrates, fats,and processed foods.

So, what is the difference between a protein powder and a meal replacement? Protein powders consist of various types of protein sources to provide a ready supply of amino acids to the body. They come in powder form and are added to either milk or juice. The amino acids infuse your body with the nutrients needed for muscle repair. Protein shakes are not designed as meal replacements but as meal additions. They should be taken after a workout and between meals.

Meal replacements are similar to protein powders. As well as containing amino acids they also have a lot more nutrients in the form of vitamins and minerals as well as plenty of fiber. Meals replacements are designed to take the place of a whole food meal. That is why they provide all of the nutrients that you would normally get from a whole food meal.

Even though meal replacements provide you with all of the proteins, carbohydrates and fats, vitamins and minerals that you need, you should only reply on them for your nutritional intake, even when you are trying to lose weight. The human body was designed to eat whole food and it works best when it gets a plentiful supply of it throughout the day.

You should only use a meal replacement to replace one meal per day. Meal replacements provide you with a very convenient way to get the nutrients you need when are on the go and do not have time to prepare yourself a full meal.

Vegan Options

People who do not like dairy or are intolerant to it should steer clear from taking powders extracted from it such as whey and casein. Others like soy and pea or even egg whites should do well. As a precaution, everyone should examine the packaging thoroughly to check out for details regarding processing, sources and also side effects.

Dosage and Side effects

It is recommended that shakes be taken before a meal or instead of it. One can be made by mixing a teaspoon or two with water or milk. You can also make a good drink by mixing the powder with ice or even fruit to make a smoothie.

If a lactose intolerant person takes a powder with milk proteins, they will probably experience the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Gas
  • Bloating

The Rest of the Diet

Because of its ability to control your appetite, stave off hunger pangs and increase your metabolism, protein is a smart choice to eat throughout the day when you are trying to lose weight. Protein also has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fats, which means that it requires more calories to digest a protein food than any other type. That is why it makes sense to include protein with every meal when you are on a weight management plan.

Here are some excellent sources of protein to include in your weight management diet plan:

Lean Beef

Lean beef will provide your body with a very high source of protein. Try to get 20-30 grams of protein through lean beef with your meal. This equals a piece of beef that is about the size of your palm.

Eggs

Eggs are recognized as the highest quality whole food source of protein. They contain plenty of essential amino acids in just the right quantity for the body to digest. Eggs also have the highest bioavailability of any food, which means that the body can absorb more of the amino acids. Have boiled eggs available so that you can eat them throughout the day.

Quinoa

Quinoa is an excellent source of plant protein. It is a mild grain that has a chewy texture. It is also very high in protein content. Add this plant protein to salads or stews.

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To conclude

Generally, protein powders are used to increase muscle building and they do not have any side effects. Unless, of course, they contain harmful substances such as chemicals or have been processed in hazardous conditions in which case would be the manufacturer’s fault. Therefore, make sure you check protein content. The powder is actually good for bones, blood pressure and organs such as the kidney contrary to rumors that suggest otherwise.

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Steve (Qualfied Personal Trainer and Nutritionist)


Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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