Vancouver Whitecaps dietitian Dana Lis gives tips on how to choose the healthiest, most effective protein to suit your workout and nutrition needs!
Protein powder is a great option if your training requires very quick, easy delivery of amino acids to optimize immediate recovery and adaptation. The key attributes an athlete should look for when buying a protein powder are type, quality, nutritional profile, taste, and mixability.
I. Whey protein powder is the go-to when athletes are looking to maximize quick delivery of amino acids, which may better support muscle protein synthesis and recovery.
II. An isolate product is generally recommended for a balance of quick digestion, cost, and availability.
III. Casein protein is more slowly digested, which is good for before bed to improve overnight muscle protein synthesis.
IV. Egg, soy, rice, pea, and hemp are inferior unless they include added leucine.
Not all protein powders are created equal, and some trigger gastrointestinal symptoms or have a poor texture, or poor protein yield due to the inclusion of more fillers.
➌ Nutritional profile
A product that offers 110–150 calories and 20–30 grams protein per serving, and is low in fat and carbohydrate, offers the most flexibility when combining with other foods. Look for an ingredient list that doesn’t resemble a chemistry textbook and also includes more natural sweeteners than artificial sweeteners.
➍ Taste and mixability
If it doesn’t taste great and mix easily it will sit in your cupboard. Ask around for what sport dietitians and other athletes are using.