Then, there's also egg white, hemp, soy, rice, pea, and even beef protein powder.
So how do you know which protein powder is the best?
Before answering that question, let it be known that 'drinking' your breakfast is an easy and healthy way to lose weight.
Instead of eating a several hundred calorie breakfast of potatoes, bacon and eggs and toast, smoothies or health shakes are a low-calorie nutrient dense option.
The one golden rule for weight loss, though, when it comes to smoothies is not to get duped into thinking fruit is good for you.
Fruit, in moderation, say a handful of blueberries or half an apple, or one slightly ripe small banana, not all of them combined, is healthy because fruit is loaded with antioxidants. But fruit contains fructose, which does raise blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause a sluggish liver, which can contribute to weight loss.
Got that? In other words, if you're at a buffet, don't load your plate with a heaping serving of fruits, thinking that's healthy for you. Lots and lots of fruit may have more antioxidants than loading your plate with bacon, but you're not doing yourself any good.
So limit your morning breakfast drink to one or two servings of fruit at most.
And before we add protein (this is a culinary cliff hanger, huh?) to the smoothie, let's add some dietary fat.
Even though you're trying to lose weight, fat is important because it helps keep you full, among other very important biological functions that dietary fat performs. Feeling full eliminates cravings for sugary foods and quick-burning carbohydrates.
Organic nut or seed butters (one spoonful) is plenty of natural fat. Or a squirt of olive oil or flaxseed oil.
So we've got our natural fat and our little bit of fruit for sweetness and antioxidants...now it's time for some muscle-building protein.
If you're allergic to lactose, do not buy a whey protein powder in concentrated form; do however, feel free to use a whey isolate, which eliminates almost all the lactose.
Whey protein is perhaps the most commercially popular form of protein powder and therefore most affordable. For those who are not at all allergic to milk protein, the other form besides whey that comes from cow's milk is casein protein.
Egg white protein is perhaps the most biologically available, meaning that your body can digest the egg protein better than other sources.
Some people complain of whey protein's bulky post-digestion feeling and ensuing chalky-dry mouth.
For vegans, the best sources of protein are either pea protein or rice protein. Some commercial vegan protein powder manufacturers combine both pea and rice together. Both forms of protein are also easily digestible. They may not have the same muscle-building properties of whey or egg white but if you're a strict vegetarian or vegan and don't want to use animal-derived sources, pea or rice is the way to go. The downside is that most manufacturers do not produce tubs of vegan protein that are the same enormous size as whey.
Pea protein is unique in that it contains all the essential amino acids, which is rare for a vegetable.
Vegetarians and vegans can also purchase hemp protein powder from most health food stores. Hemp, too, contains all essential amino acids, plus it contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids and fiber.
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