Protein powder can be used for multiple reasons, but the purpose of using protein powder is to hit a specific protein goal. For most people following a Western diet, the daily recommended amount is satisfied, but consuming more protein can also benefit most people. Whole foods are the best source of protein because they come with other essential nutrients, but protein powder is digested faster and can be a quick alternative.
What are some popular reasons to eat more protein?
● To control your appetite (as it has shown to decrease the feeling of hunger)
● To grow and maintain muscles
● To gain more strength (when paired with exercise)
● To improve your immune system
● To recover from exercise (or an injury) faster
● To conveniently meet protein goals when on the move
There are different types of protein, which can be used differently depending on the purpose. Whey protein is one of the most common types of protein because it “contains all of the essential amino acids and is easily digested,” which makes it the best to consume after a workout.  Soy protein is the second most common choice, as it can “reduce high cholesterol and can ease symptoms of menopause.  Some other types of protein include:
● Brown Rice
The greatest difference between the main ingredients of these protein powders is whether they are vegetarian or not. Egg and milk protein powders contain dairy, which would not fit into a vegan or vegetarian diet. Otherwise, the contents are relatively the same. In most protein powders, you’ll find sweeteners, flavoring, ingredients that thicken your shake, and ingredients that prevent clumping.
So when should you be taking protein powders? For those who exercise and want to build muscle, it’s best to consume protein powder “within 60 minutes of a workout.”  This is when your muscles can absorb and use the protein best. For those who are not looking to gain muscle or lose an extreme amount of fat, there is no specific time to take protein. This is where convenience comes in because if you miss breakfast one day and know it’ll be hours before you get a chance to eat again, putting protein in a quick shake will act as a meal replacer. With all this being said, there is a limit to how much protein powder an individual should consume daily. More than 80 grams of protein powder a day is usually too much for most, so it is recommended to take 1 or 2 scoops a day (20-40 grams), or whatever amount is recommended on the container.
Protein powder, overall, has been beneficial when used properly. However, it’s important to calculate how much protein you are consuming before diving into the world of protein powders.
1. DuVall, J. (2017, April 28). The beginner's guide to using protein powder. Life by Daily Burn. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-use-protein-powder/
2. Link, L., & Clark, R. (n.d.). Evaluating supplements - sportsrd.org. Sports RD. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.sportsrd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/EvaluatingSupplements_2021.pdf
3. Maciel, R., & Malacoff, J. (2021, October 29). “What’s the best protein powder?” Your complete guide to choosing the right supplement for you. Precision Nutrition. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://www.precisionnutrition.com/how-to-choose-protein-powder
4. Team, D. H. (2020, June 15). How to choose the best protein powder for you. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved February 3, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-tips-choosing-best-protein-powder/
Author: Kayjah Taylor
Editor: Lauryn Agron
Health scientist: Joanna Gudino