I think before we figure out the best protein powder you’d want to use. We should look first into several things first.
- Why protein is good for weight loss, if it is.
- How protein can help aid in weight loss.
- How much protein you need.
- What the best sources of protein are
- Then finally we can figure out from that, what’s the best protein powder for weight loss.
As in my last article, Superfood Powder Supplements VS Real Raw Foods – Which Is Better, I’m going to enforce the idea that real raw foods are better overall than supplements and powders. But protein powders do serve a purpose in weight loss. Especially in today’s busy world!
The Why And How Of Protein For Weight Loss
There are so many reasons that protein is good for weight loss! When you eat protein in general, it does several things. It makes you feel full longer, it slows the absorption of sugar which then wards off future cravings thus reducing your appetite. You’ve heard me talk of the thermic effect? Well protein has a much higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fat. So you burn more calories just by choosing protein more. You’re raising your metabolism!
So a great way to lose weight, is to pair strength training with a higher protein intake. Protein helps your body burn fat instead of muscle, especially lean muscle. If you are building muscle with strength training, you are raising your metabolism with a higher protein intake, and you are preserving your lean muscle, which is the muscle that burns calories.
Very, very simply put, when you strength train, you are tearing your muscle down, so that it can rebuild itself bigger. When you eat protein it increases your protein intake. Yes you are preventing the loss of lean muscle, but protein also aids in the muscle rebuilding itself, IE: repairing itself, thus growing the muscle.
We talked about it raising your metabolism?
It even goes a little deeper than that:
- It increases calories burned. INCLUDING DURING SLEEP!
- it changes the hormones that regulate weight
- increases the hormone that reduces your appetite
- reduces the hormone ghrelin, the hunger hormone
See what I mean about all the reasons that protein is good for weight loss? As a bonus from all the above advantages, protein contributes to the reduction of belly fat. The harmful fat that gathers around your midsection and organs. It is easier to lose weight this way and easier to stay away from the yo-yo’s…? You don’t go up and down in weight as easily, when it’s gone…it stays gone! Yay!
How Much Daily Protein Should You Have In Your Diet?
The studies that I looked at and the trainers that I follow recommend that the right amount of protein per day can differ based on the amount of exercise that you get. One way of figuring it out is to consume about 30% of your caloric intake each day. I don’t count calories, so that method doesn’t work for me. The FDA recommends 50 grams of protein for a 2000 calorie day. From my research into it, this is the bare minimum that you should consume.
So the other method of deciding how much protein to have each day is to figure 2 to 3 grams per kilogram of body weight. But with heavy exercise, about 10 to 12 hours of exercise per week, it should be higher. I get about 7 hours of exercise in a week, which is about 4 days of exercise at 1.5 to 2 hours each. I have gone down in weight since I started my cutting diet (explained in my blog Eating For Weight Loss – My Crazy Sexy Life) from 120 to 115 pounds, so I would be looking at 52 kilograms times 2 grams for 104 grams of protein per day.
See? It’s super simple to figure out! There are a bunches of myths that I’ve heard, and I’m sure you have too, that too much protein is bad for several reasons. But in doing research the only way I could find that too much protein could harm you was if you have damaged kidneys or chronic kidney disease. So if you plan on increasing your protein you will definitely want to check with your health professional to make sure that you make the healthiest choices for your weight loss.
What Are The Best Sources Of Protein For Weight Loss?
There are so many wonderful sources of protein that you can use. How you decide to get it will depend on obviously what you like, and whether you are a vegan or vegetarian. The most effective protein is animal protein, simply because it is most similar to our own body makeup. That includes meat, dairy, and eggs. They have all the amino acids that we need.
You find a higher amount of protein, over 20 grams, in many types of beef, chicken, turkey, and pork and seafood. Eggs are a great source of protein, and if you eat dairy, greek yogurt is over 20 grams, with cottage cheese coming in under 20 grams at 14 grams. For those who want to stick with plant proteins, navy beans, lentils, soy beans, quinoa, peas, tofu, and many more are great plant based proteins. But remember that some of the latter group are not complete proteins and you have complete them by pairing them with foods that have those amino acids like pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, seaweed, grains and more.
And just a short note on plant protein, versus whey, versus casein. The latter of which I always mispronounce, ugh! Most people know what plant protein and whey proteins are, but aren’t sure about casein. It is found in cottage cheese and is a slow digesting protein. So if you do include dairy in your diet, and get hunger pangs later in the evening, it is a good one for keeping you satisfied all night long.
Then What Is The Best Protein Powder For Weight Loss?
I know we built up to this, and you’re expecting to hear some miraculous answer. As I said in the beginning, real foods are always better than powders. But in today’s crazy sexy lives, sometimes we need a little shortcut once in a while. There are so many instances when making a protein shake is so much quicker than making a meal. So often I use them for meal replacements. And they always come in so many yummy flavors!
So when you get that craving later in the day for something sweet, and you find the right casein protein powder, you can shut that craving down cold! I usually crave chocolate but I don’t want any sugar at all. So I grab my favorite chocolate protein powder and voila! Chocolate craving satisfied! Or when you just don’t have time for a home cooked breakfast, grab a vanilla bean powder and almond milk shake to keep you going til lunch!
That being said, you have a choice between getting whey, casein, or vegan protein powder. You want to make sure they don’t have ingredients you don’t want:
- artificial sweeteners
- heavy metals
- fillers, etc.
And you want to make sure they have ingredients you want, especially the right protein for you! I always feel bloated after I have whey protein, not so much with casein, and never with plant based protein. So even though I haven’t found a favorite, my go to protein is plant based.
So what are some of the things you might see in good protein powders? Well for one, you want a sufficient amount of protein! Some don’t have any flavoring or sweeteners. The ones that do have sweeteners that aren’t artificial might use:
- monk fruit
- coconut sugar
- erythritol (sugar alcohol)
They can come with probiotics, digestive enzymes, MCT’s -which are medium chain fatty acids that are largely sourced from coconut oil and used for an energy boost, or to aid in weight loss, among other things. And protein powders can get their protein from many sources. As an example, whey can be made from grass-fed sources, plant based proteins can be made from hemp, peas, brown rice, and more.
What’s The Best Protein Powder For Weight Loss For You?
Protein has so many important uses in the journey towards weight loss, towards looking and feeling good. As a general rule diet is 75% of the battle and exercise is 25%. Increasing your protein intake can make that battle easier in the long run. And you should do so with the advice of your doctor. Make sure you get the right amount, and really there is no need for supplementation. But if you are running late one day, or just want a high protein yummy snack then protein powders are super convenient and tasty if you pick the right one. I feel no bloat when I drink plant based protein, so that’s my preferred type, though I do like the slow-digesting factor with casein powders. I do have to say, there are so many proteins with so many wonderful ingredients, that taste has become VIP for me! I can find everything I need in a protein powder, but have found that though they may have wonderful things, it does no good if I can’t enjoy it because it doesn’t taste good to me.