Although people generally associate protein powders with bulking, the truth is that this popular supplement can also be extremely useful for weight loss. By providing filling, metabolism-boosting, muscle building nutrients, protein powder can help you shed body fat and keep it off.
But, shopping for protein powders can be an overwhelming prospect. There are tons of options out there, varying from big things like protein source to smaller, more subtle aspects like processing methods.
So, how can you sort through all these options? To help you make informed decisions, here are some of the best protein powders for weight loss.
By far, the most popular protein powder for weight loss, whey is a fast and easy-to-digest source of protein. Because of this rapid digestion and metabolism, whey is a perfect addition to your pre-workout shake.
Since it is milk-based, though, whey protein can present some problems for some people. Namely, vegans and those who deal with lactose intolerance.
Although it also comes from milk, casein differs significantly from whey in both structure and function.
When heat, or another curdling agent, is applied to milk, it separates into liquid and solid portions. While the liquid is dehydrated to become whey, the solids are used to create casein.
It's this very tendency of casein to bind up that makes it so special. Casein protein powder does the same thing in your stomach, creating a mass of protein that is slowly digested over the course of hours.
Because of this slow action, casein is best used as a meal replacement or right before bed. Derived from milk, casein does contain some lactose but not as much as whey. Still, it is possible to be allergic to casein.
3) Egg White
As the name suggests, egg white protein is made from... egg whites. The high-protein, low-fat egg white digests at a speed that falls somewhere between that of whey and casein.
Although egg whites do provide a complete protein, they do not perform as well as whey or casein when it comes to muscle protein synthesis.
Still, if you cannot handle either milk-based protein, egg white protein is a good choice for post-workout recovery or a meal replacement.
Granted, peas aren't the first thing that people think of when they start listing off protein-rich foods, but they truth is there is quite a bit of the sought-after macro in these humble vegetables.
However, like many plant-based proteins, pea is incomplete – meaning that it's very low in two essential amino acids. Still, your body can glean those amino acids from other foods throughout the day and fill in any gaps in your diet.
Pea protein is a good choice for vegans or those who want to avoid dairy. If you decide to go with pea protein, use it as a pre-workout snack, unless you combine it with another incomplete protein like...
5) Brown Rice
Another surprising source of plant protein, organic rice protein powder can be a useful alternative. Again, this protein powder does not contain all the essential amino acids that your body needs.
Since brown rice protein is also a good source of complex carbohydrates, this powder can be a powerful addition to your pre-workout shake. Like pea protein, brown rice is both allergen-free and vegan.