Protein: You can find it added to most energy bars and ice creams as well as naturally occurring in products like yogurt and almond butter. But look closer at ingredient lists and you’ll see different kinds of added protein: Whey, pea and soybean are just a few proteins you’ll encounter. According to Women’s Health magazine, incorporating protein powder can help you get the energy burst you need without the cholesterol related to eating meat and without an increase in calories. Incorporating protein powder into smoothies or shakes can help you feel fuller longer and can regulate your body weight.
What are the differences between these kinds of protein? Check out the breakdown below:
Whey protein is derived from milk. If you’re toning and strengthening muscle, this is the best choice, noted Men’s Fitness magazine. Pick up a vanilla- or chocolate-flavored powder to add to your post-workout smoothie. Be sure to add banana for a magnesium boost, which can ease muscle soreness. However, if you’re cutting out dairy as part of a dietary restriction, you should choose a different protein powder base.
Soybean protein isolate
Energy bars rely on this protein powder to provide an extra dose of energy. While soy usually has an aura of positive health benefits, Dr. Mike Roussell noted that soy protein isolate is, as the name suggests, only one part of the soybean – and the extraction process can expose you to some risks including high levels of isoflavones, which imitate estrogen in the body. Soy protein isolate offers one major benefit over cooked tofu: You can get 23 grams of protein from one scoop, versus 8 grams from tofu. You can add this protein powder to your diet easily – you may simply notice a slight gritty texture in your smoothies.
Prevention magazine noted that the growing concerns over soy protein isolate paved the way to introduce pea protein to individuals looking to add more protein to their diet. Taken from yellow split peas, this protein offers a mild taste, making it an ideal addition to low-calorie ice creams, chips or popcorn. However, unlike soy protein isolate, pea protein is not a complete protein – so you need to make sure you include other sources of energy, like animal products or cooked tofu.
“It isn’t smart to look to just one ingredient or food source for protein—or any nutrient for that matter,” advised Ashley Koff, a dietitian based in Washington D.C.
So be sure to balance your powder protein intake with other sources of energy like seafood or nuts as part of a balanced diet.
Researchers are split on how much protein we need in our diets. Like many other food groups, protein is best in moderation. Too much of it can lead to a nosedive in your mood and even weight gain! Make sure to include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet to keep your body running in top condition!