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Health Benefits of Using Protein Powder

Protein is an essential nutrient our bodies need to function properly, particularly to build and maintain our bones, muscles, and skin. The amino acids that make up proteins also aid in our body’s immune response, cellular repair, hormone production, and are essential for blood cell formation. The best sources of protein include:

  1. Fish
  2. Poultry
  3. Meat
  4. Dairy
  5. Eggs
  6. Quinoa
  7. Soy

Protein powders can also be another excellent, high-quality, and convenient source of protein. But we get it, this is not everyone's go-to snack. Plenty of people dislike drinking shakes because let’s face it; the protein shake routine can get dull from time to time. That's why at Profile Plan, while we love a simple flavor-packed shake mixed up in a blender bottle, we also have a few tricks up our sleeve that will add some excitement to using protein powder and make you forget you are even eating healthy! From protein pancakes to ice cream, coffee and more, we have a variety of healthy recipes to mix up your routine. Check out these 5 unique protein-packed recipes using our favorite Profile shakes!

Included in this article:

  1. What are the benefits of using protein powder?
  2. Can protein help with weight management and muscle growth?
  3. How should protein powder be used?
  4. How do you know if protein powder is right for you?
  5. Are there any negatives to using protein powder?
  6. What ingredients should you look for?

1. What are the benefits to using protein powder?

There are plenty of benefits to using protein powder, from supporting weight management efforts, to muscle building and repair. Protein powders can make a great addition to your well-balanced diet, along with the added bonus of convenience and ease.

2. Can protein help with weight management and muscle growth?

Protein powders, specifically those that are considered meal replacements with added vitamins, minerals, and fiber, are endorsed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as an evidenced-based practice to improve dietary quality amongst those who desire portion control and nutrient-dense foods. Studies have shown that protein powders can be beneficial to improving body composition and reducing body weight, blood pressure, waist circumference, and A1C.

You don’t have to be a world weight-lifting champion to reap the benefits of protein powder when it comes to muscle building. Research has shown that those who are regularly active and lift weights need enough protein to help maintain nitrogen balance and promote muscle protein synthesis. However, just eating protein isn’t going to give you the gains you’re looking for unless you’re incorporating strength training into your exercise regimen. Using a protein powder within 30-60 minutes of strength training can be a nutritious and convenient avenue for quality protein intake.

3. How should protein powder be used? Can you use it daily? What times of day should you use it?

It’s important to spread out protein intake evenly across your daily meals and snacks. In general, consuming about 15-30 grams at each meal and 10-15 grams at each snack can promote satiety, nitrogen balance, muscle protein synthesis, among other functions. Using protein powder at meals and/or snacks is an easy solution you can incorporate daily. Try adding protein powder to your overnight oats for breakfast, energy bites for afternoon snack, homemade pizza crust for dinner, or protein-packed fruit smoothie for evening snack.

4. How do you know if protein powder is right for you?

You may be wondering if protein powder is right for you. If you are generally healthy and have goals of muscle building, weight loss or weight management, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, or just want a meal that is convenient and nutritious, then the answer is ‘yes’! Protein powder is also great for aging adults since muscle mass can decrease as we age.

5. Are there any negatives to using protein powder?

Our bodies cannot store protein, so once our needs are met, any extra that you’re consuming may be converted in the body to use as energy, or the excess is stored as fat. Stay conscious of your overall intake and be mindful if the extra protein powder is warranted. Consistently consuming too much protein can also cause nausea and bloating, or more serious health complications such as high blood cholesterol and elevated risk for heart disease. Some protein powders can also contain high amounts of added sugar, so be sure to check the nutrition facts label.

6. What ingredients should you look for?

Contrary to popular belief, both animal- and plant-based proteins contain all nine essential amino acids. The difference lies in the amounts they offer. Animal-based protein powders contain high levels of all nine essential amino acids. Plant-based protein powders tend to contain low amounts of at least one or two essential amino acids. If you have a food allergy/intolerance or follow a specific diet, it’s important to choose the right type of protein powder.  

Some common protein sources in protein powder include:

  • Whey: Whey is a milk protein best known for its benefits after intense workouts. Whey protein absorption begins approximately 20 minutes after consumption, therefore it’s effective in delivering amino acids to the bloodstream very quickly, allowing our muscles to use it for repair.
  • Casein: Casein is a milk protein that is relatively hydrophobic, resulting in slower absorption. This allows for a sustained, slow release of amino acids to the blood stream. Therefore, casein protein is beneficial in weight management and muscle building, promoting satiety and muscle repair for extended periods of time.
  • Soy: Soy protein is a plant-based protein high in all of the essential amino acids, making it the only plant protein considered a ‘complete protein’.
  • Pea: Pea protein contains all nine essential amino acids but is relatively low in methionine. Research demonstrates pea protein is one of the most easily digested plant-based proteins.

Are you interested in more healthy recipes? Download our free Profile Favorites cookbook to get simple and delicious dietitian approved recipe ideas!

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