Protein Powder Showdown: Sorting through the pluses and minuses

Published: Sep. 13, 2019 at 9:10 AM CDT
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KY3's Paul Adler gets the lowdown on protein powders from Pamela Hernandez of Thrive Personal Fitness on this Fit Life.

Here's what Pamela told us:

You have no idea which protein powder is going to give you a delicious smoothie for breakfast. Is whey protein or plant protein better? What exactly is the difference between whey protein and plant protein? Once you understand the difference between whey protein and plant protein, your decision will be so much simpler. Whey protein is a fast digesting protein that comes from milk. Fast digesting means it gets to the cells for usage fairly quickly. That makes it an ideal choice for a post workout shake to give muscles the materials they need to start the rebuilding process. As an animal protein it also has all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of all tissue in the body (otherwise known as a complete protein). Whey protein is easy to find (you can even get it by drinking a glass of milk instead of a shake) and also works well for cooking and baking. Generally speaking it blends easier, can be less gritty and you'll find more "fun" flavors like cookies and cream or banana crème. Plant based vegan protein powders include soy, pea, brown rice and hemp protein powders. Each have their own unique benefits but share one important thing – by themselves they don't taste great. However, because it is a fast-digesting protein, it may not be the best choice for your breakfast smoothie. A blend of plant-based proteins will make sure you get all your essential amino acids a single serving. Blends also taste much better with a creamier consistency (single proteins like brown rice can be gritty). Plant protein powder blends are generally thicker. If you take the time to blend your shake or make a smoothie bowl you'll be rewarded with a deliciously creamy consistency.