You probably think that protein powders are just for body builders right? Nope! In fact, doctors found that they’re great for losing weight. In studies, participants who took whey protein had lower insulin and glucose levels and boosted muscle growth. High insulin and glucose levels are signs of insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), so it seems whey protein can help protect or delay development of diabetes. This also means that whey protein may boost your glucose metabolism, since researchers found less sugar in the participants’ bloodstreams.
The good news is, researchers also found that it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of protein powder you take – they found no notable differences between participants who took whey protein and those who took rice protein for eight weeks.
If you’re interested in trying protein powder for weight loss but feel overwhelmed with all the different choices. Here’s a little breakdown on some different kinds of protein powders and their health benefits:
Animal-based protein powders (casein, whey) are complete and give you all the amino acids your body needs to make your proteins that carry out your essential life processes. But, animal-based protein powders can also have high fat and cholesterol content, which isn’t good for your health. Vegetable-based protein powders (soy, rice) are incomplete and you’ll need to take more than one type daily to get all the amino acids you need for daily life. But doctors recommend vegetable-based protein powders over animal-based protein powders because they’re a cleaner source of protein and don’t put risk on your cardiovascular system. The only drawback is you’ll have to take more than one kind.
Casein Protein Powder
Researchers say that if you’re trying to build muscle, casein is the best protein powder to boost your protein production for the long term. It’s because its structure forms a natural, slow-release clot in your stomach, which sends a continuous supply of amino acids into your bloodstream for many hours. If you work out after taking casein, the steady supply supports your muscles throughout your workout, which helps you endure longer and helps lessen muscle damage.
From a weight loss perspective, casein’s slow release gives you energy throughout the day, which keeps you feeling full and sated. This means you’ll be less likely to snack or eat when you don’t need to.
If you’re only taking casein to lose weight, you should buy Optimum Nutrition’s 100 Percent Casein Powder. It’s very high quality and economical at about $50. It should last you two or more months. It’s also vanilla-flavored (without adding calories), so it makes it fun and easier to drink.
Whey Protein Powder
Whey, like casein, comes from cow’s milk. It’s also a complete protein that gives you all the amino acids your body needs. It’s not as great at casein at helping you build muscle and lose weight because it doesn’t have the same slow-release properties. That means when you take it, it’ll overwhelm your system for a short period with a burst of protein that your body either uses or stores as fat – depending on whether you work out immediately or not. Because of this, it won’t keep you full throughout the whole day because your body processes all the protein at once.
If you’re lactose intolerant, whey may cause a reaction similar to milk. Experts advise those with lactose intolerance to take the isolate form, like Isopure’s zero-carb 100 percent whey isolate protein powder. Whey isolate protein powders are lactose-free. But the trade-off is that isolate powders aren’t as effective and won’t deliver the same quality protein.
If you’re diabetic, whey protein has also been found to stimulate insulin production. Researchers found that type 2 diabetic patients who took whey protein experienced better management of blood sugar levels.
Egg White Protein Powder
Egg white protein powder is another great alternative if you’re lactose intolerant. Like other animal-based protein powders, egg white protein powder is complete, giving you all the daily amino acids your body needs. Researchers found that female athletes who supplemented with egg white protein experienced an increase in their resistance muscle strength.
But if you’re allergic to eggs, egg white protein might cause reactions. Of course, egg white protein isn’t as effective as casein for weight loss and muscle building.
You can try Paleo Protein Egg White Powder, which is GMO-free.
Soy Protein Powder
Unlike most vegetable proteins, soy is complete! It might not be as effective as casein in helping you build muscle and lose weight, but it’s better for your heart and has even been found to directly lower your risk of breast cancer. All vegetable proteins have been found to lower your fat and cholesterol levels. In fact, researchers studied participants who supplemented with casein versus participants who supplemented with soy and found that the soy group had better overall cholesterol profiles.
If you’ve already got cardiovascular problems or are in poor health, soy protein powder is your healthiest and safest choice because it helps your heart and protects you from cancer. It might not help you lose as much weight as casein, but it still helps as well as most protein powders.
Try Bulksupplements Pure Soy Protein Isolate Powder. It’s lab-tested for 90 percent isolate purity.
Hemp Protein Powder
Researchers have found many health benefits from supplementing with hemp proteins. The protein powder may derive these benefits too. Like soy, researchers found that supplementing with hemp leads to better cardiovascular health. In particular, they found that hemp lowers blood clots, which is a huge risk factor of many cardiovascular problems. They also found that supplementing with hemp helps the heart recover after an attack.
Researchers also found that rats with kidney disease who were given casein didn’t see improvement. But, rats with kidney disease given hemp or soy protein had smaller kidney cysts with less fluid and their hearts were less enlarged. They concluded that supplementing with hemp or soy protein protects your kidneys, unlike supplementing with animal-based proteins.
Hemp protein powder could also give you more of an energy boost and improve your immune system. Mice who were supplemented with hemp protein for about two months experienced longer swimming times and an increase in their immune cell count.
If you take hemp protein powder, you’ll be lacking some essential amino acids, which means you’ll have to eat nuts or seeds everyday to get the complete amino acids your body needs. It’s not going to get you as much muscle and make you feel as full as casein or whey, but it will protect your heart and kidneys and boost your immunity. It’s a clean protein that’s definitely healthier but with less effectiveness.
You should choose Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein because not only is it GMO-free, but it’s also got high fiber mixed in. The fiber fills you up, which means you’ll eat less. This helps keep you from overeating and snacking when you shouldn’t.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein powder is another clean vegetable-based protein source. Researcherscompared casein with pea and found that pea protein stops your liver from making fat and also lowers your blood fat and cholesterol levels more than casein does.
The good news is, researchers found that pea protein powder is as effective as whey protein powder in helping increase your muscle thickness during resistance training. They compared athletes who supplemented with pea protein powder and those who supplemented with whey protein powder and didn’t find any significant difference between muscle thickness increase in the two groups.
One of the best pea protein powder choices is Orgain’s Organic Plant-based Protein Powder. It’s a mix of gluten-free, organic, GMO-free hemp, pea, and seed proteins. That means you’re sure to get all your essential amino acids from such clean, pure vegetable sources. It’s also got cocoa for flavoring so you’re sure to enjoy drinking it.
Rice Protein Powder
You’re thinking rice is carbs – what exactly is rice protein? When rice is processed into commercial white rice, the rice bran is separated out. Rice bran has a higher amount of protein than rice grains and is what’s used to make rice protein powder.
If you think rice protein powder is far less effective than “real protein,” like animal-based casein and whey, researchers have found differently. They found that rice protein powder is just as effective as whey and casein at delivering protein to your body. But keep in mind that rice protein powder is not a complete source of protein. You’ll have to supplement your diet with nuts and seeds to get your full amounts of daily vital amino acids.
Rice protein powder is even better than casein for helping you lose weight! Researches found that taking rice protein boosts your fat metabolism considerably. Rats fed rice protein for two weeks had lower lipid and sugar levels in their blood than rats fed with casein.
Vanilla-flavored Growing Naturals Organic Rice Protein Powderis one of the cheapest protein powders, at about $26 for 2 pounds worth.
So what does it boil down to?
- Casein is the best protein powder if you want to build muscle.
- If you’re lactose intolerant and your goal is to build muscle, you should take whey protein isolate.
For holistic health and weight loss:
- Choose vegetable protein powders because they help prevent diseases. Animal-based proteins can boost your cholesterol levels.
- Hemp protein powder gives you more energy and boosts your immunity and protects your kidneys.
- Pea protein powder lowers your cholesterol and fat levels in your blood better than casein. It’s also as effective as whey when it comes to increasing your muscle thickness with resistance training.
- Rice protein powder boosts your fat burning and lowers your blood sugar and fat levels better than casein.
- It seems like the best protein powder for weight loss is rice protein powder, since there’s evidence it trumps casein when it comes to boosting your metabolism.
But weight loss is situational. If the reason you can’t lose weight is because you can’t resist snacking, then casein protein powder would be best for you since it keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time. If your work is hectic and you don’t have enough energy to work out, then hemp protein powder or casein protein powder are your best bets since they’ll give you energy to work out. Remember that Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein is also high in fiber, which means it’ll help keep you full while energizing you for your workout.
But remember that all protein powders help you lose weight better than not supplementing with protein powders at all. If you’re obese or suffering from health problems, you should go for any vegetable protein powder and skip the animal-based protein powders altogether. It’s better to lose less weight but protect your body than to put your suffering health at risk by taking animal-based protein powders. You’ll lose weight more slowly but these protective vegetable-based protein powders will be healing your conditions and protecting you from further disease. It’s better to sacrifice pounds you could’ve lost for a healthier heart, kidneys, and immune system.