Best Protein Powders 2022 | Protein powders for women and men

When it comes to optimal performance and recovery, most runners know that protein plays a crucial role. Over the years, we’ve seen nutritional trends pushing the macronutrient, including moves by food manufacturers to add it to things like cookies and ice cream.

Experts recommend athletes consume more protein than their non-runner counterparts. The recommended protein intake for runners is 0.5 to 0.9 grams per pound of body weight, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For a 150 pound person, that’s about 75 to 135 grams per day.

Runners who eat a varied diet, even vegetarians, are likely getting enough protein from whole foods, says registered dietitian Jenna Braddock, CSSD. have to have protein powder products even though the marketing tells us otherwise,” says Braddock The runner’s world.

That said, there are certain situations, often temporary, during which runners have increased protein needs and would benefit from supplementing with a powder. Braddock points out that runners in peak training, people juggling busy schedules, runners who are breastfeeding, and vegan or plant-based runners might need more protein and calories. There’s also research that recommends older runners increase their protein intake to support muscle synthesis after a workout, says Braddock.

Increasing that intake through diet alone can get tricky, she says, making a protein powder a smart option. “In those cases, you can think of powders as something you can supplement and relieve some of that meal prep,” she says.

Best Protein Powders

The Expert: Jenna Braddock is a sports dietitian and author of The protein-rich vegan cookbook for athletes. She has focused on sports nutrition for 15 years, after seeing the role nutrition played in her own athletic performance. “I see the power of nutrition and how it helps people feel better and perform better,” she says, noting that once she started making intentional food choices as a volleyball player As a teenager, her stamina and performance improved. “Now when I fuel my workouts, instead of doing them on an empty stomach, I perform better, recover better and feel the benefits for my body.” Earlier in Braddock’s career, she worked with endurance athletes, but today she helps mentor teenage athletes.

The purpose of protein powders

Perhaps the biggest benefit of protein powders is that they are a convenient source of important nutrients. “They can play a useful role for anyone looking for an easy way to get a healthy dose of protein,” says Braddock.

A scoop or two of powder can provide 30 grams of protein, which may be easier to consume than certain servings of food, such as chicken, Braddock says. (A three-ounce serving of chicken contains about 26 grams of protein.) The powders can be easily mixed into just about anything, including oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods, or simply with water.

What to Consider in a Protein Powder

It can be easy to get caught up in marketing labels touting claims like “weight loss”, “performance enhancement”, “vegan”, “organic”, “superfood blend” and not knowing what powder might be. best for you and your needs. .

Spoon and portion sizes

When reading nutrition labels to determine if a certain protein powder is right for you, it’s important to get the inside scoop. and servings, says Braddock. Not all scoops are the same size and some powders, even those that use the same type of protein, require two scoops instead of one for a substantial serving of protein. For example, you might need two scoops of certain herbal powders for just 12 grams of protein. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” Braddock says. “But in my opinion, that’s a lot of steps to get to 24 grams of protein.” Other brands may offer 40-50 grams of protein in a scoop or two.

Type of protein

There are a variety of protein sources, and more are hitting the market seemingly every day.

Whey: It’s the OG of protein powders. It is a proven source that offers a complete protein profile, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. It is dairy-based, which can be a deal breaker for people with dairy intolerances or following a plant-based diet. Arguably, whey powders are the most palatable, largely because manufacturers have developed the taste and consistency over decades.

Peas: This fairly new entrant to the protein powder market can be hit or miss when it comes to taste because it’s so new. Two scoops contain approximately 27 grams of protein. It is vegan, which increases its popularity with those who avoid dairy products.

Soy: Like whey, soy protein powders are a proven option. It is a plant protein that provides all nine essential amino acids. Soy has been criticized over the years for potentially causing adverse health effects, but the research doesn’t support it, Braddock says. But with all things nutrition, it’s best to switch up your nutrient sources, including protein.

Protein Blends: The powders are now also available as blends of certain ancient grains, including quinoa and amaranth, giving plant-based runners even more options.

Ingredients and certifications

Working with a sports dietitian is a helpful way to determine if you could benefit from adding a protein powder supplement to your diet and, if so, what the powder should contain. Some powders contain vitamins, minerals and probiotics. Some people, Braddock says, might only need protein, so they can forgo more expensive powders that contain nutrients, including superfoods. “But a breastfeeding runner might need more nutrients than just protein and should look for additional carbohydrates, fats and fiber,” she says.

You might see protein powders that also advertise themselves as containing “superfoods,” like broccoli sprouts or acai. These are additions that aren’t always necessary, Braddock says, and can drive up the price of already expensive powders. Plus, the amounts of these superfoods are so small that there may not be much benefit, Braddock says.

When reading a list of ingredients, the lowest amounts are at the bottom, which means they are not present in the product at all. “If the brand is marketing a superfood, but it’s at the bottom of the list, chances are it’s not a significant amount,” she says.

Supplements, like protein powders, are also not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration, which means brands can make claims that aren’t true or tout ingredients that aren’t really. the. Braddock advises people to look for powders certified by third-party companies, including USP, NSF, Informed Choice and Informed Sport.

“Just because something is certified doesn’t mean it’s efficientshe says, pointing out that these certifications verify ingredients and, in the case of sports certifications, confirm that products do not contain performance-banned substances.

How we test and recommend

As the former food and nutrition editor for The runner’s world and avid runner, I know all about how nutrition can make or break a workout. And like the RW test editors, I’m always trying new nutritional products that will help improve my performance and recovery (and taste great too). When choosing protein powders, I only looked for certified products, I evaluated the taste and the dissolution of the powder, and of course, the amount of protein per scoop and serving. I also considered the protein source; Although I prefer whey products, not everyone wants a dairy-based supplement. To round out my knowledge of protein powders, I spoke with registered dietitian Jenna Braddock about her favorite brands of protein types.

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