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Protein Powder: A Supplement for Everyone

Protein powder is a very popular nutritional supplement commonly used by athletes and weightlifters. However, you don’t have to be an athlete or weightlifter to enjoy the benefits of protein powder. Protein is essential for our bodies to function properly. Our body uses protein for building and repairing muscle tissue, making enzymes and hormones, keeping our immune system strong, and can be used as an energy source if needed.  However, for many working people, it may be challenging to obtain the proper amount and variety of foods required to meet the body’s protein needs. Luckily for us, we have your solutions: Protein Powder

According to the National Academy of Medicine, adults should get 10-35% of their daily calories from protein, or 0.8g of protein for every kg of body weight. The various proteins in our body are made of 20 different amino acids. Nine of these are essential- meaning our bodies don’t make them on their own, so we must get them from the foods we consume. Foods that contain all nine amino acids are called complete proteins. Complete proteins are commonly found in animal-based foods such as red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products. However, soybeans also provide a complete source of protein.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan, it is important to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to comprise a complete protein profile. 

If you are one of those busy-bees that find it hard to get a healthy amount and variety of protein, drinking a protein shake as a snack or in addition to your meal, may be a good option for you.  Below is a comparison of 4 different protein powders, two plant-based and two animal-based.

Plant Based Protein Powder

Orgain Vanilla Protein Powder

This protein powder is a one stop shop for anyone- whether you are a busy professional, athlete, casual gym goer, a hospital patient, or have a dietary sensitivity. Anyone who needs additional protein in their diet can get a nutritious and good tasting plant-based protein powder from Orgain. 

Orgain’s plant-based vanilla protein is composed of a blend of Organic Pea Protein, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Chia Seed, and their Organic Creamer Base. The Organic Creamer Base is comprised of a variety of all natural ingredients with the purpose of making the protein smooth and creamy. Additionally, Orgain’s Plant-based protein powder includes all 9 essential amino acids, making 1 serving of this powder a complete protein.

In an interview with Keith Hine MS, RD, the Sr. Director of Healthcare & Sports at Orgain, he explained how diverse the Orgain Plant-Based Protein Powder is and why people like it so much. When asked who this protein is most suited for, he said, “It isn’t specified for a particular use. Some use it at cancer centers because they need additional protein for their health or, a professional sports team can use it for recovery. Busy professionals, busy moms, dads, and individuals on the go also appreciate our protein powder because of its convenience and great taste.” He went on to say, “Most plant-based powders are known for being gritty, but we put extra work into our protein powder to be smooth so it glides over the pallet. Because it’s plant-based, people enjoy the nutritional profile and the fact that it’s so smooth compared to most other plant-based protein powders and even some whey powders.”

Vega Vanilla Protein Powder

This all natural protein can be used by anybody. Weather you are vegan, have a food sensitivity, are health conscious, environmentally conscious, or a busy person on the run. No matter the case, this simple protein powder will help get you the amino acids your body needs with the most basic ingredients.

Vega’s plant-based vanilla protein is composed of a multisource blend of pea protein, pumpkin seed protein, sunflower seed protein, alfalfa protein, and other all natural ingredients. It contains 18 of the 20 amino acids, which includes all 9 of the essential amino acids- making 1 serving of this protein a complete protein.

A couple unique features about this protein is that it contains tart cherry and 2 billion probiotics. Studies have shown that tart cherry promotes muscle recovery, decreases muscular damage, and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress from free radicals. Probiotics produce a variety of benefits in our body, and most importantly, they help aid in healthy digestion of nutrients that we consume. To learn more about probiotics, visit our pre & probiotics blog post.

Animal Based Protein Powder

The next 2 protein powders we discuss are from grass-fed cows.  Grass-fed whey protein is protein powder that is sourced from free range cows. This is opposed to many modern farms that put their cows on feedlots, which are small industrialized space where the cows are given growth hormones and grain-based food that commonly contain GMOs and have been treated with pesticides and fertilizers. Grass-fed cows are not given these injections or unnatural food sources. Ultimately, this leads to a cleaner and more nutritious product that is lower in saturated fats, and higher in healthy omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acids (CLAs) – both of which have a wide variety of benefits

Designer Protein’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder is made from grass-fed cow’s milk. The whey consists of native whey isolate, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, stevia leaf extract, and vitamin E. Additionally, Designer’s Native Whey Isolate contains 19 of the 20 amino acids, which includes all 9 of the essential amino acids- making 1 serving of this protein powder a complete protein

This ‘native whey’ protein is one of the cleanest, least processed whey product on the market. It has unique functional and compositional properties that make it stand out from traditional whey powders. This whey boasts a high concentration of branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) at 9.6g. BCAA’s are the 3 essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids have been shown to build muscle, decrease muscle fatigue, slow muscle loss, and alleviate muscle soreness This protein may be particularly effective for very active people and athletes who are expending muscular energy and need to recover quickly. However, anybody in need of additional or variety of protein can use it as well.

Naked Vanilla Whey Protein Powder

Naked Nutrition Vanilla Whey Protein is made from grass-fed cow’s milk from small U.S dairy farms in California. The whey consists of 3 natural ingredients: Grass-Fed Whey Protein, Natural Vanilla, and Organic Coconut Sugar. Additionally, Naked’s Grass-Fed Whey contains 19 of the 20 amino acids, which includes all 9 of the essential amino acids- making 1 serving of this powder a complete protein.      

Naked’s whey protein is also one of the simplest, minimally processed whey you’ll find. When asked who this product is most suited for, James, from Naked Nutrition, said “It’s about people who care about what they’re putting into their bodies. Many supplement companies today essentially make candy by adding sugars and artificial sweeteners to their products. The marketing tells people it’s healthy but the products aren’t. So our supplements are for the people who really care about ingredients and read labels which can be the average person who works out 2-4 times a week or an athlete.” He went on to say, “Our goal is for people to be able to control what goes into their body so we use premium ingredients and as few as possible.”

Nutrient Comparison

 

Orgain

Vega

Designer

Naked

Serving Size

2 scoops (46g)

1 scoop (41g)

1 scoop (41g)

2 scoops (37g)

Calories

150

160

150

150

Total Fat (g)

4

3

1

2

Saturated Fat (g)

.5

0

0

.5

Cholesterol (mg)

0

0

5

50

Sodium (mg)

270

410

40

120

Potassium (mg)

67

240

160

75

Total Carbs (g)

15

4

2

8

Dietary Fiber (g)

5

1

0

0

Sugars (g)

0

1

1

5

Protein (g)

21

30

32

25

Total Amino Acids

N/A

18/20

19/20

19/20

Essential Amino Acids*

9/9

9/9

9/9

9/9

Specs Comparison

 

 

Orgain

Vega

Designer

Naked

Dairy-Free

⛔ 

Grass-Fed Cows

⛔ 

Organic

Vegan

Gluten-Free

Kosher

Non-GMO

GH-Free

No Artificial Sweeteners

 

 

 

 

Taste Test

Now that we have the data, let’s put these protein powders to the taste test!  In order to obtain the most accurate taste and texture profile of the protein powders, we used a simple smoothie recipe for all the powders: ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk, ½ avocado, ½ banana, 1 serving of protein powder, and ½ cup of ice.

Orgain Plant Based Protein Powder (Vanilla Bean) 

 Taste: Balanced flavor profile that allows you to taste all of the ingredients making up the smoothie

Texture: Very drinkable, uniform texture that is really pleasant to consume 

Verdict: Optimal Flavor Profile

 

Vega Plant Based Sport Premium Protein (Vanilla)

 Taste: Sweet with a predominantly strong vanilla flavor

Texture: Very thick and filling; like a paste or a dip

*Note: When using this powder, it may be a good idea to add more liquid or ice than usual

Verdict: Very Filling

 

Designer Protein Native Whey Isolate (Vanilla Milkshake)

 Taste: Pleasing flavor and good aftertaste (mild tropical flavor)

Texture: Very smooth and silky; like a milkshake

Verdict: Most like a Milkshake

 

Naked Grass-Fed Whey Protein (Vanilla)

 Taste: Aromatic, subtly sweet and allows you to taste all the other ingredients of the smoothie.

Texture: Light and airy; like skim milk

Verdict: Very clean & pleasant aroma – most like its description

*Note: Good for people who don’t want the powder to influence the flavor of the smoothie.

– Researched and written by Sean O’Brien, Dietetic Intern

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