Protein, what’s the big deal?

Protein powder has got a very confusing reputation.

Is it just for men and body builders?

Can I not just eat real food?

Will it burn fat?

Is it a ‘must do’ when dieting?

What kind? How much? When? 

I often get asked the best way to use protein powders, the how, what and why of adding them into your diet, so today I am going to share with you exactly that!

  • Why add protein shakes into your diet
  • What this will do for you
  • What it won’t do for you
  • Which brands I love

 

The most important thing you need to know is that protein is the most satiating macro nutrient. Therefore, between protein, carbohydrate and fat – protein will keep you full. It helps to reduce hunger, it does not affect your blood sugar levels in the same way carbohydrate and fat can – therefore it doesn’t cause energy lulls and the hormonal imbalance that can come along for the ride.

So now I’ve got the science out the way, let me address the practical nature of protein powders.

  • It’s a really easy way to add 20-40g of protein in one scoop!
  • There are so many flavors, that there is a flavor for everyone
  • They are easy to drink ‘on the go’
  • You can use protein powder in baking

 

I should point out that a few years ago I was a little bias about protein powders, I didn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t drink them, but it really is personal preference. It’s also important to understand what adding a protein powder or even eating more protein in any other source will actually do for your body or weight loss.

It will not burn more fat, nor will your body’s fat burning ability increase.

 Consuming more protein will not build muscle.

 Protein powders do not burn fat, nor does chicken, turkey or egg whites.

The only way to lose fat is a combination of two things:

  1. A calorie deficit
  2. A balanced metabolism

 

Protein contains 4kcal per gram, and the protein powders I mention later in this post all contain between 100 – 150 calories per scoop. Which in itself, is a fairly low calorie option even if you do 2 scoops, and as I mentioned, protein is filling therefore you will not be left feeling hungry after your meal.

Comparatively, a granola bar, dried fruit snack or even many protein snack bars do not offer this kind of satisfaction at a hormonal level. Even the the typical bars in the grocery store which are labelled “high protein” are often 10g or less per serving, and in addition to this they have added sugar. Sugary snacks will not keep you as full, and can often trigger cravings leaving you with a feeling of frustration.

Let’s say you add a protein shake as a snack in between meals – sure you’re adding 200-300 calories per day, but it is satiating, filling, satisfying – you will not be left feeling hungry, low energy or craving. The result of this is that you will naturally not be left feeling as hungry at your next meals. Your hunger hormones will be able to tell your brain “hey you, you’re not hungry”. What I’ve discovered from speaking with over one hundred women is that hunger is tangled up with our emotions and memories. The emotion of not feeling ‘full’ and what has led to binges and eating your emotions, coupled with the belief that you are supposed to feel hungry on a diet. It’s a constant push and pull of whether you should or even want to feel hungry.

I can answer this easily, no, if you are looking to lose fat – then I absolutely 100% do not want you to be hungry.

So whilst protein powders will not create a miraculous weight loss, and do not need to replace ‘real food’ – they can be added to your diet to enable you manage your hunger, energy and cravings which is how you balance your metabolism – which is the SECOND thing required for sustained for fat loss.

By now you should be starting to see how this works:

Fat Loss = Calorie Deficit + Balanced Metabolism

Protein = Low Calorie + Satiating

 

There are soooooo many brands and even types of protein powders on the market, my advice is to ensure you read the labels and look at the macros per scoop. Check how much protein, carbohyrdate [sugar/fibre] and fat you are getting per scoop.

You will find shakes which are specifically marketed towards women, now whilst I don’t buy into this marketing strategy, what I can tell you is that there are some protein powders which contain a lot of carbohydrate per scoop – I recommend avoiding these if you are adding protein powders with the purpose of losing fat.

More carbs, means more calories per scoop, plus the purpose of this post and as I have detailed above is to prevent hunger and cravings. Adding 30g ++ of carbohydrate will not have the desired effect.

 

So, lets get to the good stuff – exactly which brands and flavours I love!

I have linked each brand/flavour, I am in no way affiliated with these companies – feel free to locate the product elsewhere – this is just the company I use and like.

My favorite brands and flavours:

Trutein, by Body Nutrition

A mix of whey, casein and egg white protein, this powder is much finer than others that I have tried. I love this powder because the flavours are so accurate. The S’mores has mini marshmallows, and the red velvet has a distinct cream cheese flavour!

Average Macros Per Scoop are:

24g Protein

0.5g Fat

5g Carbs

* 2.5g fibre * 2g sugar = 2.5g Net Carbs

My favourite flavors are Chocolate Truffle, S’more and Pumpkin Pie.

Select, by PES

A whey and casein blend, mixes really well in a shaker. I have only tried the peanut butter cup flavour, I mean when something says ‘liquid reeses peanut butter cups’ I was there! Honestly, it’s good, but I’m not sure the flavour is as accurate as it could be.

Average Macros Per Scoop are:

23g Protein

1g Fat

4g Carbs

* <1g fibre * 3g sugar = 1g Net Carbs

If you love chocolate and peanut butter then try the Peanut Butter Cup

Hyrdolysed Collagen, by My Protein

I’ve only tried vanilla, but in comes in 3 flavours. This this is a great option if you cannot tolerate dairy, and do not like the flavor of vegan protein powders. Hydrolysed collagen is not vegetarian or vegan. Similar to Trutein this powder is very fine and mixes well in a shaker.

Average Macros Per Scoop are:

22g Protein

0.1g Fat

2.2g Carbs

* 2.1g sugar

 

Ve, by About Time [Vegan]

Comes in three flavours, vanilla, cinnamon and chocolate. I have only tried the chocolate, and if you do not enjoy the earthy taste of vegan powders I suggest buying regular flavours so you can you use ‘add ins’.

This protein powder contains no GMO, soy, gluten or dairy. It is made of pea protein, brown rice protein and pumpkin protein.

Average Macros Per Scoop are:

22g Protein

3g Fat

2g Carbs

* 0g sugar

 

 

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