Protein powder is probably the most popular nutritional supplement. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle, repair tissue, and make enzymes and hormones.
Using protein powder may also aid weight loss and help tone muscles.
Protein is essential for muscle growth. Many athletes and gym enthusiasts consume protein shakes before or after training because they believe that these drinks help them bulk up after strength training.
A 2018 analysis of 49 studies supports the use of protein supplementation for this purpose.
The research suggests protein supplements significantly improve muscle size and strength in healthy adults who perform resistance exercise training, such as lifting weights.
As well as contributing to muscle growth, protein can help repair damaged muscles and tissues. As a result, athletes may use protein powder to speed up recovery from muscle soreness after exercise.
Protein can be added into most traditional meals with foods such as eggs, meat/lentils or by adding protein powder to oatmeal or to a smoothie.
Protein powder is a great option for vegetarians or vegans who find it hard to consume enough in their diet. But with so many great vegan protein powders on the market, it can be hard to know which product to choose.
We road-tested five different powers and came up with the following as our top 3:
Tastes like: Vanilla cake
Carbohydrates (sugars) (in 100g): 3.7g
This protein powder is made from organic protein from golden yellow peas, sprouted activated brown rice and the once-hidden secret of the Amazon, Sacha Inchi, a wholefood protein full of minerals.
Sweetened by nature and not by refined sugar, Lean Protein is flavoured by high-quality natural vanilla bean. The powder low in carbohydrates, low in sugar, and low in saturated fat making it your ideal if you are attempting to build lean muscle or watch your carb intake.
How I use it:
With this particular protein, I find it works best as an additive to other smoothies. I particularly like adding it to my homemade acai bowls as it gives them a subtle vanilla flavour and enables me to stay fuller for longer once I’ve eaten it.
While I have had the powder just by itself, I find it can be a little bit too sweet for my taste, so I prefer to have it with the berries and acai powder to balance out the flavour.
Tastes like: Mango Cheesecake dessert
Carbohydrates (sugars) (in 100g): 6.6g
Naked Harvest’s protein powders contain no hidden nasties and are packed with fibre, adaptogens, superfoods, and minerals for extra tummy love.
The blend contains magnesium, which can help improve muscle soreness, and maca powder which can support energy metabolism to help with endurance and stamina.
The idea behind this is that you don’t need to add extra ingredients or superfoods to the smoothie and can just drink it as it is. It’s that simple. No need to sprinkle your smoothie bowl with goji berries or chia seeds because all of their benefits are already in the powder.
How I use it:
Of the three flavours, Mango Cheesecake, Vanilla Shortbread and Peanut Butter Brownie, Mango Cheesecake is my favourite. It is the ultimate fruity summer flavour that’ll take your morning smoothies to the next level and is something just a little bit different to your traditional vanilla or chocolate protein powder.
Insider tip: While of course, you can just have it with water in a shaker bottle, I also like to add ½ – 1 frozen banana to make it extra thick and creamy.
Tastes like: Cookies and Cream Icecream
Carbohydrates (sugars) (in 100g): 0.03g
The JS Health X Nuzest protein powders are a great addition to any smoothie.
Both their flavours ‘Cookies and Cream’ and ‘Cinnamon Scroll’ contain probiotics and high-quality pea protein which means they won’t leave you feeling bloated.
This is one of the only protein powders I have tried that genuinely doesn’t leave me feeling bloated and consequently is my go-to for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.
How I use it:
My favourite flavour of the two is the cookies and cream – It literally tastes like a milkshake. I just blend ½ – 1 frozen banana with a serving of the protein powder and water and it creates the perfect thickness, making me feel like I’m having a sugary treat whilst still keeping me on track with my health and fitness goals.
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