We live in a go-go world these days. Running around and barely taking the time to eat proper meals. This is affecting our health as we need good fuel for good energy. Many people don’t equate the little symptoms they are experiencing with malnutrition. I know this sounds extreme in North America but after 45 years of seeing clients, I have witnessed this many times.
Last month, I wrote about the importance of protein (amino acids) for your health. In this blog I am going to weigh the options you have for a very fast breakfast using a protein powder. Protein powder is an easy way to get the protein you need but you want the right one. Remember I said protein is “of first importance”. The ‘building blocks’ or ‘bricks’ necessary to maintain, build, repair and heal all cells, tissues, organs, hormones, etc. So it is a great way to start your day.
First you want to figure out your protein needs. For weight in pounds just take your weight and divide by two. For kilograms, you need about one gram of protein each day for every kilogram you weigh. Then you want to start looking at labels. Check the label to be sure the product contains at least 14 grams of protein and is low in fat and sugar.
Also the protein quality has to be considered. With protein powders, you need to consider its amino acid composition. The PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acids Score) is an important factor to consider when looking for a good protein powder. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) adopted this evaluation as “the preferred best” method to determine protein quality. Number 1 in PDCAAS means it digests well. Another criteria is the Protein Efficiency Ratio. The nutritive value of protein is determined by the degree to which the protein’s amino acid profile matches the body’s amino acid needs called PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio), the better the match, the higher the value. You may need to do some research into the brand of protein you are considering. That’s what I did to find the protein powder with the highest possible rating (better than milk).
There are different kinds of protein powders to consider, the plant sourced like rice, pea, hemp and soy and the animal sourced like casein, whey and egg. Vegetable protein is easier on the kidneys than animal protein. The different physical and/or chemical properties within the various types of protein may affect the rate of protein digestion. Generally speaking the plant based amino acid availability is higher than the animal sourced protein powders because of the various protein metabolic responses.
The other characteristic to consider is the effect on the glycemic index (the effect food has on blood sugar). You want a protein powder that produces an even flow of energy because it has a low glycemic index. So watch the rice, pea and hemp proteins to see if you feel hungry after ingesting them. That is a sign that those types of protein have a negative impact on your glycemic index.
In terms of the animal proteins, make sure that you investigate the animal source and quality, the health of the animal, feed quality (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.), use of antibiotics, drugs, hormones, etc. Research to make sure your whey protein supply is from New Zealand as that is the best source of whey. Also consider if you are lactose intolerant, you may want to seek a vegetarian protein powder.
Lastly when it comes to a soy protein powder, make sure the soy is non GMO (a genetically engineered organism) and also make sure it is water washed. Most of the soy in the marketplace is solvent washed which destroys the nutrient value and creates a toxic substance and that is what gives soy a bad name.
So do your research and you will find the best protein powder that will give you that fast breakfast and that great fuel for a great energetic day.