The Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss
Losing weight is a battle that requires as many allies as possible – and protein should be one of them. Whether it’s muscle repair, reducing hunger or burning fat, balancing our diet makes all the difference. Figuring out what’s the best protein powder for weight loss, though, may not seem that easy.
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Before going to the market, though, there are a few essential things to know. We’re going to have a look at the powder impact on health and how to use it correctly for maximum benefits. Also, we’ll check out the main tips to choosing the right protein powder and some honest reviews of our favorite choices!
What are the benefits of protein powder?
If you have specific weight loss goals in mind, not even organic foods may be enough to support your lifestyle needs. Although they’re obviously healthy, the composition of these ailments is strictly determined by nature. In other words, your breakfast eggs may still not meet your daily needs for protein!
That’s just one reason why you can count on protein powder as an ally. It’s flexible enough to be introduced to any diet, yet powerful enough to increase your protein intake.
Creating meals that favorize fat burn
When losing weight, insulin can either be your best friend or your worst enemy. The good side is that it helps muscles ‘open up’ and let amino acids and creatin in. Combined with proper exercise, protein triggers insulin production and helps develop muscle mass. (1)
The downside? Insulin can do the same for fat cells, thus making you gain unnecessary weight.
Luckily, research found that protein boosts insulin levels, therefore improving muscle gain. Getting a proper dose of whey post-workout increases insulin sensitivity in your body, thus allowing muscles to recover and grow quicker.
If you’re eating the right foods and add a supplement, your body will start focusing on gaining muscle and losing fat. (2)
Consuming the right foods is all about combining protein and fats the right way on a daily basis, while avoiding processed foods and unhealthy combinations. Here are the main options you can play with when preparing your meals:
- Protein: lean red meat, turkey, chicken (no skin), fish
- Fats: olive oil, almonds, low-fat cheese, peanut butter
- Fiber: vegetables, oranges, bananas, cocoa powder
Using calorie-counting the right way.
These days, the word ‘calorie’ is so popular that many people think it’s all that matters to lose weight. Before taking that statement for granted, remember that each of us is different and has different caloric needs. Those needs are defined by the metabolic rate.
The metabolic rate tells you how fast your body burns calories, which helps you figure out how many calories you actually need daily. The most precise way to find your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is with a practitioner’s help; until then, you can also use the Harris Benedict Equation:
- BMR Calculation for Women:
65 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) – (4.7 × age in years)
- BMR Calculation for Men:
66 + (6.23 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) – (6.76 × age in years)
The more often you work out, the more calories you need to support your active lifestyle. (3)
Basic activities such as walking the dog or climbing stairs can burn about 200 calories, while cleaning the house can burn a whopping 500 calories! Surprisingly, light jogging can burn almost 100 calories in just 15 minutes. Isn’t that worth it? (4)
Considering all this information, protein powder comes in handy to create the perfectly balanced dose for your lifestyle. Once you know the right amount you need according to your exercise level, using supplements to get healthier is a piece of cake.
The Controversy of Weight Loss vs. Weight Gain
When it comes to protein powder, everyone has one question:
“Isn’t this going to make me gain weight?”
The short answer is ‘no.’ This product comes as a flexible supplement to meet the physical needs corresponding to your weight loss goals. While protein spikes insulin levels, which favorizes both muscle growth and fat storage, actually gaining fat would take bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.
So the next question to address would be:
“If protein boosts muscle growth, will I become too bulky using protein powder?”
Again, the answer is ‘no.’ Becoming the early version of Arnold Schwarzenegger takes years of extreme training. Although protein does help your muscles develop, it can’t make them grow unless you work out accordingly. The level of workout you do determines how ‘bulky’ you will become. (5)
Is protein powder good for weight loss?
Protein powder is a great asset for anyone ready to improve their daily lifestyle: it’s easy to use and can be matched to every adult’s needs. In fact, a single tasty shake can offer 15-30 grams of pure protein and help you feel full and healthy.
But is it really that good?
Just like any other product on the market, powders have their pros and cons. Let’s check them out:
Protein powder won’t help you lose weight miraculously, but it will help you lose weight in a healthy way. When dropping those pounds (6), our bodies get rid of fat mass, which is great – but they also reduce muscle mass. A healthy product helps you lose more fat while promoting muscle mass growth.
Regardless of how you take it, protein is satious. This prevents giving in to unhealthy cravings and keeping your diet under control.
Furthermore, whey is a rich source of amino acids used by the body to make glutathione – a key ingredient for the anti-aging process. Glutathione is also a powerful antioxidant that keeps the body clean. (7)
It’s important to note that nothing is going to replace a diet rich in natural, healthy foods. After all, this supplement can only help you get more protein – not other things our body requires.
For those struggling with any sort of kidney problem, consuming a higher dose may make their symptoms worse. Even if you are healthy, make sure to dose up your daily intake accordingly. Protein may be healthy, but your body can’t process the excess quantity of anything correctly. (8)
How to choose protein powder for weight loss
We went through the impact of protein powder on weight loss, as well as its pros and cons. However, there are a few extra tips to keep in mind first!
Which protein suits you best?
The market is so full of options right now, you can get lost within seconds. These basic guidelines will make it easier to spot the right product for your needs.
Rule of thumb: Good protein powder is digested slowly, yet absorbed quickly. (9)
You want yours to be digested by the organism in time so it keeps your cravings at bay. However, your body also needs nutrients to recover after a workout, which is why it should also be quickly absorbed.
Look for complete proteins because they contain all the amino acids essential to your body. Also, search for GMO-free, organic options to avoid getting unnecessary chemicals into the system.
If you’re aware of any allergies or food intolerances, make sure to double-check the label. In case you’re vegetarian, no worries: there are just as many options based on plants too!
What to avoid
If a product is filled with sugar, consider it ruined. While tiny quantities won’t do much harm, it’s best to stay away from this ingredient. (10)
If your choice is plant-based, avoid carrageenan. As Orlando RDN Megan Ware explains, this ingredient derived from seaweed is ‘just a cheap filler.’
Noticed corn syrup on the label? That’s just another nice nickname for unnecessary sugar.
This video is a great resource to learn more about the main types of powders available and how to spot the right one for you:
What differentiates protein powders
When it comes to protein powder type, source and absorption make the difference. While all protein has its own benefits, you want to pick the most efficient one for your body.
With that in mind, let’s check out the types of protein powder and what sets them apart:
Casein. This is a complete protein of animal origin (milk) that contains every amino acid your body needs. It’s higher in lactose and slowly-digesting, which makes it a great meal replacement. (11)
Whey. Another animal-sourced option, whey is complete and low in lactose. Its benefit is that it’s quickly digested and moderately absorbed. Due to these qualities, it’s the most popular non-vegan choice.
Egg. Unlike casein and whey, egg protein is quickly absorbed and digested moderately. Powder made from egg whites is healthiest because their structure matches the human protein one; furthermore, it contains all amino acids needed.
Pea. Although it’s only almost complete, pea is quickly digested and absorbed. This choice is hypoallergenic and vegan-friendly, making it perfect for any time of the day.
Rice. This hypoallergenic protein is easily digested and moderately absorbed. Brown rice is a good choice for very active people because it’s high in complex carbs. However, this option isn’t complete.
Soy. Soy is a complete plant-based protein digested and absorbed moderately. Although organically-grown soy is good, genetically modified (GMO) options are pretty bad for you. Unfortunately, about 90% of the soy on the market is modified.
Algae. Finally, this superfood-sourced protein powder is complete and quickly absorbed. Chlorella is the richest source of chlorophyll, which gives it healing properties. It’s a great choice for meal replacements and after workouts.
What’s the Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss?
You’ve seen what protein powders are made of. You found the benefits they offer and how to use them for achieving your weight loss goals. You know their pros and cons and what makes a product lose its quality.
But one question still stands: what is the best protein powder for weight loss after all?
To help you save time and make the right decision, we found five of the most-wanted and best-rated products on the market. Let’s check them out and see what they really have to offer.
Leading an active lifestyle requires energy, strength and resistance. The Combat protein powder brings whey, casein and egg protein together to maximize their benefits. Therefore, the product is fast, moderate and slow to absorb simultaneously, offering your body fuel to build muscle, burn fat and recover quickly. As a plus, it also includes glutamine, a valuable amino acid in the process of muscle synthesis.
- Contains digestive enzymes to ease digestion and prevent bloating
- Scientifically tested for the use of banned substances
- 120 calories, which is low enough to support weight loss, yet high enough to give an energy boost
- Some customers claim that it doesn’t mix well with almond milk
- According to customers, the Cookies and Cream flavor may be a little too sweet for certain tastes
With only 2 grams of sugar per serving, BSN has enough to become a powerful ally in the weight-loss battle. Although the product works best when consumed after a workout, it can be taken any time of the day – especially if you have an active lifestyle. The 22 grams of protein per serving come in a wide range of flavors; this way, you can combine them with other ingredients or just plain water for an unforgettable taste.
- Fine texture that can be mixed quickly with any beverage
- Combines whey and casein for maximum growth and recovery support
- Works well as a meal replacement, as well as diet supplement
- Contains bits of sugar alcohol, which can make some people feel gassy after consuming the product
This choice offers 24 grams of pure whey protein at each serving, making it perfect for a post-workout shake or breakfast replacement. Each of the 20 natural flavors available has only 4 grams of sugar, which makes it fit for most daily diet requirements. Furthermore, the product is gluten-free and has zero trans fats (which are bad for your body).
- Each serving contains 10% calcium for quicker recovery
- 4 grams of quickly-absorbing glutamine to build up strength and resistance
- Smooth texture makes it easy to mix with any liquid
- Some customers claim that the upgraded formula has a different flavor than the old one
This option is proof that less is more – even when it comes to this domain. Although it has no more than two ingredients, the product has just what you really need to reach your goals. Made of pure protein and sunflower lecithin, this option gives you flexibility to combine it any way you like. It has zero sugar, it’s GMO-free and doesn’t contain any additives, which means there’s only one word to describe it: healthy.
- Sourced and packaged entirely in USA
- It’s flavorless and mixes very smooth, so it can be combined with any beverage
- Completely unsweetened and hormone-free
- Doesn’t have any induced flavors, so it should be mixed with something other than water
Yet another powerful choice, Legion Whey is natural enough to protect your body, while still meeting the daily needs of an active person. This gluten-free product contains zero sugar, as it only uses stevia and erythritol to sweeten the powder (both of which are healthy). Each of the natural flavors is made with milk from dairy farms that operate 100% naturally, so it’s not influenced by hormones or antibiotics.
- Pure whey protein with a fine texture that’s easy to mix with any beverage
- 60 days money-back guarantee regardless of flavor
- Removed lactose to make the digestion process easier
- The vanilla flavor may be a bit too sweet for certain tastes
Every product we mentioned is a good choice if you want to improve your diet and help your body lose unnecessary weight in a healthy way. Depending on your lifestyle and personal taste, each option brings its own benefits to the table. However, our favorite choice is the Legion Whey powder.
Using a little amount of sugar isn’t that harmful; but if there are options with no sugar at all, why not take advantage of them? The Legion Whey powder is sweetened only by stevia, which helps you lose weight while lowering blood pressure.
Because whey originates from milk, it’s important for the cows that make it to live a healthy life. Legion Whey gets its milk from dairy farms that avoid using antibiotics or hormones, thus making the product even healthier. Furthermore, although whey already is low in lactose, the ingredient is completely removed to avoid stomach discomfort.
Clearly, the popularity of this US-made product is only increased by the variety of flavors it offers. Therefore, you can either mix it with plain water or play with other ingredients such as fruit and milk (especially if you use it as a meal replacement).
To conclude, the Legion Whey protein powder packs up flavor, fine textures and high-quality content in a single product that helps anyone achieve their weight loss goals in a healthy way.