Protein powders are just that… powdered forms of protein! They come in all different varieties (like whey, pea, rice) and flavours (like chocolate, vanilla, tropical). Protein powder can be a great supplement for people who cannot get enough protein in their day through their diet alone. But it is important to know that not EVERYONE needs it (as many of us do get enough in through our diet). It should also never be used as a sole source of nutrition as they are not nutritionally complete (i.e. they do not provide all of the essential nutrients we need). Instead, protein powder can be used to compliment a healthy balanced diet.
Here are some of the benefits of using a protein powder:
- To help meet protein requirements- particularly important if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, where protein targets can be more of a challenge to hit. Incorporating protein powders as a shake, into your smoothies or adding it to recipes (like pancakes) are all easy ways to sneak it in.
- They can be high quality ‘complete’ sources of protein, providing ALL of the essential amino acids. These are the ones you want to look out for!
- They fill you up- protein tends to be more filling than other nutrients. So, if you are trying to reduce your portion sizes or are always hungry, protein powder can keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- You can drink them, which is super convenient when on the run, after a gym session or if you don’t have the appetite for a meal.
- You can use them to boost the protein content of foods that aren’t typically high in protein, things like fruit smoothies, baked goods and cereals.
If you are falling short of your protein targets, or struggle with hunger throughout the day, a protein powder might be a good option for you.
Morell, P.; Fiszman, S. Revisiting the role of protein-induced satiation and satiety. Food Hydrocoll. 2017, 68, 199–210.