In the last 20 years, there has been an exponential increase in protein powder sales. In the next few years, the sports nutrition business is expected to cross $81.5 billion and protein powders make up a substantial part of this. While it’s a popular nutrition option touted for its convenience and nutrient density, many in the health field aren’t sold on its advertised health benefits. In this article, we answer 4 important questions about protein to help you make an informed decision.
What is protein powder?
Simply put, protein powder is a protein in powder form. Animal forms of protein include whey, collagen, egg, and bone broth varieties. Plant-based forms of protein are hemp, pea, soy, and rice. The process of isolating a protein in order to create a powder is an involved process that often involves heat or enzymes to do so.
A protein concentrate often still has carbohydrates and fat included, while a protein isolate is essentially an ‘isolated’ version of that protein. Protein hydrolysate powders are ‘pre-digested’ powders that utilize heat or enzymes to make the protein more absorbable.
If you’ve gone into any sports nutrition or health food store, you’ll likely see a whole aisle dedicated to these proteins, and in a multitude of flavors to make them more palatable.
Why do I need protein?
Generally speaking, protein is an essential macronutrient. Every single human cell consists of protein. It is important for cellular repair and to oxygenate blood. Additionally, protein assists in hormone regulation, muscle development (including the heart), and digestion. Without it, many bodily systems would fail.
Is protein powder healthy?
The answer is, it depends. Not all protein powders are created equal. That being said, most protein powders on the market contain a host of other ingredients, including added sugar, chemical flavoring, anti-caking agents, and more. Because they are considered a supplement, the FDA does not regulate it. For some companies this can mean faulty labeling and low quality ingredients.
Many varieties on the market may cause digestive distress (many people report an increase in flatulence and abdominal bloating.), and in extreme cases kidney issues. However, one study found those suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) benefited from consuming plant-based protein rather. than animal-based protein. In fact, plant-based protein powder contains more fiber and antioxidants.
It is well-known that a plant-based diet is the most beneficial diet overall. A plant-based protein powder would therefore be the optimal choice if you’re looking to include more protein or a convenient, yet beneficial source of protein into your diet.
What should I choose?
There are a plethora of plant-based proteins on the market. However, one stands out above the rest; hemp protein.
Hemp protein powder is made from grinding hemp seeds into a powder. It doesn’t get simpler than that! It is considered a lean protein source and is abundant in all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. In fact, one source found that it has a similar protein profile to egg whites.
Hemp protein is also one of the most digestible plant proteins out there. Many plant proteins are more difficult to digest than animal based proteins. The protein in hemp, on the other hand, is 98% digestible. Additionally, they are rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and copper to name a few minerals. It is also rich in lignanamides, a strong antioxidant.
If you’re seeking a good quality protein powder, hemp is our favorite, and our suggested protein powder source. It will give your smoothies more substance and boost its nutrient value. Our customers report feeling satiated and more energy when they switched to hemp.
If you’re interested in purchasing, or learning more about hemp, click here.