The great thing about protein powder is that it can be useful for many different things. In this article we’re going to explore one of those uses, being included as part of a weight loss diet, in order to try and determine the best protein powder for weight loss.
Before we begin I’d like to ask you to open up the homepage of this site and take a quick look at the protein comparison matrix. Try to get familiar with the headings of the table, as they will be the main factors in our decision.
Why Protein Shakes for Weight Loss?
There are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to include protein powder in your weight loss diet, but let’s start with the nutrition aspect. Your body requires 2 nutrients to survive, protein and fat. Now more specifically you need essentially fatty acids (from fat) and essential amino acids (from protein). You must get these from your diet because your body has no way of creating them itself. Now protein powders in particular usually have almost all of the essential amino acids, which is great.
There’s actual another reason that I think is almost as important. When you lose weight, you are at a calorie deficit, in other words you’re burning more calories than you take in. In this catabolic state you can lose the weight from essentially 2 areas, stored fat, or protein from muscles. Obviously, we want to maximize the loss from our muscles and maximize fat lost.
The biggest factor in muscle loss is consumption of adequate protein, and it’s a mistake many dieters make. If your body doesn’t have adequate protein for maintaining and building muscles (among other things) it will use those for energy instead of letting them sit there deteriorating.
Factors in a Weight Loss Protein Powder
In order to decide which, the best product is, we need to have some way of comparing them. Using the matrix on the homepage we can look at the protein content and net carbs in each serving of each type of powder.
The first thing that you’ll notice is that the minimum protein content is 17 grams, and the maximum is 26 grams, so in any case you will be getting a very good amount of protein, making this essentially a non-factor in your weight loss with any protein shake.
Sorting by net carbs we see a more substantial difference, with some powders having up to 9 grams per serving! This results in extra calories that you will have to burn off, so instead let’s find a better option. On the low end of the spectrum, we have 4 good options that cover the 4 types of protein (whey, casein, soy and vegan) if you have any specific preferences. If you’re just using protein powder in general as part of your diet any type will do just fine. Feel free to play with the matrix if you have any other requirements or preferences (like taste or price) you need fulfilled.
- Casein Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein Protein
- Soy Protein Powder: Garden of Life Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein
- Whey Protein Powder: NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate
- Vegan Protein Powder: Now Foods, Sports, Pea Protein
All three of these are legitimate options to use in protein shakes for weight loss, it’s up to your personal preferences like we discussed earlier to pick your favorite.