There are a large variety of protein powders on the market, and learning which one is best for you can definitely be confusing. Whether you’re lifting weights in the gym and trying to build muscle, or following a plant based diet and struggling to eat enough protein, you have most likely heard of or considered supplementing with a protein powder at one point. Read on for a breakdown of three of the most common protein powders: whey, hemp and pea.
Whey protein is probably the most well known of the three. It is an animal based protein powder derived from milk and typically contains anywhere from 15-25 grams of protein per scoop. Whey protein, in combination with consistent weight training, is a great aid in muscle growth. It is widely available on the market and can be easily found in supermarkets and health stores in a variety of flavors. However, whey is a dairy product and can occasionally cause stomach upset in those sensitive to dairy. Additionally, most individuals already get enough protein from animal products in their diet and we challenge you to therefore consume more plant-based sources of protein instead! Whey protein may also exacerbate acne or skin issues.
If that sounds like you, you would benefit more from a plant protein which is what we generally recommend here at Nourished Routes – continue reading on!
Hemp protein is a complete protein source derived from the hemp plant. It contains all nine essential amino acids making it an excellent protein source for those looking for a plant based option. It has been found to be well tolerated and easily digestible making it a better option for those with a sensitive stomach. Another pro of hemp protein is that both hemp seeds and hemp powder are a good source of heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids which you will not find in whey or pea protein powder!
Pea protein is another popular plant protein option made from yellow peas. Like hemp protein, it is a complete protein and a great supplement to a vegan diet. Pea protein also offers the added benefit of being a good source of iron with around 5-7.5mg of iron per serving. While pea protein has a great nutrition label, the taste of pea protein is often more noticeable than that of whey or hemp. If you choose to opt for pea protein make sure to read the reviews on the taste and pick a flavor you enjoy!
Overall, which protein you pick depends mostly on your general preference and dietary habits. When possible, it is always best to get most of your protein in from whole foods and turn to powders occasionally when needed. If you do purchase protein powder, we recommend mixing protein powder into a fruit smoothie for a filling and refreshing snack! If you’re open to a plant-based protein powder, we recommend trying this one. You can also use code NOURISHEDROUTES for some $$ off!
This article was written by Lindsey Moser, nutrition intern. Fact checked by Allison Tallman RD.