The first thing most people do after deciding they want to lose weight or get in better shape is come up with a plan. This may include a strict diet, a gym membership, or a home workout regimen. The second thing many people do? Buy some protein powder. In our article, we’ll show you 9 versatile choices on how to lose weight with protein powder.
Even if you don’t know exactly what protein powder does, or how it works, you probably know what it is. If you haven’t used it yourself, you’ve probably seen the signature big plastic containers on a shelf in a friend’s apartment or the corner of a college dorm room.
Protein powder is a huge part of fitness culture, and we’re here to answer some questions and give you a few tips. Can you lose weight with protein powder? Which protein powder should I buy? Read on to find out.
Can You Lose Weight with Protein Powder?
Let’s cut to the chase. Can you lose weight with protein powder? The answer is yes!
While protein powder is not a miracle weight-loss drug, it can be a powerful ally in your weight loss journey. There are a number of ways (wheys!) in which protein powder helps you transform your body into what you’d like it to be.
First, protein powder may help decrease your appetite by affecting “hunger hormones” such as ghrelin. Ghrelin is responsible for stimulating your appetite and promoting fat storage; two activities which are necessary to the human body, but not always ideal for losing weight. Thankfully, adding more protein into your diet will lower ghrelin levels, therefore decreasing your appetite in a perfectly natural way.
Second, when paired with a proper workout routine, protein powder can help you burn fat and build muscle. While protein powder is not directly responsible for weight loss in this scenario, it is a valuable counterpart to a good workout. In the simplest of terms, protein feeds your muscles, helping them grow as well as maintain their mass. When you feed your muscles with protein after working out; you encourage even more growth, creating stronger muscles that help you burn even more calories the next time you hit the gym. In this sense, protein is less of a “be all end all” and more of a valuable part of an exercise routine.
Finally, and most directly, protein powder can serve as a meal replacement, helping you cut down on calories. You can mix your protein powder with water, thus creating a tasty protein shake you can have for breakfast or lunch. Because the shakes will be high-protein and do their job of suppressing your ghrelin hormones; you will likely stay full for a long time and avoid all those snack cravings. While you may find yourself wanting to incorporate fruit or other additives into your protein shakes, be careful as that can add unwanted calories and defeat the purpose of meal replacement.
Whey Protein Vs. Plant Protein
Those who decide to lose weight with protein powder are faced right away with thousands of brands, flavors, and types to choose from. One of the first things you may notice when shopping for protein powder is that many products are labeled as whey protein while others are labeled as plant protein. So, what’s the difference?
The difference between whey and plant protein is in the source of the protein itself. Whey itself is one of the proteins found in milk, along with casein. Whey was originally separated from casein as a by-product during the making of cheese. In fact, early cheesemakers discarded whey entirely, thinking of it as useless. It was only later that the value of whey was determined, and the product was incorporated into protein powder.
Plant protein powder comes from a wider variety of sources, and different brands may create their products using different formulas and blends. Rice, hemp, soy, peas, and other legumes are common ingredients in plant protein powder.
Whey Protein or Plant Protein – Which is Better?
While it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting a good amount of protein per serving, whey protein tends to be the most nutritious in general. This is thanks to the fact that whey protein typically includes essential amino acids that aren’t usually present in plant protein.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. While many are created within the body, nine essential amino acids must be obtained from outside sources. A “complete protein” includes all nine amino acids and these tend to be animal products. This is why the dairy-sourced whey protein contains all nine essential amino and can be considered a complete protein.
Unfortunately, as whey protein is sourced from dairy, it’s not suitable for those who maintain a vegan or plant-based lifestyle. That’s where plant protein comes in. While most plant proteins do not contain the essential amino acids, they offer a good source of protein for those avoiding animal products. Some protein powders do contain soy, which is a vegan-friendly complete protein, but the ingestion of too much soy must be monitored due to its own potential effects on health.
Which Protein Powder Should I Buy?
Which protein powder you should buy is up to you. If you’re a vegan or have any dairy allergies, you may want to take a look at plant proteins. If you’re fine with dairy and want the most nutritious possible product, whey protein may be a good bet. Thankfully, you can lose weight with protein powder whether it’s made of whey or plant protein. Regardless of your lifestyle, we’re here to offer some suggestions as to which brands and products you may want to try.
Optimum Nutrition offers a great line of Gold Standard 100% whey protein. This 5 lb. container is full of WPIs – whey protein isolates – which are guaranteed to be 90% protein or higher and contain less lactose and fat than non-isolate proteins.
This product also comes in a number of flavors – Double Rich Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, and French Vanilla Crème – so one is sure to suit your taste.
Optimum Nutrition also claims this product is created for easy mixing without the need for special equipment. According to the product description, this whey protein can be easily missed into a shake using a simple shaker cup, or even a spoon.
Garden of Life’s Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein is a good bet for those aiming for a plant-based diet. Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein advertises the inclusion of antioxidants and probiotics, which may be helpful for those on plant-based diets and those who want to lose weight with protein powder as a meal replacement. This powder is sold in 1 lb. containers and can be bought in either chocolate or vanilla.
If you are solely interested in plant-based protein powders; check our article named “Best Plant Based Protein Powder that Makes You Healthy“.
Onnit’s Plant-Based Protein boasts a staggering number of benefits. Right out of the gate, Onnit advertises their product as having all nine essential amino acids in addition to being dairy, gluten, and soy-free. Onnit accomplishes this with a signature blend of proteins including those from peas, watermelon seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Onnit also provides helpful a comparison between their plant and whey-based products, which notably shows that their plant-based protein contains fewer calories and less fat than their whey-based protein.
While two pounds of plant protein may be purchased for about $65; Onnit also offers a subscription model which gives customers with commitment a 15% discount. This plant-based protein can be purchased in either chocolate or vanilla flavor.
Despite lacking all nine essential amino acids; Orgain’s Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder is an affordable option for those who want to lose weight with protein powder on a budget.
This may be a great product for those looking to try out plant-based protein powder and discover the habits that work for them. Orgain’s Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder may be helpful for those who want to try using protein powder in shakes, or even in the baking of muffins or cookies, without breaking the bank. Available flavors are Peanut Butter or Chocolate & Peanut Butter.
Naked Whey offers customers a simple, but effective three-ingredient protein blend. This powder is composed entirely of whey protein and coconut sugar, with a third ingredient dependent on the flavor. The chocolate flavor features raw cacao, strawberry features dried strawberries, and vanilla features, well… vanilla!
For those who want to get right to business; Naked Whey also offers an unflavored variant composed solely of whey protein. Naked Whey boasts 25 grams of protein per serving, which is higher than many other brands on the market. In addition, their whey is derived from milk from grass-fed cows to ensure it’s of the highest quality.
Pure Protein’s Whey Protein Powder also boasts 25 grams of protein per serving. It also contains only two grams of sugar, which is lower than some other products on the market. This is a solid, straightforward product that comes in two flavors – Vanilla Cream and Rich Chocolate. While the Rich Chocolate flavor contains ten more calories and one more gram of sugar than the Vanilla Cream flavor; it’s still a great choice for those who want to lose weight with protein powder.
Foxy Fit Protein for Her is the only protein powder on this list created specifically for women. In addition to 20 grams of protein per serving; Foxy Fit boasts the addition of conjugated linoleic acid to help in burning fat and biotin to strengthen hair, skin, and nails. It also comes in a nice variety of flavors – Caramel Mocha, Vanilla Cupcake, and Double Chocolate.
Ladder Plant Protein is another plant protein that promises all nine essential amino acids. As with many similar plant-based products, this comes with a slightly higher price which may be worth it depending on your wants and needs.
Ladder Plant Protein is made of a blend of pea protein, pumpkin protein, and probiotics, and provides a nice 21 grams of protein per serving. Both the vanilla and chocolate flavors also contain only two grams of sugar and 130 calories; which makes this a great, healthy option for those on a plant-based diet.
Finally, we have BSN Isoburn. BSN Isoburn is a whey isolate-based protein powder that provides 20 grams of protein per serving. In addition, it comes in a variety of flavors including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.
While it does contain added ingredients such as processed sunflower powder and artificial flavoring; BSN Isoburn boasts low sugar, carb, and calories. It also includes green coffee extract, which is a known antioxidant and happens to be caffeine-free.
All protein powders have their pros and cons, and it’s up to you to determine which one best suits your habits and lifestyle;
- If you want to lose weight with protein powder on a vegan diet, and you need a little extra protein in your diet; you may want to make sure your plant-based protein powder includes the essential amino acids.
- Or, if you want to avoid added flavoring or ingredients; look for an isolate or as pure of a product as possible.
- Finally, if you’re just starting out and want to get something inexpensive to make sure you really want to incorporate protein powder into your lifestyle; the price may be the most important factor.
Hopefully, this article will help you make an informed decision based on the factors most important to you.
If you want to make your weight loss journey a guaranteed success, check this article called; “7 Best Supplements for Fiber that Will Make You Slimmer“.
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Shape Utopia thanks John Danoff for writing this article.