Protein powders shouldn't be an everyday addition to your NutriBlast - many of them contain a crazy number of preservatives, chemicals and other unnatural ingredients that do nothing for your body. However, when in need of a convenient protein boost, there are a variety of powders from which to choose.
My top choice is always a high quality, plant-based protein powder, which is easier to digest and assimilates more easily in the body.
The best plant-based protein I've encountered is the NutriBullet Organic Pea Protein Blend, which tastes great and serves as the perfect all natural protein source. Derived from sustainably sourced peas, sacha inchi, quinoa, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds, this 100 percent organic plant-based protein blend contains 11 grams of protein and only 50 calories per serving.
Though plant-based is recommended, (because it's easier to digest and assimilate more easily in the body,) for a post-workout Blast, some research shows that grass-fed, organic whey protein powder is ideal for muscle protein synthesis due to its rapid absorption and amino acid profile. Be careful, though, as whey is a byproduct of dairy, which could be difficult to digest or possibly spark an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to these proteins.
A protein powder should be minimally processed without added chemicals and/or refined sugars, provide a good balance of protein, taste good, and lend a smooth texture.
- Hemp - Provides a great balance of amino acids and undergoes lower levels of processing than other proteins to become a powder. Some say it's the easiest to digest, however, the taste may be difficult to get used to and the fiber lends a grittier mouth feel.
- Pea - Usually mixed with rice protein for a complete amino acid profile, pea protein is on the less expensive price point, but may leave a distinct aftertaste.
- Brown rice - Rice is first sprouted to boost protein levels. It's then processed into a fine powder that is usually easier to dissolve into a liquid. It's usually mixed with a pea protein to provide a complete amino acid profile. Hypoallergenic.
- Soy - With about 93% of the US soy crops being genetically modified, it's important to choose an organic soy protein. In addition, soy is highly processed to become a powder and has been shown to cause gas or indigestion for some folks. Research is still out on the benefits/risks associated with soy protein found in concentrated or isolated forms.
- Whey - This milk byproduct has been shown to assimilate into the muscle very quickly post-workout and contains high amounts of leucine, an amino acid particularly important for muscle growth and repair. However, those looking to avoid animal-based protein, those who are sensitive to dairy, or those who are lactose-intolerant should choose another option.
- Blends - Some companies blend a few different proteins together along with other super foods, digestive enzymes and probiotics for a more unique product. Additional sources of protein you may see included are quinoa, amaranth, artichoke, Brazil nut, sacha inchi, alfalfa, or cranberry seed protein powders.
A sampling of brands available online or at a local health food store:
See how some of them stack up.
How does your favorite compare?
*Prices were determined using the manufacturer’s website or an average of online sources on the date of publication of this article.