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Protein food vs Protein Powder: How Do They Compare?

Ever wonder what is REALLY in your protein powder and how it compares to the protein in the food you are eating? Today, we are going to provide YOU with answers to all these burning questions🔥

Let’s refresh from our end of March post on fueling for performance: protein is important in ANY lifestyle, whether a person is mainly sedentary or competes in Ironmans 🏊‍♀️🚴‍♀️🏃‍♀️You must ask yourself: can you achieve your protein needs without even having to reach for a supplement?

If not, you are not alone. There are some major considerations to keep in mind to better understand the benefits and downsides of supplemental protein. Protein makes for a quick and convenient replenishment source between meals or after a workout. It is often sweetened to mimic sweet treats🍰, making it an alternative to savory protein sources naturally occurring in food🥩🍳.

However, it comes with downsides👎. These added flavors can oftentimes turn protein powders into drinks chock full of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Talk about indigestion for many people with more sensitive guts 😳! There is rising popularity in natural sweeteners outside of cane sugar. It is also important to consider the degree of your protein brand’s regulation, as protein powder is a supplement and is NOT regulated in the same way as food!

For protein sources from the food we eat, there are naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals, and even fiber in the plant-based options🥜. Although it is less convenient, it is often more cost-effective and provides more satiation than the powdered supplement.

Protein powder regulations:

When narrowing down protein powder options to your liking, it is essential to consider the regulations of each brand to choose the best product. Because protein powders are not regulated like food, be on the lookout for third-party tested verifications to make sure your protein powder not only contains the ingredients that it says on the label and in the amount that it says, but to ensure that there is nothing unsafe mixed into the product as well. This verification means that the protein powder was tested by a company not involved in the production or sale of the product. Instead, it instead serves the purpose to ensure accuracy of the label, safety of product, and that there are no banned substances in the product.

A 3rd party verification example includes NSF Certified for Sport, which verifies that the product that has this stamp contains an accurate label and is free of substances banned from the NCAA.

Main sources for protein powders:

Milk: whey, casein

Egg whites

Plants: pea, soy, brown rice, nuts, seeds

***brown rice, nuts, and seeds are NOT complete proteins

Dietary preferences and what to watch for:

For those with dietary restrictions and/or wanting more information on what to watch for on a protein powder nutrition label, stay tuned for Thursday’s post where Dietitian Christina covers these topics!

To book a FREE 15-minute coaching call 📞 and determine how we can best support YOUR nutrition journey, visit:

Until next time,

Your Fuel Good RD Experts 🍍

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