Pros & Cons of Protein Powders

16.2.2016 | 00:28

Dragon Dispatches from the Divine Dragon

How much protein do we need?

What are the best sources of protein?

Animal, vegetable or mineral….

It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel sometimes, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve read books touting the benefits of a vegan diet, and books suggesting we’re meant to be omnivores, carnivores, you name it.

Not only can’t they agree on the best ways to meet our protein needs, most of the time they can’t even agree on how much protein we need.

Food high in protein on table, close-up

Maybe that’s because the answer isn’t that simple.

As always, it’s a case of … wait for it … “That depends.”

Older people often need more protein, as do athletes and body-builders, but also pregnant women.

There is no “one size fits all” solution.

Some people recommend whey protein as the best version to optimize weight loss.

But others focus on how problematic dairy can be for many people.

How are we to decide what’s right for us?

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you’re probably going to have to figure it out for yourself….

That’s what I’m doing.

I followed a vegan diet for several years, and I loved it.

Vegan sources of protein. Vector EPS 10 hand drawn illustration

But it didn’t love me, and I found myself facing a multitude of health problems several months ago.

I tried to stick to my favorite plant protein powders – because I liked them!!

They don’t, however, like me….

I’ve tried more of them than I can count.  And some of them are damn good products.  (If you’re looking for a high-quality plant protein, I can recommend several.  I just can’t ingest them myself.)

You can even try something like spirulina, a chlorophyll- (and protein-) rich green “superfood.”

If that works for you, great!

Right now, I’ve gone back to whey.

Not just any whey, but a high-quality whey concentrate from grass-fed cows.

plastic measuring sccops of three protein powders (from left hemp seed, whey concentrate, whey isolate) on a grunge wood surface

So far, so good.

There are also various collagen protein powders on the market.

The advantages to these are that they are often flavorless, so whatever you choose to put in your smoothie – no clash of flavors.  (‘Cause sometimes you want the chocolate, but it just doesn’t play well with your other ingredients….)

When it comes to protein sources in general, again I think it has to be an individual decision.

I love beans, for instance, but my digestive system most emphatically does not.

I do fine with eggs, and other animal sources.

But some people choose not to eat animal protein – and that’s fine, so long as that choice isn’t harming their health.  (Something only you can decide.  It’s not a decision to be left to the “experts.”  They’re not living in your body.  You are.)

Beautiful athletic sporty woman sitting on yoga mat after some exercises drinks protein shake.

Man drinking a protein shake after a workout in the gym

Some people have health issues where a vegan diet is absolutely the best option for their health and well-being.

Others need animal products to feel their best.

Apparently I’m one of those….

I just want to tell you that, whichever diet you choose, it’s okay.

Just make sure you take the time to try the different options, and pay attention to your body.  It will let you know how much protein – and what type – is best for you.

Postscript from Debra: Some high-quality protein powders we’ve tried

Vegan

Non-Vegan

8 comments


  1. Brad
    February 16, 2016 | 7:41 pm
    Reply

    You address the bio-individuality of nutrition so well here. People need to not only know what’s good and what is a high quality brand but also what works for them. This is the key to making good gains with our health. I’m a whey fan but if I don’t have the right kind or brand it doesn’t sit as well.


    • daletchworth
      February 16, 2016 | 11:50 pm
      Reply

      Brad — It’s all individual, and Diane and I are focusing on that, rather than one particular dietary dogma or another. What’s important is what works for each of us. I’m very hesitant regarding some of the whey brands out there too. Thanks for the feedback — always thoughtful and always welcome. Debra


  2. Jace
    February 16, 2016 | 8:23 pm
    Reply

    Nice! You hit it pretty good with this one.

    I was a Vegan for 2 years. The first year I felt great. The second year was not so great. I learned that my body does better on animal products.

    I still make some vegan smoothies from time to time. Recently started using collagen as well.

    Cheers,
    Jace


    • daletchworth
      February 16, 2016 | 11:53 pm
      Reply

      Jace — Diane and I were raw vegans for a while a few years ago. It’s all a process, and the important thing is you were paying attention to what your body told you. (Ask me about the low-fat raw vegan version, what we refer to as the “psycho” diet, lol.) We’re also fine with vegan meals here and there, but the animal products definitely work better for us as well. If vegan works for other folks, though, rock on! Debra


  3. Catarina
    February 17, 2016 | 4:01 pm
    Reply

    Great points! I was vegetarian for a number of years, and while I felt great for the first year, eventually I had to include animal products.
    That’s where I learned that diets come with an “expiration date”, and so do our needs.

    Thanks for the protein powder list, it comes in handy!


    • daletchworth
      February 17, 2016 | 4:26 pm
      Reply

      Catarina — Thanks for commenting! You also raise a great point regarding our individual optimum diets — that they can have “expiration dates.” I’m glad you find the list helpful — I’m hoping to link back to this post in the future, whenever the topic of protein comes up again, because I’m sure it will. Debra


  4. Andrea
    February 17, 2016 | 8:27 pm
    Reply

    As usual great insight. I am not a huge fan of powders but use them sometimes. My preferred are hemp as a source of protein


    • daletchworth
      February 17, 2016 | 9:12 pm
      Reply

      Andrea — Thank you for the reminder about hemp! It’s an excellent option, one we’ve used it in the past, though not right now. I’ve added it to the list. 🙂 Debra

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