Last Updated on August 24, 2023
Wondering what the best protein powder for weight loss is? You’re in the right place! I’ll be breaking down the different types of protein powders and their pros & cons so you’ll better understand all of your options.
There are a bajillion different protein powers and brands to choose from. With so many on the market, it can be confusing and downright difficult to determine which is right for you.
I mean… walk into any GNC or Google “best protein powder” and you’ll be inundated with dozens of options.
But before you whip out your credit card there are some things you should consider before investing in one. With all the info & tips I’ve packed into this post, you’ll easily be able to tell what the right protein powder is for you and your goals – and which ones you should avoid at all costs.
Speaking of goals, make sure you use my Protein Intake Calculator to find out how much protein you need to make your goals happen.
Protein shakes and smoothies made with protein powders are an easy way to make your protein intake happen… most people are not getting enough protein so Calculate your Intake here to find out how much you need. Warning it’ll probably be a lot higher than you thought it’d be… and protein powders are a great & easy way to hit your daily target.
What protein powder is best?
Different protein powders have their own unique set of benefits and potential complications. The best powder for you will have the most ‘pros’ and least ‘cons’ and will make it easier for you to reach your goals.
The type of protein powder you choose can determine:
- How long you’ll feel full after drinking it
- If you’ll have adverse side effects (hello bloat and gas!)
- How easily/quickly the protein will absorb into your body – so you actually absorb the protein
- If it will cause negative or positive reactions – will it trigger allergies, inflammation, or gut/liver issues or will it balance hormones and boost metabolism, immunity, and digestion?
It’s best to use a protein powder that digests slowly but absorbs quickly so you’ll be able to soak up the most benefits, prevent cravings, and experience the least amount of side effects.
All of this is determined by the protein’s digestion speed, source, allergenic properties, complexity, production process, and your personal sensitivities to the protein source (or added fillers/ingredients used during processing.)
When it comes to protein powders it’s best to take a few things into consideration… all of which determine when or if, you should consume it.
What to consider when choosing a protein powder:
The following factors must be considered when choosing the best protein (these factors are backed by science and necessary for results):
1) Speed of Digestion and absorption: Does the protein digest & absorb slowly or quickly? Remember we want slow digestion to regulate hunger but quick absorption, so you can soak up the benefits asap.
2) Source: Is the protein from a plant or animal? Is it organic and/or GMO-free?
3) Allergens: Does the protein contain allergens you may or may not know you’re allergic to? Things like dairy, gluten, soy, wheat, etc. can cause bloating, swelling, and sinus problems.
4) Complexity: Is it a complete or incomplete protein? The more complete a protein powder is, the better it is for your muscles and post-workout, recovery.
5) Production: Is the protein processed with synthetic, chemical additives, or is it non-toxic? Is it loaded with processed sugars, sugar alcohols, or fake fiber fillers? Does it have added colors or flavors? Is it made from food or is it man-made? (HINT: Sugars and sugar alcohols cause cravings and digestive distress and most of the worst powders are loaded with them.)
Use this chart to find the right protein powder for you!
Let’s break down the differences between Protein Powders, how to tell which powder is right for you, and when to use your powder for the best results.
Different Types of Protein Powders for Weight Loss
Casein and Whey
Milk is made of two proteins, casein, and whey. Whey protein can be separated from the casein in milk or formed as a by-product of cheese making.
When milk is processed to separate casein from protein it coagulates, turning into a thick, lumpy consistency, which is made of lactose (milk sugar), water, and loaded with minerals.
Remember the nursery rhyme Little Miss Muffet? She was sitting on her tuffet eating curds and whey…
Whey is a leftover by-product, which makes up 20% of the protein in milk, the other 80% is a protein called casein, which are the lumpy curds found in cottage cheese. Lil Miss Muffet was eating cottage cheese…
I hope she was eating organic, non-GMO cottage cheese because dairy that isn’t organic is loaded with hormones which can have a negative impact on your hormones, too.
It’s hard to find a clean whey protein. See the whey protein powder I recommend here.
Casein Protein Powder
Casein powders digest and absorb into the body slowly. Casein is a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. Casein powders are not hypoallergenic and have to be processed to become separated from the whey proteins in dairy. Casein is the main protein in milk and has high amounts of lactose (milk sugar).
Because it digests slowly and it’s full of hormones, antibiotics, and (usually) GMO fillers, it can cause abdominal discomfort, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, cramps, and/or the runs. That’s because casein has to be (heavily) processed to separate it from the other substances found in milk so that it can reach its powdered state.
I don’t recommend casein protein powders that aren’t GMO-free and organic. However… casein proteins are complete and slow digesting. They tend to be higher in natural sugars, which tend to taste better.
Because they’re complete and have high sugar content they make excellent breakfast meal replacements and pre-workout snacks… but that’s only if they’re organic and GMO-free.
I do not recommend casein powders because they don’t absorb quickly and it’s hard to find a good brand that isn’t processed like crazy. They can also cause cravings and GI distress. If you want a dairy-based complete protein I recommend using whey. I only included casein because I see SO MANY clients I work with using heavily processed casein powders that should be avoided.
Whey Protein Powder
Like casein, whey protein is considered a complete protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. But, whey protein is lower in lactose (milk sugar). Whey proteins digest quickly and absorb moderately.
Heavily processed whey proteins often time, have a lot of adverse side effects including upset stomach, cramps, constipation and/or diarrhea… again that’s typical because they’re packed with artificial sugars, preservatives, and made from genetically modified dairy.
When organic and GMO-free, whey protein powders make an excellent meal replacement or snack. They also tend to taste better even though they’re low in sugar, allowing them to be enjoyed at any time throughout the day.
I recommend whey protein powders as a default for those that are okay with animal proteins. They tend to be cheaper, are complete proteins, and have the most benefits compared to other types.
Whey protein shakes make an excellent evening snack. See the protein powders I recommend here.
Egg Protein Powders
Egg proteins digest moderately and absorb quickly. They aren’t hypoallergenic, but they are a complete protein. Egg proteins are available in egg and egg white forms. Make sure your egg-based protein powder is made from egg whites, in which the yolk is removed and the whites are dried and powdered.
Egg whites are one of the best sources of protein because their structure best matches human protein structure and provides a concentrated shot of essential amino acids.
Like whey, egg white proteins are low in sugar and can be enjoyed as a meal replacement or snack throughout the day. It’s hard to find organic egg powders that don’t also cause a lot of bloating. I prefer whey to egg.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea proteins digest and absorb quickly. They are hypoallergenic but not (but very, very close to a) complete protein. Pea proteins come from a plant source, making them vegetarian and vegan-friendly. They also absorb easily into the body delivering benefits (almost) instantly.
They contain fiber which will help you feel fuller longer and help digest other foods. Plus they have a naturally pleasant taste.
Pea protein powders are perfect for anyone, anytime throughout the day, BUT they typically don’t taste the best.
For tastier plant-based powders, I do recommend click here.
Rice Protein Powder
Rice proteins digest quickly and absorb moderately. They’re hypoallergenic but are not a complete protein. Rice protein can be made by extracting the proteins from both white and brown rice. White rice protein powders are high in simple carbohydrates (sugar).
Brown rice, is low in sugar, but high in complex carbohydrates. Both, typically have a neutral, bland taste. Because rice protein isn’t complete, it’s not the best choice as a meal replacement or post workout snack.
Plus, because of its bland taste, you’ll end up having to add things like fruit, peanut butter, and milk to add more flavor. Remember, combining fruit and/or dairy (simple carbohydrates) adds fat-storing sugars… if you add fats like peanut butter your otherwise healthy protein shake becomes a fat storage provoking, sugar bomb.
Rice can contain arsenic, a naturally occurring element that is present in soil and water. Arsenic can be absorbed by rice plants as they grow, particularly in areas with contaminated soil or water. In certain regions, rice crops can accumulate higher levels of arsenic compared to other crops.
The level of arsenic in rice can vary depending on factors such as the type of rice, growing conditions, and processing methods. Brown rice tends to have higher levels of arsenic than white rice because the outer bran layer that is removed during the processing of white rice contains more arsenic.
Long-term consumption of high levels of arsenic has been associated with potential health risks, including an increased risk of certain cancers and other health issues. However, it’s important to note that the risk depends on the amount of arsenic consumed and the duration of exposure.
Because of this, I don’t recommend rice powders.
I like algae powders a lot more than rice… keep reading.
Soy Protein Powder
Soy proteins digest and absorb moderately. They are a complete plant-sourced protein that isn’t hypoallergenic. A lot of people think that soy is bad for you.
That’s because soy has been found to cause disruptions in hormone function which can impact your metabolism and ability to lose weight… But, that’s because roughly 90% of all soy available in the United States is genetically modified. (GMO)
Please be aware that only GM (genetically modified) soy is bad for you. Organically grown, GMO-free Soy is a complete, plant-based protein that does your body a world of good.
Check the nutrition label to make sure your soy-based protein is organic and GMO-free. Soy protein is an excellent source of complete protein that is low in sugar.
Because it’s hard to find organic soy that tastes good, I don’t have a brand I’d recommend, nor would soy be my first choice for a protein powder.
Algae Protein Powder
Algae is one of the best superfoods in the world. Algae like spirulina or chlorella, are my favorite protein powders to use and recommend. Chlorella is my all-time favorite and one I recommend the most.
Chlorella is a blue-green micro-algae native to Taiwan and Japan. Chlorella’s unique preventive health and anti-aging benefits are due to their significant amounts of chlorophyll and Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF).
Chlorella is the world’s richest source of chlorophyll, which gives it its rich green color. Chlorophyll contains powerful properties proven to help accelerate detoxification, healing, and repairing of oxidative damage to cell membranes.
Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), is a nutrient unique to chlorella. This nutrient-rich extract is produced during photosynthesis within Chlorella pyrenoidosa algae. Chlorella grows fast. Chlorella Growth Factor, or CGF, is the reason why.
GCF contains nucleic acids DNA and RNA, which are responsible for cellular regeneration. It also accelerates the growth and development of cells in other organisms, like your muscles.
Chlorella Growth Factor offers many of the anti-aging benefits found in natural human growth hormones. CGF also helps repair nerve tissues throughout the body and is excellent for treating degenerative brain and nerve disorders.
Chlorella also helps regulate hormones, boosts the metabolism, improves circulation, and promotes higher levels of energy. It’s great as a meal replacement and post-workout. See the protein powders I recommend here.
The Best Protein Powder for Pre-Post Workout
The best protein powders: Digest and absorb slowly, so they’ll keep you feeling fuller longer when used as a meal replacement… but they quickly, so that your muscles can absorb the nutrients to recover from a weight training workout.
SLOW = MEAL REPLACEMENT
FAST = POST WORKOUT
The best protein powders will contain complete proteins that are both organic and GMO-free. This combination of traits is universally beneficial to virtually everybody on the planet.
Now that you know what the different sources are, I encourage you to choose the best protein powder for you.
Which powder do you think is best for you? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments.
Pin this post so you’ll have it forever. 🙂
If you liked this post, you’ll also like: