We’re going to start this article off with a completely true, bold statement – there isn’t any best protein powder for women.
Yep, you read that right. There isn’t a best protein for women.
Why? Because no single protein powder gets the job done for each and every woman out there. There is, however, a best protein powder for weight loss just for you. Not everyone – just you, depending on a few different factors.
But picking the right protein powder is never an easy task. What’s the best soy choice? What about the best casein protein? How about pea? What’s hemp? Should you go with soy? The questions can keep going. And going.
But, if you’re like a majority of the population, you want a protein powder that focuses on a few different things. First, it should be high protein and lower in fats and carbs, equaling out a good macronutrient profile. It needs to have minimal (if any) artificial ingredients, with a good taste and good mixing. There’s also no need to spend your entire life’s savings on this.
While this might seem like fairly easy criteria to meet, you’d be surprised – there actually aren’t that many options that meet all of these. But we’re going to help you find exactly what type of protein powder fits your body’s needs.
Let’s begin with tackling perhaps one of the biggest lies that is told to women regarding weight loss and protein powders.
The whole foundation behind marketing for health and fitness lies with one component. In order to have a huge sale of a product or service, all you need to do is tell your audience that your product/service is going to make them lose weight.
That’s it. Simple as that. And yet the most effective marketing technique. That’s why there are tons of weight loss pills, protein bars based around weight loss, weight loss protein powder and more.
But honestly, there isn’t any kind of magical food (supplement, workout drink, etc.) that is going to serve as a weight loss tool.
So What Kinds of Protein Should Women Look For?
Now with that in mind, there are certain kinds of foods that can help enable the weight loss process more than other foods. Which is why some foods are going to be a better choice for weight loss. And what this comes down to is how each calorie gets broken down into fat, carbs and protein.
What foods are going to be helpful for your weight loss goals are the ones that give you a ton of micronutrients. They will always be the foods lighter in calories, as well as added sugar and dietary fat.
When you spend your time focusing on these foods, you’re going to find yourself dealing less with hunger problems, meaning you aren’t going to be as likely to overeat.
This means foods like lean types of protein, such as chicken, fish, and lean beef, with a mix of egg whites, grains and veggies, barley, brown rice, oats, carrots, broccoli, green peas and beans, and white/sweet potatoes.
As for the foods you want to skip over, those are the ones that are higher in calories, rich in dietary fat and added sugar. Plus, these foods aren’t very satisfying so you won’t stay full for long. Yeah, we’re talking about the junk foods like cookies, chips, candy, and caloric drinks.
But there are seemingly healthy foods that do this too, like butter, oils and nuts. They have a ton of calories and dietary fat, yet don’t really fill you up.
So when it comes to protein powders, there are certain powders that are going to be good for weight loss, and there are going to be ones that are as pure protein as you’re able to get.
. Drinking calories is always a bad idea when your goal is to lose fat. The problem with beverages with calories (and we aren’t just talking sodas – we’re looking at your sports and energy drinks, too) is that they don’t offer any kind of satiety like food does.
In fact, you can chug a 1,000 calorie drink and still get hungry less than an hour later. However, if you eat 1,000 calories worth of food (with a good dose of fiber and protein) you are going to stay full for up to 6 hours.
And, according to a study done at Purdue University, those that drink calories are going to be a lot more likely to overeat than the ones who don’t. So that’s why sugary beverages and weight gain go hand in hand.
Now that we’ve set up the back info, let’s take a look at the most popular kind of protein supplement – Whey protein. With this specific kind of protein, you’re going to get a lot of protein for your dollar. Plus, it tastes good. But what exactly is whey? Well is the byproduct left over from cheese production. This semi-clear liquid comes from curdling and straining milk.
While it used to just get tossed in the trash, luckily it was discovered that this leftover liquid is actually a complete protein. Once they took a closer look into it, they discovered that it was extremely high in leucine, which is an amino acid that plays a large role in instating protein synthesis.
Is Whey Protein Good For Women?
Whey protein can be ingested at any time, but it’s most effective after a workout, because it’s digested so quickly. This causes a big increase in amino acids in the blood, resulting in more immediate muscle growth.
So needless to say, whey protein is a good protein powder for both women and men.
However, it’s worth mentioning that even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you can be allergic to the proteins that are found within the milk from the cow. That’s why some people don’t do as well as refined forms of whey, which have had all the lactose from it removed. If you find your stomach is getting upset, switch to a non-dairy protein, like a rice and pea blend or an egg protein.
Next is the whole scoop on casein protein. Much like whey proteins, casein supplements are pretty popular nowadays. Another similarity it has with whey is that it’s also a protein that can be found in milk. In fact, as milk coagulates and curds begin to form, casein is created.
However, that’s where most of the similarities come to a halt. Casein protein is digested a lot slower than whey is. So while there is going to be a smaller increase within the amino acids found in our blood, it’s going to be a steadier, more consistent release over the course of numerous hours.
Now, because of these big differences, there is a continual argument going on regarding casein and whey supplementing. Basically, each side believes their protein is better for building muscle. But even the most reputable of professionals agree on a few things regarding this topic.
First, because of how quickly it digests and the high levels of leucine, 30 to 40 grams of whey is likely your best bet for a post-workout supplement.
Secondly, because of how slowly it releases amino acids, casein is always a good choice for a protein supplement. Though there isn’t a clear answer on whether or not it is as good as whey for protein as a post-workout nutrition (everyone is still trying to agree on this one), there is a serious amount of evidence that shows, in terms of protein powders, a slower-burning protein is the best choice out of all to build muscles.
Finally, if you have casein protein before you go to sleep for the night, it is going to help with muscle recovery.
Next is egg protein, which some people don’t even know exist. But yes, egg protein can be bought in powder form, and it’s actually a fantastic source of protein.
There are three pretty big benefits to egg protein.
The first is that it has a high biological value. What this means – this is the measurement that weighs how successfully your body is able to utilize different kinds of proteins. Egg’s score pretty high on this list. When you take a look at various animal research, egg protein is close to whey when it comes to stimulating muscle growth.
Plus, egg protein is digested even slower then casein is.
As we covered before, this is going to mean the release of amino acids into your blood is a lot longer and can help with muscle growth as a whole.
And, as a third benefit, egg protein has very little fat and carbs. Because it’s made completely from egg white, any fat or carb that’s added is going to be for texture and/or taste. So basically, it’s a good choice all around.
As for soy protein, it’s not as good of news. Though there is some research that shows it’s a good source of protein when it comes to building muscle, it is also surrounded by some doubts and controversy, especially when it comes to men taking it.
There has been some recent research that shows regularly eating soy foods can cause feminizing effects in men. Why? Because soybeans has estrogen-like molecules, called isoflavones, that cause this.
Are There Studies On How Protein Effects Women?
Harvard decided to look into this, and their results were pretty shocking. They looked at the semen from 99 men, comparing it against their soy (and therefore, isoflavone) intake over the course of 3 months.
They found that isoflavone and soy intake were connected to a big reduction in sperm count. How much? Well, men who had the highest intake of soy foods had an average of 41 million sperm/ml less than the men who had no soy.
Kind of scary right? The answer isn’t that simple though – there are still other studies that show soy has no effect on sperm. The jury is still out on this one.
As for women, research shows that soy is a lot less likely to impact your hormones. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things to consider. In fact, soy protein has substances that can hinder protein molecules from being digested and also has several well-known allergens in it.
But on the flipside, there is also some evidence that soy can have special advantages for women, like cutting back on heart disease and breast cancer, while other studies prove this wrong.
Needless to say, it’s hard to find your footing for this one. But as a safe rule of thumb, go with this – if you want to supplement with a protein powder numerous times every day, don’t go with soy.
The bottom line –make good and well-educated choices for what protein powder fits your lifestyle best.
There isn’t one specific protein powder that’s going to be better for weight loss, so stick with the supplement that has less fat and carbs to boost your results. Whey protein is always a good choice for an after-workout supplement, while whey, casein and egg are good as general supplements. For long-term muscle growth, go for casein and egg, since they release the amino acids slower and for longer periods of time.
And, before you head off to bed, stick with the slower-digesting proteins (casein and egg). Or, if you’d rather, you can eat some low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or just eggs before you go to sleep.
And because the jury is still out for soy protein, it might be in your best interest to skip over this one, especially because of the alarming health hazards that seem to come along with it.
Experiment with a few different choices to see what works best for you. It might take some trial and error, but there is a protein powder that’s out there for you, including several different plant-based proteins.