POWER UPs – Protein

Hello, Healthy!

Protein Supplements, What to Look for and Why

Whether you’ve been using protein supplements forever or are just starting to consider trying them out, it’s important to know what to look for when you turn the canister over and check out the ingredients and nutrition facts.  There are hundreds of thousands of protein supplements on the market, and as a supplement, there is no regulation by the FDA of what goes into them.  That means it’s up to you to make an informed decision! 

First and foremost, you need to decide what type of protein is best for you.  Most protein supplements are made from whey or casein, which are proteins that come from milk, so if you have problems with dairy, you’ll want to rule any of those out first.  However, there are plenty of plant-based vegan proteins available as well, so you definitely still have good options if you need to avoid dairy.  Both options available here. 

The next thing to look at is flavor ingredients.  Most protein supplements are sweetened to improve the taste.  If sugar is used, you’ll want to see how much sugar is added per serving and account for those extra calories in your overall calorie intake for the day.  Many protein supplements on the market use artificial sweeteners such as sucralose to keep the calorie count lower, but studies are finding these types of artificial sweeteners may be much more harmful to your health than previously thought and should only be used in moderation, if at all.  Another option found in protein supplements is stevia, a natural, plant-based sweetener that is calorie free.  If you haven’t tasted it before, it can take a bit to get accustomed to the flavor, but it’s a good choice for avoiding sugar as well as artificial sweeteners.  There are some who do not tolerate stevia well, so if that is the case for you, sugar is the next best choice in my opinion.

After you’ve determined the protein type and flavoring ingredients that work best for you, you need to check out other ingredients. Some proteins include vitamins, which sounds great, but you want to be careful that you aren’t getting too much of anything.  If you take other vitamin supplements, you need to account for what you’re getting through those, as well as what you get from your normal diet, before adding more.  Some protein supplements also contain fillers and thickeners which can cause problems as well.  So, with all that said, you’ll want to choose a protein from a company you can trust to tell you the truth about what they put in their supplements.  With all supplements, if it sounds too good to be true, take the time to learn more about it before you put it in your body!

With all this information in mind, we wanted to be able to offer what we feel are healthful, safe, and delicious options for protein supplements, so we are now providing our own line of protein powders at The Smoothie Shop.  We will have traditional whey protein as well as vegan protein options and they all meet our (absurdly high) standards for quality as well as taste while keeping the cost reasonable. 

Check them out! (seriously, I just taught you how) next time you’re in the store or on our website

-Amy Denker, MS, RD, LD

More about me:

I attended Oklahoma State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition and Exercise. I went on to earn a Master’s of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and completed the Dietetic Internship Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.

I was the Nutrition Services Clinical Coordinator at Crittenton Children’s Center for over 5 years before changing my focus to raising my family. I am excited to now be involved with a company that is focused on providing healthy options for customers as well as providing education and resources for customers to make informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones!