The Great Protein Powder Debate

First and foremost, happy Friday!  This week has been filled with (mostly) gorgeous weather and sunshine so I’m hoping that it continues into the weekend! Anyone have any fun weekend plans? My weekend is going to be a busy one. I’ve got lots of fun things (runs, yoga, photoshoot) and not-so-fun-things on tap (errands, making the budget) but I’m looking forward to it.  Speaking of busy, let’s talk about something near and dear to my busy body...err heart…stomach…muscles…protein powder!

I try to get the majority of my calories and nutrients from whole, unprocessed foods but since I prefer to eat little meat and I’m constantly on the go, I turn to protein powder nearly every day.  Protein shakes are also my go-to meal after a tough weight lifting workout and on of my go-to midday snacks.  They are lots of different types of protein powder out there and I’ve tried tons of the years.  Since there are tons of options out there, here is a brief list of what I look for in a protein powder:

1. Gluten-free: This is actually a bit harder than I anticipated however, more and more powders are starting to accurately label things as gluten-free.  Always check the ingredient list to be sure and when in doubt, turn to google and call the company.

2. Sugar-free:  There are lots of powders out there that taste great because they are loaded with sugar.  Always check the ingredient list to make sure that yours isn’t just a gussied-up sugar bomb.

3. Taste & Texture: I admit, taste and texture are pretty important to me in a protein powder.  If it doesn’t taste good or blend well, I’m less likely to use it. Many companies will send you samples if you request them via email or may sell individual packets so you can try the product before you buy a huge tub of it.

4. Minimally processed: This isn’t important to everyone, but I prefer minimally processed or raw protein powders.  I like raw protein powders simply because protein powder is a processed food and thus, should be fairly limited in a healthy diet.  Since I don’t eat a meat heavy diet, I sometimes need to have two shakes a day to get to my protein requirements. So for me, less processed = ideal.

And now, because I may be a bit chart happy (and can’t find anything useful via google), let’s do a comparison between five common types of protein powder:

Type Calories per serving Protein per serving # of Ingredients
Whey (Designer Whey) 100 18g 28
Soy (GeniSoy) 110 25g 23
Egg-White  (Jay Robb) 120 24g 6
Blended (Spirutein) 80 14g 42
Vegan & Raw(SunWarrior) 84 16g 9

*Note: I got some useful info from this website to help construct the chart!

 Clearly, there are some huge differences between different types of powder.  Some are much higher in protein than others (like soy and egg white) while some are much more processed than others (whey, blended).   Now, as for taste & texture – that varies by brand and is really a matter of personal taste.  Generally, I’ve found that whey protein powders seem to taste the best but can be chalky.  Soy powders generally blend better but are so-so on taste, admittingly I haven’t tried many of these since I tend to limit my soy consumption.  I’ve never had egg white powder but I hear it can make baked goods very, very tough so it’s probably not ideal unless you are just making shakes.  Blended powders vary across the board and are hit and miss.  Vegan and raw powders also vary greatly but they are the least processed.

So what’s my favorite?

 Vegan & raw! Particularly the SunWarrior brand.  I’ve tried several different vegan and raw powders that have ranged from okay to downright awful but I always come back to the SunWarrior powders.  A 1kg bag is pricey but it’s also a huge bag that lasts for a long time, even with daily use. Plus, I know all of their powders are gluten-free which is extremely helpful since many companies are bad about labeling products and ingredients are hard to identify.  It took me a few years to find my favorite powder and I still try others from time to time, but I always seem to come back to SunWarrior.

I hope that was helpful! I know navigating the world of protein powders is confusing at best and being gluten-free only adds to the confusion! Now I’m off to get started on this to-do list. Have a great Friday!

What’s your favorite protein powder?


Disclaimer: I was NOT paid or contacted to discuss SunWarrior products.  I just genuinely love the product and buy it, with my own cold hard cash.