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Your Guide to Selecting a Protein Powder by Alex Coulson | #WellBeingWednesday

Shaker, protein powder and banana

Your Guide to Selecting a Protein Powder:

Alex Coulson
Naturopathic Doctor & Sport Nutritionist

Protein is my favourite macromolecule. It also seems to be the one that everyone forgets about. We all love to talk about carbohydrates and fat, but protein is neglected time and time again. (unless of course you’re a teenage boy- they seem to love talking about protein).

I’ve been trying to figure this out- my patients tell me it’s because they’re so busy trying to avoid carbohydrates and fat (which, to be clear, is not something I have taught them, but is a common thought). Protein, however, is essential to any healthy eating regime.

On a physiological level, protein is responsible for the synthesis of every neurotransmitter and enzyme in circulation. Protein contributes to a healthy body composition as well, meaning adequate protein in combination with a regular exercise routine builds muscle mass, thereby replacing fat mass. Muscle has a very high metabolic capacity, so as your muscle mass increases, you will burn energy with more efficiency, which is ideal in attaining ideal weight.

Health Canada recommends 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight. But I recommend slightly higher amounts, depending on your age, sex, and activity level. It could be as high as 1.6 g/kg of body weight. I recommend you speak with a Naturopathic Doctor about your ideal protein level.

Daily protein requirements can be difficult to meet, given busy schedules and time for food preparation. So, choosing a reliable protein powder can be a helpful tool. There are tons out there, but only a few that are good quality.

Here are some general rules to follow to help you find an ideal powder:
1. Choose Whey. It is the most bioavailable, meaning you will absorb and process it efficiently.

2. Choose the unflavoured version. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry options have added sugars and artificial flavours.

3. Look for 20 g of protein on the nutrition label. Any less than that isn’t enough. More than that isn’t necessarily bad, but your body won’t absorb more than 20g in one serving, so it’s unnecessary.

4. A good quality protein powder should show individual amino acid quantities. You want to see around 6 g of the branch chain amino acids- which are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.

 

DR. ALEX COULSON, ND is a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor practicing at Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness centre. balancefit.com

AlexCoulson