What is the best protein powder for a woman in 2016?
That is a brilliant question to ask and, if you are actually concerned with that, then you are starting good.
At this stage you might have heard a lot about protein powders and other protein supplements for women, including (but not limited to) their positive effects, dangers associated with protein consumption and maybe even some scandals that involved protein manufacturers masking some ingredients that were not supposed to be there on the first place.
This is why I kindly ask you to, if not necessarily forget everything you heard about female protein powders, but certainly pull it back for a little while to allow me explain what is really going on in this fairly competitive industry.
We will go through:
- Top 5 Best Protein Powders for Women in 2016
- 3 Popular Myths About Best Protein Powders for Women
- The 3 Risks You Are Really Exposed to With Protein Powders
- Two Things You MUST Know About Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
- Need to Grow Muscles? (click here)
- Being Pregnant & Taking Protein Supplements: Must Know
- Taking Protein & Breastfeeding: Responsible Moms Should Take Care
Top 5 Best Protein Powders for Women in 2016
What’s the best protein powder for females in 2016?
Obviously, there is no single supplement that will suit everyone, but…
Here is the Top 5.
#1 BlueBonnet 100% Natural Whey Protein Isolate Powder
This powder is on top of my list for several reasons.
I consumed it for a long while and would still do that if I didn’t change the country of residence.
This protein is sourced from grass-fed cows that are hormone-free, which is a big deal for me.
#2 Designs for Health – PurePaleo Protein Chocolate
This protein was endorsed by Chris Kresser, the guy well-known in the Paleo/Primal community.
I have never tried this powder and some people said that it may be too steviaish for some of us, but it is what it is.
This is also quite expensive, but price is often a guarantee of quality.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for…
#3 Naked Whey
This powder comes third, but you might well love it the most for its simple concept.
Naked whey is just that – it’s naked.
This powder has all its ingredients listed and comes free of other stuff.
Here is the quote:
100% Grass Fed Pure Whey Protein with zero additives. Naked Whey no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors and is GMO-Free, Growth Hormone Free, Soy Free and Gluten-Free.
#4 Raw Grass Fed Whey
This protein has a big advantage – it is free of soy lecithin, an ingredient that is frequently added to protein powders.
Unlike some other more expensive brands this protein has good value.
Only 1 Ingredient: 100% Pure Grass Fed whey protein from the milk of jersey cows that graze on open pastures over 300 days a year
Not too bad, right? 😉
#5 Natural Force® Organic Whey Protein Powder
Organic whey is a more expensive product, but the ‘organic’ tag is what’s really worth it.
Unlike claims from other producers, ‘organic’ is a strong legal statement, which is controlled by the bodies that monitor the quality of the produce.
Here is what’s the difference:
Natural Force® Organic Whey:
• Contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors
• Is minimally processed without heat or acid, leaving the protein molecules undamaged and more bioavailable
• Mixes and tastes great without added Soy Lecithin
• Comes from Organic Cows never treated by antibiotics or growth hormones
• Comes from cows that graze exclusively on Organic Pastures
• Is produced in the USA, certified USDA Organic, and is sourced from free range cows from farms in California
Non-Organic and other “Natural” Whey Proteins:
• May contain artificial sweeteners, fillers and GMO’s
• Can be processed with heat and acid, which damages and protein and beneficial micronutrients
• May contain added Soy Lecithin to increase mixability which can unbalance hormones
• May come from cows treated with antibiotics and growth hormones
• Can be sourced from grain fed cows living in inhumane conditions
• Can be sourced from other countries such as China and India, which are known to have lower quality standards than the U.S.
The best protein for women in 2016?
Well, I hope you could find something to fir your requirements and that doesn’t have to be an artificial powder. 😉
3 Popular Myths About Best Protein Powders for Women
Myth #1: You Need Protein Supplementation
Did your personal trainer, a sales associate in a pharma/supplement store or maybe even your partner tell you that you absolutely need protein powder for: _____ (weight loss, muscle gain, weight maintenance…fill in the blank).
Maybe they even told that you need a very specific type of protein like whey isolate for your post workout shake, casein when you go to bed and a meal replacement protein bar that will help you through the day…
Please believe it…NOT.
The first myth is that you absolutely NEED extra protein supplementation.
The only times when you might need extra protein in your diet is when you exercise (e.g. crossfit, weight training, gym and other activities under load).
It is also worth noting that protein powder price per gram is cheaper than in typical sources of protein like beef, chicken, eggs and other foods like beans.
Quick link: The 7 Best Protein Bars for Female Runners.
Myth #2: More Is Better
Consuming protein is a good thing for many other reasons then just weight loss and muscle growth.
However, at some stage, it may just get too much. Like you would not do harm to your body, but you would certainly put it under pressure and that doesn’t do good.
At some stage enough is enough.
So, how much protein does a woman need per day to lose weight or grow muscles?
It depends on your level of activity, but we can say for sure that this amount should not exceed 1 gram per lb (2 grams per kg) of your weight.
Please note that this amount of protein is suitable for healthy women which are physically active.
Myth #3: High Protein Consumption Damages Kidneys
The above statement, at the moment of writing, is a myth.
While women with known kidney issues should definitely take extra care when dealing with protein in general and protein supplements in particular, healthy active females may rest at ease.
This is what this review from Pubmed confirms:
Observational data from epidemiological studies provide evidence that dietary protein intake may be related to the progression of renal disease…
However, no association between protein intake and change in GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate is the best test to measure your level of kidney function) was found in a different cohort of 1,135 women with normal renal function.
The latter finding led the authors to conclude that there were no adverse effects of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy women with normal renal status.“
The 3 Risks You Are Really Exposed to With Protein Powders
Just like the myths above are just that – myths, the risks of consuming protein supplements below are very real.
However, as the saying goes – knowledge is power.
Risk #1: Heavy Metals in Protein Powder
Heavy metal exposure is a natural thing, but there is no need to elevate the risks by overexposing yourself to these bad things.
Risk #2: Protein Supplements May Cause Allergies
Just like other foods some protein supplements may not work for you – they might possibly cause bloating, indigestion, skin irritation and other symptoms.
It may mean that the supplement you are using is of poor quality or is simply not suitable for you.
For example, protein concentrates contain milk sugar lactose, which many people are intolerant too; whereas protein isolates tend to have a very low amount of lactose, making them suitable for lactose-intolerant folks.
Risk #3: One in Three Gets Fooled
Unfortunately, and that really irritates me, the supplement industry is full of BS and misleading claims. However it is not just that – pure stupidity exacerbates the problem…
I am talking about buying protein powders that, for example, claim certain amount of protein content per 100g, but, in fact, under-deliver on that promise.
What’s worse is that other claims about, for example, sugar and fat content are also misleading.
Guys at Consumer Reports found that astonishing 31% of all protein powders fail their tests, which shows how easy it is to get fooled by buying protein powder.
It is 1 in 3.
Two Things You MUST Know About Protein Shakes for Weight Loss
Paleo, Atkins and other higher protein diets showed that they are effective for weight loss.
That’s why, if you decided to lose a pound or two (or whatever it is), then adding extra protein might be a good idea (remember to not exceed the absolute maximum of 1g per lb of bodyweight for training athletes though).
However there are some pitfalls which you MUST know about when it comes to protein shakes for weight loss.
#1: Protein Is Protein, But It’s Not Just About That
Going back to the Myth #1 above, you should always remember that you do not actually need supplements as such, so this point is quite similar.
If you eat 8oz of chicken or consume a portion of protein isolate, you would be getting roughly the same amount of protein.
However the isolate will go in (and out) quickly leaving you hungry in a matter of moments, whereas chicken will require time to digest.
What do you think is more beneficial for weight loss?
Yes, in any moment in time it’s the whole food diet.
You can also see how to lose weight by eating more.
#2: When Protein Makes You Fat
Imagine this – you buy some weight loss protein supplement which tastes nice and in a couple of weeks realize that you are actually putting on some weight and it’s not muscle (the mirror confirms that).
“What the heck is going on?!”, – you might ask.
Chances are you bought something that’s called ‘gainer‘, which basically is a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat that is made to gain weight (athletes use that).
All you need is to read the nutritional values of your protein shake.
Does it have sugar (i.e. carbohydrates)? Ditch it.
It’s that easy.
Need to Grow Muscles? (click here)
If you are female athlete or just look to increase your musculature, then this part is for you.
As you may know, in order to build strength and muscles, you need to stress your body enough while training. Anaerobic exercises are the ones to go for then.
However once you are finished with training, you need some protein powder for women weight gain, right?
Yes, but not really.
The truth is, protein powder is just that – protein powder, so it doesn’t really matter what the manufacturers say (some of them have been utilizing misleading claims).
That’s why there is no specific protein supplement for weight loss or weight gain.
All you need is consume enough protein (no more than 1g per lb of the bodyweight though) and slightly increase your consumption of healthy carbohydrates, which would be anywhere between 3 and 6 grams per kg of your weight (depending on many factors, but that’s a good estimate).
This is why I recommend sticking to a quality protein isolate without actually going for a fancy jar full of weird ingredients.
Being Pregnant & Taking Protein Supplements: Must Know
Not only being pregnant is a tough job, but it is also a risky thing – any woman may become especially vulnerable to different external factors while bearing a child.
Does it make sense for her to take extra protein with the help of protein powder?
Personally I don’t recommend that and the reason is very simple – at any moment in time whole food diet which is ideally built upon in-season fruits/vegetables, organic grass-fed meat and free-range poultry beats any supplements out there.
I am also not a fan of powders because of the extra ‘presents’ they offer when it comes to additional ingredients like silicon dioxide, xanthan gum and always possible heavy metals (see the risks of consuming whey protein powder above).
Taking Protein & Breastfeeding: Responsible Moms Should Take Care
If you are already a breastfeeding mom, then you probably always remember about different foods you are not allowed to eat, because of possible allergic reactions they can bring to the baby.
Protein powder supplements are not an exception.
If you are really into fitness and started working out right after getting the baby, then I still recommend whole food approach diet possibly enriched with quality extra protein in the form of powder.
See these 5 best protein powders for breastfeeding moms to get a better idea!