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Choosing the Best Protein Powder

Note from Joy: Not surprisingly, the most popular New Year's resolution is eating better and weight loss. This is why this post will come in extremely usefu
Jan 21, 2013 | Adam Vacon

Note from Joy: Not surprisingly, the most popular New Year's resolution is eating better and weight lossThis is why this post will come in extremely useful to you especially if you've entered the world of smoothies & shakes. It can be extremely confusing when you go to the health food store trying to decide which protein powder to purchase. So I asked Adam Vacon, holistic nutritionist and part of the Joyous Crew, to share his knowledge about supplementing with a powder. EnJOY!

As a holistic nutritionist, I am often asked a lot of different questions about protein powders:

  • Why should I supplement with protein powder?
  • What is the best kind of protein powder to use?
  • What is the importance of protein?

First things first, protein is a very crucial nutrient that has many metabolic purposes and we all need high-quality protein daily. It is the nutrient that helps our bodies build muscle, balance blood sugar, reduce sugar cravings, create hormones, modulate our immune systems, and much more!

Sometimes it can be a challenge to get enough protein in our diet especially if we have dietary restrictions such as being vegetarian or vegan. When we are lacking in protein for an extended period of time we may experience muscle loss, fatigue, constant sugar cravings, poor recovery from injuries, and even hair loss.

One really easy way to supplement our diets to ensure we are getting enough protein daily is to use a high-quality protein powder. I do realize it is very difficult to choose a high-quality protein powder given the vast amount of protein supplements on the market, so I will give you the nutritionist-approved guide to picking out a great protein powder.

What Form of Protein is Best?

There are several different forms of protein you can get in a powdered form; the most typical being whey protein. Whey protein powders are very readily available, however, they are best used for specific purposes like post-workout muscle building, immune boosting in disease states or recovery from injuries. I do not recommend whey protein as a daily supplement for the average person because many people develop food sensitivities as a result and it can be very hard on digestion, which causes gas and bloating.

Instead, I prefer using plant-based protein powders on a regular basis because they are easy on digestion and are hypoallergenic, meaning they are very unlikely to cause food sensitivities or allergies. Another benefit to using plant-based proteins is they are typically made using far more natural ingredients than whey protein powders and do not contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose.

How to Select a High-Quality Plant-Based Protein Powder

When purchasing a plant-based protein powder there are a few things to watch out for. First is the type of protein used. There are several different types of plant-based proteins and typically there will be a blend of different proteins together. Sprouted rice protein is a great option as well as combinations that include pea, rice protein or hemp protein. Personally, I prefer the blends of different plant-based proteins as they mix better when added to a beverage. This is especially noticeable if you are not using a blender.

What to avoid in protein powders is also a must when shopping around! Always avoid artificial sweeteners like sucralose or aspartame. If these are in a protein powder it is not worth purchasing. A high-quality protein powder should be sweetened with stevia. Also, soy protein powders are best avoided as they contain high levels of phytoestrogens that may interfere with hormone balance over time.

Recommended Protein Powders

There are few great plant-based protein powders on the market. My favourite is Genuine Health vegan proteins+ for several reasons. It can be easily mixed with water, tastes good, has a very balanced blend of vegetable proteins, and is very affordable. I also really like Sunwarrior sprouted brown rice protein and Progressive harmonized vegan protein powder. Each of these can be found in most health food stores and the nice thing about Genuine Health products is they are readily available in many grocery stores and pharmacies.

How to Incorporate Protein Powder into your Diet

There are plenty of ways to add these great sources of protein to your diet, including smoothies, to almond or hemp milk. Joy even has a delicious protein bar recipe that uses Genuine Health vegan proteins+.

I hope this blog has cleared-up your own questions about protein powders so you can now take advantage of all the benefits of using a high-quality plant-based protein powder.

Jan 21, 2013 BY Adam Vacon
Jill   •   January 22, 2013

Can I ask your thoughts on these protein powders? : - (and is vanilla okay?) - OR what about this one? - and Sunwarrior? They have a "blend" I think ? I have sensitive digestion and normally prefer whey a lot more since those vegan ones tend to be "funkY' and "complicated" (simple is good for me) and I don't want something that tastes chalky or disgusting....but curious if any vegan powder might work for me. Your thoughts on the 3 above would be GREAT. Thanks.


JP   •   January 24, 2013

Hi Joy - would you recommend any of these based on best taste? I tried the vega chai protein a few years ago and couldn't even get near the stuff. I'd like to try out the Genuine Health product, but I'm worried about wasting a container because of the taste . thanks!


Sumerian123   •   January 28, 2013

I believe Hemp is the best type of protein out there. After being on whey for 2 years, it gave me results but also gave me an upset stomach and bloating. Then i tried soy but that just isnt recommended since it creates hormonal imbalances in both men and women (contains estrogen). Hemp is neutral, unprocessed (cold milled), has lots of benefits, fibre, and it makes my muscle mass last a lot longer. Check out: I usually get their organic stuff.

Joy McCarthy   •   January 28, 2013

Samuel Savard   •   January 29, 2013

It's so true that taking the same type of protein for a long time will create imbalances... I was also on whey for a few years and I couldn't sleep well because of the upset stomach. Like anything in life, a varied diet is key. Alternate between a few would be the best idea, but of course, cost can be a big problem, as well as taste. I wonder if you could make your own protein mix....


Ray   •   April 16, 2013

Great article. I generally agree that plant-based protein powders are probably easier on the stomach than whey-based ones, though generally people who are lactose-intolerant have it worst with whey. (Although, it's funny since I'm lactose-intolerant but I really have never had problems with whey; its cousin, casein protein powder, causes more problems from my research.) One final note, though: plant-based proteins generally don't have all the amino acids that animal-based ones do. But if you mix a protein powder based on legumes (say, peas) with a grain-based one (rice), then you'll get all the amino acids!


Joyous Health   •   April 22, 2013

[...] And of course, protein powder — an essential smoothie component. I prefer plant-based protein powder blends. Here’s a great post from guest blogger Adam on Choosing A Protein Powder. [...]


Martha Henderson   •   November 15, 2013

Hi, I have started having a vegan protein powder for breakfast every morning. I was told that you require animal protein in order to properly digest this type of protein - is this true?


Joyous Health   •   December 30, 2013

[…] Choosing The Best Protein Powder […]


Dina   •   February 5, 2014

Joy I would be curious to hear your opinion on how Genuine Health Vegan Protein+ compares to Vega in terms of ingredients and quality(other than cost)? Thanks:)


310 Nutrition Shake   •   April 1, 2015

Awesome blog thanks.


310 Nutrition Shakes   •   April 21, 2015

Great protein shakes is more advantages.


Nick   •   April 21, 2015

Very informative! I haven't read much about plant-based powders but this article has been very helpful. I only use whey at the moment but i might need to start looking into plant based powders!


Michael   •   May 27, 2015

I would agree that Vegan protein or pre-digested protein is best protein to consider. As an athlete there are many to consider but few that meet my sniff test. So many are compromised because they have been derived from 'food resources' unknown and created in formulation mills that could care less about you and me.


Brenda   •   March 13, 2017

Hey, I have few questions in my mind, actually I just recently started workout, and I do take protein full vegetables and fruits as well as other normal diet products, but I have heard that taking protein powder will be must to build some muscles. And I have shortlisted some powders too from Protein Powders Cage and one of those is Whey Protein Powder and I know it is the best one that men are taking, but I don't know whether it will good for me as well? As I do not want big arm muscles but looking to get some muscle in my legs, so do I need to take protein powder? I am very confused over this, as I fear that these unnatural supplements can be dangerous for women as told by my friend in gym. So looking for some guidance over this, please help me out, whether I should take protein powder or not?

Rachel Molenda   •   March 13, 2017

Cindy McCarthy   •   September 15, 2017

This post was extremely helpful and thank you so much for providing this information! This was exactly what I was looking for! I've recently started using protein powders and started asking questions about plant vs animal protein, added ingredients and sweeteners, and the different types out there. This answered all my questions!! I'm really excited now to try some of your recommendations :):):)

Rachel Molenda   •   September 19, 2017

Christine C.   •   April 9, 2019

Hi Joy - I’ve switched from a hemp based protein and have been using the genuine health fermented protein powder in my smoothies and I’m finding it is causing excess gas and upset stomach. Why might this be if fermented protein powders are supposed to be easier on your digestion?

Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2019

Gracie   •   May 21, 2019

Hey Joy! I was wondering what type of protein powder would be good for a teen (14) female highly active athlete? Is the genuine health superfoods fine for teens? Also, I cant find genuine healths in store where I live but have found the garden of life’s raw organic proteins powder? Have you ever heard of that brand and if so would you recommend? Thanks!

Joy McCarthy   •   May 21, 2019

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