How To Select a Protein Powder
Where possible, it is best to meet your protein requirement with whole food. However, it can be challenging to reach your protein requirement in the early stages following weight loss surgery as you can only eat small amounts and may not tolerate all food textures. For some people, these challenges may continue. A protein powder can be an effective way to increase your overall protein intake if you are struggling to meet your minimum protein target of 60g per day. When using a protein supplement, we suggest you limit your intake of protein from supplements to 20-30g per day.
The nutritional value of protein depends on the amino acid profile (the building blocks of protein) and the digestibility. Protein from animal sources has more essential amino acids that are easily digested, hence are the best protein sources. If you prefer a plant based powder, look for options based on our selection criteria to help you select a high quality vegetarian or vegan protein powder.
Whey Protein Isolates
Research suggests that a particular amino acid, leucine has an important role in stimulating, or ‘triggering’ muscle protein synthesis. Whey protein is rich in leucine and is also rapidly digested. Whey protein isolates or WPIs, are therefore considered a superior form of protein.
When choosing a WPI, look for those that include:
- At least 85-90g of protein per 100g
- Less than 2g of fat per 100g
- Less than 2g of sugar per 100g.
Our top picks for unflavoured whey protein isolate powders include:
- Protein Supplies Australia WPI
- Boomers WPI
- Tony Sfeirs WPI
- Bulk Nutrients WDP
- Cyborg Enhanced WPI
- Planet Food 100% Whey Protein (available from Coles).
You can use the above criteria to also choose flavoured protein powders.
Our top picks for flavoured whey protein isolate powders include the following and each variety has multiple flavours available:
- Bulk Nutrients WPI
- Bare Blends WPI
- True WPI 90
- Premium Powders Performance Nutrition WPI.
Note: Vanilla flavour was used for comparison with criteria.
Egg White Protein
Egg albumin, or egg white protein, is another high quality protein source and is a great option for those who find the taste of whey protein isolate off putting.
Examples of egg white protein powders include:
- Protein Supplies Australia Paleo Pro Complete Protein
- Naked Egg White Protein Powder
- Bulk Nutrients Egg Protein Powder
- BN Multi Pure Egg White Protein.
Of the plant proteins, soy protein isolates are high quality and well absorbed. There is some evidence to suggest that women with existing or previous breast cancer should be cautious in consuming large quantities of soy foods.
Examples of soy proteins include:
- Bulk Nutrients Soy Protein (natural soy protein isolate)
- Bulk Powders (BP) Soy Protein Powder Raw.
Pea and Rice Based Protein Powders
For those unable to tolerate dairy, egg or soy based powders, or are looking for a vegan alternative, a pea or rice- based protein powder may be useful. As they are plant based they do lack a range of essential amino acids, however mixing the two together improves nutritional profile.
Examples of such powders include:
- Bulk Nutrients Earth Protein
- Isowhey Pea and Brown Rice Protein
- Bare Blends Plant Protein (Cacao + Cinnamon, Vanilla and Coconut).
Seed Based Protein Powders
Seed-based protein powders such as hemp, chia and flax provide nutty flavours and a gritty texture, but unfortunately are of a lower protein quality.
Examples of seed based protein powders include:
- Bulk Powders (BP) Hemp Protein Powder Raw
- Woolworths Macro Hemp Seed Protein Powder
- Bulk Nutrients Hemp Protein.
The above information is taken from our Weight Loss Surgery Protein Planner. If you want to take the guesswork out of planning your protein intake following weight loss surgery, be sure to check it out.