Protein Powders: How to Know What to Buy

Need a quick bite to eat on your way to the gym or after a workout? Shakes can be convenient, healthy, and delicious if you choose the right one; and therein lies the challenge. How do you choose between the whey protein powders, premade shake mixes, or the stuff in the can?  Your good intentions may not come to fruition if you don’t do your homework.

Most protein powders use casein, whey, or soy to boost the protein content of their product. Casein and whey are milk-based proteins that may contribute to the acid load on the body, while soy based protein powders may interact with certain medications.

Most protein powders on the shelves also have a wide variety of stabilizers, artificial flavors, dyes, and artificial sweeteners. Maltodextrin is a common ingredient in processed foods. It is a common filler in sugar substitutes, low fat peanut butter, candy and sodas.

Disodium phosphate is an additive used to prevent caking in powdered products.

Dipotassium phosphate prevents coagulation in powdered drink mixes and other products.

You can also spot artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium, which may be carcinogenic.

If you struggle to pronounce it, should you really be eating or drinking it? The food we eat should come from the ground, not a laboratory.

Knowing that increasing our veggie intake in an all-natural way is a good thing, Zumba came up with Shake Shake Shake®, a product that uses pea protein to boost protein content. Vegetarian sources of protein leave you feeling full without increasing stress on the body – a double win! Shake Shake Shake® is loaded with fruits, vegetables, and probiotics, with none of the added sugar and other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Each serving contains 7g of fiber and 16g of vegan based protein (the same amount you would get from 2 ½ ounces of chicken breast!).

Next time you’re browsing the shelves for a nutritious protein powder, take a look at the ingredients. If you don’t recognize everything on the list, consider Zumba Shake Shake Shake®. Shopping tip for Zumba class students: ask your Instructor for an affiliate code to get a $30 discount!

Anastasia Conover MS, RD, CSR

Anastasia Conover graduated from West Chester University with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She continued her education receiving a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Now she teaches nutrition classes, does nutrition counseling, and develops healthy recipes and diets to help people reach their health and wellness goals. She also devotes her time to community outreach focusing on kidney disease education.

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