A Nutritionist’s Guide To Protein Powders

A Nutritionist’s Guide To Protein Powders

With so many protein powders on the market, from vegan protein to whey protein, soy protein to collagen peptides, it can be hard to know what to look for in a protein powder.

In this post I’ll break down:

  • how much protein we actually need
  • who would benefit most from protein powders
  • vegan vs. whey protein powders
  • what to avoid in protein powders
  • my personal recommendations

Are you confused about protein powders and other nutrition topics? If you’re interested in improving your diet and your health, head to Consultations to see how I can help you start your journey to the healthiest version of yourself today!

How much protein should we be eating every day? 

The Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for protein for adults is 0.75g protein per kg body weight per day, it is often advised to aim for between 0.8-1.2g protein per kg body weight per day. Based on the RNI (0.75g), this means that someone weighing 75kg would require 56g protein per day, and a someone weighing 60kg would require 45g protein per day. Most of us in the UK are already getting plenty of protein, and exceeding the RNI.

Those looking to build muscle would need both an excess of calories for the day and adequate protein to rebuild any micro-tears created as part of their workouts. It was originally thought that protein had to be consumed within two hours of exercise, but we now know that protein consumed for up to 24 hours after a workout can support muscle building.

It’s important to note that everyone’s nutritional requirements will be different, which is why I take a personalised approach with all of my 1:1 clients and tailor each nutrition plan to their unique needs and goals.

Top Tip:

It’s helpful to eat protein over the course of the day (rather than all at once). Focusing on protein-rich foods at mealtimes can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the urge to snack between meals, which can make it harder to lose weight when done in excess.


Who would benefit from incorporating protein powder into their daily diet? 

While not everyone needs to incorporate protein powder into their diet, certain groups of people would benefit from doing so. This includes those following a vegan diet, who may not being hitting their protein targets without a carefully considered nutrition plan.

There are plenty of plant-based protein food sources available, but it’s not always easy to get these in without time and planning, so a high quality protein powder can be a convenient source of complete protein.

Older adults may also benefit from protein powder, as muscle mass tends to decline with age, so using protein powder to get adequate protein into the diet can help maintain and improve muscle mass.

Athletes and those doing lots of exercise, particularly strength training, would also benefit from adding protein powders into their diet, as they would naturally have higher protein requirements.


Vegan protein powder vs. whey protein powder

There are pros and cons of whey protein powder as well as vegan protein powder, which is typically made from various plants such as rice, pea, soy or hemp. Whey protein powder is considered a complete protein since it contains all nine essential amino acids, while only soy protein or specific blends of plant-based protein are considered complete.

Whey protein powder contains lactose, a common food sensitivity that can lead to digestive symptoms such as bloating and gas in those who are sensitive,

Ultimately, both whey and plant-based protein powders are effective for building muscle, and the amount of overall protein intake in the diet is more important.

Keep in mind that protein powder should not be the main source of protein in the diet, but rather an additional supplement alongside real food protein sources like chicken, fish, tofu, eggs, lentils, chickpeas and nuts.


My personal recommendations

When recommending protein powders, I look for high quality products with minimal (if any) additives. I tend to avoid those with added sweeteners, artificial ingredients, stabilisers, emulsifiers and gums, as these can contribute to bloating and digestive upset in many people.

My personal favourite is Planet Paleo’s Organic Bone Broth Sports Protein, which comes in either Chocolate or Vanilla & Banana flavours. Both are delicious blended into a smoothie or stirred into porridge, and bone broth contains easily digestible proteins such as collagen and gelatine, so is great for tissue repair and overall fitness. You can use the code ELI10 for a discount on Planet Paleo

I’m also a big fan of the protein powders by Nuzest (discount code: ELIB) and JS Health (discount code: UKEB15).


This is just a small insight into the types of things I discuss with my 1:1 clients. If you’re looking to optimise your nutrition, transform your health and elevate your quality of life, please get in contact via Consultations or book a FREE 15-minute call and let’s chat about how I can help.  


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