Protein Powder

Protein powder is a convenient way to work more protein into your diet. To find the best protein powder for you, consider your health goals, schedule and dietary needs.

People use protein powders for different reasons. If you're trying to gain muscle mass, you'll want a powder with more calories, fat and carbohydrates, while if you're trying to loose weight, you'll want a lower-calorie powder. If you're using protein powder as a meal replacement, you'll want one with enough macronutrients, vitamins and minerals to meet your dietary needs and keep you full.

You should also consider when you plan on having your protein. If you intend to take it in the morning and want it to help you stay full throughout the day, consider a casein protein powder, which is digested slowly. If you plan to have it right before or after working out, whey protein powder is preferable, since it's absorbed more quickly and can rapidly deliver protein to your recovering muscles.

Both casein protein and whey protein are derived from dairy. If you have a dairy allergy, you'll need a protein powder from a different source, such as soy, beef or eggs. (Some soy protein powder is also vegan.) If you're lactose intolerant, whey protein isolates should be safe, but make sure the product you choose is lactose free.