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This Might Actually Surprise You

Twenty years ago, telling people to “eat more protein” was considered controversial.

Plenty of health experts cautioned that it was “dangerous”—and would lead to kidney damage.

But today, we know that it isn’t (dangerous)—and that it doesn’t (lead to kidney damage).

In fact, research shows that eating more protein-rich foods can help with:

✓ muscle and strength gains

✓ weight management

✓ appetite control

✓ immunity and recovery

There’s just one problem…

Some people struggle to eat more protein.

It's generally recommended that you include 1-2 palm-sized portions of protein per meal per day, depending on your body size—one palm for smaller frames; two palms for larger frames. (One palm is equal to 20-30 grams of protein.)

For those who want a specific number, we often advise around 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (This is the amount shown to maximize muscle growth for most people.)

But... it can feel like a lot.

And that’s especially true for someone who doesn’t typically consume much lean meat, poultry, or fish (which are very protein-dense foods).

As one client put it: “It's just… so much chewing.”

Enter protein powder.

As most everyone knows: It’s a good, practical solution for people who don’t feel hungry enough to eat more protein from whole foods—or don’t have the time to prepare them.

But with so many options out there—whey! casein! hemp! soy! rice!—it can be hard to know the right kind of protein powder to choose.

We have a potentially surprising insight…

For most people, the type of protein probably doesn’t matter very much.

“Ten years ago, I would have told you that protein type matters,” say Stuart Phillips, PhD, professor of exercise science at McMaster University and one of the world’s leading authorities on protein.

“But now, especially for younger, healthy, active people, I’d say the source is relatively unimportant. If you’re getting 1.6 grams per kilogram per day, you can worry far less about animal- or plant-based, or supplements vs. real food."

I'm pretty sure some people will disagree with this vehemently, and of course Yes! Real food sources of protein are THE BEST but Dr. Phillips’ opinion on the overall use of protein powders to supplement protein intake is informed by a deep knowledge of the scientific research.

(He’s authored or co-authored nearly 700 scientific papers—with a good chunk of them on the topic of protein.)

Dr Phillips however, believes there’s at least one exception to his previous statement: people who are 65 or older.

For them, Dr. Phillips says, higher-quality supplements—those made from dairy or egg proteins—could offer a small benefit over plant-based choices.

All that said, even if you’re younger...

There are likely some factors to consider when choosing a protein supplement product.

After all, each individual has unique goals, physiology, and preferences.

For example:

Do you have an allergy or intolerance?

Are you budget conscious? Do you want to avoid animal products?

The answers could inform your choice of protein powder.

So on the image heading this blog is a high-level overview of some basic pros and cons of specific protein sources you’re likely to find as you shop for powders to give you some general basic guidance.

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