Which one is right for you?


Last month we took a deep dive into the amount of protein a person needs on a daily basis. When the topic of protein comes up it inevitably leads to questions about protein powders. While it is my belief that a whole food diet is best there are times when a protein powder is needed to supplement a diet.

Protein powders are derived from animals or plant foods. Let’s take a look at the variety offered from the most common to the least common types.



WHEY: Remember Miss Muffet...“eating her curds and whey?“ Whey is the liquid that is leftover from the cheesemaking process.


  • High in protein
  • Quick digesting
  • Contains all essential amino acids
  • Good for increasing calories
  • Best for muscle gain
  • Most popular and easy to find of all protein powders


  • Doesn’t always hold hunger at bay
  • Is not ideal for weight loss
  • Contains lactose/dairy


CASEIN: Thinking of Miss Muffet again, casein is the solids obtained from the cheesemaking process.


  • Easily digestible
  • Contains all essential amino acids
  • Breaks down slowly in body which helps keep hunger at bay
  • Promotes fat loss


  • Contains lactose/dairy
  • Contains slightly less protein than whey powders


EGG: Egg protein powders are, of course, made from eggs...usually just the whites.


  • No dairy so good for those with dairy allergies
  • Contains all essential amino acids


  • Very little fat so does not keep hunger at bay



PEA: Made from the yellow split pea


  • Primary benefit is that it is plant based, making it a good choice for vegans and those with dairy or egg allergies
  • Contains all but one of the 9 essential amino acids

There are also protein powders made from hemp, rice and mixed plants for those with more specific dietary needs .

When looking for a protein powder, search for one with minimal added sugars in any form.

If weight loss is your goal avoid powders with added BCAA’s as they promote muscle growth and weight gain.

As with any part of your diet, the less ingredients and the less processing a food contains the better it is for you. Remember that calories still count even if they come from a food or supplement that is good for you.



And finally, supplements are just that...a supplement to a healthy diet. The basis of which should still be a variety of whole foods (proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy dairy products as tolerated).

If trying to decide between brands of protein powder, consult the website, which rates & reviews supplements and gives each brand a rating out of 100.

Megan Leipholtz, CPT

As always if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. 763-439-3191