Best Protein Powder for Women

Best Protein Powder Supplements for Women

Lots of women tend to shy away from protein powders and similar supplements thinking that they are just for men who want to increase muscle mass. However, women have nothing to fear from protein powders. In fact, they are just as important for women who workout as they are for men.

When we train, workout, or take part in any physical strenuous exercise, our bodies need extra healthy fats and carbohydrates to give us energy. When taking part in any kind of strenuous physical exercise, our body tissue goes through a growth and repair stage. To do recover properly and effectively, our bodies need extra protein. Unfortunately, most women don't get enough protein after training for this to happen.

So, why are protein powders necessary for you? Let's look at what protein powders are.

What are protein powders?

Protein is an essential nutrient which the body needs to grow new cells, keep bones strong, maintain muscle tissue, and keep blood healthy. Protein is found in animal products, like dairy and eggs, but also in nuts and beans. Without protein, our bodies would fail to function properly.

When a person undergoes regular strenuous physical activity, the protein that he/she gets from a regular diet will not be enough. Therefore, protein powders are needed to give the body extra protein to repair damaged cells.

Protein powders are usually made from one of three protein sources:

  • Whey
  • Soy
  • Casein protein

From these, the most common protein source is from whey. This is a dairy based protein and because it is water-soluble, it is very easy to take. It is also classed as a “complete protein.” This means that it contains all the essential 9 amino acids which are necessary for our diets1.

However, women athletes who are vegetarian or vegan will usually choose soy based protein powders.

There are a number of situations, not necessarily related to the gym, where having extra protein in our diets is necessary. For example, a growing teenager, who regularly works out, will need extra protein because of his/her body's growth needs. Or it could be someone is following a vegan diet and needs to find new protein sources to stay healthy.

What Are the Benefits?

Of course, protein powders should only be taken as part of a balanced nutritious diet which includes various protein sources. However, there are many benefits to taking whey, soy or casein protein supplements. Here are some of the great benefits that you can enjoy:

Keep muscle while losing weight

Some studies suggest that protein powders can help a person reduce and lose body fat while at the same time keeping muscle mass. This is important because to burn fat effectively we need muscle mass. So, a higher ratio of muscle mass to body fat results in more fat being burned.

Reduce hunger

Research has shown that an increase in whey protein reduces levels of a hormone called ghrelin. This hormone tells the body that we're hungry. So, having a protein shake before going to a party, or other event where you could overeat could be beneficial.

Build muscle strength and mass

Here, we're not talking about how to become a bodybuilder! We all need a certain amount of strength and muscle mass to carry out daily activities. The more we have, the easier tasks become.

Muscle maintenance

As women age, they suffer from a gradual loss of muscle mass, a process called sarcopenia. The “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” carried out research on how protein powder supplements help postmenopausal women. Those women who carried out occasional resistance training greatly increased their muscle and bone strength, thus reducing the risks of sarcopenia and osteoporosis.

What Are the Side Effects?

Protein powders are generally safe to use. However, as with all supplements, a person should be moderate in their use and not ‘go over the top.' Some people have side effects when taking protein powders. However, these side effects generally occur when a person takes too much protein and not enough carbs, or has other underlying health issues. How can you avoid the common side effects?

Weight gain

Some protein shakes have added sugars and sometimes added fat. So, check the labels to see how many calories, fat, and carbohydrates are in each drink. If taking a shake as a meal replacement, remember to skip that meal.

Kidney stones

There is debate as to whether protein powders cause kidney stones or not. However, the consensus of opinion is that they seem to affect those who are already prone to kidney stones. So, always drink plenty of water and stick to a balanced, healthy diet. Don't take more protein than you need to.

Digestive problems

This more affects people who have lactose intolerance issues. If you think that whey protein is causing some digestive problems, switch to soy, rice, or hemp protein.

How to Pick a Good Protein Powder for Your Needs

There are many different protein powders on the market for a variety of different needs. Therefore, it's essential that you know what your needs are before using protein shakes. How can you pick a good protein powder? Here are the top 4 questions to ask yourself:

1. Why do I need a protein powder – after a workout or as a meal replacement?

If the protein shake is to replenish your body with valuable nutrients after a workout then you will need a whey isolate protein powder. These are easily digestible and have a good mix of protein and carbohydrates to repair muscles.

However, if you are looking for a meal replacement, then a casein protein powder will be a better option. These take longer to digest, meaning that you will feel fuller for longer.

2. What will I take it with?

There are many different flavors of protein powders, so you want to make sure that you're not going to have a clash of tastes. Also, some protein powders mix better in water than milk.

3. How much can I spend?

Usually, a pure whey protein will be cheaper and provide you with the protein that you need. However, if you can afford it, then there are many protein powders with additional ingredients which can provide added benefits.

4. Do I want to build muscle or lose fat?

If it's your goal to lose fat, then you need one that is low in calories and contains 100% protein. If your goal is to build muscle, then you will need something with more calories in it. If you will take the shake just after a workout, then you need a one with no fat, just protein and carbs.

So, to find the best protein powder for your needs, first of all, identify them and then research which protein powder will be best for you.

Are Protein Powders Dangerous in Any Way?

This is something that many women are concerned about. Our bodies require a certain amount of protein to function properly and if a person trains, he or she will have extra dietary needs. If protein powders are taken sensibly, then they should not pose a health risk. Most of the problems come when a person ‘overdoses' on protein, thinking that more is better or will work faster.

Some reports indicate that having too much protein than the body needs can interfere with calcium absorption. Calcium is needed in teenagers for growth and for everyone to help keep bones strong.

Overusing protein powders can also affect kidney function. If not enough of the protein and amino acids from powders are used up by the body, these end up in the kidneys and can lead to kidney stones.

Protein Powder for Weight Loss, Does It Help?

It may surprise many women, but protein powders can actually help with weight loss.

The journal “Metabolism” carried out research on how effective protein powders were in helping obese women to lose weight. The results showed that those women who took protein shakes as meal replacement lost 10% of their body weight and 20% of their body fat over a 16-week period. This was more than those who were on a calorie-controlled diet.

Protein powders are especially helpful to lose weight if they are combined with a workout because they will boost the body's energy levels.

Research into whey protein suggests that this affects how full a person feels. So, taking whey protein could reduce hunger pangs and limit snacking.

Protein Powder for Women vs Protein Powder for Men

Many women are hesitant about taking protein powders because the fear that they will start building more muscle mass than they want. However, you don't have to be afraid of this happening. In general, protein powders are exactly the same for women as they are for men.

Why is this? It's because both men and women need around the same daily amount of protein in relation to their muscle mass. Because men generally are larger and have more muscle, they need more protein.

Also, it's testosterone in men that builds ‘bulky' muscle. So, because women produce much less testosterone, they don't have to fear about becoming ‘bulky' or ‘manly.' Women have more estrogen than men, and this produces ‘lean' muscle.

There are, however, more and more protein powders which are being marketed at women. Many of these contain extra vitamins and minerals which women especially need. These are Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and folic acid.

Of course, all women should stay away from protein powders which have testosterone added!

Best Protein Powder for Women in the Market

So what are the best protein powders for women in the market?

There are 3 main types of protein based powder supplements

  • The best all-around type of protein with 9 amino acids.
  • Digested slower than whey and soy proteins, therefore, slowly releases amino acids.
  • Suitable for vegans. Good all-around protein.

Here are reviews on the best 3 that we have found.

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold standard has been on the market for a long time and continues to be a best-seller in the protein powders market. It also comes in 20 different flavors.

Introduction

Whey is one of the most popular types of proteins that is used in supplements. The Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard contains three different forms of whey protein: whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides.

After intense training and physical activity, your body needs extra protein to repair muscle damage. The body absorbs whey protein very fast, making this a great post-workout protein shake.

The main form of whey in the supplement is whey protein isolates, which are about 90% pure whey. This makes them the purest form of whey protein found in protein powders. The supplement also contains whey protein concentrate and whey protein.

Whey protein also contains all the 9 amino acids which the body needs to prevent proteins from breaking down during exercise. From these, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are 3 of the most essential amino acids. These are classed as Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and are also important for muscle repair.

The formula is easily mixed with liquid in a shaker or glass.

Product Features

This protein powder constantly ranks among the top protein supplements on the market today. Each scoop of powder contains:

  • 24 grams of protein
  • 1 gram of fat
  • 3 grams of carbohydrates
  • 120 calories

What are the other great features of Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard?

  • 20 flavors to choose from
  • Consistently wins awards
  • Whey protein isolates are its primary whey source
  • 5 grams of naturally occurring BCAAs
  • 4 grams of glutamine and glutamic acid
  • Easy to mix
  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Constantly receives positive reviews from users
  • From GMP facility

The main feature of the product is that it is a pure source of protein.

Ingredients

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard contains whey protein isolate, whey protein microfractions, ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate, glutamine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

  • Whey protein isolate (WPI)

The whey is processed to remove all fat and lactose from the whey protein. This is usually 90% pure protein. Apart from helping to develop muscle mass when training, it can also help with other health issues4. Studies suggest that it can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve heart health.

  • Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Essential amino acids for muscle repair and development. Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard contains the essential amino acids valine, leucine, and isoleucine. These are important because they go straight to the muscles to build and repair them.

  • Glutamine

This is the most common amino acid in our bodies and it helps to avoid muscle damage during training. It also helps to maintain stamina and recovery. It boosts the overall metabolism of the body.

Directions for Use

To increase exercise performance, this can be taken before, during or after a workout. It is easily digestible.

Mix one rounded scoop in a shaker cup or glass with water or other liquid of your choice.

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Optimum Nutrition (ON) 100% Casein Protein

Optimum Nutrition makes high-quality protein powder supplements. ON 100% Casein Protein uses casein as its protein source. It also comes in 9 different flavors

Introduction

After an intense workout, it is important that the body can replenish the nutrients and minerals that have been lost. The muscles also need extra protein so that damages cells can be repaired. In order to do this, it is important to take protein powders after working out.

Optimum Nutrition (ON) 100% Casein Protein contains Micellar casein – a protein that is digested slowly. This means that the protein powder supplement is good to repair muscle damage right after you have finished training. Gold Standard 100% Casein will slowly release essential amino acids to the muscle tissues, speeding up muscle recovery over a longer period of time.

This protein shake also works well as a meal replacement on a diet. Because the protein takes longer to digest in the body, it means that you have a feeling of being full for longer.

There are other times when slow digestion and absorption is necessary. For example, when we sleep the body has no food for hours. If Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein Protein is taken before bedtime, the body can continue to get amino acids to the muscles throughout the night.

The supplement also contains naturally occurring Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). These are the most important amino acids that help in muscle repair. Each scoop contains around 5 grams of these. Also, in the supplement is glutamine, an essential amino acid which boosts metabolism.

The formula is easily mixed with liquid in a shaker or glass.

Product Features

The 100% casein protein powder provides excellent, high-quality protein to your body. Each scoop of powder contains:

  • 24g of micellar casein protein
  • Just under 5 Grams of Naturally Occurring BCAAs
  • Just under 5 Grams of Naturally Occurring glutamine

What are the other great features of Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard?

  • 9 flavors to choose from
  • Consistently wins awards
  • Contains micellar casein
  • Contains 50% RDA of calcium
  • Easy to mix
  • Constantly receives positive reviews from users
  • From GMP facility

Ingredients

Optimum Nutrition 100% Casein protein powder contains micellar casein, calcium, glutamine, leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

  • Micellar Casein

Casein is a slow digesting protein from dairy and provides a slow release of essential amino acids and backed chain amino acids in the bloodstream preventing muscle breakdown.

The term “micellar” refers to the process how the casein protein is separated from the milk. This process doesn't use chemicals and, therefore, maintains all the natural qualities of the protein. This is an extremely high-grade protein.

  • Calcium

Calcium is essential to develop and maintain strong bones and can act as an antioxidant. It also aids in weight loss.

  • Aminogen

The powder also includes a blend of digestive enzymes called Aminogen. This has been added to assist in protein absorption, improve digestion, and ease gastrointestinal problems that are common after training.

Directions for Use

The protein shake can be taken first thing in the morning, before going to bed at night or to replace small meals. It can also be taken after a workout or other physical exercise.

Mix one rounded scoop in a shaker cup or glass with water or other liquid of your choice.

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NOW Foods Soy Protein Isolate

Not everyone is able to use proteins powders that are from milk or eggs. Therefore, NOW Foods Soy Protein Isolate is an excellent protein supplement choice for vegans or other who don't like whey.

Introduction

There are many reasons for taking a protein supplement. After intense exercise, the body needs an extra supply of protein to repair muscle damage and restore essential amino acids. Protein shakes are also a good way of losing weight. NOW Foods Soy Protein Isolate is an excellent vegetable based source of protein.

This is one best non-dairy protein supplements on the market. The protein is extracted from non-GMO soy and is low in carbohydrates and fat, making it excellent for anyone using this as part of a weight-loss diet.

The properties of NOW Foods protein supplement also supports women's health. It contains high levels of phytoestrogens, which have been shown to balance the natural estrogen levels in women. Some studies also report that they can also help reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer1.

NOW Foods Soy protein is also a rich source of essential amino acids. These also include leucine, isoleucine, and valine which are essential for repairing muscle tissue.

Product Features

This soy protein supplement powder provides excellent, vegetable-based protein to your body. Each serving contains:

  • 21 g of soy protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron

What are the other great features of NOW Foods Soy Protein Isolate?

  • Only 90 calories per serving
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • Contains no yeast, wheat, gluten, milk, egg, fish, shellfish, or nut tree ingredients
  • Only natural ingredients
  • 2 flavors – natural chocolate and natural vanilla
  • Unflavored option also available
  • Non-GMO ingredients
  • From a GMP facility

Ingredients

The soy protein powder from NOW Foods contains protein isolated from soy, iron, calcium, and essential amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

  • Soy protein isolate

This is the purest soy protein that is available. All the other ingredients, as well as carbohydrates, are removed from the isolates. Soy protein has many other health benefits including antioxidant properties. The protein from soy is just as good at speeding up muscle recovery after exercise as is whey protein.

  • Calcium

This is an essential nutrient to help keep bones healthy and strong. This also helps muscles relax, so, an important factor in building muscle mass. Women also need extra calcium in their diet and helps prevent osteoporosis.

  • Iron

Iron is important to keep blood healthy. It also helps the body to transport oxygen which is essential in athletic and training performance. Iron supplements are also important to offset iron deficiency, which can affect people who regularly do strenuous training.

  • Magnesium

This is an important element to help protein synthesis in the body. We lose a lot of magnesium when we sweat and this can affect protein levels in the body. Adding magnesium to a protein supplement is a good idea to make sure that protein is absorbed properly.

Directions for Use

Mix 1/3 cup of soy protein isolate powder in a protein shaker or a glass. Add at least 8 oz. of water, milk or juice. To improve the taste you can add fruit and ice.

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