Decrypting the Label: What to Look for in Your Protein Powder

A protein powder’s label has an important function, aside from grabbing your attention. It tells you exactly what you are getting, which helps you decide which tub to pick up. However, all the information printed on it would be useless if you do not know what to look for. And with all the brands available in the market today, each with their own proprietary formulations, some confusion is understandable.

If all the protein supplement acronyms and terminologies have you scratching your head, never fear. Here’s what your protein powder should have and should not have, so you can hit the gym sooner and achieve your fitness goals in no time.

Must Have Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA)

During vigorous physical activities, some of the protein in your muscle breaks down. Your body tries to make up by synthesising new ones. During an especially intense workout, the speed at which you lose protein is faster than the rate your body makes it, causing you to lose some muscle tissues. This is where BCAAs come in. 

BCAAs are essential components of muscle-building. They help stimulate protein synthesis, so you do not lose muscle mass after high-intensity workouts. Most brands list them as a ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. For optimal results, look for two parts of leucine for every part of isoleucine and valine. 

Must Have No Gluten

When looking for a protein powder brand, make sure it does not have gluten. While most people have a general idea that gluten is bad for health, some are confused as to whether it is problematic only to those with intolerance. 

You should avoid gluten whether you are intolerant or not. Gluten proteins are extremely resistant to digestion, which leaves large peptides free to permeate your small intestine to be absorbed by the rest of your body. When this happens, your immune system could be compromised, leading to medical conditions like celiac disease.   

Must Have the Right Amount of Carbs

Fair or not, carbohydrates have developed a bad reputation over the years, especially to those who are trying to lose weight. However, the right amount of carbs on your protein powder can actually do wonders for you. This macronutrient increases your insulin, which helps your body absorb amino acids. This promotes healthy muscle growth, giving you a leaner and stronger physique. In addition, carbohydrates give the added fuel you need to get the most of every session at the gym. Just make sure that the brand contains no more than 3% of your daily dietary needs when reading the label.  

Must Have the Right Amount of Sugar, or None at All

Most brands use artificial sweeteners to hit their calorie and carbohydrate targets. However, studies have shown that artificial sugars and even the natural ones with zero calories can disrupt your gut’s microbiome. If you want to be safe, look for brands that are altogether unsweetened.

Must Have Non-GMO Ingredients 

When checking out the labels of protein powders, make sure they do not have any genetically modified organisms or GMOs for ingredients. 

Most GMOs are designed to be more resistant to certain herbicides. While these herbicides may show no toxicity to humans and animals, it is detrimental to soil health. What is worse, it may interfere in the absorption of micronutrients. 

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