Protein is crucial for everybody, especially physically active people. It has a various number of functions in the body from building, maintaining fluid balance and help with digestion to supplying us with energy when needed. Protein as a food group and as a macronutrient plays a huge role in the fitness world. No matter if trying to lose weight, gain muscle or simply maintain muscle.
Great sources of protein include foods like: chicken, eggs, beef, fish, dairy products (like milk, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese), protein supplements, beans, nuts and more or as protein powder.
Protein should also be one of the main concerns when it comes down to post workout nutrition. But, sometimes you hear or read something that just doesn’t make sense and confuses the heck out of you.
Here are the most common protein myths I’ve faced with when dealing with post workout nutrition, but busted.
MYTH NO.1: “I can eat any kind of protein after I exercise and still get the same results”
Wrong. This is very false. Let me explain something. During we exercise, especially during doing some serious heavy lifting we damage (minor) our muscle tissues or muscle fibers. That’s why right after we workout it’s important to supply our muscles with high-quality fast absorbing protein, to begin healing and feeding them. On the top of this list without a doubt stands whey protein powder or any plant-based protein powder, waving their flag claiming this land, followed by raw eggs, whole milk and so on. Why?
Whey or vegan protein powders are fast absorbing protein sources. They also contain amino acids including branched chained amino acids or BCAA’s for short making it complete. BCAA’s are essential during and post workout to speed up the process of muscle recovery. Consuming a protein shake after a workout is a great way to reach our goal faster and more efficient.
MYTH NO.2: “Protein should come from fish, meat and eggs only, any other sources are a waste of time”
Sadly, this is a very popular opinion. Athletes, mainly bodybuilders are hooked on meat only protein diets thinking that if they give any other protein source a go they will lose all of their muscle or strength. That is not the case at all! Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you should throw animal sources completely. But you might not need them as much as you think you do.
A lot of nutritional facilities including the American Diet Association claim that protein needs can easily be met just by including plant-based foods into our diet. Foods such as soya, beans, nuts, lentils, peas and so on are excellent plant-based protein sources of protein. They are also naturally high in fiber. Meat sources even though they bring a big amount of protein in our diet (maybe even too much), usually are high in fat, saturated fat, which is the kind of fat you want to avoid!
I’m not saying you should throw animal sources completely. But you might not need them as much as you think you do. A lot of nutritional facilities including the American Diet Association claim that protein needs can easily be met claim that protein needs can easily be met just by including plant-based foods into our diet. Foods such as soya, beans, nuts, lentils, peas and so on are excellent plant-based protein sources of protein. They are also naturally high in fiber. Meat sources even though they bring a big amount of protein in our diet (maybe even too much), usually are high in fat, saturated fat, which is the kind of fat you want to avoid!
MYTH NO.3: “The more protein I eat the bigger I get, thus the more protein the better”
Very wrong! Like I said in the previous statement, everybody has a different caloric needs thus different protein intake needs. Very wrong! Like I said in the previous statement, everybody has a different caloric needs thus different protein intake needs. Studies have shown that more people (mainly athletes) consume a much more protein than they actually need, not thinking or not aware that it comes with a big health risk. Growing takes time. Eating an uncontrollable amount of protein or calories will not get you there faster or as efficient.
Every individual has different needs and it all depends on that individual (age, sex, weight, activity, metabolism and so on). In fact, even though protein is meant for building muscle, consuming a huge amount of it without proper and intense exercise might end up in lowering your testosterone levels and jeopardizing your health. The symptoms of low testosterone levels are certainly not a way to build muscle and it can really change a man’s life. How a man thinks, acts, feels and develops. So the irony here is that protein and testosteronee are the two major components to building muscle and adding size (growing). Diseases such as kidney stones, osteoporosis and cancer are linked with high protein diets according to Dr. Mercola.
How a man thinks, acts, feels and develops. So the irony here is that protein and testosterone are the two major components to building muscle and adding size (growing). Diseases such as kidney stones, osteoporosis and cancer are linked with high protein diets according to Dr. Mercola – a medicine proponent and osteopathic physician. More on that click here. So to sum it all up, with proper nutrition (adequate amount of macronutrient intake) plus proper training plus rest will result in a better, stronger, faster and healthier self.
MYTH NO.4: “I don’t have to consume protein post-workout as long as I consume it throughout the day”
Not quite. Like I said it is very important to consume a fast absorbing and high-quality protein right after a good session in the gym, park or at home.
But does that mean that if I don’t consume it right after a workout that my workout wouldn’t have counted? Heck no! The body is open to protein intake 24 hours after a workout, any amount of protein you consume your body will use to feed your muscles. But, right after a workout (up to 30 minutes after you’ve finished) your body craves it the most, as much as upon waking up. That’s why although daily protein intake is important it’s also important to learn when and how much. Like my mother always taught me: Wash your dishes right after eating, it’s easier and faster to clean them.
MYTH NO.5 :“I’m not consuming the usual amount of protein this day because I’m doing only cardio today”
You’d be surprised but I hear this sentence often. The main reason is either people think it’s a waste of protein if you’re not doing any lifting. Wrong! Just because you’re not hitting the iron or not getting pumped up doesn’t mean you are not challenging your body when doing cardio.
After the session your body will still be in need of muscle recovery nutrition. That’s where the protein shake comes in. Whey powder is recommended. Eating good amount of protein on cardio days will feed your muscles and recover them faster, minimizing muscle loss. When trying to lose weight in general a protein shake after a workout is still recommended. Instead of skipping the shake, try to lower your calories on your other meals (doesn’t have to be calories from protein). Have a lighter dinner, lunch or breakfast.
MYTH NO.6: “After a workout protein and protein only is what you need”
Wrong again. Wait? Isn’t protein the most important macronutrient you need after a workout session? Yes and no. It is essential for quicker muscle recovery and development yes, but no it’s not the only one you need. The best post workout meal (hour to hour and a half after working out) should be a combination of lean proteins, slow digesting carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and healthy fats.
But, when we’re talking right after a workout, hands down the best choice is a combination of protein with some high-glycemic simple carbohydrates. A great example would be maybe a protein shake with whey, banana, water and blueberries. The reason why is obvious. While working out our bodies use up all of our carbohydrates or sugars for energy (protein or fats as a back-up). After the workout our glycogen and glucose is seriously depleted. This can end up in our bodies using up protein from muscle tissues to restore energy by turning them into glucose, ergo muscle loss.
A high-glycemic index carb source prevents this. It spikes up our insulin levers replenishing our glycogen as fast as possible, as well as helping with transferring nutrients (this is where the protein kicks in) to the muscle tissues.
The 10 Best Low-Carb Protein Powders in 2020
One reason I love protein powders so much is because nothing beats them when it comes to convenience. When you’re running late for work and need a filling breakfast or lunch — whip up a protein shake! Just got back from the gym and don’t have the energy to order, let alone cook a meal? A protein shake it is.
But the fact of the matter is that none of us really need these powders to meet our daily protein needs — but we sure do find them helpful. On top of that, protein powders can help you lose weight, build muscle, and slow down aging. However, not all protein powders are created equal.
When you’re on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you need to watch out for things like sneaky carbs in protein powders. Yes, protein powders will often have some amount of carbs in them. And I also need to mention quality — the best low-carb protein powders will provide high-quality protein along with added benefits in the form of vitamins, minerals, MCTs, and even ketones.
With all that considered, here are a couple of the best low-carb protein powders to consider buying in 2020.
1. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, making up 30% of its dry weight. It helps keep your skin, bones, joints, and hair strong. But since collagen production declines with age, many take supplements like Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides to stay youthful.
Besides its anti-aging benefits, this product is also popular among low-carb dieters. It’s virtually just concentrated collagen in powder form (or capsules) and a touch of vitamin C to help with its absorption. That means there are no carbs in this product. On the downside, it also won’t provide any fat.
Being virtually flavorless, you can use this one in sweet and savory combinations. It blends seamlessly into smoothies, shakes, teas, coffee, soups, and more.
2. Ancient Nutrition KetoCOLLAGEN Powder
Another neutral-tasting powder that you can rely on. This product is also made with collagen peptides to provide you with a one-two-punch of anti-ageing and fitness benefits. But what’s really great about it is the addition of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs are a special class of fats that research shows are particularly ketogenic, i.e. they support ketone production. Besides that, MCTs are known to affect mitochondria, the powerhouses of your cells, in a way that leads to better workouts and brain functioning.
Ancient Nutrition’s collagen powder provides 13g of protein in a scoop along with 3g of ketogenic fats. The powder dissolves easily into almost any food or beverage, so you can use it in smoothies and shakes but also pancake batter, cookies, and soups.
3. Kiss My Keto – Keto Collagen
Want your collagen peptides to have a little flavor to them? Well, Kiss My Keto offers peptides in chocolate and birthday cake flavors.
This is a brand completely dedicated to the keto lifestyle, and their collagen peptides are no different. At 1g of net carbs and 5g of MCT powder in a scoop, this supplement will keep you in ketosis while helping you meet your protein needs. The collagen used in this product is from pasture-raised cows, which makes this particular source of collagen one of the healthiest and safest to add to your diet.
There are around 25 servings in one container, with each serving providing 9g of protein along with calcium and sodium. It’s best blended into nut milks or smoothies. However, it is possible to use it in dessert recipes for extra protein.
4. Isopure Zero-Carb, Keto-Friendly Protein Powder
It’s all in the name — a protein powder that does not contain any carbs and lots of high-quality protein. The protein used here is whey protein isolate. Isolates are the purest protein sources, and whey isolate is often 90% pure protein. It’s great for lactose-intolerant folks since the process of making it removes much of this milk sugar.
This product also contains essential vitamins and minerals, which makes it a fantastic meal replacement. However, it is pretty low in fat, which some keto-ers might find discouraging.
Nonetheless, it’s one of the best ways to meet your protein needs on a keto diet. Just mix it with water or other beverage in a shaker or blender. The product is available in a wide range of flavors, from alpine punch and cookies & cream to Dutch chocolate and vanilla salted caramel.
5. Ketologie Keto Shake
What makes this product stand out from the rest is its fat content. Around 75% of this powder is fat and only 19% of it is protein. But that’s a good thing when you’re trying to get most of your calories from fat — like when you’re on a keto diet.
The fat in this product you get in the form of coconut oil powder. Coconut oil is a natural source of MCTs, which I already mentioned are great for staying in ketosis. The protein is hydrolyzed bovine collagen, which, although not a complete protein, is great as a supplemental source.
What’s more, the extra fat in this one makes it addictively creamy. And natural chocolate and strawberry flavors are a definitive win.
Shop Ketologie Keto Shake
6. Sunwarrior – Warrior Blend Organic
Try this one if you’re looking for a plant-based, organic protein blend.
It’s made with organic pea, goji berry, and hemp protein, which together make for a great amino acid profile. Sunwarrior specifies that this product contains 6g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are essential amino acids that some studies show support muscle growth. Its total protein count is 19g in a serving.
Another noteworthy feature here is the addition of organic MCT oil. This and its low carb count of only 1g net makes it truly keto-friendly.
The product is available in chocolate, berry, mocha, vanilla, and natural flavors. It dissolves seamlessly into water and beverages. But, of course, you can also use it in low-carb baking, if you like.
7. Quest Nutrition Protein Powder
Now, if you’re looking to build muscle on a low-carb diet, this should be your go-to protein powder. It includes both whey and casein proteins.
Whey is a quick-digesting protein, whereas casein is slow-digesting. The reason this is important is because quick-acting whey can help speed up post-workout recovery, while casein can help your body build muscle as you sleep according to some studies.
A scoop of this product will give you 24g of quality protein, which is impressive compared to other powders of its kind. And you’ll also get only 2g of net carbs to keep you in ketosis. The product is available in a range of flavors, including vanilla milkshake, salted caramel, peanut butter, and more.
8. Vega Sport Premium Protein
Are you an athletic, vegan, keto eater? Then this premium protein powder will help keep your fitness levels up and your ketosis optimal. A serving contains 30g of protein from peas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa. Additionally, it has probiotic bacteria because gut health is extremely important.
The product is made from non-GMO sources and contains tart cherry and turmeric extract, which Vega Sport claims boost recovery. The likely reason being that both have anti-inflammatory properties.
You’ll find this product in chocolate and vanilla flavors. The company says this powder is keto-friendly, but suggests that you add coconut oil when making a shake or smoothie with this for extra fat.
9. RSP Nutrition AvoCollagen
A unique and truly keto-friendly supplement, AvoCollagen combines collagen peptides with avocado oil powder. RSP Nutrition claims that these ingredients promote healthy skin, hair, and nails while supporting strong bones and joints. The product also packs quality fats to keep you energized on your low-carb lifestyle.
One serving of this powder will give you around 10g of protein and 4g of fat, which I think is pretty good considering that protein intake needs to be moderate on a keto diet. If you’re someone who’s not athletic but wants to add protein powder to your regimen, then this is a good option.
The supplement is sold in chocolate and vanilla flavors but is also available unflavored. It’s great dissolved in plain water or dairy or non-dairy drinks.
10. Vaxxen Labs Keto Whey Protein Powder Blend
Vaxxen Labs created this source of complete protein with keto dieters in mind. But besides being a low-carb product, this powder blend also contains a blend of herbal extracts, organic mushrooms, BHB salts, nootropics, and insulin-sensitizing ingredients. All this makes this product a superfood in powder form.
There are 15g of protein from whey, beef collagen, and bone broth in a scoop and less than 1g of carbs. There is also 10g of fat from grass-fed ghee and coconut oil along with potassium and sodium for electrolyte support. The herbal extract blend will keep your blood glucose healthy while the BHB salts will help you stay in ketosis.
The product is available in chocolate peanut butter flavor. Add it to shakes, smoothies, pancake batter, or keto desserts.
Protein powders are not just for bodybuilders. Many people nowadays use protein powders for weight loss, appetite support, and as convenient meal replacements. The same holds true for keto eaters who need protein like anybody else.
However, many protein powders are high in carbs from added sugar or lactose. That’s why keto-ers need to be careful about their choices of protein powders and shakes. The best ones will be fairly low in carbs — below 3g in a serving. But the best ones will provide additional keto benefits like MCTs, probiotics, fiber, BHB salts, and more.
The products listed here are some of the best on the market. If you’re considering adding any of them to your daily diet, make sure that the protein you’re taking in fits your keto macros. Or, make sure that you’re not relying on them too much for nutrition. Remember, protein powders are still supplements and you still need to get most of your nutrition from real foods.