For decades, athletes, gym rats, and the health-conscious among us have used protein powder to supplement our nutrition. And protein powder's popularity isn't slowing any time soon.
In fact, the use of protein powder grew by 31 percent in 2020.
If healthy nutrition is on your mind and you haven't used protein powder before, you may be wondering, what does protein powder do? How much protein powder should I take? How do I make a protein shake?
Here, we will answer your most pressing questions about protein powder. Read on to learn more about how this nutritional supplement can help to make your health and fitness goals a reality.
What Does Protein Powder Do?
Whether you're a couch potato or a bodybuilder, protein is an important part of a healthy diet. A diet containing a sufficient amount of protein is essential for your immune system, skin, heart, and brain health.
Many people get sufficient protein from their regular diet, from food sources like fish, eggs, legumes, and meat. So why is protein powder so popular?
Research has shown that if you exercise and as you age, you might need twice the daily recommended value of protein in your diet.
Protein is the building block of muscle, so anytime that you are working to increase your muscle mass, you should up your protein intake.
Protein powder is a quick and easy way to get an extra boost of protein in your diet. The best protein powder will also include other essential nutrients to further supplement your health.
There are many different types of protein powder:
Whey protein powder, which comes from cow's milk, is one of the most commonly used and widely available varieties. It is quickly digested by the body and can help curb your appetite.
However, if you are on a plant-based diet or have a dairy intolerance, you might be curious about vegan protein powder. Pea, soy, and rice are common sources used to create plant-based protein powders.
Looking for more info on protein powder? Read our Ultimate Guide to Protein.
How to Use Protein Powder
Protein powder can benefit you at many different times and in different ways.
If you are just starting out with a new workout routine, it's a great idea to include a protein supplement in your diet. Even if your routine isn't specifically targeted to increase muscle mass, protein powder can help you recover more quickly and be ready for your next workout session.
If you are a weightlifter or have a regular bodyweight training routine, adding protein powder to your diet can help you see results. Anytime you are working to strengthen and tone your muscles, you can supplement with protein powder to help your muscles develop and recover.
Another instance when you might amp up your protein intake is if you are recovering from an injury. As your muscle fibers rebuild, an increased intake of amino acids can help speed up your recovery.
Age is another factor that might influence how you use protein powder. Growing teenagers typically utilize more protein during workouts. Protein powder supplementation can be an important aid to help them recover properly.
Additionally, muscle mass decreases as we age, so older adults might choose to use protein powder to help counteract this natural occurrence.
If you follow a plant-based diet, you may struggle to get enough protein without adding a boost of protein powder to your nutrition plan. Additionally, if you are working to lose weight, protein powder can help you feel fuller for longer.
For fitness purposes, protein powder is best used directly after a workout as a part of your recovery. If you are simply hoping to add more protein to your diet regardless of your fitness routine, you can use protein powder at any point in the day.
How Much Protein Should I Take?
There is no easy answer to how much protein you should take, as it will vary greatly from person to person depending on circumstances such as:
- Exercise routine
As a general guideline, women over 19 years old need 46 grams of protein per day, while men need 56 grams.
However, this average recommendation might not be enough for many athletes. If you have an intense fitness regime, you might need as much as 1.4 to 2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
For an in-depth look at the factors you should take into account when determining your protein intake, read our blog “How Much Protein Do I Need?”
How to Make a Protein Shake
To get the health and fitness benefits that you are looking for, you need to know how to use protein powder.
You might choose to add a scoop of protein powder to your morning smoothie, sprinkle protein powder on your oatmeal or yogurt, or add the powder to pancake batter.
One of the most popular ways to use protein powder is in a protein shake. You can mix the powder with milk or water, creating a simple shake that you can down immediately after a workout.
Protein powder is known to be lumpy if not mixed well, so be sure to use a BlenderBottle® shaker bottle when making your shake. Simply add the protein powder and water or milk to the bottle, pop in the BlenderBall® wire whisk, tighten the leak-proof lid, and shake. The BlenderBall whisk—found only in BlenderBottle brand protein shakers cups—whips around inside the bottle as you mix, mixing stubborn protein powder and other ingredients into smooth, delicious shakes.
Drinking your protein on the go? No problem. Take a scoop of protein powder with you in a jar that connects to your shaker. The BlenderBottle® ProStak® shaker cup has two attachable jars for just such scenarios. Looking to keep your protein shake cold? Try the Strada™ insulated shaker bottle.
Regardless of which method you use to prepare your protein powder, follow the guidance on the container to know how much protein powder to use. Most protein powders come with a scoop that easily measures one serving.
Looking to make your protein powder taste better? Tap here for a few tips and tricks for better tasting protein.
How Long Does Protein Powder Last?
Now that you’ve started adding protein powder to your smoothies and recovering from workouts with protein shakes, you might be wondering how long the protein powder in your kitchen cabinet will last.
For optimal results, you’ll want to mind the shelf life of your protein powder. Make sure to check the expiration date. Though the powder will likely be safe to consume after it has expired, the protein content will decrease and it may not be as effective.
How long your protein powder will last depends on what kind of protein it is and which, if any, additives it contains. Whey protein has a shelf life of approximately nine to 19 months. However, additives in protein powder may extend its shelf life to up to two years.
Luckily, protein powder lasts for quite a while. And, if you are drinking a protein shake after every workout, you are likely to get through your whole supply long before the expiration date.
Up Your Protein Intake and Get Results
Now that you know how to use protein powder, you are well-prepared to take your health and fitness to the next level. It's time to start supplementing with protein powder today.
Shop our collection of premium shaker bottles, designed to make protein shakes an effortless part of your post-workout recovery.