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THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROTEIN POWDER

  • By
  • Teresa Cutter

If you’re busy, protein powders can often come in handy. At any time of day, you can quickly whip up a shake and allow your body to be nourished and satisfied.

A quality protein drink made from whole food ingredients can benefit your health in a number of ways. Protein powders can balance hormones, assist in weight loss, support detoxification and digestion, boost your immune system, and even support pregnancy.

Protein is also the key nutrient that helps you get ageless glowing skin and lean toned muscles. I’ve been in the fitness and health industry since my early 20s and have tasted many kinds of protein on the market. Some made me gain weight, some constipated me for days, and some made me feel bloated. This was the main reason I decided to design my own.

It’s important you choose the right protein powder that suits your needs and that supports your health in every way. Like most manufactured foods, protein powders are not created equal. It’s important they are un-denatured and free from chemicals and additives. Ignore all the marketing hype on the front of the package and head straight for the ingredients list and nutrition facts. Do you recognise all the ingredients, Is it low in sugar and free from fillers – If so, you have a winner.

Protein helps to:

  • Support weight loss and healthy metabolism
  • Support detox diets
  • Support nutritional needs during pregnancy
  • Support digestive health
  • Repair and maintain healthy skin and hair
  • Keep blood sugars stable
  • Curb appetite
  • Maintain a healthy Immune system
  • Sustain lean muscle
  • Prevent muscle wastage
  • Assist in hormone production
  • Assist recovery from sport or illness

Here’s what you DON’T want in a protein powder:



1. Casein + WPC
These are also known as whey protein concentrate and caseinate. WPC’s and casein protein sources are high in lactose, which can often cause bloating, flatulence, and gastrointestinal distress in some people.

2. Gluten
Food sensitivities to gluten can elevate inflammation in some people and cause a range of health problems including hormonal imbalances, skin conditions, fatigue, mood swings, and headaches.

3. Dextrins/Maltodextrin
These ingredients can raise glycemic load, which may contribute to fat storage. Most are processed with GMO corn and they can also cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. They are mostly added to protein powders as fillers to bulk it out or make the protein mix easier.

4. Artificial sweeteners
Common artificial sweeteners used are sucralose, splenda (955), aspartamine, equal, NutraSweet (951), or saccharin (954) and xylitol. Several negative side effects can come from ingesting these ingredients, including headaches, migraines, gastric distress such as bloating, acid reflux and weight gain.

5. Skim milk powders/milk solids
Skim milk powders and milk solids are often used as a cheap bulking agent in less quality powders. They are high in lactose sugars, which can cause bloating, gastrointestinal distress, constipation, and loose stools. The protein is poorly absorbed into the body, making it harder for you to reap all of its benefits.

6. Soy protein
Most soy proteins come from genetically-modified sources with high pesticide use, and contain the chemical compound phyto-oestrogen, which may cause hormonal disturbances and suppressed thyroid function in some people.

7. Vegetable oils and fats
These ingredients are often added to many weight loss and protein powders to increase richness and make them taste creamy. However, these fats are often derived from hydrogenated sources that contain trans fats, which are thought to be more harmful than saturated fats. Trans fats raise levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol.

8. Thickeners and gums
Thickeners and gums, including xanthan gum, are manufactured from soy or corn and can cause bloating, constipation and gas.

9. Fillers
Fillers are often added to bulk up the protein and save money for the manufacturer. Some fillers include ingredients such as coconut flour or psyllium, which can cause gastric distress such as bloating, constipation and reflux in people who are susceptible to digestive issues.

WHEN SHOULD PROTEIN POWDERS BE INCORPORATED INTO A DIET ?
Match your protein to your goal. If you find a clean protein powder, it can be used for a number of things, such as fitness, weight loss, body shaping, etc. However, you will use the protein differently depending on what your goal is.

1. Weight loss
The best way to use protein for weight loss, is to use them as meal replacements. Start the day with a morning smoothie for breakfast after your workout. I vary between my Pure Native WPI or Organic Pea protein, then add frozen blueberries, super food, almond milk or coconut water and some ice. It all depends on what I feel like, but that’s definitely my shake of the moment. A small banana can also be added for extra creaminess and boosters such as matcha can increase fat burning. This type of smoothie will boost metabolism, nourish lean muscle and keep you energized all morning.

As a mid afternoon snack, I combine 1 serve of protein with 1-½ cups of coconut water or water then shake in a blender bottle. This will help curb appetite and stop you reaching for the cookie jar when you feel like something sweet.
2. Sports performance
The best time to consume protein is immediately after exercise. This is when blood flow to the exercised muscles is high and the muscle is especially receptive to nutrients. Before exercising, protein shakes can curb appetite and keep blood sugars stable to get you through your workout. It’s important that your protein is high in BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids). Studies show that BCAA’s can reduce fatigue, improve exercise performance, reduce muscle breakdown, and facilitate healing.

For sports performance and recovery, I love to shake Healthy Chef protein with coconut water or water and drink it immediately after my workout. Two shakes per day are ideal and will help your body and muscles recover quickly.

3. Wellbeing
Protein has a stabilising effect on blood sugar. High stress levels can lead to hypoglycaemia or other blood sugar imbalances. Increasing protein intake can boost energy levels, reduce jitteriness, agitation and mood swings, improve sleep, and sharpen brain function. Stress can also cause play havoc with your digestion, causing all sorts of issues to malabsorption, constipation, IBS etc.  Our range is specifically designed to help support perfect digestive health.  They are also low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS) and can be enjoyed by everyone including those with gastrointestinal issues and lactose intolerance.

SHOULD PROTEIN BE MIXED INTO A SMOOTHIE WITH FRUIT? OR ARE THEY BEST TAKEN WITH WATER?
This depends on whether you want to use it as a healthy meal replacement or just a quick protein fix. As a smoothie, you’re having a complete meal and great for breakfast on the go. As a shake mixed with water, you’re getting quicker absorption into the body. This is great after a workout when you’re body is most receptive to the intake of protein.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD A WOMAN GET IN HER DIET
Check out our Protein Calculator, which calculates your ideal amount for you.

The amount of protein you consume each day varies slightly depending on your age, weight, and activity level. To maintain good health, it’s all about getting a good balance of quality protein over the course of a day. The average amount for a women it’s 1g per kilo of body weight per day. For athletes, pregnant women, or those dieting, aim for about 1.2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight or about 80 – 120 grams per day.

WILL PROTEIN BULK ME UP?
It depends on the protein supplement you are using as well as diet and they type of exercise.

A woman can bulk up or gain weight for 4 reasons:
1 – they are exercising incorrectly for their body type and needs.
2 – they are eating too much or eating the wrong foods.
3 – they are drinking too much alcohol – that can suppress fat burning
4 – they are using the incorrect protein powders and meal replacement shakes that are loaded with ingredients that cause bloating and weight gain.

I’ve competed in many fitness figure competitions at both state and national level, and I know how the female body adapts to the training you give it as well as what you feed it. At the gym women should focus on high repetitions 30 – 50 and super set exercises….this is the best way of getting lean toned muscles fast without bulking up. It’s also important they do at least 30 minutes of cardio every day to help with fat loss and body shaping if that is their goal. Reduce your food portions, omit processed white carbs and focus on a whole food diet high in fresh vegetables, salads, healthy fats and fresh fruit and some clean protein on the side. You’ll enjoy your healthy diet and your body and skin will look amazing!

 

 

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PURE NATIVE WPI AND ORGANIC PEA PROTEIN ?
Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 4.35.31 pm

 THE EASIEST SMOOTHIE YOU’LL EVER MAKE

1 ripe banana, frozen and chopped
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 1/2  cups coconut water or almond milk
2 tablespoon Pure Protein such as Native WPI or Organic Pea Protein
1 tablespoon Organic Superfood

Combine ingredients into a blender.
Blend for a few seconds until smooth.
Pour into 1 – 2 glasses and enjoy.

Notes + Inspiration
For a Blender Free Smoothie combine coconut water or icy cold almond milk with Healthy Chef Protein, Organic Superfood and smashed banana and a handful of ice into a blender bottle then shake for a purely delicious creamy smoothie. Add boosters such as Organic Matcha, LSA or yoghurt for added antioxidants, probiotics and fibre.

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32 Comments

Comments
32 Responses to “THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROTEIN POWDER”
  1. Belle says:

    I’m breastfeeding (and working out most days) which protein powder is best for us?

    • Hey Belle – Both our WPI and Organic Pea Protein are great ! My favourite would be Pure Native WPI Natural https://secure.thehealthychef.com/shop/product/pure-native-wpi-natural-1kg High quality of essential amino acids with no added anything. T:)

    • Hi Belle – I would recommend the WPI Natural for you it’s perfect, clean and pure with absolutely nothing added. It also has a slightly higher percentage of amino acids. A quality protein that contains all the essential amino acids can provide support to pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Amino acids are the building blocks of your body’s cells — and of your baby’s body as well. It’s important to get enough protein throughout your pregnancy as well as in breastfeeding. Pregnant women need about 70 grams (g) of protein per day to support a growing healthy baby.

  2. katrina says:

    I am confused about the difference in the two proteins you talk about for weight loss and do you sell both. I can only see the WPI one on your list.

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi Theresa. I have found your information on protein powders very helpful. I am currently using an organic vanilla pea protein blend. The ingredient list checks out with no ‘nasty’ stuff but it really tastes disgusting! I’ve tried to disguise it in all manner of ways but think it might be the texture as well as the flavour.
    Do all pea protein powders have a similar texture? I am very keen to try the ones you sell but obviously it is a bit of an out lay if the powders are similar texture wise.

  4. Janina says:

    Hi Teresa, Jon Gabriel says hat xylitol is one of the best sweetners. Also on channel 9 there was a segment on xylitol and they said stevia and xylitol does not cause the blood sugar to spike. Also confused about agave…isn’t it a hihg fructose syrup? Lease confirm, in your opinion which is the best to use.

    • Hi Janina – for people who have IBS Xylitol is not the best sweetener as it may cause bloating and gastrointestinal issues. I’ve been managing my IBS all my life, so this is something I’m very sure about. In regards to sugar….the less processed the better..Agave has undergone a considerable amount of processing and is no healthier than regular sugar. it also has a high percentage of fructose that is not idea in large quantities and can lead to increased body fat. Don’t get too fanatical and keep it real – enjoy everything in moderation. You are better off sticking to small amounts of less refined sugar and enjoy a whole food diet rich in fresh vegetables and whole fruit etc.

  5. Trish says:

    Hi Teresa, is one of your protein drinks healthier than another for me?
    I am in my 70’s ,and very overweight. I can’t seem lose any .
    Arthritis and peripheral neuropathy prevents me from exercising.
    Thank you. I do enjoy your products.
    Trish.

    • Hi Trish, I recommend you talk to your health specialist about an effective weight loss strategy that’s specific to you….I would recommend if you can do physio, massage etc that may also help manage your issue. I would recommend our WPI protein mixed into a nutrient rich berry smoothie or with coconut water as a meal replacement is a good start..as you are not moving all that much , it’s important to keep the quality of your meals rich is vegetables, fresh fruits and protein such as fish for omega 3 benefits. My mother has peripheral neuropathy…we are trying to manage this with correct diet, physio sessions and etc….

  6. Janet says:

    I am underweight, have difficulty gaining weight. Do you think protein powder could help?

    • Hi Janet, gaining weight is all about the quality, nutrient density and volume that you eat…..it’s not all about protein powders. I recommend you see your nutritionalist so design a specific weight gain eating plan specifically for your needs. Adding our protein to smoothies and adding more nutrient dense foods such as nut butter, banana, nut milks etc will also help give you the calorie needs you need to achieve your goal….make sure to eat regular meals throughout the day…I would also recommend you see an exercise physiologist to help design a light resistance training program for you to maintain and build lean body mass and strength as well as enhance your bone density. T:)

  7. Wanda says:

    Hi Teresa,
    I used you protein calculator to determine my required amount of protein, how can I tell if I am already getting this in my diet or if a supplement would be helpful?

    • Just work it out via a rough guide of what you already eat Wanda …..for instance a 100 g of fish has about 25 g of protein…see what your intake is for the day….roughly…a protein drink can easily replace on of those protein packed meals without the fuss…a shake is also great for instance if you are enjoying a salad for lunch without added protein, so a shake made with coconut water can really complete the meal. Hope this helps.

  8. Maureen says:

    Hi Teresa, I have lost quite a bit of weight over the last 12 months due to illness. I have the super food and immune powders, just wondering if the protein powder would help me gain some weight. I’m only 48 Kg and would ideally love to get back to at least 55..

    • Hi Maureen, gaining weight is all about the quality, nutrient density and volume that you eat…..it’s not all about protein powders. I recommend you see your nutritionalist so design a specific weight gain eating plan specifically for your needs. Adding our protein to smoothies and adding more nutrient dense foods such as nut butter, banana, nut milks etc will also help give you the calorie needs you need to achieve your goal….make sure to eat regular meals throughout the day…I would also recommend you see an exercise physiologist to help design a light resistance training program for you to maintain and build lean body mass and strength as well as enhance your bone density. T:)

  9. Gulay says:

    I have had a gastric sleeve and dont get enough protein so utilise powders. Will your powders assist with maintenance post WLS or not? Thank you!

    • Hi Gulay – Healthy Chef Protein can support weight loss and supplement your diet by ensuring you receive the optimum daily protein intake required by your specialist. Our WPI is widely used for laparoscopic / gastric sleeve patients who need a quality protein source that does not cause gastrointestinal issues or bloating.

      Protein can work effectively to regulate the appetite, increase satiety and encourage significant weight loss. When attempting to keep total calories down during dieting, protein supplementation can help to keep total food volume down but still provide support directly to the muscles, liver and immune systems which are critical to optimising body composition. For weight loss it is recommended you get between 80 – 120 g of protein per day to aid satiety and repair.

  10. Carmelina Manzo says:

    Hi Teresa,

    I’ve just been looking through your website and interested in some of your products.

    I’ve not long ago finished an 8 week shred program (kim beach) … I used protein after training (I weight train 3-4 times per week and do 1-2 cardio sessions), but found the protein powder (musashi) really played havoc with my tummy – I’ve got fructose malabsorption and am dairy intolerant. I’m interested in getting your 80/20 book and notice it has training information in there also … can you elaborate on what level of training? Also are the recipes in there very high in fructose? I liked the look of your protein balls but they have dates in there – so would need to substitute with something non fructose.

    Also what protein would you recommend. I’ve tried a pea protein before and it was terrible. Do you have small samples that can be purchased to sample?

    Many thanks
    Carmelina

    • Hi Carmelina – lovely to hear from you ! For you I would recommend our Pure Native WPI in either natural or vanilla bean. Both our organic pea and WPI are suited for those with digestive issues and intolerance to lactose, fructose etc. The training plan in my 80/20 book is based around a full body workout – one for the gym and one for home….it’s based around what i use for my own training when I was competing in Fitness figure competitions and specifically designed for body shaping, toning and fat loss. Hope this helps. We currently do not do samples of our products as they all have 100 % money back guarantee. Hope this helps…regards Teresa x

      • Carmelina says:

        Thanks so much for your reply. I will try the protein you suggested & will buy 80/20. Need a new training program. Thanks again

  11. sarah says:

    hello,
    I don’t work out much. I do a bit of pilates here and there and few long walks but thats it. Will adding protein to my morning smoothy make me gain weight or just keep me fuller for longer and healthier?

  12. Natalie says:

    HI Teresa

    You mentioned in this post about doing the wrong exercise for your body type- do you have any sites or blogs to recommend so I can see if this is the case for me? I would love to know if I am doing the wrong exercise- I’m trying to get smaller, not bigger- and that’s what’s happening right now :(
    Many thanks,

    • Hi Natalie,
      I always recommend to speak with your health care professional, Naturopath & Nutritionist. That way your health history and progress will be checked out and followed :) Good luck!

  13. Steph J says:

    Hi

    My daughter is recovering from surgery (benign tumour removed from jaw, three teeth removed). She will be in a soft food diet for three months. What supplements do you recommend with the most calcium that can support her recovery. She is 1, usually very active and will more than likely try new things. She likes smoothies etc
    Thanks

  14. Ali says:

    I heard protein powders those have soy are not good for mens health. So which protein powder i can use for overall health after running and gym?

    • Hi Ali, the most popular protein for overall health and for after running/gym is our Pure Native WPI. Most of our products are free from soy.
      Our WPI has no soy protein, and contains naturally occurring digestive enzymes that make it suitable for people with lactose intolerance + it’s also gluten free.
      Healthy Chef Organic Pea Protein, Organic Superfood, Natural Immune Support and Naked Chocolate also do not contain soy of any kind. Hope this helps. Best of luck on your health journey Tx

  15. Kelly says:

    Hi, I love the idea of both your whey and pea protein powders! I’m struggling to decide which one I should be using. I go to the gym 3-4 times a week for circuit training plus dance most nights. I’m looking for something for weight loss and toning. I’d be taking it straight after a work out but also to curb that 3pm sugar craving at my desk. Would you recommend one over the other for this?

    • They are both great kelly….why don’t you try our Organic Pea Protein first…I love the Chocolate and Maca and mix with a little rice milk for a chocolate mid afternoon craving….the vanilla is great to mix into smoothies in the morning. T:)

  16. Jess says:

    Hi Teresa, Thanks for the great write up. Straight to the point, easy to understand. I wish when i was learning about proteins that you wrote this article.

    thanks, Jess

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