With the new year fast approaching, many of us are looking to get in great shape. The first thing you should do is cut your sugar intake by 50%. The next thing you should do is make sure you’re using a low-calorie protein powder. We define that as any product with 120 calories or fewer per serving. It should also have a high protein content per serving. This means it will contain premium protein sources, such as casein, whey, and plant-based, to name a few. Also, we’ll want to keep carbs and fat low.
Anyone Can Use A Low-Calorie Protein Powder!
Anybody Interested In Fitness
As we’ll see soon enough, low-carb dieters, keto dieters, and competitive bodybuilders can all benefit from a low-calorie protein powder. Yet anyone interested in fitness can also benefit. This can be long-time fitness enthusiasts as well as individuals brand new to fitness.
Low-Carb & Keto Dieters
Individuals following a low-carb or keto diet need a good low-calorie protein powder. For these dieters, it should be as low calorie as possible. This helps you to stay in line with your total daily calorie requirements. Also, a protein powder ensures you’re ingesting enough total protein. Finally, using a low-calorie protein powder means you may have room to add some healthy whole-food options.
Competitive Bodybuilders On A Cut Cycle
Bodybuilders getting ready for a contest need plenty of protein. Of course, they keep calories as low as they can. It might be easy to overlook this aspect, but by going with the lowest calorie protein possible, you’re paying attention to details and setting yourself up to walk on stage in amazing shape!
What You Should Consider In A Low-Calorie Protein Powder
Your low-calorie protein powder should:
- Contain High-Quality Ingredients – Look for the cleanest possible powder. That means low to no artificial ingredients, fillers, or additives. Many of the choices I will suggest contain very few total ingredients.
- Use A Premium Protein Source – Choose quality protein sources that use at least 20g of protein per serving. You should also look for a powder with at least a 70% protein content. You might recall my article “Whey Protein-A Buying Guide”. In that article, I provided a calculation to determine total protein content: protein grams / serving size grams. Example: 20g protein / 28g serving size = 71% protein. This means there’s a fair amount of “other ingredients”. The higher the protein content, the purer the powder.
- Preferably Be Natural & Unflavored – The best low-calorie protein powders keep calorie totals down by being 100% natural and unflavored. This means they only use one or two ingredients and are unflavored to keep the ingredient list down. That doesn’t mean you can’t choose a flavored protein powder, you certainly can. Just be mindful that it might lower the protein content.
Types Of Protein
There are quite a few protein sources that can be used in a low-calorie protein powder. Most supplement companies currently make several kinds of protein powder. This may include whey, casein, maybe egg white, and at least one plant-based protein source. Many companies also make protein blends. A popular combination is whey and casein. Or, whey, casein, egg, and pea, as an example.
Here are the most common sources of protein:
Whey Concentrate – This is the most common type of whey protein but it does not have the lowest calories. Concentrate consists of approximately 80% protein with the remaining 20% consisting of fat and carbs, which adds extra calories.
Whey Isolate – This is the highest quality whey protein on the market. It will be low-calorie with a protein content of 90%.
Hydrolyzed Whey – This is a whey isolate broken down into smaller particles for easier digestion.
Casein – This is a milk protein that’s slow-digesting. This can be very important for active individuals. Use it before a long day at work or school, and right before bed.
There are two primary types of casein:
Calcium Caseinate – This is a very common type of casein protein. It has more calories and does not have the quality of micellar casein.
Micellar Casein – This is the highest quality casein protein available and will have low calories.
Egg White – Egg white protein is a high-quality protein source that’s low in carbs and low in fat.
Plant-Based – This might be a single plant source, or it can be a blend of plant-based proteins. Pea and brown rice are two common examples. This is a medium-digesting protein powder that has recently become very popular.
Beef – This is a popular protein for bodybuilding and powerlifting. It’s also a common source in real food protein powders.
Why Protein Is Important
The body requires three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Protein is the most important of these. It provides 4 calories per gram, the same as carbohydrates, while fat provides 9 calories per gram.
Besides water, protein is a major component of our body. One of the things that make up protein are amino acids, often called the “building blocks” of protein. There are 20 amino acids used by the body. They are combined in thousands of different sequences or chains. These chains are then used for countless daily bodily functions. Among these functions is muscle growth.
The body makes 11 amino acids (non-essential) made by the body, and nine (essential) must come from diet and supplements. Your daily protein needs must be met. This ensures your body has enough. Therefore, protein must be consistently ingested during the day. Your protein should come from whole foods first, then a premium low-calorie protein powder. It’s important to note that adequate daily protein is important for everyone, not just those that regularly exercise. (1, 2)
How Protein Powder Helps You Control Calories & Lose Fat
Using a low-calorie protein powder will help you lower total calories. Plus, you can replace unhealthy calories with a low-calorie powder. If losing fat is your goal, reduce junk calories, consume more protein, and exercise, including cardio. For fat loss, perform cardio 3-4 times per week, 30 minutes per session, at a high intensity to get your heart rate up.
How To Use In A Low-Calorie Protein Powder
A low-calorie protein powder can be mixed with virtually anything – your choice of liquid, yogurt, or oatmeal. You can make protein pancakes or protein muffins, to name a few examples. You can even use vanilla or chocolate protein powder as your coffee creamer. If you can bake with it, these flavors make a great addition to your recipe. Read the label first if you’d like to bake with it.
Use a low-calorie protein powder several times a day to help meet daily protein requirements.
Drink a protein shake first thing in the morning. Why? You just spent the last 7-10 hours asleep, and you haven’t eaten. This means when you wake up, you need protein to put you back in an anabolic environment. Also, drink a post-workout shake immediately after your last set. Your shake can include some simple carbohydrates. This gets recovery going in the right direction.
Here Are Our Best Low-Calorie Protein Powders!
These are in no particular order. I’ve included calories per serving.
5% Nutrition Egg White Crystals – 90 calories. Drink it or make up some scrambled eggs with it!
Axe & Sledge Farm Fed Whey Isolate – Vanilla Milkshake Flavor – 100 calories. There’s only one ingredient – grass-fed whey isolate.
Find yours here: Axe & Sledge Farm Fed – I’ll Pump You Up (illpumpyouup.com)
Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg – 110 calories. Great egg white protein powder!
Check it out here: Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg Protein – I’ll Pump You Up (illpumpyouup.com)
NOW Organic Pea Protein – Only one ingredient and just 80 calories per serving! Hurry, it’s going fast!
Rule 1 Plant Protein – Features a blend of Organic Pea Protein, Sunflower Seed Protein, Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein, and Organic Watermelon Seed Protein. Plus, 120 calories per serving.
NutraBio 100% Whey Isolate – Well of course NutraBio would be on this list! Right on the edge at 120 calories per serving.
As you can see, there are several choices and these are among the best low-calorie protein powders on the market. Don’t wait, get yours today!
- Tarnopolsky, M. A., MacDougall, J. D., & Atkinson, S. A. (1988, January). Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen balance and lean body mass. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3356636