Frequently, I recommend protein powder to supplement dietary protein, but my clients aren't always sure exactly what to do once they have it. That”™s the topic of this post.

Why Protein Is Important

Protein has numerous functions in the body, starting with the obvious one that it can be converted to glucose for energy.

Because I”™ve covered protein in previous posts, I”™ll keep this part brief. Protein is used to form hormones, enzymes, blood, body tissue, hemoglobin, antibodies, transport proteins, and much more.

As protein enters the small intestine, it triggers CCK, a powerful satiety hormone. CCK curbs carb cravings significantly. People who don”™t get adequate protein often have strong sugar cravings.

Protein provides the amino acid precursors for brain chemicals that have many functions. Those amino acids can, for example, raise dopamine and norepinephrine for alertness and improved mood. Eating sufficient protein can reduce the need for caffeine — which triggers the same brain chemicals. But while caffeine depletes those chemicals, protein increases their production.

Another example is tryptophan, used by the brain to make serotonin. Serotonin enhances satiety and mood.

And protein provides several B vitamins that act as catalysts in forming all three of the brain chemicals above.

Why Protein Powder?

I”™m not suggesting that you give up real foods and use protein powder instead. But protein powder is convenient. It”™s light and portable and needs no refrigeration. Here are some suggestions for specific situations.[wlm_private 'PRO-Platinum|PRO-Monthly|PRO-Gratis|PRO-Seasonal|Platinum-trial|Monthly-trial|PRO-Military|30-Days-of-PRO|90 Day PRO|Stages-Instructor|Schwinn-Instructor|Instructor-Bonus|28 Day Challenge']


Vegetarians / Vegans

Powdered protein is great for those who don”™t want to eat meat. For vegans, who don”™t eat any animal products, vegetable protein powder might be the best way to get high-quality protein in the diet.

Please recall that non-animal sources of ‘protein”™ often aren”™t. Nuts are not protein; they”™re unsaturated fat. Beans, rice and quinoa are definitely carbs.

Vegans often experience sugar cravings. Vegetable protein powder could be a top method for vegans to stop cravings long-term.

Post-Training Fuel

As detailed in a previous post, refueling within 30 minutes is ideal. The best post-training meal is a combination of carb and protein in about a 3-to-1 ratio (the original research used 2 to 1).

Powdered protein will keep in a gym locker and mix with water as part of a solid post-workout “meal.” Just add good starch. Potatoes are excellent after workouts; other starches work, too.


Travel is an obvious time for the convenience of protein powder. A couple of years ago, I attended a 5-day seminar in a remote area. We were told it would feature only vegetarian cuisine. I brought 15 envelopes of raw vegetable protein powder and mixed one with water at the start of each meal. With my protein needs taken care of, I could enjoy the meal with no problem.

Conquering Sugar Addiction

For reasons explained above, having protein throughout the day can help you end sugar addiction by changing brain chemistry and preventing sugar cravings. Many brands of protein powder are out there, so find one with no junk — especially no sugar.

Don”™t make the same mistake as a client of mine who had a serious sugar addiction. Instead of buying plain, unsweetened powder and mixing it with water (per my instructions), she bought French Vanilla and mixed it with orange juice. “The protein drinks are delicious!” she told me, but her sugar cravings got worse.

“Delicious” is usually a telltale sugar sign. Unsweetened protein — whey, pea, vegetable, soy, other — plus water won”™t be delicious but will be helpful.

On the Go

Away from the office and a snack room, it might be difficult to find protein if you can”™t stop for a meal. Depending on the hours you”™ll be in the field, protein powder may help. Carbs are easy; we can find salads and other carbs almost anywhere.

Plan B

As suggested in a previous post, leave an envelope or two of protein powder in your car for emergencies. Take care of the protein and the rest of the meal will fall in place.

So skip granola bars, “energy” bars, chocolate-hazelnut spread, electrolyte drinks. The main benefit of protein powder is it”™s a true protein source when ordinary foods aren”™t available.


Joan Kent

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