Buying a protein powder can be overwhelming, considering how many options are out there. Make it easier with these must-follow pointers.

Protein powder shopping can be stressful. Walk into any health food store and you’ll be met with floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with jugs of protein powder in plenty of flavors and described in terms you probably don’t know. Once you know the protein basics, though, it’s really quite simple to choose. William Suggs, a personal trainer in New York City and a licensed sports nutritionist, shares his tips on how to find the best protein powder for you.

Know Your Goals

“It’s important to know that all proteins are not created equal. You can technically try any of them, but they all do different things,” says Suggs. Narrow your selection by identifying why you want to add protein powder to your diet in the first place. Are you trying to lose weight, build muscle, or just sneak in extra nutrients?

Losing Weight?

…you may consider using a protein shake as a meal replacement or healthy snack option. In that case, look for one that is labeled “concentrate.” “These digest slower, so you get the satiety of a meal with the benefits of increased protein,” he says. Concentrate powders contain a high percentage of protein but with added carbohydrates, minerals, water, and fats. If weight loss is your goal, avoid mixing with anything but water. “Adding milk or yogurt is just increasing the calories and digestion time,” says Suggs. “Optimize the taste by using a shaker cup with a little ice and water. This helps break down the clumps pretty well.”

Related: Are You Having Adequate Protein In Diet? 4 Signs You May Need More

Energize Your Workout with Isolates

“An isolate protein powder is good before and after working out because your body will digest it faster. It delivers proper nutrition to fuel your workout and help you recover afterward,” he says. “When you exercise you’re breaking down muscle tissue, which is being fueled by that protein powder you had before.” That’s why isolates are especially good for toning and building muscles, because the protein is absorbed and useable by the body fairly quickly.

Check this out: Now you can create tasty, nutritious protein shakes without protein powder.

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