Nutrition

4 Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Protein Supplement

3 min read
Here's what to consider when shopping for a protein powder—everything from the right ingredients to the suppliers. This is how Ritual's Essential Protein stacks up to others on the market.
Here's what to consider when shopping for a protein powder—everything from the right ingredients to the suppliers. This is how Ritual's Essential Protein stacks up to others on the market.

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Shopping for a high-quality protein powder supplement can be trickier than it seems. With so many options out there to sift through, each featuring different ingredients and purported benefits, how are you supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff? As skeptics, we had the same question, so we did what we do best: turned to the research. Here are four questions to consider when choosing a protein supplement.

Is it life-stage specific?

Wellness is personal. It goes without saying, but your body changes over time. (Iron requirements often decrease after menopause, for example.) What meets your protein needs at age 20 might not work for you at age 60—and that should be taken into account, especially when it comes to supplementation. While the notion may seem like common sense, it’s not widely embraced: None of the five best-selling proteins offer life stage-specific options.† Essential Protein, on the other hand, is formulated to support nutrient needs of three key adult life stages—18+, 50+, and pregnancy/postpartum. Whether you're seeking a post-workout shake to build muscle (more on muscle protein synthesis here), or simply an everyday ritual to help fill nutrient gaps and maintain a healthy body weight, choosing the right protein source—for you—makes all the difference.*

†Based on the top 5 US protein powder brands by 2019 retail sales

Is it backed by a visible supply chain?

The answer should be a resounding yes. That’s why Essential Protein is Made Traceable™—the supplier, final location of manufacturing, and purpose of each labeled ingredient is on Ritual.com. One of the easiest ways to confirm whether or not a brand is trustworthy is to see how upfront and transparent they are about what goes into their formulas, along with the quality of their ingredients. Here’s how we see it: If you’re doing everything from a place of accountability, there should be nothing to hide. (By contrast, none of the five best-selling proteins share the supplier, final location of manufacturing, and purpose of each labeled ingredient on their site.†)

†Based on the top 5 US protein powder brands by 2019 retail sales

Does it contain sugar?

In general, when it comes to sugar and artificial sweeteners, we recommend embracing a “less is more” approach. (Studies show that excess sugar intake may contribute to less-than-ideal outcomes.) This holds even more true for supplements designed to be taken regularly, like protein powder—the less additives, the better. Essential Protein is the first protein powder of its kind, sweetened with a combination of fermented sugarcane (learn more about Reb-M here) and monk fruit. Essential Protein is also formulated without sugar††, stevia, or sugar alcohols. That’s an important distinction, considering all five best-selling proteins contain sugar, stevia, and/or sugar alcohols.*† (1)

†Based on the top 5 US protein powder brands by 2019 retail sales

††Not a reduced calorie food

Does it provide Choline support?

To get the most out of your supplement, don't just look at the amount of protein present—look at the ingredient list. The right protein powder goes above and beyond simply meeting your protein intake requirements, especially if you're thinking about using it as a meal replacement. Take Choline, for instance. It’s an essential nutrient that helps support brain health—but it can be difficult to get enough from diet alone. What makes it even more challenging: None of the five best-selling proteins contain essential Choline.† That’s why we made a point to include it in ours. Each serving of Essential Protein provides an excellent source of Choline, an l-methionine helper and an essential nutrient to help fill dietary gaps. In other words: One serving, multiple support benefits. We’ll drink to that!*

†Based on the top 5 US protein powder brands by 2019 retail sales

Resources:

  1. Lee, D., Hwang, W., Artan, M., Jeong, D.-E., & Lee, S.-J. (2014). Effects of nutritional components. Aging Cell, (14(1)), 8–16. NCBI. 10.1111/acel.12277

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