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Nutrition for Active Teens: Supplements

Content by: NCES, Inc.

Are supplements helping your game or just a bunch of hype? Read on to find out...

Nutrition for Active Teens: Supplements
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When first shopping for protein supplements, it can be overwhelming to see all the different options available on the market. It’s like going to a new restaurant with a menu full of options that you are unsure of, so you order the meal with the best picture or description. Unfortunately, you may end up with a subpar meal because you didn’t know how to decipher the rest of the menu. The same can be true when buying protein supplements. So what should you be looking for?

How do you judge the quality of the protein supplement for your goals?

1. Start by looking for a supplement that is a true protein supplement.
- Avoid super blends that are marketed as protein shakes, you would be paying for other supplements you aren’t concerned about. In super blends there are extra things added to raise the price of the protein shake mix.
- Look for items labeled, whey, casein, Isoprotein or a vegan source of protein powder without any other added supplements.

2. Look at how many grams per serving is in your protein supplements.
- 20-40 grams is the sweet spot per serving in protein supplements.
- Higher servings are acceptable, but could be too high if you are concerned with weight loss.
- Lower servings could have you falling short of your daily recommendation of protein.
- Higher concentrations of protein per serving is a great criteria on the quality of protein supplements.
~ For example, Isoprotein shakes are the highest concentration of protein per serving, so at least 90% of calories will come from protein.

3. A good ratio to look for is having at least 80% of the calories to come from protein.
- Anything less than 80% is usually shakes higher in sugar and higher in calories.

4. You don’t have to sacrifice taste when choosing protein supplements, and blandness doesn't
need to be forced on you.
- However, be cautious when picking on taste alone.
~ Some protein bars are more like candy bars.
~ Some smoothies mixed with protein are so high in calories that they are equivalent to a meal and not a supplement.

So how should you choose which option is the best?
- Use the criteria for ingredients and protein content first.
- Then search for taste within that criteria to pick a quality protein supplement.