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Protein Powder or Meal Replacement Powder?

Should you supplement with a protein powder or a meal replacement powder (MRP)? Well first, let’s discuss the difference between the two and their applications in the health and fitness industry.

A protein powder is just that; a powder that is predominantly protein. It may have a few grams of carbohydrates or fat, but for the most part it is a straight protein supplement. Protein powders can be made of whey protein, casein protein, or a mix of any variety of sources of protein. Protein powders are generally used to increase overall protein intake, especially for muscle building purposes. Protein powders are often called meal replacements; however their macronutrient content does not fit the profile of a true MRP.

A meal replacement powder more fully resembles an actual meal, hence the term “meal replacement powder”. MRPs contain protein, but it is accompanied by a higher amount of carbohydrates and fat. A general ratio of protein to carbs and fat is: 50% protein, 30% carbs and 20% fat (by a total calorie percentage), however this ratio may vary. MRPs are best utilized throughout the day as a whole food meal substitute to provide energy and complete macronutrient nutrition.

Both choices have their roles in the health and fitness world. A MRP is a better choice than a straight protein powder for gaining muscle and keeping energy levels elevated. For fat loss, a protein powder will probably speed results due to their lack of fat and carbs, and lower overall calorie level.

By paying a little closer attention to what you’re buying, you can choose a better powder option for your fitness needs. By choosing the proper powder for your nutritional needs, you can hasten the time in which you may see results.