Choosing Between a Meal Replacement or Protein Powder

We’ve worked with many clients over the years who have many different health goals but have chosen to make a healthy change in their food intake. Part of that change includes using a protein powder and/or a complete meal replacement. But what are the benefits of each and the differences between the two options? In this article, we’ll cover the main differences along with the benefits of using each option.

Protein powders come in many different options these days. Whey protein, hemp protein, casein protein, pea protein, monohydrate protein, ion-exchange whey protein. All have different benefits and drawbacks to them, but they all have the same goal of quick protein intake with a lower calorie count in comparison to a complete meal replacement. When evaluating protein powders, one thing to evaluate is the type of protein itself. We’ll take a look at the top protein types.

Whey Protein is a mixture containing the whey isolate from the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. There are actually two types of protein that come from milk, whey, and casein. Whey protein is processed into the powder form to be used in protein powders and complete meal replacements. But the process of converting the milk by-product into the powder you ingest can be different. The two main ways are membrane filtration and ion-exchange. Membrane filtration uses filters to separate out as much unwanted lactose, sugar, and fats as possible. The remaining product is the raw whey protein. Ion-exchange is a method that utilizes pH adjustments in order to separate out the protein. The protein is sent down a tube that attracts the protein only and allows the other by-products through it. The remaining protein then gets introduced to reagents to release and adjust the pH balance back, providing a high protein ratio close to 90-96% with no fats or carbs. There are many articles and schools of thoughts on which one is better, but we here are Freeman Formula feel ion-exchange whey protein, although a more costly process, provides the best quality protein for our products and customers.

But what’s the difference between protein powders and complete meal replacements? Complete meals are just that, “complete meal replacements.” They are meant to provide added minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to the core protein component. This is why they have higher carbohydrates and fats when you’re comparing them to just protein powders. 

But why would someone use a complete meal replacement? One of the main reasons is to control calories by eliminating empty calories. Complete meal replacements offer many if not all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients needed to support weight loss or muscle growth. It eliminates your need to eat other foods that have higher calories and fewer nutrients. Another reason a person might want to use complete meal replacements is because of the convenience and cost. These meals are quick and easy to make and packed with everything needed for an on-the-go person. Instead of stopping and grabbing a fast-food breakfast or a quick lunch out, a complete meal can provide a healthy alternative, that ends up costing about $2.40 per serving/meal. Compare that to any fast food place where you’ll get unhealthy food for double the cost.

In the end, both a protein powder or a complete meal replacement, can and should be part of your healthy eating program. Choosing a high-quality product like Complete Meal Replacement or G.E.A.R will give you the confidence you’re choosing the best for your body.

Varying the amounts and frequency of each will allow you to achieve your goals and feel great about yourself.