Protein powder is something that muscle bound guys lifting weights in the gym would use, right? Well not quite! Sometimes, your kid, yes your kid, may need to have some protein powder for his healthy development. But, is it safe to give kids protein powder? Can it lead to any side effects?
Choosing a healthy protein powder for kids is a daunting task, one which is made tougher by the sheer volume of brands available. But, don’t worry! We at MomJunction have compiled a list of the healthiest protein powders for kids here. Also, we talk about the safety of protein powder for kids. So, read on and keep yourself informed.
What Is Protein Powder?
You can find three common kinds of protein powder in the market. Whey, soy, and casein protein. Doctors recommend the intake of whey, a water-soluble milk protein, for kids. Whey protein contains essential amino acids that can fulfill your kid’s dietary requirements (1).
[ Read: Benefits Of Protein For Kids ]
Types Of Protein Powder For Kids:
Protein triggers the growth process and helps your kid develop strong muscles. But it is recommended to choose a high-protein and low-calorie protein powder for your little one, as it can fulfill the nutritional intake and your kid does not turn obese.
Here are some of the common variations of protein powder available in the market:
1. Whey Protein:
- The protein derived from cow’s milk is best suited for small children.
- Also called ‘complete protein,’ the whey protein supplies all nine essential amino acids to your kid’s body.
- When the protein enters your kid’s bloodstream, it triggers the production of the amino acid leucine, which aids in building muscle.
2. Casein Protein:
- The specific protein casein comes from milk and helps in efficient muscle building.
- But your kid may feel difficulty digesting the Casein protein and it leaves him to feel fuller for a longer time span.
[ Read: Healthy Drinks For Kids ]
3. Soy Protein:
- While some swear by the many benefits of soy products, research does not have any conclusive evidence about soy protein’s goodness, especially for children. Soy is one of the eight major foods that most kids are allergic to. A significant majority of children who are allergic to dairy could also be allergic to soy, according to a study(2). Another study suggested that soy milk may not be as nutritious as dairy milk and kids who drank soy were shorter than the average height(3).
- So unless your pediatrician or nutritionist has recommended, use caution when giving soy products for your children.
Choosing A Protein Powder For Kids:
When you have settled in selecting the particular protein powder for your kid, you can find countless brands competing in the market.
Here are few important factors to consider before choosing the particular brand for your kid:
- If you have settled on buying the whey protein powder for kids, make sure that the ingredient whey isolate comprises in the product label (ingredient list).
- Check the percentage of artificial sweeteners present in the protein powder. Avoid choosing the high ones, as they can elevate your kid’s carb intake and he becomes obese.
- Pick a neutral flavor protein powder for children. The most versatile flavors are vanilla flavor and the unflavored ones.
- Check that the protein powder your choose comprises of the protein isolates instead of the concentrates, as the isolates are better and purer form of protein.
- High sugar content in protein powder can hamper the metabolic rate of your kid and may only give a short-term energy boost.
[ Read: High Protein Snacks For Kids ]
Protein Requirements For Kids:
While protein triggers the growth process in kids, but children usually need less amount of protein than adults. When your kid’s age lies between 1 to 3 years, he should get 5-10% of calories from the protein. When he reaches 4 years and above, he should get 10-30% of calories from the protein. For adults, they need 10-35% of calories from the protein.
The protein requirements of your kid may entirely depend upon his age and weight. But in general, a 3-year old kid weighing around 30 pounds may need approximately 16 grams of protein every day (3).
Is Protein Powder Safe For Your Kid?
Under the normal scenario, your kid may get enough supply of protein through his daily diet that may include fruits, nuts, meat, and vegetables. Therefore, you do not need to include protein powder as supplements. When you start giving protein shake to your kid, the additional protein gets stored in the form of fat in his body and makes him obese. Moreover, high intake of protein can also lead to kidney damage and dehydration.
Best Protein Powder For Kids:
Some of the recommended protein powder brands for kids are:
1. 100% Whey Gold Standard (Optimum Nutrition):
- The product contains 100% Whey Protein, which helps in your kid’s muscle building and regeneration process.
- The protein powder has a low concentration of carbohydrates, lactose, and fat.
2. Pro JYM:
- Each scoop of the branded protein powder supplies 24 grams of pure and best quality protein.
- The product contains whey protein isolates, milk protein isolate, micellar casein, and egg white protein in highest quality.
3. SYNTHA-6 (BSN):
- The whey protein supplement tastes flavorful, and your kid may love the taste.
- The protein powder contains healthy fiber and fats, which helps in your kid’s growth processes.
- Besides supplying protein, the product also provides essential amino acids, peptides, Glutamine and fiber to your kid’s body.
- The Micellar Protein present in Syntha-6 helps in muscle development and building endurance.
4. RSP Whey:
- The scientifically formulated protein powder aids in your kid;s muscle growth and recovery.
- The protein powder has a low content of carbs and fat.
- The brand utilizes cold ultrafiltration process to enhance the purity and solubility of the protein powder.
5. COR-Performance Whey (Cellucor):
- The protein powder helps your kid to maintain lean muscles and replenish all the vital nutrients after a strenuous physical activity.
- Every scoop of COR-Performance Whey supplies 25g of Whey protein and digestive enzymes to your kid’s body.
- The dessert-inspired flavors can satisfy the taste bud of your kid.
6. Combat Powder (MusclePharm):
- To maximize muscle growth, the manufacturers of Combat Powder fortified the product with a variety of protein blends.
- Your kid can easily digest the shake made from the great tasting protein powder.
[ Read: High Protein Breakfast For Kids ]
7. 100% Casein Protein Powder (Optimum Nutrition):
- The brand uses high-quality Micellar Casein in the formulation of the protein powder.
- The product comes in a wide array of flavors like chocolate cake butter, banana cream, creamy vanilla, and chocolate supreme.
- This is the best protein powder for children as it contains a very low proportion of sugar, fat, and carbohydrates.
Before including any protein powder in your kid’s diet regime, consider consulting the doctor first. Does your kid take any protein powder? Which one? Tell us here!
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