One of the most constantly debated questions is: what is the right amount of sodium that we need to stay healthy?
On one hand, you have a very important electrolyte that is key to fluid balance, oxygen delivery, and other biological processes.
On the other hand, you have a mineral which when taken in excess, increases blood pressure as well as the risk of getting stroke, heart failure, and osteoporosis.
A surprising fact is that the highest percentage of sodium that we consume does not come from table salt but from processed and prepared foods.
If you’ve been looking for ways to reduce your intake of this mineral, a good place to start is to choose sodium-free or low sodium protein powders. Read on to learn more about the relationship between sodium and protein powders.
- Sodium in Protein Powder
- How to Determine the Amount of Sodium in Protein Powders
- Best Low-Sodium Protein Powders
- GENEPRO Organic Protein Powder
- NOW Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
- Naked Whey Grass Fed Protein Powder
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Protein
- ProMix Nutrition Grass-Fed Whey Protein
- GOLD STANDARD 100% Natural Whey
- Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
- Garden Of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein
- Other Factors to Consider when Choosing Protein Powders
Sodium in Protein Powder
In 2013, LabDoor- an independent testing lab based in San Francisco- carried out research to determine the amount of sodium in protein supplements. They tested 50 protein powders, and this consisted of some of the best-selling products in the U.S.
Of the 50 supplements, 47 were found to have a higher sodium content than what the manufacturers alleged.
Yes, protein supplements confer several benefits such as muscle gain and weight loss. However, if you don’t know the actual content of every ingredient in the protein powder, you might be putting yourself at risk.
And even though the FDA has come up with stricter standards that dietary supplement manufacturers have to comply with, you can never be sure of whether the products are as advertised. To be on the safe side, you should go for protein supplements with low sodium content.
How to Determine the Amount of Sodium in Protein Powders
The easiest way is to check the Nutrition Facts label on the packaging of these protein supplements. Often, you’ll find that this amount is listed in milligrams (or mg). When checking the nutrient profile, look for words like “sodium”, “salt” or “soda” as they are used interchangeably.
But keep in mind that the amount of sodium indicated represents the sodium from salt and any other sodium-filled ingredient. This means the product could also contain sodium citrate, sodium benzoate or monosodium glutamate.
Also important to note is the portion size of the protein powder. This is because the amount of sodium varies with the serving size. For instance, if you take two servings of the supplement, it means you’re consuming double the amount of sodium on the label.
Best Low-Sodium Protein Powders
GENEPRO Organic Protein Powder
The GENEPRO Organic Protein Powder by Musclegen Research is designed for people with sensitivities. Whether you’re intolerant to lactose, gluten or a diabetic patient, this supplement can help you gain more muscle without causing any allergies or side effects.
The protein powder consists of very small granules that dissolve instantly when added to any beverage. The small granules also enable this supplement to digest easily.
GENEPRO is a blend of high-quality proteins obtained from three sources: hydrolyzed whey, instantized peptide and genetic hexapeptide protein. These proteins contribute to the fine texture of the powder.
In addition, the manufacturer uses Branched Amino Acids (BCAA), which enhances the absorption rate of the supplement.
NOW Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Powder
One serving of the NOW Whey Protein provides 25 grams of protein while only adding 45 milligrams of sodium. This makes it suitable for active persons who want to maintain a small amount of sodium in their supplements.
But where this protein powder really shines is in its carb content, which makes up just one gram. So if you’re looking to reduce weight but gain more muscle, NOW Whey supplement is the perfect solution.
The inclusion of soy lecithin in this protein powder makes it very easy to mix. Also, the supplement comes in an unsweetened version, allowing you to add it to your favorite recipes.
Naked Whey Grass Fed Protein Powder
If you’re trying to cut back on your sodium intake, this protein powder from Naked Nutrition is what you need. The supplement is formulated using just one ingredient: whey protein concentrate.
For each serving, Naked Whey provides 120 calories, 25 grams of high-quality protein, 3 grams of carbohydrates, and only 2 grams of sugar (which is sourced from natural ingredients).
What you’ll love most about this supplement is its purity. It does not have any traces of soy, gluten, GMO or synthetic additives.
Unfortunately, this protein powder does not have such a good flavor. It’s also not the easiest to mix and you’ll find yourself having to stir thoroughly or shake the bottle several times.
Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Protein
In addition to their high protein content, hemp supplements are popular for being rich in fiber, healthy fats and minerals.
Our favorite is Nutiva Organic Hemp, which not only provides the essential amino acids but is also sodium-free. More specifically, this supplement has 90 calories, 3 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbohydrate (1 gram sugar and 8 grams of dietary fiber), 370 milligrams of potassium and 15 grams of protein.
The manufacturer uses a cold-press extraction method that does not involve any chemicals or high temperatures.
What we like most about this protein powder is the distinct nutty taste, which makes an excellent addition to smoothies, juices and shakes. You can also incorporate it when baking muffins and breads.
ProMix Nutrition Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Formulated for professional athletes and sport lovers, the ProMix Nutrition Whey Protein is another protein powder with low sodium.
It’s made of milk sourced from dairy cows grazed in California. If you live in this state, you’re probably familiar with the specific counties of origin namely: Humboldt and Del Norte. Better yet, the whole processing takes place in one of their plants, which is also located in California.
Even though Whey Protein is not an organic supplement, it comes pretty close to being one. For one, it doesn’t have any additives or growth hormones. Secondly, the dairy cows used are grazed on clean fields that are free of pesticides.
This protein powder comes in unflavored and flavored varieties. The unflavored powder is slightly frothy and chalky, but it tastes great when mixed with milk.
As for the flavored version, you get to choose from vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate/peanut butter. And yes, all these flavors are achieved using natural ingredients.
GOLD STANDARD 100% Natural Whey
The low fat, low sugar and high protein content make the Gold Standard Natural Whey a pretty attractive choice. In particular, this protein powder provides these nutrients for each scoop: 24 grams protein, 3 grams carbs, 1 gram fat and 1 gram sugar.
Although 3rd party tests claim the protein content is closer to 22 grams per serving, this is still a generous amount of proteins to supplement your diet.
It’s important to note that the sodium content is slightly higher compared to the other protein powders in our review. But at 60 milligrams, it does not get to intolerable levels.
Bodylogix Natural Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder
Not everyone who takes protein powders has the intention of losing weight. If you’re hoping to gain muscle and maintain or increase your overall weight, Bodylogix Grass-Fed Whey Protein is ideal.
One serving contains up to 2.5 grams of fat and 130 calories. Like Gold Standard, this supplement is also a bit high in sodium content, which makes up 75 milligrams. It also has 24 grams of protein, 132 milligrams of calcium and 160 milligrams of potassium.
Although this protein powder doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, it has soy making it unsuitable for paleo followers.
Garden Of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Protein
You can never go wrong with plant-based protein supplements. They’re all-natural, which makes them healthier than those made with artificial additives and flavors. Garden of Life Sport is one such product, and the sodium content is only 3%.
A single serving, which consists of two scoops of the powder, provides 30 grams complete protein, 3.5 grams of BCAAs and 5 grams glutamine. Glutamine is a vital nutrient that speeds up recovery.
The protein powder is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors, and should be taken within an hour after exercising. You can also take it throughout the day.
Other Factors to Consider when Choosing Protein Powders
Whey protein powders are the most common type of supplementation. Whey is actually a by-product obtained from cheese manufacturing process, and it comes in liquid form.
There are two techniques of extracting the whey protein from all these other nutrients namely: ion exchange and membrane filtration. Each one results in a different quality of protein powder.
This is a chemical process that requires pH modification to achieve protein separation. It involves passing raw whey via a column. This column is equipped with a compound that has an affinity for protein. So while all the other macronutrients pass through, the protein is collected.
Afterward, sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid are introduced into the column to help release the protein. It is during this step that the pH level of the reagents is adjusted.
Ion exchange results in a high-quality protein averaging 90 to 96% of the end product. Even better, this method helps to get rid of lactose (carbohydrate). This is crucial for individuals who are lactose intolerant or those looking to reduce their weight.
On the flipside, the process denatures whey protein, which in turn causes negative effects. For instance, it gets rid of some amino acids. It also eliminates antioxidants and makes protein digestion more difficult.
This process uses cold temperatures to extract whey protein. Unlike in ion exchange, this one does not involve any chemical reagents, and this helps the protein to stay intact. In other words, it’s not denatured during extraction.
Are you familiar with how a water filter works? Well, membrane filtration works in a fairly similar manner. It involves passing raw whey through a filter that has different pore sizes. This filter allows minerals, carbohydrates and other nutrients to pass through but retains the whey protein.
The greatest benefit of this extraction technique is that it does not eliminate essential nutrients. The end product is high-quality protein powder with negligible amounts of naturally-occurring fat, carbs and minerals.
While some protein powders are unflavored, others come in a variety of flavors ranging from vanilla to chocolate and strawberry. If you’re planning to use the supplement in main dishes and desserts, the unsweetened variety is the best option. This way, it won’t alter the taste of your meal.
But if your plan is to add it to water, juices, shakes and other beverages, then go for a flavored supplement.
If you plan to make your low sodium protein drinks from home, then this is not a big deal. But if you plan to take the supplement with you to work or the gym, then keep in mind that you won’t have access to a blender. For such applications, choose a protein powder that’s easy to mix.
Excessive sodium increases the risk of hypertension and stroke. Fortunately, there are many ways of reducing sodium intake such as choosing low sodium protein powders. These supplements have 0 to 60 milligrams of sodium. Our top pick is GENEPRO Organic Protein Powder at 33 milligrams sodium – which is the lowest sodium protein powder on this list.