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Best Protein Powders For Children

We get a lot of questions here at Naked Nutrition about what the best protein powders are for children, when children should start taking protein powders, and how much protein powder is best for each age range.

First, you should always consult with your child’s physician before starting any kind protein supplementation, but chances are you may have already been supplementing with protein powders without even knowing it.

Protein is one of the most, if not the most, important elements in a child’s diet to ensure proper development and growth. Breast milk is actually predominantly comprised of whey, and this is also why many of the first ingredients in infant formula are sources of protein.

Let’s run through a few of these:

Reduced Minerals Whey

Many times this is the first ingredient found in infant formula. Reduced Minerals Whey, as the name suggests, has reduced certain minerals found naturally in whey by at least 25 percent. In most cases, the specific reduced mineral is lactose. The reason for this is because baby’s digestive systems do not process lactose well initially so gradual inclusion is advised.

Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

Similar to Reduced Minerals Whey, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is further processed, and many times, it is processed to reduce the lactose content. However, Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is typically subjected to acid and high-heat treatment to break down the amino acid bonds found in whey protein. This makes the protein more easily digestible, which is great for those with lactose intolerance, however the acid treatment and excess heat denatures the protein which makes it less effective.

Best Protein Powder for Children

Taking a look at the labels of various infant formulas, you will likely find “whey” or “milk” somewhere near the top 2 on the list. This coincides with our general advice that whey proteins, like Naked Whey, are the number one protein choice when deciding between the various powders on the market.

If you child has been using infant formula, more times than not, they have been consuming a milk product like whey protein that has been further processed than Naked Whey. For this reason, we recommend that you sparingly give your child whey protein to make sure they have no reaction to the product.

When Should Your Child Start Taking Protein

Once again, first consult with your doctor before starting any protein supplementation. The general guideline is that children 1 years old and older are fine to consume whey protein in the proper dosages provided they have no history of lactose intolerance or allergy. The most important thing to consider is that your child is getting enough protein per day, but do not exceed the recommend guidelines, which are discussed below, if possible.

How Much Protein Should My Child Take Per Day

First, children need less protein than adults. This is based on a number of factors but basically, because children have less muscle to support they need less. As a general guideline, children should consumer about 0.5 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight per day. To break it down even further, please take a look at the chart below:

Recommended Dietary Allowance for Protein
Grams of protein
needed each day
Children ages 1 – 3 13
Children ages 4 – 8 19
Children ages 9 – 13 34
Girls ages 14 – 18 46
Boys ages 14 – 18 52

 

Keep in mind that this is a general guideline and depending on a number of factors, including your child’s: activity level, nutritional deficiencies, and eating habits. This is why every situation is unique and you should consult with your doctor first.

Conclusion

In this post we have only touched on the use of whey protein, but in a future article we will run through the various vegan options.

Whey protein is found in breast milk and many infant formulas. However, the type of protein found in breast milk and infant formulas is more easily digestible by infants. That is why you should wait until a child is at least 1 before having them use whey protein powder. The amount of protein a child should take depends on a number of factors, but an easy guideline to follow is that a child needs 0.5 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight.

Thanks for reading and feel free to send us any questions at: questions@nkdnutrition.com

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