Top 5 Best Protein Powders for Women in 2018 Reviewed

Why Protein Powder?

Protein is one of the most important components of a perfect muscle-building process (1).

According to some research, women tend to crave sugary foods, such as donuts, chocolates, and ice cream.

This behavior confines us to straying away from carefully structured diet plans that are aimed at supplying enough proteins to our bodies.

Women may also lack the vital protein component required for faster, more effective muscle growth.

A lack of sufficient protein poses a serious problem to everyone, and it’s worse for women who work out in the gym.

It’s an essential component in the growth and repair of tissue.

Its deficiency can be the reason you’re unable to grow muscles, even when you take a good training regimen.

According to other research, protein powder gives more benefits to women than men in the gym (2).

It’s the best supplement to fill in the protein requirements’ void that’s created by poor dieting behaviors in women.

Women who go to the gym are saddled with the fear of using protein powder because they perceive it as a male-dominated industry.

But this buying guide will be bursting through myths in a bid to help you make an informed decision when buying the best protein powder.

We will also list top 5 best protein powder currently available on the market.

Top 5 Protein Powders for Women


NLA For Her

nla-for-her-her-whey-ultimate-lean-whey-isolate-protein

The NLA for Her Whey isolate protein is a powder supplement designed for the healthy alternative-seeking woman on a workout routine.

This product is intended for use at any time of the day, and features a balanced blend of quick and slow digesting proteins.

This ensures an appropriate release of crucial nutrients.

During periods of non-strenuous activity, the proteins and nutrients are immediately absorbed, and soon after released when your body needs them such as during periods after rigorous workouts.

Whey contains a high amount of proteins per serving.

It is produced when Whey concentrate is processed and purified further using methods such as reverse osmosis, cross-flow microfiltration, and ultra filtration.

The rate of absorption of Whey is typically similar between concentrate and isolate.

However, Whey isolate is the best choice in case you want the highest volume of protein per serving.

Studies have shown that whey protein increases muscle protein synthesis, reduces protein breakdown in the body, assists with burning fat, improves insulin sensitivity, reduces the subject’s appetite, and also supports the immune system.

In a typical training session, the human body is in a negative net protein balance state.

The synthesis of new proteins basically stops.

The rate of protein breakdown rises as the duration of the workout session increases.

Immediately after the exercise, muscle protein synthesis begins to rise, and protein breakdown reduces, which creates a positive nitrogen balance.

During the post-workout period, using whey protein supplies the subject’s body with all the necessary amino acids it needs.

Whey is instrumental in helping to raise muscle protein synthesis, as well as decreasing protein breakdown.

For this reason, a higher net protein balance is achieved which helps to promote lean muscle mass gain, strength, and also muscle recovery.

The NLA For Her Whey Isolate stands out by also being gluten-free and sugar-free.

This product contains glutamine.

Pros

    • This product provides a quickly absorbed source of protein. Whey protein is water soluble, and since liquids are digested faster than solid foods, your body absorbs it faster.
    • ​This product is a ready source of calories when you need them for that rigorous training session. Whey is a protein supplement which can be combined with milk to make a quick source of additional kilocalories.
    • The powder formulation is convenient to carry around. You simply whip out the whey powder, mix it with whatever you prefer, and you’re good to go.

Cons

    • ​The addition of artificial flavorings and ingredients has been cited as a major con to this product. It contains xantham gum, soybean extract, and artificial sweeteners.
    • This product is expensive. On average, a pound of this product goes for anywhere between 20 to 30 USD.

BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder

bsn-syntha-6-protein-powder


SYNTHA-6 is an ultra-premium protein supplement powder produced by the BSN brand, a global market leader in bio-engineered supplements and nutrition.

SYNTHA-6 includes essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, and is also an excellent source of fiber that contains 6g of fat per serving.

This makes it a nutritious and multi-functional protein supplementing product.

SYNTHA-6 is designed to be a go-to protein supplement for any nutritional regimen or exercise program mainly because it is suitable for a variety of active lifestyles and dietary plans.

This product is suitable for use at any time of day, and features a balanced blend of quick and slow digesting proteins.

The product is a “Protein Matrix,” meaning it incorporates both protein isolates and concentrates.

This product contains Whey Concentrate and Isolate, Calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumin, and glutamine peptides.

This complex blend ensures a slow and steady release of crucial nutrients compared to a pure hydrolyzed Whey powder.

In periods of non-strenuous activity, the proteins and nutrients contained in this product are immediately absorbed, and soon after released just when your body needs them the most such as during periods after rigorous workouts.

A daily adequate protein intake is an important aspect of any regular training regimen.

This product delivers upon that singular need.

Proteins are required for repairing muscles broken down during rigorous exercise, and also to build new muscles.

Using a quality protein powder such as BSN’s SYNTHA-6 helps to supplement the daily protein intake amount required by your body, and helps you to reap the full benefits from every training session.

What really stands out for this product is the impressive array of flavors that breaks beyond the protein flavor barrier.

It is available in ten distinct flavors.

A single scoop of this product contains 200 calories of which there are: 6 grams of fat, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of saturated fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein.This provides all the necessary nutrition after a training session.

Pros

    • ​This product has received widespread acclaim for its range of delicious flavors. The protein powders used in this product are water-soluble, meaning you can dissolve this product in any beverage of your choice, and it will still taste amazing; even in plain water.
    • ​A single serving of this product contains 15 percent of your recommended daily calcium, 8 percent of your daily recommended iron, and 6 percent of magnesium.
    • This product also incorporates ingredients that are renowned for their health properties. These include tricalcium phosphate, papain which is an enzyme known to improve digestion, and bromelain, an enzyme linked with decreased muscle soreness and inflammation.

Cons

    • This product has received a lot of criticism over the number of artificial ingredients.
    • Some ingredients in this product pose a high allergy risk to some users. This product contains dairy products, corn, wheat, egg, and soy extract.

IdealLean Protein Powder for Women

ideallean-protein-powder-for-women

This product is a Whey protein powder supplement formula for active women.

IdealLean Protein is designed to help women lose fat, build lean muscle, and earn that ideal body.

In addition to 20g of high-quality whey protein isolate, IdealLean Protein includes two additional unique nutrient blends: Fat Loss Blend, and Recovery Blend.

Together, these components help the user to recover fast so that she can keep working towards that perfect body and get lean.

IdealLean Protein is a whey protein powder formulation for active women that incorporates nutrients female bodies need to stay strong and fit.

These include vitamin D, folic acid, calcium, and antioxidant-rich super-fruits.

Available in Chocolate Brownie and French Vanilla flavors, IdealLean Protein powder has delicious, indulgent flavors containing no sugar, fat, carbohydrates, and a meager 80 calories.

Unlike most other protein powder supplements, Ideallean only incorporates the necessary ingredients.

This product is meant to work as a meal replacement protein formula with the essential nutrition.

The important thing is that it leaves the individual with a feeling of fullness for several hours.

This protein powder for women is a whey protein as mentioned.

Whey is a fast-digesting, dairy based protein that is the most commonly used ingredient in most protein supplement powder brands.

Whey is a proven power ingredient in the supplement business because it possesses the ability to repair your muscles fast.

During the post-workout period, using whey protein supplies the female body with all the necessary amino acids needed.

Whey is important in helping raise muscle protein synthesis, as well as decreasing protein breakdown.

A higher net protein balance is achieved which then helps to promote lean muscle mass gain, strength, and also quick muscle recovery.

Pros

    • ​This product contains no sugar, fat, carbohydrates or additional
    • ​IdealLean Protein powder for women contains vital Vitamins, Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, and up to 20 Grams of Whey Protein Isolate per serving needed for a lean, healthy body.
    • This protein powder is available in a range of delicious gluten free flavors that cuts across the traditional bland protein This product is also packaged in an attractive container.

Cons

    • The price tag on this product is rather limiting for a product of its class. For thirty servings, the price of Ideallean Protein Powder for Women is too

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

orgain-organic-plant-based-protein-powder

Orgain is a brand of organic protein powder which is primarily based on plant extracts to deliver a high-quality blend of protein, minerals, and vitamins in one formulation.

The Orgain brand manufactures and sells a variety of products, which includes protein powder supplements and pre-made protein shake beverages for children.

Unlike other protein powder brands, Orgain primarily gets its protein from plant-based sources such as hemp and brown rice.

Orgain’s organic protein powder has some unique qualities compared to other protein powders available on the market.

This product is claimed to be the most delicious and smoothest protein powder ever made by the Orgain brand.

While most other protein powder supplements clump together and have a gritty taste, Orgain provides a smooth, delicious flavor.

In addition, there is no added sugar in Orgain Organic Protein Powder.

Each serving also contains 5 grams of organic fiber which is good for the digestive tract.

This ultimately means that Orgain has the sole unique distinction of being a vegan protein powder supplement.

Such types of protein powder formulas are extremely hard to find.

Often, the vegan protein powders found on the market are tasteless, lumpy, or completely undesirable.

Orgain aims at being the world’s best organic plant-based protein powder supplement provider.

The brand does this by adding 21 grams of USDA certified organic plant-derived proteins in each single serving.

The said protein comes from natural plant sources such as brown rice, pea protein, hemp, and chia.

The complex blend of plant proteins ensures a slow absorption rate which translates to a feeling of fullness for hours.

The formulation delivers a slow and steady protein release during workout sessions and allows for quick recovery times, lean muscle gain, and a substantial decrease in protein breakdown.

Pros

    • ​This product incorporates a range of rich flavors that mask the otherwise bland taste of protein.
    • ​The all-organic ingredients used in this protein powder supplement deliver a range of health benefits outside of lean muscle gain. It contains vital vitamins, minerals, and an all-important serving of plant protein supplements.
    • This product contains no added sugars, gluten, or additional calories.

Cons

    • This product contains Stevia, a low calorie natural sweetener that is banned in some countries including the United States.
    • A recommended standard serving is two scoops, which is about 46 grams. This is quite a lot of.

FitMiss Delight Nutritional Shake for Women

fitmiss-delight-healthy-nutritional-shake-for-women

FitMiss Delight is a weight loss aid that offers nutritional benefits that go a long way toward helping lose extra pounds.

This product also helps in lean muscle gain, which, alongside a good strength training regimen, can help in losing the weight even faster.

One single scoop serving of FitMiss Delight gives you 16 grams of protein which yields 64% protein, keeping you full.

The protein composition of this product is unique, as it consists primarily of both whey protein isolate and concentrates, and hydrolysate.

This product also incorporates a mix called Solathin, a potato and egg based protein matrix.

This special combination allows for faster and more efficient weight loss.

Fitmiss Delight also packs in extra nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, all important components in a woman’s health.

This product further adds in a “greens and fruit blend,” and a digestive enzyme ingredient.

The blend of protein supplements used in this product ensures slow absorption rates, a fact that translates to a feeling of fullness for hours.

The complex formulation delivers a slow and steady protein release during workout sessions, and allows for quick recovery times, lean muscle gain, and a substantial decrease in protein breakdown.

The resulting effect is lean muscle gain and weight loss.

Fitmiss Delight protein powder supplement is gluten free but includes ingredients such as soy, egg ingredients, and milk.

It also features the addition of artificial sweeteners, and therefore boasts a better taste despite its part natural and part non-organic nature.

The product comes in beautifully-designed packaging.

The drink produces negligible odor, and the tasty flavor makes its consumption smooth and also a great option for a breakfast meal or a lunch shake.

This product can also be used as a snack shake to keep you energized in between meals.

The protein shake comes in a smooth Vanilla Chai flavor.

Pros

    • ​This product contains a balanced dose of recommended daily calcium, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential in the normal functioning of muscle and new muscle formation.
    • ​In every serving of Fitmiss Delight protein powder there are 16 grams of protein and 90 calories.
    • ​This product contains added vitamins that provide a health boost. The flavors used in this shake are delightful.
    • This product is gluten and carbohydrate free.

Cons

    • This product contains artificial flavors, and the texture has been described as a little grainy.

What is Protein Powder

As a dietary supplement with a high concentration of proteins, these powders help increase the intake of protein in the most affordable, easiest way.

They’re usually ingested by being mixed with milk or water to make smoothies.

Proteins found in these powders are usually derived from both animal and plant sources, such as:

  • Soy
  • Artichoke
  • ​Hemp
  • ​Milk
  • ​Peas
  • ​Cranberries
  • Egg whites

There are many brands of protein powder, and most of them are fortified with fiber, additional fats, minerals, vitamins, greens, grains, and thickeners.

Therefore, the products are more of a meal replacement powder than straight protein powders.

The addition of other ingredients during the manufacturing of protein powder give them the capacity to supply appreciable amounts of fats and carbohydrates.

Although these powders come from whole-food sources, they aren’t whole foods themselves.

They’re manufactured by extracting the protein component of the source via a number of processes.

Depending on the food source used, the techniques include:

  • Protein Concentrate (Concentration) - This drying technique uses acid extraction and high temperatures, which converts the food sources into protein powders. The powder is usually concentrated, and it contains impurities, such as cholesterol, fat, and lactose. This technique gives protein powders that are 70-80% protein in weight, which is why concentrates are reasonably priced.
  • ​Protein Hydrolysates (Hydrolysis) - This technique involves the breakdown of protein polymers into peptides (i.e., small groups of proteins) by adding water. The peptides are usually made up of 2-5 amino acids. This method is essentially pre-digestive, and it’s meant to boost absorption. The final product (hydrolyzed protein) is very expensive, and so is the manufacturing process, which is why protein hydrolysates are relatively expensive.
  • ​Protein Isolates (Isolation) - Isolates are the best types of protein powder because they contain 90-95% protein. The method used involves the separation of protein from the food source via ionization technique, alcohol wash, or water wash. After isolation, the powder is subjected to a filtration process, which eliminates other impurities (such as carbohydrates, phytochemicals, and fiber).
  • ​Ion-Exchange Method - This technique makes use of the electrical charges in ions, which separates molecules of protein from those food sources. It’s the method used to manufacture milk protein.
  • Ultrafiltration, Microfiltration, Cross-Microfiltration - All filtration techniques are similar to the reverse osmosis used in water purification. The method is used to remove impurities from protein concentrates by passing it through a membrane.

Benefits of Protein Powder in Women

Protein is a macro-nutrient that’s required by the body during the muscle-building process.

If you’re a woman looking to take protein powders, don’t be fooled by the notion that only male bodybuilders should take them.

Here are some of the benefits you’ll receive by incorporating a protein powder into your workout:

  • Helps Women Grow Lean Muscles - Protein powders are high in protein content and very low in carbs. This consistency helps women develop more lean muscle and decreases the growth of fatty tissues by replacing the extra calories with proteins (3). This benefit is more conspicuous in women, especially those with a higher percentage of fatty tissue.
  • Keeps You Fuller for Longer - The protein found in these powders has a formula for controlling satiety: 1) It helps control your appetite later on (it lends a satisfying feeling of fullness, which cannot be derived from carbs or fats), and 2) proteins take longer to be digested, which means that the feeling of fullness remains for longer. So the temptation to eat unhealthy foods will be eliminated, and this effect is always good for your waistline.
  • Supports a Healthy Metabolism - A higher-protein diet can trigger about 5 times more thermogenesis than diets high in carbs. When you ingest a protein powder, it helps initiate a faster metabolism and enables the body to burn more calories (which makes it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight)
  • Promotes Bone Health - The risk of bone degeneration is higher in women than men. Most people perceive protein as being bad for the bones. But they don’t realize that this macronutrient is essential for bone health and proper calcium absorption (4, 5). For lactose-tolerant women, dairy provides protein and calcium, which offer great benefits in bone health (6, 7).
  • Fights off Aging - A protein deficiency can result in muscle atrophy. When you combine a high-protein diet and regular exercise, the body is able to build and maintain muscles that’ll keep you strong and active. Also, adequate protein intake and regular exercise promote a healthier body composition by decreasing your percentage of body fat.
  • Promotes Skin and Hair Health - You’re probably consuming protein powder to build muscle and lose weight.
  • But there’re other reasons to love it (8): The branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) found in certain supplements are essential for maintaining healthy skin. These amino acids help reduce the effect of UV light on your birthday suit, which makes you look younger. A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of proteins helps your hair grow to its fullest.

Types of Protein Powders

There are two categories of protein powders: plant-based and animal-sourced.

The latter are far more popular, offer great nutritional value, and taste better than the former.

In most cases, people who use plant-based protein are vegans or vegetarians.

The most popular plant-based proteins are pea, soy, and rice.

Soy promotes heart health and has hormone-balancing benefits.

Animal-Source Protein Powders

WHEY

Whey protein products reign supreme (9).

They’re by far the best protein products for athletes and bodybuilders. During the cheese-making process, whey is produced as a watery byproduct.

Whey is made up of the following protein subgroups: immunoglobulins (igGs), beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin (BSA), glycomacropetides, and other minor peptides (lysozyme, lactoferrin, and lactoperoxidases). Each of these subgroups has unique biological properties​.

​The source of whey protein is milk. 20% of the protein portion of milk is whey protein, while the rest is casein protein.

Milk is also rich in BCAAs, which stimulate the process of protein synthesis and enhance the growth of muscle over time (10). One of the BCAAs found in milk is leucine, which stimulates protein synthesis and maintains the body in the anabolic state.​

Whey protein is made up of exceptional amino acids and has proven to be one of the best building blocks for muscle growth. Most importantly, whey is easily digested and absorbed once it’s consumed. And it has the capability to boost the immune system​.

The most common types of whey protein are concentrates and isolates​

Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC)

WPCs are the most popular, economical, efficient whey supplements.

Their lactose levels are low and can be tolerated by a bigger percentage of lactose-sensitive people.

The percentage of protein in WPCs is reportedly between 70% and 80%.

The microfiltration process of WPCs leads to ultra-pure proteins and gives the powders a smooth texture.

Whey Protein Isolates

Whey protein isolates are made of 90-95% protein content.​

Cross-flow microfiltration is the process used to manufacture isolates.​

This process produces purer protein because it’s able to separate a majority of the impurities (such as lactose, cholesterol, and fats).

The process for manufacturing isolates makes them lower in lactose than concentrates, which is why they’re highly recommended for lactose-intolerant individuals.​

Pros

  • It’s fat-free.
  • It’s easily absorbed.
  • It’s of higher quality.​
  • Cons of Whey Protein​
  • It tastes better.​
  • WPC’s are more affordable.​

Cons

  • It’s not effective in minimizing protein degradation.

CASEIN

This protein is found in milk, and it accounts for 80% of the total protein content in cow milk.

Casein is recognized for its slow digestion, incredible amino acid profile, and amazing peptides (including cytokinins, casomorphins, and casoxins).​

It’s made up of a pool of amino acids, which contains a larger percentage of amino acids that are responsible for stimulating muscle/protein synthesis.​

The major difference between whey and casein protein is that whey is absorbed quickly once ingested, but casein is absorbed steadily and slowly.

When casein reaches the stomach, it forms a clot, thereby slowing down the process of gastric emptying.

The clot stays longer in the stomach because its digestion is slow. And as a result, the release of amino acids into the small intestine is slowed down. This process affects the rate of amino acid absorption into the circulatory system, and it increases the effectiveness of muscle-protein synthesis.

The slow, steady absorption of amino acids initiates a prolonged, low rate of muscle/protein synthesis. Its impact on this synthesis might be negligible, but its effect in suppressing muscle/protein breakdown is remarkable. So it helps maintain a positive protein balance and stimulates effective muscle growth.

Therefore, casein protein is the best supplement to take before bed.

There are numerous choices of casein powders.

The most effective one is micellar protein because it slowly releases protein supplements, whereas calcium caseinate and milk protein are the most popular.

Pros

  • It’s good for muscle retention.
  • ​It promotes colon health.
  • ​It’s a source of high-quality protein.
  • ​It has a higher protein content, which encourages effective weight loss.
  • It suppresses muscle/protein breakdown.

Cons

  • It has a reduced leucine content.
  • It may not be effective in stimulating anabolism.

EGG-WHITE

Before milk protein stole the show, egg-white protein was the gold standard of protein supplements.(11)

Milk protein took over the market because of its affordability and better taste.

Another reason why egg-white protein lost its popularity is because of concerns about cholesterol.

However, egg-white protein is regaining popularity.

On average, a whole egg contains 200mg cholesterol, 6g protein, 5g fats, 72 calories, and close to no carbs.​On the other hand, egg whites contain 4g of protein, 17 calories, and no carbs, fat, or cholesterol.

And egg-white protein is well-known for its incredible amino-acid profile.

Egg whites are the perfect choice for anyone looking to avoid milk proteins. They have up to 40 different proteins (55% ovalbumin, 10% ovotransferrin, and 5% ovomucin). Ovotransferrin is an iron-binding protein that provides great antimicrobial properties.(12)​

Ovomucin has antimicrobial properties as well. Egg-white protein also contains commendable amounts of arginine and BCAAs. These amino acids maintain proper structures of proteins (such as collagen), allowing it to effectively promote good levels and the health of certain hormones.

Egg whites are also known to contain other amino acids (such as methionine and cysteine).

Egg-white protein stimulates a quick muscle-building process because it’s quickly digested and absorbed. It also contains a good amount of leucine (an amino acid that stimulates anabolism in the body).

​Consuming egg whites will give you a satiating feeling, which will help you stick to healthy diet plans. Since they’re quickly digested, egg-white proteins can be taken just before or after workouts.

Pros

  • It’s quickly digested.
  • ​It’s very low in carbs and fats.
  • ​It’s cholesterol-free.
  • It promotes satiety.

Cons

  • It has a less satisfying taste.

BEEF

Beef is one of the best sources of protein (13). However, red meat is associated with a number of health issues, including heart disease and high cholesterol.

Beef is made into protein powder to help eliminate impurities, which make it perfect for athletes and bodybuilders. It’s designed to help get the best out of red meat while minimizing its drawbacks.

The beef powder is made from dehydrated beef, which produces concentrated protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids (isoleucine, histidine, leucine, valine, lysine, tryptophan, threonine, methionine, and phenylalanine).

​These products mostly flavored and don’t taste like beef, and they contain natural BCAAs and creatine.

​Beef protein powders enhance muscle growth and recovery because they’re made from different types of bovines. Most of them are isolates, which means they’re free of lactose, cholesterol, fat, and carbohydrates.

​Beef protein is also quickly absorbed into the body because it contains fewer fillers, which is vital for triggering muscle protein synthesis and maintaining a positive protein balance.

Above all, beef protein powders are hydrolyzed, which adds to the higher absorption rate.​

Pros

  • It’s versatile.
  • It tastes better than other proteins.
  • It’s easily absorbed into the small intestine.
  • It’s free of cholesterol, fats, and carbs.

Cons

  • Some products contain saturated fats.

Plant-Based Protein Powders

SOY

Soy protein was first used in 1959, and since then, it’s continued to build popularity.

This protein is sourced from the leguminous soybean plant, and it’s regarded as the best plant-based protein because of its quality (14).

It contains all 9 essential amino acids in the ratios that are required for growth and development. Soy contains 30% carbohydrates, 38% proteins, 14% moisture, and 18% fats.

Besides these compounds, soy is comprised of other essential nutrients, including zinc, phosphorous, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B-complex, and iron.

It can be very difficult to mask the characteristic taste of soy with sweeteners and other artificial flavors, especially if it’s the only protein source in the powder. But some manufacturers have found a way to beat it by using a special blend of flavors.

Besides being an excellent plant-based protein source, soy has a commendable amount of arginine and glutamine. Arginine stimulates anabolic hormones, and it’s vital during muscle formation.

On the other hand, glutamine is useful during metabolic stress. Therefore, soy protein is the best powder for enhancing athletic performance because it reduces muscle inflammation and soreness.

There are three types of soy proteins:

  • ​Soy concentrates are made through the defatting process. They’re made up of 70% protein.
  • Soy isolates are purer than concentrates, and they’re made from defatted soybeans. When all the other ingredients are removed, they’re at least 90% pure protein.
  • Textured soy protein (TSP) is manufactured by subjecting the soy concentrates to further processing. Textured soy is mostly found in imitation pork, steak, and chicken. TSP is also comprised of 70% protein content.

Pros of Soy Protein:

  • It’s a high-quality protein, which contains all 9 essential amino acids.
  • It’s versatile and complements whey protein.
  • It enhances athletic performance.
  • It promotes good health in women (by reducing the risk of breast cancer and alleviating the symptoms of menopause).

Con of Soy Protein:

  • It decreases testosterone and increases estrogen in women.

HEMP

Hemp protein powder comes from hemp seeds. Its seeds are the best source of plant-based protein, and they’re regarded as completely natural and vegan.

Hemp is the popular name for cannabis sativa, which is a multipurpose plant for food and medicinal products. Its seeds are the best source of plant-based protein, and they’re regarded as completely natural and vegan.

The level of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in hemp is relatively low (0.3-1.5%), whereas marijuana contains 5-10%.

Therefore, don’t worry that consuming hemp will get you high.

Hemp protein is arguably the best natural protein you’ll ever find.

It contains 20 amino acids, which include all 9 essential amino acids.

Hemp protein is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (in the ratio of 3:1).

It also provides gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is better than the other omega-6s.

A single serving (about 30g) of high-quality, organic hemp protein powder provides:

  • 120 calories
  • 12g protein
  • 11g carbohydrates
  • ​3g fat
  • ​5g fiber
  • ​260mg magnesium (65% DV)
  • 380mg (11% DV)
  • 3mg iron (35% DV)
  • ​60mg calcium (6% DV)

Hemp protein is rich in BCAAs (15), which help spur muscle growth.

Besides, it’s known for reducing fatigue and boosting the immune system.

If you have allergies to other proteins, hemp protein has a fantastic hypoallergenic property.

It’s also easily digested and absorbed into the body, and can be taken before, after, or during workouts.

Pros

  • It has a great hypoallergenic property.
  • ​It’s easily digested.
  • ​It has a fairly balanced micronutrient profile.
  • ​It’s free of cholesterol, sugar, sodium, and saturated fats.
  • ​It’s completely vegan.
  • It’s usually organic.

Cons

  • It can cause mild diarrhea.

How Protein Powder Works

You’ve probably witnessed professional bodybuilders and athletes using protein supplements.

They actually derive commendable benefits by consuming these protein powders.

But before you indulge in them, you’ll want one question answered: how do protein powders work?

The answer is simple. Protein powders promote increased lean muscle growth in women when combined with restricted exercises.

But exactly how do they speed up the muscle-growing process?

Your body requires amino acids to build muscles more effectively.

Also, during workouts, the body requires an increased amount of proteins, which can’t only be supplied by dietary sources.

When you increase the intake of protein powder and engage in regular exercise, you’ll allow more time for the muscles to recover, which helps them grow faster.

When you consume protein, an enzyme called protease breaks it down into amino acids.

The amino acids are prepared by muscle tissues that require repair and promote more natural, quicker muscle growth.

You should take protein powders before workouts because it’s the best way to boost muscle development.

Increased protein intake also triggers thermogenesis (16).

And when consumed, it induces a thermic effect in the body more than fats and carbs.

Protein-induced thermogenesis stimulates energy-requiring processes in the body (17).

These processes signal the body to burn more calories that’ll provide enough energy for muscle contraction.

Subsequently, the body is able to convert excess fatty tissues into energy, which is used during exercise.

Protein powders are also consumed with water, which is another great way of inducing thermogenesis.

How to Use Protein Powder

So you’re determined to reap the benefits of protein powder mentioned above, and you’ve already bought a quality protein powder.

What’s next?

The next step is to decide when to take your protein supplement for optimal results (18)

You should also consult your trainer or fitness expert, so you’ll know the right amount of protein to take.

Overconsumption of these supplements might bring you more problems than benefits.

By no means, don’t be fooled by the phrase “more is better.”

Your muscles constantly break down and synthesize muscle protein.

They’ll only grow if you maintain a positive protein balance.

In other words, you have to maintain a state in which your protein synthesis is greater than your protein breakdown.

If sufficient amino acids are present during weight-training, protein synthesis will be increased (leading to muscle hypertrophy) (19, 20).

The amount of protein powder you should consume depends on the amino acids you irreversibly lose during a day (21).

20-40g of whey protein can maintain a positive muscle/protein balance.

For example, if each scoop of your whey powder provides 16g of protein, stick to two scoops.

Remember to consult your fitness expert or trainer for more information.

Post Workout

The most appropriate time to take your protein powder is after workouts.

If you fail to supply the body with sufficient proteins, the breakdown process will exceed protein synthesis, which will lead to muscle atrophy.

Your muscles shifts to a 48-hour anabolic state after workouts.

Active protein synthesis happens within the first 2 hours of the workout.

During these two hours, the muscles are highly responsive to the amino acids supplied via protein consumption.

The muscles effectively grow and repair during this period.

Therefore, it’s important to take advantage of this post-workout window by consuming a fast-absorbing protein (such as whey) immediately after training.

Upon Waking

After you wake up, you haven’t had food for about 8 hours.

So it’s crucial to take fast-absorbing protein the first thing in the morning, so as to maintain a positive protein balance.

Before Workouts

They’ll send your muscles into an anabolic state, and provide them with adequate nutrition.

They’ll also supply enough amino acids and inhibit muscle/protein breakdown, thereby maintaining a positive protein balance.

Right before Bed

This action will provide enough nutrition during the hours you’ll be sleeping.

What to Look for in Protein Powder

Before you purchase a good protein powder, you’ll have to take a number of factors into consideration.

Your selection should be influenced by the following factors:

Brand Reputation

The numerous sports nutrition companies channel products in one market, which makes it difficult to select the best one.

A reputable brand equals a good-quality product. Stick to one of the well-known brands, because they’ve built a reputation of consistent quality.

Quality of Ingredients

The way a protein is manufactured and its ingredients are important.

They both contribute to the overall makeup of the protein powder, which is what defines the effectiveness of the product.

Quality ingredients translate to quality products, which will help you achieve your fitness goals.

Thoroughly research and assess whether the experience shared is the same as what you want.

Value for Your Money

The actual value depends on how well your protein powder can perform to justify its cost.

Can you rationalize buying an imported, expensive product that’ll deliver similar results as those of an affordable, local protein powder?

Check the number of doses in every container, and calculate the price per every serving.

Relevance to Your Goals

What do you want to achieve?

Do you want to gain muscle, lose weight, or tone up? Each of these goals has a specific protein requirement.

The best protein powder for you is one that’ll meet a specific protein requirement and help you achieve your fitness goal.

Versatility

There’s nothing as good as a protein powder that can be taken in different ways.

A versatile protein powder will be easily integrated into your beverages, meals, and snacks.

Don’t you think it’s boring to always mix your powder with milk or water?

This routine might actually cause you to abandon your goals.

So go for a versatile product that’s satisfying and will help you uphold your health program.

What to Avoid in Protein Powder

There are few regulations regarding the manufacturing of protein powders.

For this reason, it’s easy to find manufacturers that utilize poor methods, which might result in low-quality products.

Generally, you should stay away from protein products with excess calories and proteins.

These products will undermine your health, so it’s good to know what to avoid when buying protein products.

Here’re the other ingredients you should avoid:

Artificial Sweeteners

Some manufacturers add artificial sweeteners to their products.

If you consume these fake sugars, you’ll be setting your body up for failure.

The sweet taste makes your body anticipate carbs and calories.

But since the powder won’t supply them, you’ll start craving sweet foods.

Look at the list of ingredients. If you see sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda), don’t buy that product.

But if you can’t avoid artificial sweeteners, go for products with plant-based calories (such as stevia extract, which is a zero-calorie sweetener).

Carrageen

This compound is derived from seaweed. It may sound innocent, but it’s a cheap filler.

Basically, any product that contains this compound ends up being of poor quality.

If all you’re looking for is a plant-based protein powder, you have a lot of other options to choose from (including coconut, hemp, and rice).

Incomplete Protein

A good protein powder should provide all 9 essential amino acids to your body, especially if you’ve undergone weight-loss surgery.

Check the source of the protein. If it’s whey, soy, egg whites, casein, or brown rice, it should be a great product, and it’ll help you lose weight and grow lean muscles.

Avoid hydrolyzed collagen, since it’s an example of an incomplete protein.

Lactose

If you’re lactose-intolerant, you should avoid products with concentrated whey protein.

Taking such products might cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and bloating.

The best protein powder for you is made of whey isolates, egg whites, or soy because they’re lactose-free.

Precautions

The benefits of incorporating protein powders into a training program are enticing.

Unfortunately, many reviews won’t ever tell you the other side of the story.

There are some side effects associated with these protein powders.

So before you start taking one, you should be aware of them all.

Then you can take the necessary precautions, even as you strive to get shapely, muscular, and fit.

Upset Digestive System

Casein and whey protein powder are sourced from milk.

Therefore, they’re rich in lactose (the natural sugar in milk).

These products might not be perfect for people who’re lactose-intolerant.

Casein and whey could cause you problems, including flatulence, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and abdominal pains.

Solution: if you’re lactose-intolerant, the best way to avoid this complication is to turn to other protein sources.

Kidney Disorders

If you excessively consume protein powders, they might cause kidney stones.

However, research about this problem has been inconclusive.

If you already have kidney stones, some protein sources can worsen the situation.

Solution: the best way to stay away from this problem is by adding plenty of fiber to your diet. Or you can use a well-balanced protein powder.

Fatty Tissues

Whey protein produces more carbohydrates and fats, but it may make you eat more.

For this reason, you might gain more fat as you strive to build lean muscles.

If you’re eating more than were before you started incorporating protein powder, then you might not get the desired result.

Solution: always consider the protein content of the powder you’re considering, and gauge how well it fits into your plans. If you plan to use it as a meal replacement, avoid eating too much while taking it.

Heavy Metal Toxicity

Some protein powders might contain traces of heavy metals.

The consumption of toxic heavy metals can lead to health problems, including headaches, joints pain, constipation, and fatigue.

Solution: to stay clear of this problem, focus on consuming protein powders sourced from organic and natural source. Protein isolates are recommended because they’re purer than other forms of proteins.

Conclusion

Your health comes first. So even if you’re looking to lose weight, never be fooled into taking products that’ll harm you.

There are many products on the market, and you should be prepared to research and experiment to find the best product for you.

The first step towards success is staying informed.

The details provided in this guide will be of great help.

We’ve unturned all the stones to help you make the wisest decision, so you can select a product that’ll fit into your budget and help you achieve your goals.

Also, consider consulting a training expert, and listen to their recommendation.

As a woman, I know how confusing it might be for newbies entering an industry dominated by men.

I’ve written this guide based on my own experiences, and I’ve included all the vital information I missed when starting my workouts and using protein powder.

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