Top 5 Best Protein Powders of 2018 Reviewed

Why Supplement with Protein Powder

Although there are many reasons to supplement with a protein powder in your diet, the main reason is to help make your body stronger.

Bodybuilders use protein powders to help strengthen their muscles and bulk up, while sports enthusiasts use protein powders to help them stay toned and keep off unwanted weight gain.

In young adults and even children, protein powders have been used to help with the development of muscles and the brain.

Having a well-balanced diet (with a combination of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals) is of the utmost importance for growing minds and bodies, which is how using a protein powder can help (1).

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can also benefit from using a protein powder as a supplement.

Having a good source of protein in your diet will help your baby grow through your own nutrition.

Most doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid consuming whey-based protein powders, so always check the labels and ask before consuming.

Protein is a key nutrient that our bodies use to grow, build strength, promote energy, and keep weight down.

Modern high-protein diets are popular, though they aren’t always the healthiest options (2).

On average, your diet should include 10-15% protein.

In order of grams, babies need 10 grams a day, adolescents need 25 grams a day, women need 46 grams a day, teenagers need 50 grams, men need about 56 grams, and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers need at least 71 grams per day (3).

When compared to the costs of eating enough protein from meats and seafood, using protein powder as a daily supplement can be much more cost-effective.

Depending on what your end goal is, you may want to start using a protein powder in your diet.

In this article I will explain what makes a good protein powder and I will list my top 5 favorite protein powders currently available on the market.

Top 5 Best Protein Powders


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

optimum-nutrition-gold-standard-whey

Gold Standard Whey is a protein supplement which uses whey protein isolate as its base. It is a product created by Optimum Nutrition, one of the most popular sports nutrition companies in the world.

The formula has been designed so that there is a high concentration of high-quality whey while also having low levels of potentially harmful ingredients like fat, cholesterol, or lactose. It comes in 20 different flavors, and is easy to mix into milk or water or any other liquid you like.

As a product to be taken after your workout sessions, Gold Standard Whey focuses primarily on muscle recovery and growth. In each serving, you consume 24 grams of whey protein in the form of whey protein isolates and ultra-filtered whey protein concentrates. Each serving also contains 5.5 grams of Branched-Chain Amino Acids, which trigger protein synthesis and accelerate muscle recovery. Your muscles receive more blood flow right after a workout, and fast-digesting protein like this can reach them just in time to provide the nutrition they need to grow.

Whey protein is normally absorbed fast by the body, but this particular product has been formulated to be rapidly digested, more so than most whey products. What this means for you is that the amino acids in this product will reach your bloodstream and your muscles quickly.

Since your muscles are the most receptive to receiving such nutrition right after a workout, they will be able to receive these amino acids at their optimum state, which means a higher rate of muscle recovery and growth. This product also stands out among its competitors because it is 100% whey, and only contains very low levels of fat (1 g) and carbohydrates (3 g) per serving.

Pros

    • For those of you who are particular about taste, Gold Standard Whey comes in 20 different flavors. With such a wide variety to choose from, you’ll undoubtedly find one or even several that appeal to your taste buds.
    • ​Not only does this product contain barely any fat, lactose, or cholesterol, each serving also only contains 120 calories.
    • ​This product mixes easily so you don’t have to worry about lumps, and it also digests fast which enhances your muscle quality.
    • ​Optimum Nutrition is known for being one of the most quality-concerned sport nutrition brands around, and even has its own production facilities.
    • You get good value for your money, as the product doesn’t fall under the most expensive whey products category, but still gives you great results.

Cons

    • It contains acesulfame potassium, an artificial sweetener. Long-term consumption might result in side-effects such as headaches, nausea, depression, and more.
    • Not all flavors are a hit with customers, and many complain about chemical aftertastes or bland flavors. Try smaller packages when you initially buy a flavor.

BSN SYNTHA-6 Protein Powder

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Created by Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc., SYNTHA-6 is one of the best protein powders currently on the market. It contains proteins in the form of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolates, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein isolate, egg albumen, and glutamine peptides.

It is intended to be a post-workout supplement, but you can use it at any point during the day if you feel the need. It comes in 10 different flavors, and is known for its frothy milkshake-like consistency.

SYNTHA-6 provides 22 g of protein and 10 grams of essential amino acids per serving. Amino acids are the building blocks for muscles, and provide them with the nutrition they need to grow and be healthy. When consumed post-workout, whey protein also helps the muscles gain relief from the strain. During that process, these muscles also bulk up and help you gain shape and strength. SYNTHA-6, while not as effective as after a workout, can be used at any time of the day and will still give you results with use over time.

While there may be other brands that offer more than 10 flavors, SYNTHA-6 is still widely popular for its rich taste. Its exclusive flavor technology has created flavors that do not taste artificial or lackluster. While the intensity can be adjusted with the volume of water or milk added, SYNTHA-6 has a unique texture that consumers love. SYNTHA-6 is also a good source for fatty acids and fiber, both of which have their own range of health benefits.

Pros

    • This product contains more nutrition other than protein than most supplements. For those who want muscle growth but also a more multi-dimensional supplement, this is a great option.
    • ​You have 10 flavors to choose from, and all flavors are well-liked.
    • ​It is a caffeine-free product, so it can be used at any point in your schedule without affecting your sleep or inducing caffeine-related side-effects.
    • You can get more servings from a single package than from most other products, so it can be said to provide good value for money.

Cons

    • It provides 22 grams of protein per serving, which is relatively lower than some other brands.
    • It also has 200 calories, which is relatively high in comparison to some other good protein powders. It might not be the best option for those looking to reduce calorie intake substantially, or those looking for calorie-burning support.
    • ​It contains acesulfame potassium, which may have certain side effects.
    • The powder doesn’t mix easily into liquid, so your drink might be lumpy or gritty if not shaken or stirred well.

MusclePharm Combat Powder

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This product by reputed firm MusclePharm uses five different proteins: Whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate, micellar casein, and egg albumen. MusclePharm has used its advanced technology to create a micro-blend of these proteins, so that those who exercise for fitness, and athletes, can achieve better muscular tone.

Each serving provides 24 g of protein, as well as additional branched-chain amino acids. It also comes in a range of different flavors, mixes easily, and digests well.

The different proteins used in this product all digest at different rates. Because of this, your muscles will be receiving nutrition over a longer period of time. For up to eight hours after you take your protein powder, your muscles will be receiving their amino acids.

What this means is that your muscles are recovering and growing for longer each day, and you are much more likely to gain muscular strength and form. You can mix the powder into milk or water and drink it at any point during the day or night, and still get results.

Many other products also contain a mix of proteins, but there are only a few that have both whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate. Whey protein isolate has a very high concentration of pure whey with other non-protein elements removed, and whey protein hydrolysate is very fast-digesting as the bonds between amino acids have been somewhat broken down.

The different rates of absorption of these proteins also makes MusclePharm Combat Powder one of the most effective products available. This powder also contains a digestive enzyme blend to help you avoid digestive problems.

Pros

    • Contains different proteins and branched-chain amino acids, including some of the most effective ones for muscle growth.
    • ​The powder can be taken at any time you want: Pre-workout, post-workout, morning, day, night – whenever you see fit.
    • ​The product has no gluten, and only 130 calories, 1.5 g of fat, 5 g of carbs, and 2 g of sugar per serving.
    • Its digestive blend, including lactease and protease, helps you avoid indigestion or other problems you might experience with other whey powders.

Cons

    • The cholesterol count, 75 mg per serving, is relatively high in comparison to other brands.
    • There are 150 mg of sodium per serving. This helps improve the taste but since most of us already consume more sodium than the recommended daily intake through salt, it might not be suitable if you have high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure.

Vega One All-In-One Protein Powder

vega-one-all-in-one-protein-powder

Vega One All-In-One nutritional shake is one of the most multi-dimensional protein powders available. It uses whole food ingredients such as flax, hemp, pea, sacha inchi, and Saviseed for protein, which you get 20 g of in every serving. Seeing that the ingredients are not just pure extracted protein, you also get a range of other benefits in the form of other healthy nutrients. This is a product that’s especially great for health-conscious individuals, and can be consumed without worry by vegans or those who are anti-GMO.

Just as plant-based foods consumed on their own give you protein, the ingredients in Vega One’s All-In-One nutrition shake all come together to provide the amino acids that your muscles need to grow and recover. Peas, flax, hemp, and the other plants used are known for their high protein concentration. Organic green vegetables such as kale and broccoli are also used to provide important vitamins and minerals which help your body in different ways.

This product really stands out as an all-around healthy and nutritious option. It is a vegan product, suitable for all those for sustainability or against animal cruelty. It is also gluten-free and a verified non-GMO product.

Furthermore, not only does each serving deliver a high amount of protein, you also get fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients. For those who wish to gain lean muscle but also want their protein supplement to do more than just that, this is the perfect product.

Pros

    • No animal products are involved, and real plants with a non-GMO certification are used.
    • In each serving, you get 12 different vitamins and minerals which make up 50% of your daily nutritional value. Included in that are the antioxidants vitamin E (50% DV), Vitamin C (70% DV), and Vitamin A (90% DV).
    • ​Each serving also has 6 g of fiber (24% DV) through organic ingredients such as acacia gum and flax, 1.5 g of Omega-3 fatty acids through chia, flax, and hemp, and 1 billion CFU probiotics.

Cons

    • The flavors available are French Vanilla, Berry, Chocolate, Vanilla Chai, or Natural Flavors. There aren’t as many choices as there are with some other protein products.
    • Each serving only contains 20 g of protein, as opposed to the standard 24 or 25 g in most powders.
    • The chalky texture might not be something those previously using non-plant protein powders are used to. However, using a blender or almond milk can solve the issue.

Cytosport Monster Isolate Protein Powder

cytosport-monster-isolate-protein-powder

Cytosport’s Monster Isolate, as its name indicates, has only one protein source – Whey Protein Isolate. Each serving provides 25 g of protein, all of which comes from whey protein isolate. This is therefore a product that is pure and has very low levels of lactose and cholesterol, and a high concentration of pure protein.

It doesn’t provide much in terms of other nutrients, but for athletes and those wanting to focus only on muscle development, this is a very effective product. There are three available flavors.

Whey Protein Isolate is the purest form of whey, so any product using it is very effective in terms of muscle recovery and growth. Monster Isolate, containing only Whey Protein Isolate as a base, is therefore highly concentrated protein without other impurities.

Because of this, this product is very rapidly absorbed and is the most effective right after your workout when your muscles are receiving a lot of blood. There are also 6 g of different branched-chain amino acids, which also boost protein synthesis.

The main appeal of this product is its simplicity. Its primary ingredient is whey protein isolate, which provides glutamine. On top of that, there are 6 g of BCAAs, including 2.8 g of leucine, the BCAA most effective for muscle growth. Together, these ingredients prevent muscular breakdown during cardio, and promote protein synthesis at the cellular level.

This product promotes the building of new muscle tissue, as well as a positive nitrogen balance and an increase in growth hormone. Other processes, from improving immune function so that you can exercise well, to metabolizing fat so that you can lose unwanted weight in terms of fat and gain it in terms of lean muscle, also make some contribution.

Pros

    • It contains 25 g of protein per serving, which is higher than a lot of other brands. While many other products that offer the same amount of protein contain a mix, this contains a pure form that is more than 90% whey.
    • It offers more servings per package than many other competitor products in the same size, so you might say it offers a good deal.
    • It has been certified by the National Science Foundation as suitable for sports nutrition.

Cons

    • The available flavors are only Chocolate, Vanilla, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana. This is a much more limited range than for other protein powders, so unless you like these basic flavors, it might not be the product for you.
    • ​This isn’t suitable for those looking for more than just muscle growth from their protein powders. Athletes and those looking specifically to enhance their muscles will benefit more than others.
    • Although you can use it any time you want, because whey protein isolate is so fast-absorbing and there are no other forms of protein, the best time to consume it is during the short window right after you finish working out.

What is Protein Powder

Protein powders are dehydrated protein solids, which have been processed into powder form.

A protein powder’s main job is to deliver concentrated dietary protein to the consumer (4).

Common sources of protein include poultry, eggs, beans, beef, milk, cheese, and soy.

Protein powders are typically made from whey, casein, egg, peas, hemp, beef, and brown rice.

Most people enjoy protein powder in a shake mixed with various types of milk or water.

Each type of protein powder has a slightly different process for extracting the protein to be made into a powder form for use.

Whey is a very popular protein powder because it is water-soluble, which means it dissolves easily. Whey protein is made from the runoff from cheese-making. Whey protein concentrate or the isolate is then dried out and micro-filtered to create whey powder or isolate.

Pea protein isolate is a naturally derived vegetable protein made from peas, which are loved for their natural high-protein content.

Casein is also dairy-based protein powder produced during the cheese-making process. It’s a phosphoprotein commonly found in the milk of mammals.

Hemp protein powder is made by removing the outer shells of the hemp seed and extracting or removing the oil from the “meat” of the seed. The hemp mash is dried into a powder form, while the oil is saved for other uses.

Beef protein powder isn’t actually made from meat. Beef protein powder (or hydrolyzed beef protein isolate) is made from other portions of the cow, such as the bones, skin, connective tissue, joints, head, and collagen.

Brown rice protein powder or isolate is made by processing rice with enzymes, which cause the proteins to separate from the carbohydrates. It’s usually flavored for consumption.

There are also many different flavor profiles of protein powders.

The most common flavor additions to protein powders are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

What are Benefits of Using Protein Powder

Adequate protein consumption has endless benefits for our bodies.

Consuming complete proteins ensures that your body is receiving the 9 essential amino acids it needs to build new proteins.

Proper protein consumption ensures healthy growth in infants and youth, as well as continual muscle-building for adults(5).

Protein is a macronutrient of significant importance for your bodies’ overall nutrition.

Proteins from vegetable and animal sources are composed of more than 20 amino acids.

Amino acids are used in the body for the basic structuring of proteins and enzymes.

Proteins also serve as a source of energy, carbon, and nitrogen in (6):

Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women

It’s of upmost importance for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant to get a sufficient amount of protein.

In fact, protein intake is so important for child-bearing that studies have shown that a lack of maternal protein intake can affect the child’s entire life (7).

However, a protein deficiency is rare in developed countries.

When protein powders are also loaded with extra vitamins and minerals, it’s been proven to increase the birth weight of babies in rural areas (8).

And when all women drink high-protein shakes, they can develop lean muscle mass.

Vegans

Protein powder is especially helpful for those adhering to a vegan diet.

Vegans tend to have difficulty fulfilling their daily protein requirements, as they rely heavily on grains, nuts, and vegetables (which have less protein per gram than meats and fishes).

Vegans can choose from peas, hemp, or brown rice protein powders to supplement what they may be lacking in their everyday diets.

Athletes

Since athletes burn larger amounts of calories and often work hard to build lean muscle to replace fat cells, they’ll also benefit from using a protein powder supplement.

A daily dose of protein powder for an athlete after a workout replaces much of the energy, calories, and amino acids exerted in their activity.

That’s why athletes often drink a protein shake after strenuous activities.

Protein shakes made with protein powders also benefit the body by making you feel fuller for longer, and high-protein diets improve the metabolic activity of the body.

Remember, protein is used for the production of muscles.

Food solids require longer digestion and breakdown of proteins (9).

After food solids have started to digest, they then send their protein to your muscles.

A shake made with high-protein powder should take about 30 minutes to fully digest; after that, the proteins will be completely distributed throughout the body.

Fast digestion of proteins means the faster replacement to your system.

Types of Protein Powder

Whey Protein Powder

There are three major forms of whey protein, namely:

  • Isolates- They’re the purest of all the powders, as they have by far the most protein per gram (which means faster absorption into your body).
  • Concentrates - They have less protein per gram than isolates but have more lactose and fat content (10).
  • Hydrolyzed Whey (or predigested protein powder) - They’re easy to absorb into your body, but in comparison to the other types, their optimal effect is questionable.

Pros

  • Whey is considered a complete protein, which means that it has all of the 9 essential amino acids.
  • Whey is the fastest absorbed of all the proteins on the market today
  • And faster absorption means faster muscle replacement and building.
  • ​Make sure to drink your whey protein shake within an hour of your workout to increase the potential for muscle-building.
  • Whey protein powder is a great source of added calories for those wanting to increase bulk (or that need to gain more weight for reasons other than bodybuilding, such as health issues, pregnancy, or disorders).

Whey proteins have been shown to reduce cancer cells, improve immunity, control stress cortisol levels, increase serotonin in the brain, enhance liver function, and reduce blood pressure (11).

Cons

  • Whey protein powders are by far the most expensive of all the powders available on the market today.
  • Since whey protein has been on the market much longer than other protein varieties, some companies have found ways to add fillers.
  • So watch labels for artificial thickeners, sweeteners, and too many oils.
  • ​Whey isn’t the protein powder to use if you’re looking to lose weight.
  • Whey protein concentrates have less protein per gram than would be beneficial to most people.
  • ​If you suffer from dairy sensitives or milk allergies, whey isn’t a good choice for you.
  • Whey proteins powders don’t fit with vegan or paleo diets.
  • Also beware of whey powders that are listed as “ion-exchange,” as many of the healthy nutrients were depleted or removed in this type of processing.

Casein Protein Powder

Casein is the main protein found in cow’s milk.

There are two main types of casein protein powder on the market today:

  1. Hydrolysate Casein is a predigested product, and it’ll be more quickly absorbed into your system.
  2. Micellar Casein won’t add acid to your body. Most scientists argue that it’s more effective, as it’s closer to a raw state.

Pros

  • Unlike hydrolysate, micellar casein is balanced with the human body’s acid-base.
  • ​Casein protein powder is absorbed by the body slower than traditional whey proteins.
  • ​Since this protein is absorbed slower, consuming this type of protein powder will actually make your stomach feel fuller for longer.
  • Casein protein powder is ideal for replacing a meal in a shake form (or mixing into your cream of wheat or oatmeal).
  • ​Casein protein powders mix well with whey protein powders, and together, they’ll make you feel fuller and enhance your muscle-building.
  • The slow release of proteins into the human body from casein is caused by a stomach-acid reaction.
  • ​Once casein has started to react to stomach acids in the body, it’ll begin to slowly release the essential amino acids.
  • This slow release of casein proteins in the body makes it an ideal protein powder to ingest before you go to sleep, as it’ll slowly fuel your body.
  • Casein protein is absorbed slower than protein.
  • ​Like whey, it’s not ideal for muscle-building or bulking.
  • ​Those with a lactose allergy or sensitivity will need to avoid casein protein powders.
  • ​Casein protein is usually separated from milk through an acid or heat process.
  • Depending on how the casein powder was processed, it can possibly carry harmful toxins that are leftover from the separation process.
  • ​Some individuals even have adverse reactions to casein, such as bad stomach ingestion, heartburn, bloating, or a bad aftertaste.
  • ​If you experience these side effects, you should stop using it.

Soy Protein Powder

Soybeans are packed with high-protein legumes, which have been used as a food staple in some Asian cultures for centuries.

Soybeans are used for their seeds, which are fermented, deshelled, dried, and mashed.

Soy protein powder is created by grinding the soybean seeds and de-fatting them into a dry powder.

The powdered form of soy that’s sold as an isolate is about 92% full protein, and it has almost no carbohydrates.

Soy by itself is a complete protein.

Pros

  • Soy protein digests at a medium rate — not as slow as casein, but not as quickly as whey.
  • Soy has large amounts of certain amino acids, such as glutamine and arginine.
  • ​These acids support basic immunity, digestion, and brain health.
  • ​Among plant-based proteins, soy is considered the best for building muscle strength, and it’s an excellent protein powder for vegan dieters.
  • ​Compared to whey protein, soy protein is equal to helping build muscles.
  • Isoflavones found in soy are thought to help reduce the presence of cardiovascular disease (12).
  • There are soy protein products available that have “triple” a number of isoflavones.
  • ​Soy is rich in certain vitamins and minerals, and soybeans are good for your overall health.
  • ​Soy can be great for women transitioning into menopause.
  • Soy protein is also good to use when you would want to build muscle, stay fuller, or ensure you have enough protein in your diet.

Cons

  • There’s a history of soy affecting estrogen pathogens (in both men and women).
  • ​Men have shown to have lower testosterone levels when consuming large amounts of soy in their diet.
  • ​But in women, soy’s interference with estrogen has caused certain cancers and reproductive harm.
  • A study done in Brazil says that women can become infertile when consuming too much soy (13).
  • ​True or pure soy protein powders have a particular taste, which is difficult to cover up with flavors or sweeteners.
  • ​And 90% of soybeans have been genetically modified to grow strong against pesticides.
  • Consuming soy as your main source of protein can make you deficient in zinc, calcium, and iron.
  • There’s also concern that soy may adversely affect thyroid function in the human body.

Egg Protein Powder

Pros

  • Egg white protein is albumin, which has been dried into a powder form.
  • Egg-based protein powders have a slow digestion process (14).
  • ​The digestion of egg protein powders is faster than casein but slower than whey-based proteins.
  • ​Although egg protein powders don’t contain as many muscle-building components as milk-based protein powders, they still make a good meal replacement option.
  • And egg protein powders are a great option for vegetarians or paleo dieters.

Cons

  • Egg protein powders can taste eggy. One way to avoid this excessive taste is to add the powder to baked or cooked goods as a thickening agent.
  • ​Egg protein powders aren’t for you If you have a dairy sensitivity or are vegan.

Beef Protein Powder

Pros

  • Beef protein powders are a complete protein, and they’re very filling.

Cons

  • Some beef protein powders have a gelatinous feel, which can be odd to ingest. Mixing your beef protein with plenty of ice or a little water can lessen the feel of jelly.
  • Those that have difficulty digesting meats should stay away from beef-based powders.

Hemp Protein Powder

Pros

  • Much like soy proteins, hemp proteins supply our bodies with all 8 essential amino acids.
  • Hemp protein is an ideal substitute of using milk or dairy-based proteins, such as whey, casein, or egg whites.
  • ​Hemp is rich in vitamins and minerals, and it gives the consumer a great portion of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber in each scoop.
  • ​Cons Hemp can be quite grainy, and some hemp powders have a bitter aftertaste and lower protein content than most other powders.
  • But mixing hemp with a pea or rice protein powder can alleviate some of the graininess and bitterness.

Pea Protein Powder

Pros

  • Pea protein is thought to be one of the best protein sources for vegans and vegetarians.
  • It has all but two of the essential amino acids, which are balanced with its protein concentration.
  • ​Pea protein is the easiest of plant-based powders to digest.
  • ​Pea protein isolate is a naturally derived vegetable protein made from peas, which are loved for their naturally high protein content and great health benefits.
  • ​The powder is made from yellow split peas, which have had their soluble proteins removed.
  • ​The hydrolysate in pea protein powder has been shown to decrease or delay kidney damage.
  • Pea proteins also lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • ​Peas are legumes, which are known to be low in fat, but high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
  • ​The hydrolysate of the peas doesn’t include the enzyme that’s in legumes, which would otherwise cause flatulence.
  • Peas are extremely diabetic-friendly and have been referred to as a superfood for diabetics.
  • Pea protein powders can be added to smoothies, soups, and baked goods.

Cons

  • Pea protein can be very bitter and have an off-putting flavor.
  • When consuming it in a smoothie, use bold flavors, such as bright citrus or deep chocolate.
  • ​Legumes have a high level of purine, which creates uric acid in the body when digested (15).
  • ​If you’re also a heavy consumer of red meat or red wine, taking large amounts of pea protein may speed up the process of underlying gout in your system.
  • Too much uric acid causes gout.
  • ​For all the good that pea proteins can share, they’re lacking in certain minerals, such as iron (a necessary mineral that assists in pumping our blood and cells with oxygen).
  • People who are already low in iron should think twice before using this protein base.
  • ​However, peas do have a non-heme iron. Humans can’t really absorb this kind of iron unless it’s consumed with a lot of vitamin C.
  • So a good way to get a little iron in conjunction with your pea protein is to consume it with citrus juices. Orange or grapefruit juice could make a nice addition to a pea protein shake made with vanilla-flavored powder.

How does Protein Powder Work

Protein powder is a way to deliver energy and essential amino acids to the body for the building of muscle within the body (16).

Protein metabolism is affected by a person’s intake and expenditure of that energy.

The factors of intake and expenditure need to be considered when estimating a person’s protein needs.

You can improve your endurance by having a post-workout meal or meal-replacement shake while performing a strenuous exercise for several days.

Use protein powder if you’re starting a new exercise routine that’ll be putting new or more stress on your body’s muscles.

Although there are studies that both support and contradict that protein powder supplementation assist in the building of muscles, we do know that a complete protein builds muscle in the body.

Protein powders contain most (if not all) of the essential amino acids necessary for the body to function well.

The function of neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine) are affected by the amounts of amino acids in a person’s diet.

Hormones, insulin, and cortisol can also affect your dietary protein intake. Insulin inhibits the breakdown of proteins in the body (17).

Cortisol (the stress hormone) assists and often starts the process for muscle breakdown (18).

Growth hormones and testosterone are muscle stimulants, which aid in the function of the muscles.

When you’ve been injured, use a protein powder to assist your body in the healing process.

Also, use protein powder if you’re starting a vegan diet.

New vegans and vegetarians often have a hard time adjusting to a lower protein intake, and they need time to figure out where their best sources of complete proteins will come from (19).

If you’re feeling weak, low-energy, or deficient in any way after switching to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, consider supplementing with a protein powder.

How is Protein Powder Used

The most common way to use protein powder is to dissolve it into a liquid and make a shake.

Most of the protein powders listed include 20 grams of protein per scoop, and 80 grams of carbohydrates should be added to it to have a proportionate amount of nutrients.

The ratio of protein to carbs should be 5 to 1 (20).

Adding various types of milk (such as cow’s, almond, coconut, cashew, rice, or soy) to the protein powder will add the carbs you need.

Adding fruit and yogurt to a protein shake is also a way to add more carbs and even the scale of protein and carbohydrates.

Regarding the ingesting of protein, timing is important.

If you’re feeling weak or low-energy during a normal workout, take a break and drink a shake.

Consuming protein powder drinks during exertion will keep your body fueled since we run on carbs, sugars, and proteins to function and increase performance.

When young bodies are growing, they burn more protein and need more amino acids to help build and strengthen new muscles.

Usually, one high-protein shake a day is enough for a teenager or young adult.

Protein powder enthusiasts like to use a shaker bottle when on the go.

Freshly mixing protein powders is key to accessing all of the nutrients provides.

Premixed versions should be consumed as soon as possible.

If you want a smoother shake with a silky finish, it’s always better to blend it in a machine.

To incorporate air and make the mixture fluffier, pulse your protein shake mixture in a blender.

If you add ice to the shake while it’s in the blender, you’ll keep the mixture colder, and it’ll taste better.

Ice will also make it easier to drink.

If you intend to bake with a powder rather than drink it, use an unflavored, unsweetened protein powder that you can add your own sweeteners and flavorings to.

What to Look for in Protein Powder

When buying protein powders, look for keywords, such as “concentrate,” “isolate,” “micellar,” and “albumen.”

A scoring system is now accessible for measuring protein powders, which is called the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score.

It ranks protein powders from zero to one.

The closer a product is to having a #1 rating, the better.

WHEY: When buying whey protein, it’s important to buy a pure product.

When you want a high-impact protein intake, look for “hydrolysate” or “isolate” on the label.

Most of these powders will contain about 90% more protein per scoop, as well as less sugar.

Whey proteins can be grass-fed, organic, or byproduct-free (meaning no hormones or antibiotics were injected into the cow).

CASEIN: Casein protein powders also have options that are grass-fed, organic, and byproduct-free.

Micellar casein is the slowest digesting protein powder, and it’s the best choice.

EGG: Egg-based protein powders are also listed on labels as “egg white powder” or “egg white albumen.”

Egg protein powders come in cage-free and organic varieties.

If you’re unable to find organic and cage-free powder, it’s of upmost importance that you buy organic, pasteurized, liquid egg whites.

SOY: When purchasing soy-based protein powders, a product listed as an “isolate” means you’ll be consuming more protein per scoop.

But you’ll also be consuming more isoflavones, which aren’t great for you.

When buying soy protein powders, the best alternative is to look for organic and non-GMO varieties (21).

Regardless of the type of protein you buy, always check the back label of ingredients of a protein powder container.

Whatever the front label says, turn the container over.

The first ingredient listed should be whey isolate, organic milk powder, and eggs.

Also, check the back label of protein powders for excess sugar content and added synthetic sweeteners (such as aspartame), which can cause headaches and other symptoms.

Buying a protein powder product that has a short ingredient list is also a safe bet.

Vanilla-flavored protein powders are the most frequently used and the most versatile.

If you buy vanilla powder, fruit pairs well with it, and unsweetened cocoa powder (which is also a good source of protein) can be easily added to create a chocolate flavor (22).

What to Avoid in Protein Powder

When purchasing protein powders, steer clear of long lists of ingredients, especially those with a lot of words you can’t pronounce.

Be wary of protein powder products that have too many additives.

Avoid sugary powders, check the back label, and read the sugar content.

If a protein powder has more sugar per serving than a can of soda, don’t buy it.

Also avoid buying soy isolates, as they contain controversial ingredients (such as isoflavones), which are considered to inhibit fertility.

Buying 100% soy-based powders have an unavoidably strong legume taste.

Be wary of cheap powders that seem too good to be true.

They’re usually the ones loaded with additives and fillers.

Precautions

Usually, consuming protein that can fit in the palm of your hand is a good guide for seeing how much protein an average person should need (23).

Also, consuming too much protein can cause gout.

Persons at low altitudes need less protein.

The body burns more calories because of less oxygen, as higher altitudes make the body work harder.

When the body works harder, it burns through more nutrients, including fuel from protein.

Amino acid toxicity is a risk when large amounts of protein powder, supplements, and over-the-counter medications are consumed by one individual.

Continued high-protein consumption may cause protein catabolism, which is a negative protein balance after the amount of protein consumption is reduced.

A large increase in protein consumption results in increased catabolic processes in the body, which oxidize amino acids.

Eating smaller portions of protein during every meal or throughout the day is a safer, better way to consume protein.

Consuming more protein than you need can stimulate biochemical pathways called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR).

The mTOR’s block the pathways that help to stop the growth of cancers in our bodies.

When mTOR’s are limited, our bodies are less likely to develop cancer.

Unless you fit certain parameters, you may not need to be using a protein powder at all (24).

A slow, steady increase of food sources with good protein is encouraged (25).

Conclusion

Some keys points to revisit are:

  • There’s controversy about pregnant women consuming protein powders every day.
  • Young adults need much more protein to grow strong bodies, so they’re encouraged to include a protein supplement in their diets.
  • ​When choosing your protein powders, look for recognizable, natural ingredients and a short list of ingredients.
  • ​Neutral or versatile flavors (such as vanilla) will serve you well and give you varied options.
  • If you have a normal, adequate diet, protein powder isn’t really necessary for an average adult.

There are many good reasons to add a protein powder supplement to your diet.

It’ll help your body get stronger. Managing your weight helps with the development of muscles and your brain.

Having a well-balanced diet with a combination of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals is essential to maintaining a strong body.

Food sources with good protein content are grains, milk, legumes, meats, and fishes.

Having a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to ensure proper protein intake.

Replacing one meal a day with a protein powder item can save time and money, since protein powders are often cheaper than most sources of protein.

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