Protein Powder Guide
So you need to know about protein powder but have no idea where to start? If this is your first time considering protein powder, you likely have a ton of questions. What does protein powder do? Do you actually need protein powder? What type of protein powder is the best? How do you use protein powder? The questions go on and on. That’s why I’ve written this protein powder guide for you. All your questions will be answered and you’ll know everything you need to know about protein powder. So let’s get started!
Why Protein Powders Are Popular
There’s no question about it. Protein powders are extremely popular in the health and fitness world. Step into any gym in the world and you’re bound to see tubs of protein powder behind the counter and tons of avid gym-goers slugging down blender bottles full of colourful protein before, during and after their workouts. But why is protein powder so popular?
The main reason for protein powder’s popularity is simply because it makes it super easy to hit your nutritional goals. Protein is an extremely important part of every diet because it helps to build and maintain muscle and also lose fat. The problem is that it can be quite difficult to get adequate or optimal amounts of protein from whole food sources alone. But protein powder makes it much easier. For the times when a sit-down meal isn’t possible, protein powders come to the rescue!
Do I Need A Protein Powder?
The short answer is: probably not.
Very few people will need a protein powder. But having a protein powder can make your life so much easier. Whether your main goal is to gain muscle, lose fat or just get in great shape, protein powder can vastly accelerate your progress.
If you are struggling to get your required protein amount each day, I heartily recommend you invest in a protein powder to make things easier for yourself. As a rule of thumb, you should get around 1-1.5g of protein per pound of lean body mass. So someone weighing 180lb at 20% body fat (180 x 0.20 = 36lb of fat, leaving 144lb lean mass) would need 144g to 216g of protein depending on their goals (fat loss or muscle gain).
Could you get 200g of protein in your diet each day from whole food sources? What about 150g? 100g? Maybe if chomping through chicken breasts and steaks is your full-time job. But most of us have lives and don’t have the time or the money or the stomach to do all that eating. That’s where protein powders come in! With protein powders, getting your required amount of protein for the day becomes very easy.
Why Use A Protein Powder?
- Fat loss is easier
- Muscle gain is easier
- Weight maintenance is easier
- It can be cheaper than whole foods
- It can help curb cravings (great for fat loss diets)
- Easier to have pre workout, during a workout and post workout.
- Protein powder makes it so much easier to hit your nutritional goals.
- Improved recovery (because you're hitting your nutritional requirements)
- Some of them taste amazing and can stop you from binging on junk food.
How Much To Take?
My personal recommendation (backed up by many other trainers and athletes) is to have 1-2 protein shakes a day. You want to split up your protein powders so that you have whole foods in the meals before and after your protein shake. Remember that protein powder is a supplement to your diet and shouldn’t replace whole foods. Protein powder is only there to help you hit your protein requirements each day.
When Should I Take It?
It’s totally up to you and depends on your personal goals. But the best time to take a protein powder is right after your workout. This is the time when your body is most craving calories (especially protein) and can make the best use of it to replenish your muscles. You can also take it before your workout if that works better for you. I know some athletes who sip a protein shake during their workout but that doesn’t work too well for me.
After your post-workout window, the next best time to take a protein powder is whatever time suits your schedule. You could pack a blender bottle full of protein powder in your bag and take it to work with you for an afternoon snack. You could have it in the morning as part of your breakfast. You could have it if you know you won’t be able to have whole foods for a while. Or you could have it right before bed so that your body gets a supply of protein while you sleep.
Here is a sample meal schedule that you could follow:
- Meal 1 (breakfast) - whole food
- Meal 2 - protein powder
- Meal 3 (lunch) - whole food
- Meal 4 (afternoon) - whole food
- Meal 5 (post workout) - protein powder
- Meal 6 (dinner) - whole food
What Else Is Usually In Protein Powder?
Protein powders come in so many varieties. That’s why I’ve split this guide down into the different types below. But here are some of the common things you can find in different protein powders:
- Natural sweeteners: stevia, erythritol, xylitol, yacon syrup, naturally derived fruit extracts.
- Artificial sweeteners: sucralose, agave nectar, aspartame, acesulfame.
- Branched chain amino acids: like leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are naturally occurring because of the protein content but some companies add extra BCAAs to their mix.
- Creatine: this is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and helps with improved strength, energy, recovery and muscle mass. Creatine is most often sold as a separate supplement but some companies add creatine to their protein powder. If this is the case, they will state it in their nutritional information and label.
- Carbohydrates: unless you specifically get a no-carb protein powder, your protein powder will probably have some carbs in it. Some protein powders contain simple sugars, whilst others contain complex carbohydrate formulas. Having simple sugar with your protein is often a good thing when taking it post-workout.
- Fats: some protein powders will contain essential fatty acids in order to improve the overall nutritional level of the supplement.
- Fiber: protein powders that contain added fiber can be a great resource if you’re dieting hard and not getting enough fiber from whole foods.
As always, make sure you read the labels so you know exactly what you’re consuming.
What To Avoid
If you take a look at the label of a protein powder, you’ll probably see a bunch of ingredient names that you don’t recognize and cannot pronounce. That’s often the first clue that the protein powder isn’t exactly the healthiest thing on the market. But let’s look specifically at the main offenders. If you’re super vigilant about what goes into your body (and you should be), you might want to avoid protein powders that contain the following ingredients:
- Soy protein isolate:This is a super cheap form of protein and is manufactured from GMO soy. It can wreak havoc on your hormonal profile (low testosterone, guys?) and most people are going to have an allergic reaction to it. If you enjoy high levels of inflammation and stomach pain, go for it. But I personally hate those things and make sure to stay away from soy protein isolate.
- Sugar: If you care about your fat levels, you’ll want a protein powder that doesn’t have high levels of sugar (even if it’s naturally occurring). Of course, the exception is post-workout when sugar paired with protein can be very beneficial. Although I would personally prefer to get my protein powder without sugar and have some fruit instead. Sugars to watch out for include: dextrose fructose, high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane syrup, sucrose, glucose, cane sugar, brown sugar, palm sugar, corn syrup solids, and maple syrup.
- Gluten: There’s a reason why the whole world is making a fuss about gluten-free. That’s because most people’s bodies (mine included) simply cannot handle gluten. Humans were never really meant to consume it. So if you see gluten on your protein powder label, you’ll probably want to stay away (especially if you already know you have an intolerance).
- Hydrogenated stuff: If you see the word ‘hydrogenated’ in the ingredients, you’ll probably want to choose a different protein powder. For example, I would personally stay away from ‘hydrogenated whey protein’. It will play havoc on your gut.
Finding A Quality Protein Powder
I’ve made a ton of suggestions for healthy protein powders in other articles and I’ll also suggest some of the best protein powders here. But, as with everything, it usually comes down to unique individual preferences. You might need to experiment a little bit here and find out what works for your body.
A protein powder that makes me feel amazing might trigger an allergic reaction in your body and give you stomach cramps. Meanwhile, you might be fine with another protein powder but I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot barge pole. The best thing to do is to read the suggestions below and experiment. If you already know your body well, you should know what things it can handle and what things it can’t.
The Main Protein Powder Types
There are loads of different protein powders on the market. And they all have different names. It can get confusing. But really it’s quite simple. Let’s break down what each of them are and I’ll make some suggestions for the best ones of their kinds. We’re going to look at the main protein powder types: whey, casein, egg white, paleo, plant-based, pea, soy, hemp, vegan, rice, and also blends and weight gainers.
Whey is probably the most popular protein powder type. When people talk about protein powder, they are very often referring to the whey variety.
What is it?
Whey is a fast absorbing milk protein with a great amino acid profile.
Benefits Of Whey Protein
The greatest benefit of whey protein is that it makes a superior protein source for directly after your workout. It’s fast absorption means that your body can use it to replenish depleted energy stores and start the rebuilding process immediately. It’s also readily available in countless different flavors and you have tons of options to choose from. You can also get cheap whey protein very easily. Whey protein is also usually easy to mix and can be quite versatile.
Downsides Of Whey Protein
Whey protein’s fast absorption is its greatest strength but it can also be its downside, depending on when you need your protein powder. If you want a protein powder before bed, you’re better off having a slow-digesting protein like casein. Another downside is that a lot of people have allergic reactions to whey protein.
Any Side Effects?
If you have lactose intolerance, the main side effects of whey protein might include stomach issues such as cramping, bloating and gas. Whey protein could also raise your cholesterol levels and interfere with blood pressure control. Though those issues are more of an issue if you already have a poor lifestyle and diet.
Whey protein powder is best for post-workout because of its fast absorption. It’s also good before a workout, in the morning or throughout the day.
Concentrate Vs. Isolate
If you’ve looked at a few different tubs of whey protein powder, you’ve probably noticed that some of them claim to be ‘whey concentrate’ and others claim to be ‘whey isolate’. What’s the difference? Basically it all comes down to how the whey protein is processed. Simply put, isolates are purer forms of protein than concentrates. Concentrates are around 80% protein, whereas isolates are around 92% protein. If you’re not lactose intolerant, whey concentrates are the cheaper and more commonly available choice.
Recommended Whey Protein Powders
This is the perfect whey protein powder because it’s affordable. It’s also tasty and simple. Many protein powders taste terrible but Optimum Nutrition tastes delicious (especially when you mix it with almond milk). I recommend the Chocolate flavor. Optimum Nutrition also has a respectable 24g serving of protein. This makes it perfect for people who need to gain muscle and also people who need to lose weight.
If you’ve got a bit of cash, I highly recommend MTS Nutrition Extreme Whey. It’s one of my favorite whey protein powders because it’s top quality and delicious. Each serving has 25g of protein and lots of essential amino acids. The taste will seriously blow you away. It comes in 11 flavors and I recommend Banana Cream Pie, Birthday Cake, Key Lime Pie, and Red Velvet Cake.
This is another one of my favorite whey protein powders of all time because it excels on taste and effectiveness. My favorite flavors are Peanut Butter Marshmallow, Raspberry Chocolate Truffle, and Cinnamon Swirl. Each serving gives you 25g of whey protein and 5.5g of BCAAs. It’s a bargain.
Isopure is probably the best whey protein powder choice for anyone on a diet. It has a big 50g serving of protein to keep you full and it has absolutely zero carbohydrates. It also tastes great with a mild taste that won’t make drinking difficult. If you’re looking for a whey protein powder under $40 that will help you blast the fat, Isopure is the best.
After whey protein, the most common type of protein powder you’ll hear about is casein protein. You’ll often hear debates about whether whey is better than casein but I’ll give you the scoop right here.
What is it?
Casein is a slow absorbing milk protein with a great amino acid profile.
Benefits Of Casein Protein
The greatest benefit of casein protein is that it the best protein source for before sleeping or whenever you’re going to be without whole foods for a while. It’s slow absorption means that your body receives a steady supply of protein nutrients that will help keep you out of a catabolic state, which will help with your fat loss or muscle gaining goals. After whey protein powder, casein is probably the most popular and readily available protein powder, which means you are spoilt for choice.
Downsides Of Casein Protein
Casein protein’s slow absorption means that it is definitely not the best protein for after a workout. Seeing as most people want a protein supplement for after their workout, casein is probably not the most logical choice. A lot of people end up buying two tubs, one of whey protein and one of casein so they can have a powder after their workout and before bed. Another downside is that, like with whey protein, a lot of people have allergic reactions to casein protein. Casein protein also tends to clump and it harder to mix.
Any Side Effects?
The main side effects are pretty much the same as whey protein and are magnified if you are lactose intolerant. Potential side effects include stomach issues such as cramping, bloating and gas. Casein protein could also raise your cholesterol levels and interfere with blood pressure control. Though that probably won’t be much of a problem if you have your lifestyle and diet in check.
Casein protein powder is best before sleeping because of its slow absorption. It’s also good throughout the day if you think you won’t have whole food sources for a while.
Recommended Casein Protein Powders
For 4 pounds of top quality casein protein, Optimum Nutrition is a real bargain that can’t be beat. I always have a tub of chocolate or vanilla lying around the house. When I’m bulking, I’ll have a big scoop before bed every night. When I’m dieting, I’ll do the same but only have it 3 times a week.
If you’ve got a little more money to spend, I really recommend you try out Naked Casein because their product is super healthy. The casein is completely GMO-free, gluten free, soy free and preservative free. It’s also one of the tastier options on the casein protein powder market.
If whey or casein aren’t your thing, your next best bet is probably beef protein powder.
What Is It?
As you may have guessed, beef protein powder gets its protein from beef. The jury is still out on whether beef or whey are the superior protein sources but one thing’s for sure is that beef protein powder can certainly help your gains. Make sure to get grass-fed and organic beef though!
Benefits Of Beef Protein
Beef protein has a rich nutritional profile with high levels of vitamin A, C, B6, B12, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Beef protein is fantastic for supporting lean muscle growth and can help with restoring energy levels. Many beef protein powders also have little or no fat, cholesterol, lactose or carbohydrates. In addition to these benefits, beef protein is also the superior choice for those with lactose intolerance and can’t stomach the traditional whey or casein varieties.
Downsides Of Beef Protein
The main downside is for vegetarians and vegans because, as expected, beef protein powder is sourced from bovines. Another downside is that, unless you do your research, many of the beef protein powders will use inferior beef sources like gelatin.
Any Side Effects?
As long as you have a high quality supplement and you’re not allergic to beef, I can’t think of any possible side effects with beef protein powder, though of course that is not to say side effects aren’t possible.
Beef protein powder is best for helping you to build or maintain muscle without suffering the intestinal distress that could arise from whey and casein protein powders.
Recommended Beef Protein Powders
PurePaleo Protein is expensive but you certainly get what you pay for. This is one of the best beef protein powders on the market. You get 21g of top quality beef protein per serving. If you suffer from stomach issues, you’ll immediately notice the difference between this beef protein powder and whey and casein protein powders. It is also delicious.
If you need a more budget-friendly beef protein powder, Primal Protein is a great choice. It’s priced well and is made from 100% grass-fed beef. It’s certified paleo by the Paleo Foundation,super easy to mix into your favorite drinks and is unflavored.
Egg whites are a basic yet tried and tested form of protein. Before protein powders came on the scene, athletes were cracking eggs into a glass and drinking them to get their protein in.
What Is It?
Eggs are one of the best protein sources known to man. The egg whites specifically are the parts that contain the protein (the yolk contains the fat).
Benefits Of Egg White Protein
If it’s from a top quality source, egg white protein is some of the best nutrition your body can get. Eggs are lactose free so anyone with stomach issues from whey or casein protein powders, will find that egg white protein is much easier to consume. Egg white protein powders typically have little or no carbohydrates, which makes it a great option for those wishing to lose fat or gain lean muscle.
Downsides Of Egg White Protein
Some people might not tolerate eggs very well. It can cause stomach issues in certain individuals. It can also trigger allergic reactions that result in diarrhoea and nausea. There have also been safety concerns in regards to raw eggs due to bacterial contamination. Salmonella could be found inside raw eggs and cause food poisoning. Luckily that downside can be avoided if you choose a reputable company.
Any Side Effects?
The main side effects occur in those that already have an established egg allergy. Allergic reactions could take the form of diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, hives, rashes, runny nose, sneezing and coughing.
Egg white protein is good for those who want a more natural source of protein or those who can’t stomach whey or casein. It’s also good for those who want to feel like Rocky.
Recommended Egg White Protein Powders
NOW Foods is one of the best companies for egg white protein powders. In fact, you can’t really call it a powder because it’s just egg whites. But at least you know there are no other nasty chemicals hiding inside. It doesn’t mix too well but it’s great for making healthy treats like paleo cupcakes. It also will make you feel great (if you don’t have an egg allergy). It’s also a bargain.
If you’ve got a bit of cash and want the best egg white protein supplement on the market, Naked Egg is for you. It’s fairly pricey but the price is well worth it. This supplement uses non-GMO eggs, is paleo-friendly, dairy free, gluten free and soy free. Each scoop gives you 25g of the best egg protein and 5.8g of BCAAs.
If you’re following the paleo diet, you might feel that protein powders are not a possible part of your diet. But that’s just not true. These days, paleo-dieters are spoiled for choice.
What Is It?
Paleo protein powder is protein powder that fits in with the philosophy of following a paleo lifestyle. There are no strange chemicals or artificial ingredients. Everything is naturally sourced and good for you.
Benefits Of Paleo Protein Powder
The main benefit of paleo protein powder will be to those trainers that are following the paleo lifestyle. The second main benefit is that paleo protein powders are often the supremely healthier option because they use naturally sourced products and make you feel fantastic.
Downsides Of Paleo Protein Powder
The main downside is the price tag. It’s not cheap producing high quality paleo protein products. But if you are willing to invest a little extra cash, you’ll definitely be rewarded by a body and mind that feels much healthier.
Any Side Effects?
There is no one ingredient that goes into all paleo protein powders. As such, any side effects are likely to be due to allergies to certain ingredients. For example, if your paleo protein powder is made primarily from hemp and you have intolerance to that, then you might experience side effects. Generally speaking, however, paleo protein powders often have very few side effects due to their natural and organic ingredients.
Paleo protein powders are best for those following the paleo lifestyle or anyone who wishes to reap the health benefits associated with following the paleo lifestyle.
Recommended Paleo Protein Powders
This is one of the best paleo protein powders around. It’s definitely one of the tastiest. My favorite is Double Chocolate. Each serving gives you 25g of protein, 2g of carbs and 108 calories and is made with grass-fed beef. It’s also one of the more affordable paleo protein powders depending on the flavor you choose.
This one is a pricey option but it’s worth it if you want something healthy and delicious. It’s gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free, non-GMO and filled with omega-3, fiber and probiotics. Each serving gives you 27g of protein per serving and is made from the highest quality meat and fish proteins.
Paleo Pro is another great option for anyone following the paleo diet. It has 25g of protein per serving and contains all natural paleo ingredients. It has no soy, no whey and is gluten free.As well as making your body feel great, it’s also delicious. I recommend Aztec Vanilla.
Plant Based Protein Powders
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian or you just like the way plants make your body feel (I know I do), then plant based protein powders might be the best option for you.
What are plant based protein powders?
Plant based protein powders, as the name suggests, are protein powders that take their protein from plants rather than milk or animal products. The most popular plant based protein powders contain soy, pea, hemp or rice. We’ll give a run down of what each of these means now.
Soy is a pretty controversial topic. To be honest, I actually recommend that most people don’t take it because it can really play havoc with your testosterone levels. However, some people believe soy is a super food.
What Is It?
Soy is the soya bean, a legume found in East Asia and commonly used in dishes like miso soup.
Benefits Of Soy Protein
Soy protein is thought to reduce the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer. It’s also an option for vegans who are feeling like their diet is limited.
Downsides Of Soy Protein
The main downside is that, for most people, soy protein really isn’t the optimal protein source. It has estrogen-raising effects, which in turn make testosterone plummet. This makes it very bad for muscle gaining purposes.
Any Side Effects?
Soy contains goitrogens, which lead to hypothyroid problems. Consumption of soy protein could lead to thyroid issues and weaken your immune system, making it easier to catch a cold.
Vegans who have exhausted all other sources of protein and are left with soy.
Recommended Soy Protein Powder
If you have to go for a soy protein powder, I recommend Bob’s Red Mill. It’s gluten free, dairy free and full of amino acids. Each serving gives you 17g of protein and it is really tasty, making it a great choice for a breakfast smoothie.
When you’re looking for a super healthy protein source, pea is one of the best around. It’s popularity is still in its infancy but I see pea protein set to grow a grow.
What Is It?
Pea protein comes from those green vegetables that our parents always tried to make us eat as children. It’s a great source of protein with lots of nutrients and little chance of causing an allergic reaction.
Benefits Of Pea Protein
Pea protein is fantastic for those who can’t have whey or casein or beef. It’s also one of the best choices for vegans and vegetarians. It is filled with nutritional goodies such as BCAAs and is high in arginine, lysine and phenylalanine. Pea protein powder also doesn’t have to break the bank like many other healthy options.
Downsides Of Pea Protein
There really aren’t any downsides of pea protein unless you’re allergic to peas. The main downside that I can think of is that pea protein powders aren’t as tasty as some of the other options but that is because they usually only have peas as the ingredient and no artificial flavors (which is a good thing).
Any Side Effects?
Unless you specifically have an allergy to peas, there aren’t any common side effects. It’s also very rare that you’ll have an allergy to peas (dairy allergy is much more common).
Pea protein powders are great for pretty much anyone. They are especially good for vegans, vegetarians or those who have allergies to the traditional protein sources. Pea protein powder is a great choice for fat loss, muscle gain and overall health.
Recommended Pea Protein Powders
Naturade uses the highest quality pea proteins available. It specifically uses pea protein isolate, which means more readily available protein and a better quality protein. It’s super healthy, all natural and contains no animal by-products, making it perfect for vegans and vegetarians. There are no artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors and it’s very easy to mix and digest. It also tastes delicious and is very cheap. I personally recommend the Vanilla flavor.
I love the products from the Naked company and their pea protein powder is no exception. This one is on the more expensive end but that’s because it’s crammed with the best quality pea protein. It’s not the best tasting (although it doesn’t taste bad either) but that’s okay when you consider what’s inside. There is only one ingredient: 100% yellow pea protein. There is nothing artificial and it’s completely GMO-free, soy free and gluten free. Each serving has 27g of protein and 5.7g of BCAAs.
When looking for healthy protein alternatives that suit a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, hemp is always high on the list. It’s filled with nutrients and is a great source of protein if you can’t touch the other options.
What Is It?
Hemp actually comes from the cannabis plant, the same one that produces marijuana. However, hemp has little in common with the psychoactive substance and is actually just a super healthy plant food. It contains 21 amino acids (9 of which are essential) and high amounts of bioavailable protein.
Benefits Of Hemp Protein
The main benefit of hemp protein is that it’s one of the best protein options for vegans and vegetarians and anyone who has allergies to dairy or gains. It’s loaded with essential amino acids and is easy to digest. It’s also rich in fiber and can improve kidney function and reduce inflammation.
Downsides Of Hemp Protein
Hemp could be said to have a high fat content, with almost 6g of fat per serving. Likewise, the high fiber content could be seen as a negative because it could make you need to use the bathroom more.
Any Side Effects?
Some people might suffer from gastrointestinal distress after hemp consumption. This could include bloating, gas and diarrhoea. It’s not too common though and symptoms are usually quite mild.
Hemp protein powder is best for vegans and vegetarians or anyone who can’t stomach whey or casein.
Recommended Hemp Protein Powders
The great thing about this hemp protein powder is that it has all the health benefits of hemp and yet still manages to taste amazing. If you like a big serving of fiber with your protein, this is the protein powder for you because it’s 37% protein, 43% fiber and 9% healthy fats. It’s super easy to mix into other drinks so you can make a healthy smoothie. It’s also a good mid-range price.
Viva Labs is another fantastic hemp protein powder choice. Each scoop gives you 15g of protein, which will be enough for a lot of people but if you need more you can always double up. It mixes really well and tastes delicious.
Rice protein powder is another great healthy protein option that is currently gaining more and more popularity.
What Is It?
Rice protein powder is made from brown rice, is loaded with amino acids and nutrients and is perfect for those needing to gain muscle or lose fat while following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.
Benefits Of Rice Protein
Brown rice protein has a pretty high protein content for a natural protein source, with most rice protein powders delivering around 24g of protein per serving. It’s also highly unlikely that you’ll be allergic to it so it’s really gentle on the body. It’s naturally low fat and low calorie, which makes it perfect for fat loss or lean muscle gain. Rice protein also has lots of amino acids and is particularly high in cystine and methionine.
Downsides Of Rice Protein
Unless you are allergic to rice (which is unlikely), there aren’t any downsides to rice protein aside from the fact that many of them aren’t the best tasting and they aren’t the most optimal protein source for muscle building.
Any Side Effects?
Rice protein is highly unlikely to trigger an allergic response. So, unless you are allergic to rice, you probably won’t experience any side effects.
Rice protein powder is best for vegans, vegetarians and those who cannot have the other kinds of protein powder.
Recommended Rice Protein Powders
If you’ve got a bit of cash and you’re determined to get one of the best rice protein powders on the market, I highly recommend Naked Rice. It’s pricey but it’s worth every cent. This protein powder contains only one ingredient: 100% organic sprouted brown rice. There is nothing artificial, it mixes well and tastes great.
Growing Naturals is one of the cheaper quality rice protein powders around. It uses rice protein isolate (90%), which means more protein availability and better protein quality. You get 24g of protein per servings and it’s also pretty tasty and easy to mix.
Protein powder blends contain a combination of different protein sources in order to reap the benefits of all of them. Common blends include whey, casein, and egg protein. On the plant-based spectrum, many protein blends contain hemp, pea and rice protein.
Recommended Protein Powder Blends
I love the Sunwarrior Warrior Blend and consider it one of the healthiest protein powders around. Sunwarrior combines several high quality raw plant-based proteins,like pea, hemp, cranberry and brown rice proteins, to leave you feeling and looking amazing. It comes in delicious 5 flavors with my personal favorite being Mocha (mix it in your morning coffee).
This is another one of my all time favorites. Orgain Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder is 100% natural and made with organic brown rice protein, organic chia seed, organic hemp protein, and organic pea protein. You get 21g of high quality plant-based protein per serving and only 5g of carbs with no added sugar. It’s gluten free, soy free, dairy free and non-GMO. It comes in two amazing flavors: Vanilla Bean and Creamy Chocolate Fudge. It’s also perfect for those who want to stay healthy on a budget.
MusclePharm is a super effective and really tasty. Each serving gives you 25g of protein from multiple sources. You get a first-class blend of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, whey protein hydrolysate, micellar casein, egg white albumen, L-glutamine, L-leucine, L-valine, L-isoleucine. You also get a digestive enzyme blend to keep stomach cramps at bay. It’s under $30 and every single flavor is great.
Weight gainers are a little different from normal protein powders because they have the primary aim of helping you put on mass. They do this with high amounts of protein but also high amounts of carbohydrates. If you’re trying to lose fat, a weight gainer is not for you. But if you’re really skinny and you desperately need to put on mass and don’t mind gaining some fat, I’m going to tell you the best weight gainers you should try.
Recommended Weight Gainers
You better believe them when they call this product ‘Serious Mass’. Seriously, use this supplement if need to build mass of any kind fast. This is also good if you simply can’t get enough calories in to meet your expenditure. Each serving gives you 1,200 calories, 50g of protein and250g of carbohydrates. You also get creatine, glutamine, glutamic acid and 25 vitamins and essential minerals.
Cyto Gainer gives you a monster 54g of protein per serving and 560 calories. The formula includes whey peptides that and glutamine, which will leave your muscles feeling full and tight. I recommend the Chocolate flavor mixed with almond milk after a workout. Once again though, I must stress that this should only be used by the super skinny or underweight and probably shouldn’t be used indefinitely.
You now know everything the average person needs to know about protein powders. You know how and when to use protein powder, the benefits of protein powder, and the best kinds of different protein powders. This was a huge guide so make sure you refer back to it whenever you find yourself needing to recap the basics or whenever you wish to try a new protein powder.
If it’s your first time purchasing a protein powder, I would personally recommend picking up 2 or 3 protein powders from the different categories to see how your body responds. For example, I would pick up a whey version, a plant-based version and a paleo version. But your choices might vary depending on why you need the protein in the first place. Good luck and I hope you can find the best protein powder for you!
The subject of protein powder is a big one and much has been written about it. I’m including my top resources here if you’re interested in exploring this topic further.
Once you’ve got to grips with protein powder and found one that you love, you can begin experimenting with different recipes using protein powder. This book will help you make some delicious meals, snacks and desserts using protein powder.
Protein Food Shopping With A Fitness Model
If you’re interested to see what protein sources a fitness model typically eats, check out this YouTube video with Troy Adashun.
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