Protein powders are a practical way to make sure we are providing our body with nutrition. Today, they are widely used to fulfill multiple purposes – for example to lose weight or improve sports performance, gain muscle mass or simply optimize your diet.
Over the years there have been many rumors about the safety of these powders, often there has been discussions on the correct daily dose, on the abuse and the relative consequences, on the impact that these had on untrained bodies or on kidneys and bones … But times are changed and today it seems clear that those who train regularly (or those who are on a regular basis to lose weight) can benefit enormously from the use of protein powder.
But it’s not enough to just buy a jar or a single dose at random, to identify the best protein powders for our body we need to know what we are doing and what we are talking about. And we are here on purpose.
What are the best protein powders?
Protein powders have spread to the general public for several years now. Once a mere prerogative of intensive sportsmen and purchasable almost exclusively in specialized shops, today they can be found almost everywhere, including large franchise chains and – obviously – the infinite ocean of e-commerce.
If in the points of sale we can be advised by an expert, when we decide to do it ourselves it becomes very difficult to distinguish between the various jars and above all to understand which are quality products and which of these are the most suitable for our specific needs.
Below we have included a list of the best-selling best-selling protein powders in the online world, reviewed based on the opinions of those who have tried them before us:
1. Yamamoto Nutrition Iso-Fuji Protein Powder
Yamamoto Nutrition’s Iso-Fuji Protein Powder are food supplements based on whey protein isolate designed to meet the needs of those who do intensive physical activity. In addition to proteins, we will benefit from vitamin B6 which helps reduce the symptoms of fatigue, and from bromelain, a digestive of natural origin.
The powder was obtained by microfiltration, the most complex process among those normally used to obtain protein supplements and by far the best for preserving the integrity of the substances – and therefore the high quality of the product.
After an initial processing phase, the microfiltration process requires the whey to pass through a system of membrane filters from which, little by little, all unwanted particles such as lipids, lactose or minerals are eliminated.
It is thanks to this sophisticated procedure that Iso-Fuji proteins maintain all the bio-active peptide fractions of whey, for an overall protein content between 87% and 91% (respectively for vanilla and chocolate flavored products. ).
whey protein isolate by cross flow ultrafiltration and microfiltration (emulsifier: soy lecithin); low-fat cocoa powder; flavorings; bromelain 2400 GDU (30 mg / daily dose); sweetener: sucralose; vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride).
2. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
The Optimum Nutrition’s powdered protein supplements are whey proteins designed to improve the performance of athletes but without forgetting to satisfy the palate, in fact they are available in 5 ultra-greedy flavors: double chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla ice cream, French vanilla cream, strawberry.
Optimum Nutrition has been in the food supplement industry for over 20 years and Gold Standard 100% Whey is their flagship product. Effective, quick to assimilate, it is based on isolated proteins capable of supporting muscle development and post-workout tissue repair.
The formula is low in fat and sugar, for a healthy and well balanced but also practical diet – just take a measuring spoon of the product to be immediately ready to consume it at any time of the day, shaken in the shaker or in addition to your dishes. or favorite drinks.
WHEY protein blend (91%) [MILK] (WHEY protein isolate, WHEY protein concentrate, hydrolyzed WHEY protein isolate, emulsifier: SOY lecithin), lean cocoa powder, flavorings, sodium chloride, thickener (xanthan gum), sweetener (sucralose).
3. Food spring Whey Protein Vanilla Protein Powder
Food spring Protein Powders are the ideal mix for those looking to fuel pre-workout energy and achieve maximized workout performance. The Food spring formula uses whey protein isolate to deliver BCAA and essential amino acids to the body but without loading it with fats and carbohydrates.
The German quality speaks for itself: the whey comes from free grazing cow’s milk and sweetened without the dangerous aspartame but with natural stevia extract.
It has an excellent solubility index. Dissolved in water or milk it makes no difference, the shake will be fluid, homogeneous and rich in taste, without annoying dusty lumps that remain in the palate leaving an unpleasant sensation of sand.
It is an excellent food substitute, very rich in taste. Also ideal for those who want to balance their diet with a view to losing weight.
Whey protein concentrate (69%), whey protein isolate (30%), flavor (contains lactose), emulsifier (sunflower lecithin), sweetener (sucralose, steviol glycosides).
4. Premium Body Nutrition Whey Protein Chocolate Powder
PBM Whey Protein Chocolate Powder is a food supplement based on whey protein designed for athletes who want to increase muscle mass on the body.
Also excellent for those suffering from milk intolerances, they work especially after training sessions. They have an excellent value for money, combining wallet and palate: the Whey Protein Chocolate have an intense but not cloying taste, easily mixable with other drinks to create an even more surprising mx.
The dissolve perfectly both in water and in other liquids, without leaving annoying lumps, and form a thick and homogeneous cream. They are easily digested, do not create bloating or heaviness in the stomach.
Available in 8 flavors rich in aromas to satisfy the palate, they can be purchased in 2 sizes. Each serving contains 23.4 grams of pure protein for a total of 33 servings also suitable for vegetarians.
Whey protein concentrate [contains emulsifiers: soy lecithin], (milk), reduced fat cocoa powder, Whey Protein Isolate, flavorings, thickeners (carboxymethylcellulose), sweeteners (sucralose).
5. Vegan Protein 3K Pure Berlin Power Protein Powder by Nu3
Nu3 vegan protein powders contain premium quality pea protein but not only are they also enriched with rice and hemp proteins, for a truly winning mix. Each serving contains 21 grams of vegetable protein, purified through a series of complex steps aimed at eliminating all unwanted substances, leaving a high protein content.
They are excellent for increasing, building and maintaining muscle mass, like whey proteins but with the advantage of being 100% vegetable. The best time to take them? Immediately before or after training, between 15 and 30 minutes. The result? Just fill the shaker with water or plant milk to enjoy a creamy drink full of flavor and perfectly homogeneous that satisfies the needs of the body and palate.
Nu3 Vegan Protein 3K is one of the best vegetable proteins as an alternative to whey; they are free of preservatives, gelatine, dyes, flavor enhancers, artificial flavors, and do not contain sugar, lactose or aspartame.
Last but not least, they are available in 4 flavors, each more delicious than the other: vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and cookie with cream.
Pea protein isolate (78%), highly dehydrated cocoa powder (6%), hemp protein powder (5%), rice protein concentrate (5%), natural flavors, sea salt, sweeteners (steviol glycosides , sucralose).
6. My Protein Impact Whey Protein Powder
My Protein Impact Whey Protein powder contains only 1.9 grams of fat and 1 gram of carbohydrates, a formula designed specifically for those who want to increase sports performance by building powerful muscle mass.
It is absorbed very quickly by the body and it is therefore preferable to take it immediately after training, between 30 and 60 minutes before or after the work-out, to support the reconstruction of muscle fibers, physical recovery and constantly improve one’s performance.
Not just performance: even the taste does not leave disappointed. Whether it’s chocolate or strawberry, My Protein’s protein powders are rich in taste and creamy on the palate, like a real smoothie.
Whey Protein Concentrate (Milk) (91%), Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Cocoa Powder, Flavors, Sweetener (Steviolic Glycosides)
7. 100% Whey Protein Professional LS protein powder from Scitec Nutrition
The 100% Whey Protein Professional LS protein powder from Scitec Nutrition are food supplements based on concentrated and isolated whey proteins. Its formula is rich in nitrogen and amino acids essential for the development and maintenance of muscle tissues.
The LS version of 100% Whey Protein Professional also offers extra benefits: more L-leucine, L-glutamine, taurine, and papain and bromelain digestive enzymes. Additionally, the LS formula is naturally sweeten slightly and has a milder flavor than the company’s other formulations.
Chocolate with sweeteners: Concentrated ultrafiltered Whey Protein (with Emulsifier: Soy Lecithin), Lean cocoa powder (10-12%), L-Taurine, Dextrose, Flavor: Chocolate, L-Glutamine, L-Leucine, Thickener : Xanthan Gum, Microfiltered Whey Protein Isolate (made more soluble with the Emulsifier: Soy Lecithin), Sweeteners: Sucralose and Acesulfame K, Papain (from Carica Papaya – 1,5 FIPU / mg), Bromelain (From Pineapple Comosus – 1200 GDU / g). Vanilla: Concentrated Whey Protein, Isolated Whey Protein, Dextrose, L-Taurine, Flavor: Vanilla, L-Glutamine, L-Leucine, Thickener: Xanthan Gum, Sweeteners: Sucralose and Acesulfame K, Bromelain, Papain. Products derived from milk contain soy lecithin.
Protein rich foods vs. protein powders
It is possible to satisfy your daily protein requirement in two ways: through the foods contained in the plate or with protein supplements .
But, just as when we take vitamins, or potassium, if juices and bananas certainly cannot compete with the resource concentration of vitamins or potassium in powder or tablets. Even a balanced diet may not be sufficient to provide the correct level of protein in the body and – above all – in the case of proteins, we must consider the nutritional values.
Particularly if we want to lose weight, it is an aspect that cannot be overlooked since foods have calories while protein shakes have much less.
To put it briefly, if protein powders can help us lose weight because they don’t have many calories, food (if healthy and included in a balanced meal plan) we need to give the body the right nutritional supply.
Protein powder and individual needs
The protein whey are among the most common and popular in the market and are also the best for everyday use. They contain all essential amino acids and are easy to digest. This type of protein helps the body to have more energy and can help reduce stress levels.
The best time to take whey protein isolate or concentrate is immediately before or after training. Approximately within 15 – 60 minutes. This is because the muscle needs proteins to repair the tissues damaged by training, the micro-injuries caused by the effort, they are used to increase volume, but they also need to absorb the impact of fatigue faster and get back in shape more quickly.
Even the soy proteins are very common and widespread. They help reduce cholesterol levels and can help relieve the symptoms of menopause. They also help those with osteoporosis by helping to build muscle mass.
Among the other types of proteins we find:
- Egg proteins : released more slowly than whey proteins, they can be consumed throughout the day.
- Milk proteins : support the function of the immune system and improve muscle growth.
- Brown rice protein : 100% vegetable, they are an excellent choice for vegetarians or for those who cannot consume dairy products. They are also gluten-free.
- Pea proteins : they are highly digestible, hypoallergenic and inexpensive.
- Hemp proteins : They are also 100% vegetable and also contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
We will analyze the different types of proteins in more detail in the course of the article but in the meantime: which types of proteins are best suited for the purpose we want to achieve?
Increase muscle mass
To increase muscle mass it is preferable to choose protein powders with high biological values (the value that indicates how well our body can assimilate and use a protein). Whey protein and whey protein isolate are best for this purpose.
To lose weight, it is best to choose shakes with no added sugar, no dextrins or maltodextrins (sweeteners derived from starch). Also avoid protein powders with branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they promote muscle growth and therefore weight gain.
Vegetarian or vegan diet
If we are vegetarians or vegans and do not want to consume proteins containing milk, we can choose 100% vegetable powders such as those of soy, peas or hemp.
Diabetes patients should opt for no added sugar shakes (or at least not listed in the top 3 ingredients on the label). It is also best to choose low carb powders (5 – 15 grams per serving).
Limit protein for liver problems
Those with liver problems find it difficult to tolerate a high level of protein ingested all at once. We choose powders that have a lower protein content (10 to 15 grams per serving).
Avoid gastrointestinal problems
Patients with IBD or lactose intolerance should opt for protein powders that do not contain lactose sugars. Artificial sweeteners or dextrins / maltodextrins. If we suffer from allergy or gluten sensitivity, we verify that the chosen proteins are 100% gluten-free.
Be part of the monthly budget
Protein powders can be quite expensive but saving money is possible: instead of buying single-serving shakes, we buy protein powders in a jar and we measure the daily ration.
How to make the most of protein powders
A few little tips:
Recover after intensive exercise
Athletes and / or exercise enthusiasts who are always on the go should consume protein powders no later than one hour after training. It is there that the muscles react best to the proteins taken in. Using them immediately for the processes of repair and development of the muscle.
Check the weight
The ideal is to provide your body with a regular supply of protein with every meal and snack so that you feel full.
Even if it is not possible to accurately establish, a priori, the right amount of protein to be taken at a meal, the common thought is about 20 grams.
How to make protein powders tastier
Each brand and each protein has its own unique taste. It depends on the formulation and the protein source from which it is derive. Many companies use flavorings to enhance the experience and entice the palate to feel stimulated and satisfied. Today the most used are strawberry, vanilla and chocolate – although some companies are trying to introduce more delicious alternatives.
To further enhance the flavor of the shakes. You can dissolve the powder in milk or milk replacers instead of water. The texture will be more full-bodied and the flavor will obviously be richer.
You can also put them in vegetable drinks based on fruit or fruit and vegetables, extracts, or add peanut butter, coconut, or other tasty plant substances – preferably organic.
Proteins: the allies of performance
Proteins represent about 80% of muscle mass (once water is eliminated) and muscle structure but also performance depend on them . Many professional athletes have realized that it is necessary to combine supplementary proteins with the diet. To optimize muscle size, strength and performance.
If we talk about protein powders, it is equally important to know the differences between isolated, concentrated or hydrolyzed proteins before starting to take them.
Here’s how they are classified:
Depending on how many “non-protein” parts are remove from proteins when they are transformed into powder form. Different levels of concentration can be reach. In “concentrated” proteins we find about 70 – 80% of proteins while the remaining value is composed of minerals, water, fats and carbohydrates.
The “isolated” proteins, on the other hand, have been more “purified” of the non-protein parts and contain up to 90% pure protein but also much less nutrient levels. Whey protein isolate typically contains 86% protein.
Hydrolyzed proteins are those proteins that contain a part of partially digested proteins such as polypeptides and peptides. While the expression “partially digested” is a bit of an impression. It is actually a very good thing as peptides are very useful in the body.
Balance a protein schedule
As we mentioned at the beginning, there are several different sources of protein to choose from, each of which has unique aspects and equally unique benefits as well.
Let’s look at them in more detail:
Whey protein is the most popular because it has been shown to promote muscle growth and fat loss. They digest and are absorb by the body much faster than other proteins. Are therefore preferred for post-workout (or pre-workout) consumption.
Whey represents about 20% of the proteins contained in cow’s milk and its BCAA value is the highest of all.
Furthermore, whey is a thermogenic protein , which means that the increase in calories burned per calorie consumed is greater than other proteins, and this is closely linked to muscle protein synthesis.
Casein is the main protein found in milk and is a slow digesting protein, especially when compared to whey.
Depending on how much we consume. Casein can take up to six hours to be fully digest and absorb by the body. Although it has a lower anabolic and muscle-building effect than whey, casein is an excellent source of BCAAs and glutamine.
Due to its slow digestion it is preferable to take casein proteins before going to sleep or between meals, either alone or mixed with other proteins.
We all know milk, we consume it as a single food or we insert it in sweet and savory recipes … But how many of us knew that it is an excellent product to be consumed after an intense workout? Milk proteins contain all the essential amino acids to restore life to tired muscles and help them grow.
Milk protein isolate and concentrate are very common in protein powders, bars and other ready-to-eat preparations.
Eggs are another versatile ingredient to use in cooking even though the protein in the powders is mostly isolate protein from egg white. For years there has been talk of the possible danger of eggs due to possible side effects on the heart but today these fears have been put aside and egg proteins are, moreover, an excellent choice for those suffering from milk allergy.
Not to mention that egg protein has extremely high qualitative values, is rich in amino acids and easily digested by the body.
It is perhaps less well known than the others but pea protein is a highly respect option particularly suitable for vegetarians. Those with allergies to eggs or milk. Not only is it hypoallergenic but it has a very high BCAA value , with a digestibility rate of 98%. What does it mean? That the body is able to use and synthesize most of the amino acids in each serving.
This is why pea protein is far superior to other plant proteins which, on the other hand, can be more difficult to digest and are not used optimally by the body.
Goals and timing
Anyone who trains constantly in the gym. Whether they are professional athletes or just aficionados of physical fitness. Knows that daily protein intake is closely link to performance and muscle endurance.
Generally these athletes consume between 20 and 30% of total calories or 2 grams per 1 kilo of lean body mass (or the lean body mass goal). In any case the calculation will have to be customize on the daily calorie consumption. On the frequency of meals.
In addition to the supplementary protein powders. A good diet must be rich in protein and varied foods. In order to provide the body not only with proteins but also all the other essential elements for a 360-degree well-being of body and mind, including hydration.
Generally, there should be protein in every meal. Ideally we should consume 20 – 30 grams of protein (depending on the type of protein. The shape of our body approximately every 3 hours. In this way we can optimize muscle protein synthesis throughout the day.
It is not uncommon to find products enriched with amino acids such as taurine , creatine or glycerin to increase the protein value of the powders. The problem is that these ingredients, while they have some positive effects, are not true proteins. Therefore do not have the same impact on muscle or performance as an intact protein.
So how do you know if what we are taking is a quality protein powder. If it contains “dummy” elements?
Let’s look at the leucine content on the label. The leucine is an essential BCAA that seems to aid in maximizing the mechanisms that trigger muscle protein synthesis, thus leading strength, power, resistance and dimension to muscle.
The ideal amount of leucine per serving is 2 grams. For whey protein the calculation is quite simple: a product that claims to contain 25 grams of protein. Should have 2.5 grams of leucine since whey protein has roughly 11% leucine.
Other proteins, such as casein or soy protein, contain less leucine, around 8%.
Eating protein and some carbohydrates early in the morning helps reverse. The negative impact of the night on the muscles and stimulate MPS. The ideal is to take between 20 and 35 grams of protein at breakfast. But always calculating them on the basis of body mass, type of protein and protein goals for the day.
Before and after training
An intensive training session can increase both MPS and MPB values. The goal should be to maximize the former and minimize the latter, by consuming both proteins. Some carbohydrates either before or immediately after the work-out.
Just like for breakfast, the recommended dose will be between 20 and 35 grams of protein.
Before going to sleep
During the night we cannot feed ourselves. For these the protein balances in the muscles slide towards the MPB values to generate amino acids. “feed” the body. Consuming at least 20 grams of casein protein or a blend of casein. Whey protein, or a lower dose of protein combined with leucine. Will help your MPS values stay higher even while you sleep.
🏋️ What do proteins do?
Protein powders are nutritional supplements widely use by both athletes. Ordinary people who need or want to optimize their body performance, tone up, or lose weight. Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps build muscle mass, repair tissue, and generate enzymes and hormones.
🏋️ Are protein powders really good for the body?
Numerous studies have shown that lean proteins are effective in increasing muscle strength. Mass, toning tissues and are commonly use as a substitute food in weight loss diets. Protein powders not only “proteins”, often also contain essential nutrients, fatty acids such as omega 3. Other key substances in the health of the organism.
🏋️ Are protein powders bad for you?
The excess protein from the daily requirement is not automatically absorb by the muscle, it could become fat. In addition, too much protein can burden the kidneys and liver, cause dehydration, swelling, nausea, osteoporosis. It is important to integrate protein powder to a healthy and balanced diet. Remembering that only protein powders are NOT a complete food source.
🏋️ Can I take protein powders every day?
Yes, depending on your body mass. The goals you want to achieve. You can take protein every day as long as the protein powders are include in a complete. Balanced diet and exercise. If you are new to this type of supplement. It is a good idea for a nutritionist to come up with a complete meal plan of protein powder. Avoid do-it-yourself diets and above all avoid feeding yourself only with protein shakes.
🏋️ When should I take protein shakes?
The best time to consume protein powder to gain muscle mass is immediately before or immediately after training (whey protein). Between 15 and 60 minutes. But there are other important moments such as breakfast, lunch and the evening before bedtime. Each moment has a better protein for the purpose it has to fulfill.
🏋️ Who can take protein powders?
Anyone who does intensive physical activity, athletes or fitness enthusiasts, those who want to lose weight or optimize physical performance. Proteins are excellent allies in increasing muscle mass. They can help those suffering from osteoporosis because they help create strong and elastic muscles to support the bone.
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