Protein powder is a great way to add protein to your diet on a budget – not only is it a great snack, but it can also be used in shakes, smoothies, baking and cooking.

When you’re a working professional, every meal needs to be well planned and full of protein, without which it would be impossible to perform at your best. But it’s not easy to know what to buy, and fewer people are familiar with the various proteins. That’s why we’re here to give you a guide on protein powders with our picks for the best options.

The question of which protein powder to buy can be confusing, not to mention expensive. There are a lot of different types of protein powders available, some of which have a much better reputation than others.  Choosing the right one can be daunting, but here are a few things to consider when making your choice:  • What is your body weight? • What are your goals? • What kind of results are you looking for? • What are your cooking and baking skills? • How much money are you willing to spend?. Read more about best protein powder for building muscle and let us know what you think.

Protein powders aren’t all made equal.

Some are unquestionably superior than others.

However, with hundreds, if not thousands, of protein powders to choose from, it may be difficult to choose the perfect one for you (or your clients).

After all, everyone’s objectives, physiology, and tastes are different. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all protein powder.

However, you may find that there is a superior protein powder for you.

And we can assist you in locating it. 

You’ll discover all you need to know about protein powder in this comprehensive guide:

  • Why is protein so important in the first place?
  • When is it OK to use protein powder in your diet?
  • Protein powder features to look for
  • How to choose the best protein powder for you (or how to assist your customer pick the best protein powder for them)

You may go to any of the material below if you’re searching for a fast solution to a particular question:

So, let’s get started.

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How much protein should I consume?

Before you can discover the protein powder that’s perfect for you (or your client), you need first understand why protein is so important.

Protein powder is primarily used to aid in the attainment of protein objectives.

(If you’re not sure how much you need, use our helpful Nutrition Calculator to get a customized protein, carbohydrate, fat, and calorie advice.)

You may get the following symptoms if you don’t consume enough protein:

  • muscular mass loss (which can cause a drop in your metabolism)
  • have issues with their skin, hair, and nails
  • If you acquire wounds or bruises, they will heal more slowly.
  • suffer from mood swings
  • to be more prone to breaking bones

To be clear, the majority of people aren’t concerned about this.

The majority of individuals who consume a typical Western diet are not protein deficient.

The basic minimum protein need is 0.36 grams per pound, or 0.8 grams per kilogram (kg) of body weight. To avoid protein shortage, a 160-pound individual need at the very least 58 grams of protein.

A palm of protein (measured using’s hand portion technique) contains approximately 20 to 30 grams of protein. You’d be OK with 2 to 3 palms of protein a day, such as chicken breast, tofu, Greek yogurt, or lentils.

However, consuming the absolute minimum of protein is not the same as consuming the optimum quantity of protein. 

Most active individuals may get their recommended protein consumption by consuming 1 to 2 palms of protein each meal.

Unless you have a medical reason to limit your protein consumption, the majority of individuals will benefit from increasing their protein intake.

Why? There are many causes for this, including:

  • Satiety seems to be improved by eating a high-protein diet. 1,2
  • Higher protein intakes may help individuals lose fat by allowing them to eat less, increase the amount of calories burnt during digestion (thermic impact of food), and maintain muscle during fat loss. 3
  • Muscle development or maintenance: Keeping protein levels high while exercising helps individuals build and maintain muscle mass, particularly as they become older. 4,5
  • Better strength: Combining higher protein intake with exercise may help you develop strength. 6
  • Proteins are the building blocks of antibodies, and they perform a variety of roles in the immune system. Protein deficiency makes people more vulnerable to viral and bacterial illnesses.
  • Faster exercise recovery: A higher protein intake aids in the repair of tissue that has been damaged during exercise or after an accident. 6

It’s best to get your protein from entire foods.

Why is whole-food protein superior? It’s mostly because, depending on the source, it’s packed with other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, zoonutrients, and so on. (Here’s a list of whole foods that are excellent providers of protein if you’re not sure.)

No supplement will be able to replicate such combinations or their synergistic benefits to the same degree. When foods are processed to make protein powder, some nutrients are taken out and others are put back in, which may be helpful in certain cases but not in others.

Protein powder, of course, digests more quickly than entire meals. If you were attempting to rapidly fill your muscles with protein after an exercise, this would be advantageous.

This is known as nutritional timing, which entails consuming certain nutrients at specific times. It was all the rage in the early 2000s. However, as studies progressed, the advantages of drinking a protein shake right after a workout became less significant than we previously believed.

When is the best time to consume protein shakes?

What matters most to most individuals is the quantity of protein they consume regularly throughout the day, not when they consume it. 

That isn’t to imply that nutrient timing is completely ineffective. There’s little doubt that protein (and carbohydrate) timing matters in certain circumstances. 7

Unless you’re an exceptional athlete or trying to lose or gain a lot of weight, you don’t need to be concerned about when you receive your protein. Read: When it makes the most sense in the context of your everyday life, drink a protein shake. For example, you don’t have time for a decent breakfast, your next meal will be many hours away, or it’s just the most convenient moment.

Why should you use protein powder?

While whole-food protein is preferable, it’s not always feasible to obtain all of your protein from whole foods. Finally, there are two major reasons why you should consider include protein powder in your diet.

Reason #1: Convenience: Some individuals just do not have the time (or want) to sit down and eat a whole-food meal. This may occur when a person is:

  • Work, caregiving, or other obligations keep you very busy.
  • If you want to meet a high protein requirement but don’t have the time or inclination to consume a lot of whole-food protein,
  • They’re currently finding out their favorite whole-food protein sources as they transition to a plant-based diet.
  • When you’re traveling or have limited dietary choices, it may be difficult to fulfill your protein requirements.

Reason #2: Appetite: Sometimes individuals aren’t hungry enough to consume the necessary quantity of protein. This may occur when a person is:

  • Trying to gain weight but having trouble increasing their intake
  • They are sick and have lost their appetite.
  • Trying to enhance athletic performance and recuperation, but not hungry enough to fulfill nutritional requirements

All of these arguments are perfectly valid.

Protein powder, on the other hand, is not required for good health. It’s a dietary supplement, not a necessary food category. 

When it comes to protein powder, how much is too much?

If you decide to utilize protein powder, 20-40 grams of protein per day (typically 1-2 scoops) is a good starting point. 80 grams of supplementary protein per day (about 3-4 scoops) is a reasonable maximum limit for most individuals.

This is simply a general guideline, not a hard and fast law.

The primary reason is that most individuals should not consume more than 80 grams of protein powder since it replaces entire food sources of vitamins, minerals, and other elements.

Of course, there are exceptions, such as for individuals who are trying to gain weight.

What to Look for in a Protein Powder

If you’ve determined that protein powder is suitable for you (or your client), here are some things to keep in mind to help you weigh all of your choices and choose the best one.

Question #1: What kind of protein do you think is best for you?

This is mainly a matter of personal taste. 

You should also consider dietary intolerances and sensitivities here, in addition to ethical concerns such as whether you prefer a plant or animal source. (I’ll get to them in a moment.)

The first factor is the quality of the protein.

The quality of the protein supply is a top concern for many individuals. There’s a lot of discussion regarding complete vs incomplete proteins when it comes to judging quality.

Amino acids, which are similar to various colored Legos, make up proteins. They may be joined together in a variety of ways to fulfill various functions in the body.

Your body utilizes a total of 20 amino acids.

Non-essential amino acids account for seven of the aforementioned amino acids. That’s because your body is capable of producing them on its own.

In addition, there are four conditionally necessary amino acids, which your body can produce but not always. When you’re ill or have done a lot of physical training, your body may have a difficult time producing enough of them.

Essential amino acids are the remaining nine amino acids (EAAs). Because your body cannot produce them, you must get them via diet.

This is significant because EAAs are involved not only in the construction and repair of tissue, such as muscle, but also in the production of hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.

The function of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), a subgroup of EAAs, in muscle protein synthesis is particularly significant.

The process through which your body repairs and builds muscle after exercise is known as muscle protein synthesis. While muscle protein synthesis is considerably more complex than a single amino acid, leucine plays an important role in initiating it, making it the most well-known BCAA.

A Venn diagram showing the types of amino acids, including essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids, conditionally essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids, conditionally essential amino acids, and non-essential amino acids are the three types of amino acids.

All nine EAAs are present in adequate quantities in a complete protein. One or more EAAs are missing or deficient in incomplete proteins.

Here’s why we spent so much time explaining everything: People are often concerned that if they choose plant-based protein sources, they will not receive all of their EAAs.

This is due to the fact that many plant proteins are deficient in or absent of certain amino acids.

Pea protein, for example, is low in EAA methionine. However, if you consume a mix of different plant protein sources throughout the day, you may still fulfill your total protein requirements. Tofu, brazil nuts, and white beans, for example, are all excellent sources of methionine.

Furthermore, certain plant-based proteins, such as soy protein and a pea/rice mix, provide a complete EAA profile.

Supplement companies often develop mixes of various plant-based proteins to guarantee that all EAAs are present at optimum amounts.

Let’s dig a little deeper: digestibility of proteins

Aside from full and incomplete proteins, scientists utilize a variety of additional techniques to evaluate protein quality.

The primary factors scientists consider are digestibility and bioavailability, or how effectively a protein is absorbed by the body. This varies based on the amino acid composition of a protein, as well as other variables.

The Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) is a calculation that determines how much of a protein is actually digested. 1.0 is the highest possible score. And the greater the score, the better the protein quality. (If you want to learn more about how PDCAAS is computed, see here.)

Another scale is used by some because it may give a more realistic image of bioavailability: The Indispensable Digestible Amino Acid Score (DIAAS). The higher the score, similar to the PDCAAS, the better the quality of the protein. 8

Using these scales, here’s how some popular protein supplements compare:

Types 9, 10, and 11 of proteins PDCAAS DIAAS
Isolated whey protein 1.00 1.09
Concentrated whey protein 1.00 0.983
Concentrated milk protein 1.00 1.18
Casein micellar 1.00 1.46
Protein from egg whites 1.00 1.13
Hydrolyzed collagen & beef protein isolate 0.00 0.00
Protein from bone broth 0.00 0.00
Concentrated soy protein 0.99 0.92
isolate of soy protein 0.98 0.90
Concentrated pea protein 0.89 0.82
Concentrated rice protein 0.37 0.42
Protein derived from hemp 0.63 N/A*
Mixture of rice and peas 1.00** N/A*

*Some results are unknown since DIAAS is a novel measure of protein quality. * Pea and rice protein in a 70:30 ratio roughly mimics whey protein, although the ratios vary by manufacturer.

Animal proteins (excluding collagen and bone broth protein) tend to score better than plant proteins, as you can see.

Much because a protein powder doesn’t have a PDCAAS of 1.0 or a lower DIAAS doesn’t imply it’s a bad choice, just as selecting protein from incomplete protein sources. As long as you receive a variety of protein sources throughout the day, it may still be helpful.

Factor #2: Animal vs. plant-based protein

There are two types of animal protein sources: milk-based and other animal protein sources.

Protein powders made from milk

Milk protein powders are the most popular and well-studied protein powders. They’re all full protein sources.

Whey protein is often used in post-workout drinks because it is a high-quality, fast-digesting protein that is high in BCAAs. Whey protein is frequently found in concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed forms. (In a minute, we’ll explain what those terms imply, or you may go straight to our section on protein processing.)

Because it digests more slowly, casein is frequently recommended as the finest protein powder to consume before bed. Micellar casein (an isolate) and hydrolyzed casein are the most common types. It contradicts the objective of choosing a slow-digesting protein since hydrolyzed casein is more processed and supposedly digests quicker.

Whey and casein are frequently combined in milk protein mixes, which are promoted as the “best of both worlds.” The reason for this is because they contain both rapid and slow-digesting protein.

On the label, they’re usually listed as milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate. Whey protein isolate and micellar casein, for example, are sometimes mentioned individually.

Some companies also offer protein blends that include both concentrate and isolate of the same protein. In the ingredients list, you may find both whey concentrate and whey isolate, for example.

While this may be promoted as a benefit, it is really a cost-cutting move on the part of the manufacturer. (Whey isolate is more costly than concentrate to manufacture.) There is no evidence to back up the assertion that this formulation is beneficial.

When deciding between whey and casein, keep the following in mind: Choose your favorite or opt for a combination. 

Both have a lot of research behind them, so they’re safe bets. Again, the most important factor is your overall protein consumption throughout the day. Differences in digestion or absorption rates are unlikely to constitute a significant issue for most individuals.

Of course, if you have a dairy allergy, they won’t be good choices for you. You may be able to handle whey but not casein if you’re sensitive to or intolerant of particular dairy products, or vice versa.

Animal protein powders from other animals

There are many kinds of animal-derived protein powder available for people who cannot or do not want to consume dairy products.

For individuals who want an ovo-vegetarian (milk-free) source of complete protein, egg white protein is frequently a suitable choice.

Collagen is a popular supplement for skin, joints, bones, and gut health right now. Collagen peptides, the most prevalent kind of collagen found in supplements, are often made from cow hide or fish. Some individuals use collagen powder to augment their protein consumption, and a few collagen powders are explicitly advertised as protein supplements.

This is odd since collagen was formerly thought to be a “junk” protein until the early 2010s. This is partly due to the fact that collagen is not a complete protein supply. 12 It hasn’t been well researched as a protein supplement, either.

Collagen may provide certain advantages. When combined with vitamin C, type II collagen may help to promote joint health. 13 However, it is not an excellent protein source. There are considerable worries regarding heavy metal pollution, and the quality varies. It’s particularly essential to search for solutions that have been thoroughly evaluated by other parties.

Meat-based powders are often made from beef, although their amino acid composition is typically comparable to that of collagen. That implies they’re usually low-quality, incomplete proteins. Beef protein isolate, on the other hand, has been proven in studies to be equally as efficient as whey protein powders in terms of boosting lean body mass. 14,15 More research, however, is required.

Bone broth protein is produced by boiling bones, tendons, and ligaments in a broth under high pressure. After that, it’s condensed into powder form. Collagen provides a lot of the protein in bone broth. So, like collagen peptides, it’s not a full protein supply.

If you can’t eat common allergens like dairy or soy, bone broth powder may help you get more protein, but it’s not suitable for usage as a protein powder. This is particularly true given the high cost of bone broth protein and the fact that it hasn’t been well researched for usage as a protein supplement.

Protein powders made from plants

Plant-based proteins are not all full proteins. We’ll tell you which ones are complete and which aren’t for your convenience, but just a friendly reminder: You’ll receive all the amino acids you need if you eat a diverse diet with a variety of protein sources.

Soy protein is an excellent source of muscle-building amino acids and is also a complete protein. In fact, studies indicate that soy protein supplementation generates comparable increases in strength and lean body mass in response to resistance exercise as whey protein. 16

It’s also sparked a lot of debate, especially when it comes to hormonal health. However, research indicates that soy meals and supplements containing isoflavones (bioactive chemicals found in soy) had no impact on testosterone levels in males. 17

Soy does not seem to raise the risk of breast cancer in women, according to research. 18 While further study is required in this area, it also seems that soy has no negative impact on thyroid function. 19 (If you want to learn more about soy, go here.)

Because soy is a common allergy, it may play a role in your choice.

Pea protein is easily digested, hypoallergenic, and generally affordable. The amino acids lysine, arginine, and glutamine are abundant. Although, as previously stated, it is deficient in EAA methionine and therefore is not a complete protein. 20

Rice protein is another an excellent hypoallergenic protein option that is also reasonably priced. It is not a complete protein source since it lacks the amino acid lysine. 20

Hemp protein powder is produced from ground hemp seeds, and it’s a fantastic whole-food option. As a result, it’s rich in fiber and an omega-3 fat source. Hemp protein, like rice protein, is deficient in lysine, making it an incomplete protein. 11

Plant-based protein powders often include blends. Because different protein sources have varying amounts of each amino acid, they’re often utilized to build a more robust amino acid profile. Rice and pea protein, for example, are often mixed.

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Factor #3: Method and quality of processing

Protein powders are made in a variety of ways and available in a variety of formats, including concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates.

Let’s take a closer look at each processing technique.

Concentrates: High heat, acid, or enzymes are used to extract protein from animal or plant-based meals. Concentrates are the least processed and may have a protein content of 35 to 80 percent by weight. 21 The most typical protein content is between 70 and 80 percent (though this can be lower in plant proteins in particular).

Carbohydrates and lipids make up the remaining percentage. Protein concentrate may be a suitable choice for you if you don’t mind getting some extra calories from non-protein sources.

Isolates: Protein isolates go through a second filtering process that removes the fat and carbs, leaving 90% or more protein by weight. This lets them digest a little quicker, but there’s no proof that this helps with recovery, muscular development, or fat reduction.

Because isolates often include fewer fat and carbs than concentrates, they may be a better option for people who are watching their fat or carb consumption, or who are prepared to spend a little more for the possibility of an additional benefit, even if it isn’t proved.

Because additional processing eliminates most of the lactose, whey, casein, and milk protein isolates may be somewhat healthier for individuals with lactose sensitivity.

Protein hydrolysates: Protein undergoes further processing using heat, enzymes, or acid to break down the protein chains into shorter peptides, resulting in this product.

The assumption is that by adding this additional processing and shortening the chains, protein hydrolysates will be even easier to digest and absorb. As a result, they’re often targeted towards individuals who want to develop muscle and consume protein shakes before and after exercises.

While this method makes sense in theory, there isn’t enough data to suggest that hydrolysates are superior than isolates for this purpose.

Hydrolysates, on the other hand, may be gentler on the GI tract for certain individuals since they are basically pre-digested owing to their processing—there is even less lactose in them.

Hydrolysates, on the other hand, have a few drawbacks. To begin with, they have a bitter flavor that needs a considerable quantity of sweetener and/or sugar to disguise.

Second, bioactive microfractions in whey protein concentrates and “non-ionized” isolates may help with digestion, mood, and immunological function. These bioactive microfractions aren’t seen in whey hydrolysates (or “ionized isolates”). (Casein seems to contain some of these bioactive microfractions as well, although research on it is limited.)

Depending on your budget, hydrolysates may potentially have a price disadvantage. Protein powder is often more costly the more processed it is.

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Factor #4: Food sensitivities and intolerances

Protein powders containing those components should be avoided if you have a known food allergy or sensitivity. If you’re allergic to eggs or dairy, for example, a plant-based protein powder might be a better option.

More processed alternatives, such as isolates and hydrolysates, are generally gentler on the stomach if you have digestive problems.

It’s also not unusual to have stomach problems after starting to use a new protein powder. This may occur due to a number of factors. To get to the bottom of things, use the checklist below.

  • Components: The protein powder you’ve selected may include ingredients you’re allergic to, or it may have been prepared in a manner that you don’t like. As a result, it’s a good idea to read the ingredient label (we’ll show you how below). Before you discover the perfect protein powder for you, you may need to test a few different choices.
  • Overall diet: Your body’s response to a protein powder may be influenced by other foods you’ve consumed that day. Many individuals, for example, can tolerate a specific quantity of lactose before experiencing symptoms once they reach their lactose threshold. It’s possible that lactose in your protein powder is driving you over the brink.
  • Quantity: It may potentially be a quantity problem. When it comes to protein powder, some men are advised to take two scoops instead of one. For some people, this may be too much at once for their digestive system to process properly. Others may prepare 1500-calorie smoothies in the hopes of gaining weight. That would be difficult for most people to comprehend. As a result, experimenting with lesser quantities may be beneficial.
  • Speed: If you drink too quickly, you may consume too much air, which may upset your stomach. And if you drink a smoothie that has a number of different components, your GI tract will require time to digest them all. It may be simpler to digest if you take it slowly.

Second question: What are the other components in the protein powder?

Protein powders include a variety of sweeteners, flavors, and thickeners, although some have more than others.

There are exceptions, but in general, protein powders with fewer additives are preferable. However, general rules such as “search for meals with fewer than five components” don’t always apply to protein powders.

Here’s a rundown of the most popular protein powder components, as well as how to interpret them.

Protein

The protein source should be the first thing mentioned since components are ordered by weight. The name of the protein source (milk, whey, casein, soy, hemp) and the processing technique are usually included (concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate). You may find terms like “hemp seed powder” while looking for whole-food protein powders.

Sweeteners

Sweeteners will be included in flavored protein powders. Typically, you’ll see:

  • Honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, cane sugar, molasses, and agave nectar are all healthy sweeteners. By checking at the sugar amount, you’ll be able to determine whether a product contains nutritive or “natural” sweeteners straight immediately. Choose a protein powder with fewer than 5 grams of sugar per serving if possible (especially if your goal is fat loss or better overall health).
  • Sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and acesulfame potassium are non-nutritive / high-intensity sweeteners. Because these sweeteners are similar to those found in diet Coke, you won’t be able to determine whether a protein powder includes them by looking at the sugar amount; instead, look at the ingredient list.

Stevia and monk fruit extract are non-nutritive sweeteners, according to the FDA, despite the fact that they are frequently labeled and promoted as “natural” sweeteners. 22 Consumers may be frustrated because supplement firms may claim that their goods include “no artificial sweeteners,” but they really contain monk fruit extract or stevia. Because this word is not regulated by the FDA, it’s essential to examine the ingredients list if you want to avoid any non-nutritive sweeteners.

  • Sorbitol, maltitol, and erythritol are sugar alcohols. These are another non-caloric alternative, and they’re made up of sugar and alcohol molecules—but not the type that gets you drunk. Sugar alcohols may induce digestive discomfort in individuals who are sensitive to FODMAPs because they behave like dietary fiber in the body.
  • In protein powders, refined carbohydrates like sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are less prevalent. However, if you’re monitoring your refined sugar consumption, it’s worth reading the ingredients list to see whether they’re included.

Flavoring

Flavoring agents, which are occasionally specified as distinct components in flavored protein powders, will also be included. Most of the time, they’re referred to as flavors, artificial flavors, or natural flavors on the label.

When taken at the appropriate quantities, such as the tiny amounts found in protein powders, artificial tastes are usually regarded as safe. 23

Only if you have an allergy to a particular substance would this be an exception. If one or more of the eight main food allergens are present in a natural flavor, it must be mentioned in the ingredients. It’s essential to know that if you have an allergy that isn’t one of the eight main allergens, it doesn’t have to be mentioned on the label.

Agents of thickening

Bulking agents are often used in protein powders, resulting in a thicker protein smoothie. Psyllium husk, dextrins, xanthan gum/guar gum, and inulin are examples of them.

While some individuals may prefer protein powders without thickening agents, finding thickening agents on the ingredient list should not cause worry.

Anti-clumping agents and emulsifiers

Whole food protein powders tend to clump more, making them less suitable for hand mixing. Carrageenan, lecithins, carboxymethylcellulose, and silicon dioxide are examples of anti-clumping additives and emulsifiers (which give a creamy texture).

These chemicals, like thickening agents, have been proven to be safe in modest quantities.

For a creamier texture, vegetable oils may be used. As long as the oils aren’t hydrogenated or partly hydrogenated, they’re okay (aka trans fats). Trans fats should be avoided as much as possible since they may lead to increased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, among other things.

To keep protein powders shelf-stable, some thickeners and anti-clumping additives also serve as preservatives.

Supplementary materials

Supplements including creatine, additional BCAAs, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, digestive enzymes, and probiotics are included in certain protein powders.

Marketers often promote them as a value-add. However, we don’t know how effectively these nutrients function along with protein powder.

Furthermore, manufacturers often provide insufficient quantities of these extra vitamins. As a result, rather than searching for it in your protein powder, you should hunt for it elsewhere.

If you wish to test creatine, for example, it’s best to take it as a separate supplement. (Though mixing them together in the same shake would be OK.)

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Purity and quality: How can you tell whether a protein powder is “safe” and “clean”?

Some protein powders have been shown to be contaminated with heavy metals in laboratory testing. With this knowledge, it’s reasonable to question whether protein powders are safe.

Supplements may or may not be a regulated business depending on where you reside. As a result, it’s important to be aware of supplement laws in your nation or area.

While restrictions in Canada and Europe are considerably stricter, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States does not evaluate the efficacy, safety, or purity of nutritional supplements.

This implies that what’s on the ingredient label may not be the same as what’s in the supplement.

The majority of supplement businesses do not offer phony supplements on purpose (although it happens). The primary worry is that supplements may be tainted with other substances such as heavy metals (such as lead) or hazardous compounds, and no one would know—including supplement manufacturers.

Competing athletes should also know precisely what is in their supplements, especially protein powder, in case it contains a prohibited drug. After months of training, no protein supplement is worth a disqualification.

Because of the different degrees of regulation, it’s best to select third-party tested supplements whenever possible—especially if you reside in an area where pre-market testing is limited.

The most thorough third-party certification/testing of nutritional supplements for sport is done by NSF International’s Certified for Sport. In fact, due of NSF’s rigorous requirements, we encourage our coaches and clients—even those who aren’t athletes—to take supplements that have been verified by NSF.

USP is a well-known third-party testing company.

Through the Informed-Sport and Informed-Choice programs, another organization, LGC Group, operates an independent drug monitoring laboratory that provides doping control and prohibited substance testing for supplements.

These organizations’ products are typically explicitly marked as such on their websites and, in some cases, on their product packaging. These groups also have databases of authorized supplements from which to select.

Important note: Protein powders that have been evaluated by a third party may be more costly. This is partly due to the high cost of the testing procedure. At the same time, investing in third-party testing demonstrates a supplement company’s commitment to safeguarding its consumers’ health and reputation.

While it’s best to go with a validated supplement, if third-party tested alternatives are out of your pricing range, ConsumerLab or LabDoor are additional possibilities. These websites are dedicated to examining the purity and label claims of a wide range of nutritional supplements currently available on the market.

Concerns about other ingredients

Protein powders, like other meals and supplements, are often advertised with buzzwords like “organic” and “grass-fed.” When selecting a protein supplement, it’s critical to understand what these labels imply so you can determine if they’re relevant to you.

Because of worries about pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, genetic engineering, and artificial fertilizers, many people prefer organic goods over non-organic ones. (For additional information about organic goods and standards, click here.)

Recent research indicates that eating organic foods may have health advantages. It’s still too soon to say if organic food is safer or more nutritious than conventional food. 24,25

So, whether you select organic or not is essentially a question of personal choice.

If you choose an organic protein powder, check for your country’s or region’s official organic seal.

Being grass-fed is also regarded as a benefit for some kinds of protein, such as whey, casein, and beef isolate. With the exception of milk before weaning, grass-fed cattle consume solely grass and forage. Grain or grain byproducts are not allowed to be given to certified grass-fed livestock, and they must have constant access to pasture.26

Grass-fed meats are often praised for their health advantages because they contain more omega-3 fatty acids than non-grass-fed meats, resulting in a better omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. However, since most protein powders include relatively little fat, this advantage does not always transfer from whole meal to protein powder.

Furthermore, grass-fed goods may still be treated with growth hormones and antibiotics, so if you’re concerned about this, a certified organic protein powder is a better choice.

Finally, if the health and welfare of the animals is essential to you, selecting a product from a certified humane producer is your best option. A product labeled as grass-fed and/or antibiotic-free does not always imply that it was produced in a humane manner.

Question #3: How do you include protein powder into your diet?

Finally, consider about how your protein powder fits into the bigger picture of your diet.

Keep your objective in mind.

Here are some things to think about based on your objectives and what you want to get out of your protein shake.

Weight reduction / fat loss: If you’re trying to lose weight, pay attention to your protein powder’s protein-to-calorie ratio. Because the latter two macronutrients will be more gratifying coming from whole meals, the ideal protein powder for weight reduction will be higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates and fat.

Muscle gain: The primary objective is to eat enough total protein, therefore search for a protein powder with a high protein-to-calorie ratio. If you’re having trouble getting enough calories overall, a protein powder that’s also high in carbs may be beneficial during exercises.

Weight gain: Those wanting to gain weight of any kind—most frequently owing to sickness that suppresses appetite—should choose powders rich in protein, carbs, and fat. It’s critical to obtain all three, especially if you won’t be receiving much additional nourishment.

If you’re going to utilize your protein shake as a meal replacement, make sure you get some other nutrients in there as well. While protein powders with other nutrients are available, we suggest creating your own Super Shake by combining fruit, vegetables, a source of healthy fats, and perhaps more. You’ll receive all of the whole-food advantages of these foods this way.

Recovery/athletic performance: A number of carbohydrate and protein consumption ratios have been recommended post-exercise to optimize recovery, but there isn’t much evidence that any specific ratio is optimum. Although a protein powder with a 2:1 or 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio may be helpful, the most significant deciding factor in sports recovery is your overall macronutrient and calorie intake for the day. 6

If you’re a multi-event athlete, drinking a beverage containing 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of protein, and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) in 600 mL (20 ounces) water for every hour of exercise may aid recovery and performance.

Different ways to use protein powder, from a pure protein boost when mixed with water to a meal replacement smoothie.

How to use protein powder as a meal replacement or for a pure protein boost.

Consider how important your sense of taste is to you.

It’s critical to choose a protein powder that you’ll use on a regular basis. One approach to assist guarantee this is to like the way it tastes. The best-tasting protein powder choice, of course, differs from person to person.

Consider the following factors while selecting a protein powder:

Texture and mixability

The mesh count of a protein powder indicates how fine it is, which affects how readily it may be mixed by hand in a shaker bottle. You won’t be able to read this information on the label, but you can occasionally know by looking at or feeling the powder.

Because plant-based protein powders have a grittier or chalkier texture, they taste better when mixed in an electric blender (rather than a shaker cup). A gritty protein powder may be smoothed down by blending with a creamier liquid, such as plant milk, or adding higher-fat products to your shake, such as yogurt and nut butters. (Try these delicious smoothie recipes for ideas on how to improve the taste of your protein powder.)

Isolates and hydrolysates, for example, are more likely to have a smoother texture than other powders.

Flavor

Artificial tastes and non-nutritive sweeteners irritate some individuals more than others. If this describes you, search for a protein powder that has natural tastes and/or nutritive sweeteners.

If you don’t like artificial tastes or just prefer the flavor of natural foods, unflavored protein powder may be a suitable choice. Unflavored protein powder may be used in a number of ways, including:

  • Blended with additional delicious ingredients in Super Shakes
  • Muffins, cookies, and even granola bars may be made using it.
  • Oatmeal, pudding, soups, and pancake batter all benefit from it.

Many of these non-shake alternatives also work with flavored protein powders. (For homemade protein bars, try this recipe, which may be prepared with flavored or unflavored protein powder.)

As previously said, you may need to try a few various tastes and brands before settling on the best protein powder for you.

Try to get a trial pack of the protein powder before purchasing a big box. These are typically available from larger nutrition supplement businesses.

If the powder you wish to test isn’t available in a single-serve container, a local supplement store may be willing to give you a sample if you ask politely.

Protein powder isn’t a necessary nutrient.

It is, nevertheless, a valuable tool.

And at at, we believe in using the best tool for the task.

Protein powder may be just what you need if you’re having trouble meeting your protein requirements, whether it’s due to convenience or hunger.

It’s worth mentioning that finding the correct one may need some trial and error. Our recommendation is to choose one and stay with it for two weeks, treating it as an experiment.

Keep track of how you’re feeling and any changes. Do you feel more energized than you did before? Do you have any new, strange stomach issues? Do you have reduced hunger in the hours after your workout? Consider if these adjustments are bringing you closer to — or farther away from — your objectives.

You may have discovered your winner if the modifications are good. If it doesn’t work, try a new flavor, brand, or protein kind.

Finally, deciding on the finest protein powder for you boils down to asking the appropriate questions and then trying out various alternatives.

And what about that advice? It’s useful not only for choosing a protein powder, but for pretty much every dietary choice.

References

To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

1. Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ, Wildman R, Kleiner S, VanDusseldorp T, Taylor L, et al. Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ, Wildman R, Kleiner S, VanDusseldorp T, Taylor L, et al. Diets and body composition are at the center of the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s stance. 2017 Jun 14;14:16. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 14;14:16.

2. Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, et al. Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, Callahan HS, Meeuws KE, Burden VR, et al. Despite compensating variations in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations, a high-protein meal causes persistent decreases in hunger, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight. 2005 Jul;82(1):41–8. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):41–8.

The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety, and weight loss: a critical review, Halton TL, Hu FB. 2004 Oct;23(5):373–85. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373–85.

4. Morton RW, Murphy KT, McKellar SR, Schoenfeld BJ, Henselmans M, Helms E, et al. Morton RW, Murphy KT, McKellar SR, Schoenfeld BJ, Henselmans M, Helms E, et al. The impact of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced increases in muscle mass and strength in healthy individuals was studied in a comprehensive review, meta-analysis, and meta-regression. 2018 Mar;52(6):376–84 in Br J Sports Med.

5. JI Baum, I-Y Kim, RR Wolfe. Protein Consumption and the Elderly: What Is the Optimal Nutrient Level [Internet]. 8 Jun 2016;8 (6). http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu8060359/nu8060359/nu8060359/nu8060359/nu8060359/nu80

6. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement, Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Athletic Performance and Nutrition 2016 Mar;48(3):543–68 in Med Sci Sports Exerc.

7. BJ Schoenfeld and AA Aragon. How much protein can the body utilize to create muscle in a single meal? Implications for protein distribution on a daily basis. 2018 Feb 27;15:10. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Feb 27;15:10.

8. Report of an FAO Expert Consultation on the Evaluation of Dietary Protein Quality in Human Nutrition. [Internet] FAO FOOD AND NUTRITION PAPER. http://www.fao.org/agriculture/humannutrition/35978-02317b979a686a57aa4593304ffc17f06.pdf

9. Rutherfurd SM, Fanning AC, Miller BJ, Moughan PJ, Fanning AC, Fanning AC, Fanning AC, Fanning AC, Fanning AC, Fanning AC, Fanning AC, Protein quality in developing male rats is described differently by protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores and digestible indispensable amino acid scores. 145(2):372–9. J Nutr. 2015 Feb;145(2):372–9.

Current Concepts and Unresolved Questions in Dietary Protein Requirements and Supplements in Adults, by S. M. Phillips. 2017 May 8;4:13. Front Nutr.

11. House JD, Neufeld J, Leson G. Using the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score technique to assess the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products. 2010 Nov 24;58(22):11801–7. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Nov 24;58(22):11801–7.

The amino acid content of mammalian collagen and gelatin, Eastoe JE. Biochem J., vol. 61, no. 4, 1955, pp. 589–600.

G. Shaw, A. Lee-Barthel, M. L. Ross, B. Wang, and K. Baar. Collagen production is boosted by vitamin C-enriched gelatin intake before intermittent exercise. 2017 Jan;105(1):136–43. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):136–43.

14. Valenzuela PL, Mata F, Morales JS, Castillo-Garca A, Lucia A. Valenzuela PL, Mata F, Morales JS, Castillo-Garca A, Lucia A. Is it true that supplementing with beef protein improves body composition and exercise performance? Randomized Controlled Trials: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. [Internet]. Nutrients. 25.06.2019;11 (6). http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu11061429/nu11061429/nu11061429/nu11061429/nu11061429/nu1

Sharp M, Shields K, Lowery R, Lane J, Partl J, Holmer C, et al. 15. Sharp M, Shields K, Lowery R, Lane J, Partl J, Holmer C, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation evaluating the effects of beef protein isolate and whey protein isolate supplementation on lean mass and strength in resistance-trained athletes. 2015 Sep 21;12(1):P11. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Sep 21;12(1):P11.

M. Messina, H. Lynch, J. M. Dickinson, and K. E. Reed. There was no difference in gains in muscle mass and strength in response to resistance exercise when supplementing with soy protein vs animal protein. 2018 Nov 1;28(6):674–85 in Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab.

17. Hamilton-Reeves JM, Vazquez G, Duval SJ, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS, Messina MJ; Hamilton-Reeves JM, Vazquez G, Duval SJ, Phipps WR, Kurzer MS, Messina MJ; Hamilton-Reeves JM A meta-analysis of clinical trials found no impact of soy protein or isoflavones on male reproductive hormones. Steril Fertilizer 94(3):997–1007, August 2010.

Chen M, Rao Y, Zheng Y, Wei S, Li Y, Guo T, et al. 18. Chen M, Rao Y, Zheng Y, Wei S, Li Y, Guo T, et al. A meta-analysis of epidemiological data found a link between soy isoflavone consumption and breast cancer risk in pre- and postmenopausal women. PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 2, e89288 (February 20, 2014).

Bitto A, Polito F, Atteritano M, Altavilla D, Mazzaferro S, Marini H, et al. 19. Bitto A, Polito F, Atteritano M, Altavilla D, Mazzaferro S, Marini H, et al. The findings of a three-year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study show that genistein aglycone had no effect on thyroid function. 2010 Jun;95(6):3067–72 in J Clin Endocrinol Metab.

20. Gorissen SHM, Crombag JJR, Senden JMG, Waterval WAH, Bierau J, Verdijk LB, et al. Gorissen SHM, Crombag JJR, Senden JMG, Waterval WAH, Bierau J, Verdijk LB, et al. Commercially accessible plant-based protein isolates’ protein concentration and amino acid composition. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. WHEY PROCESSING [Internet]. 21. WHEY PROCESSING [Internet]. Dairy Processing Handbook [quoted on May 13, 2020]. Whey processing may be found at https://dairyprocessinghandbook.tetrapak.com/chapter/whey-processing.

22. Nutrition and Food Safety Center A. [Internet] Additional Information on High-Intensity Sweeteners. Food & Drug Administration of the United States of America, 2020 [quoted on May 13, 2020]. Additional information about high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states is available at https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states

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V. Vigar, S. Myers, C. Oliver, J. Arellano, S. Robinson, and C. Leifert Is There a Measurable Benefit from Organic vs. Conventional Food Consumption? A Systematic Review of Organic vs. Conventional Food Consumption: Is There a Measurable Benefit on Human Health? Nutrients [Internet]. 18 December 2019;12 (1). http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu12010007/nu12010007/nu12010007/nu12010007/nu12010007/nu12010007/ C. Smith-Spangler, M.L. Brandeau, G.E. Hunter, J.C. Bavinger, M. Pearson, P.J. Eschbach, et al. A comprehensive study of whether organic foods are safer or healthier than conventional foods. 4 Sep 2012;157(5):348–66 in Ann Intern Med.

26. Grass Fed Small & Very Small Producer Program | Agricultural Marketing Service [Internet]. [cited 2020 May 13]. Available from: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/auditing/grass-fed-SVS

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There are so many different types of protein powders on the market that it can be overwhelming to try to pick the best one. Some protein powders contain artificial flavors, preservatives, and even binders. Others are made with ingredients that are either unhealthy or not suitable for vegans. What are the best options to choose from?. Read more about best whey protein and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know which protein powder is best for you?

I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you a detailed answer.

Which brand is the best protein powder?

The best protein powder is the one that has the most amount of protein per serving.

Which protein is best for daily use?

Whey protein is the best protein for daily use. It has a high amount of essential amino acids and is easy to digest.

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