By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably aware of the importance of having a diet that is high in protein. High protein diets can help increase your metabolism (through a process known as thermogenesis), can improve satiety (that feeling of fullness you get after a meal) which helps prevent overeating or snacking between meals. They can also lead to fat loss, muscle and strength gains (when combined with resistance exercise) and general body composition improvements.
You’d think that picking a protein powder would be the simplest of tasks, just pick the first one you see. But actually it is a very complicated process, of course you could do that but it wouldn’t necessarily get you the best results. This article will showcase five very different protein powders and help you to understand what makes them special and whether they suit your unique needs.
Each of the companies are well known and trusted, and if you enjoy the Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder then you could get the Optimum Nutrition Casein protein powder too. We have chosen a different company for each product to give examples of all the great companies out there. So sit back and enjoy the reviews, and hopefully you’ll gain enough information to make the best choice for you!
Five of the Best Protein Powders
Below are five reviews of different protein powders, there is the standard whey protein powder, the advanced (Hydrolyzed) Whey protein, Casein powder, a Whey protein and Creatine combination powder, and a Vegan friendly protein powder. Each has been picked for the reliability of their company, the high customer satisfaction, the quality of ingredients, and how realistically they have been priced.
Optimum is one of the most well known supplement companies in the world, they are reliable and high quality. Their Gold Standard Whey Protein is one of the best protein powders that you can buy without buying Hydrolyzed (which we are reviewing next). Whey protein is the standard protein powder that is used by gym goers, it is the most commonly used protein powder in the scientific community so a lot of scientific journal articles relate to it specifically.
There are many benefits of using whey protein, particularly if you are over 60 years old. Whey protein is fast releasing meaning that if you take it immediately post-workout then you can expect the protein to be delivered to your muscles at a very fast rate. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey contains 24g of protein per serving and is only 120 calories (1g fat and 3g carbohydrates).
The bulk order of 10lb brings the cost per lb down to make it one of the cheapest whey protein powders on the market, which is excellent because Optimum Nutrition are usually seen as a highly priced supplement.
There is a choice of 28 flavors which is a huge range compared to the usual 3-5. Considering that the amount of carbohydrates per serving is so low, the taste of these shakes is excellent. If you’ve ever had a bad tasting protein shake that you had 3 months supply of then you’ll understand the importance of having a flavor you can enjoy!
Whilst the majority of people can take whey protein with no ill-effects, some people who might have mild lactose intolerance can find that it causes them bloating or an upset stomach. Even if the symptoms are very mild (which is the case for most sufferers) this can become frustrating considering the need to consume protein shakes on a daily basis.
Hydrolyzed whey protein is the perfect solution for anyone who struggles with whey protein. The process involved in hydrolyzing whey protein removes all lactose from it leading to a powder that should cause no issues for anyone.
Dymatize sell an excellent Hydrolyzed Whey protein powder for a very reasonable price (considering the cost of regular Hydrolyzed protein powders). Each serving contains 24g of protein, 1g of carbohydrates, and 0g of fat making it one of the highest ratio protein powders out there. You get a choice of 9 flavors (including a pina colada flavour for the particularly brave among you) and a choice of product sizes ranging from 1.6lb to 5lb (with the price per lb dropping the more you buy).
If you are looking for a slow-releasing protein that you can take before going to bed (when muscle protein synthesis can occur after a workout) then you’ll be wanting Casein protein. This also comes from dairy and is separated from whey protein during the manufacturing process.
A lot of people believe that Casein protein is less effective than whey protein at influencing protein synthesis but that has been proven to be not the case. Due to the longer release time, casein protein takes longer to synthesis muscles (leading to strength and hypertrophy) but the results are even more impressive.
If you are looking to improve your recovery after exercise than a Casein protein shake is the perfect solution. Progenex have created a protein shake that is incredibly tasty and can be served hot or cold (perfect if you’re used to the idea of a hot cup of milk before bed). There are only two flavours available: Silk Chocolate or Cinnamon Slumber but they’re both so nice tasting that either will be sufficient for you to enjoy long-term.
L-Tryptophan Peptide has been added to this powder to further boost the promotion of deep sleep (Casein protein already contains Tryptophan which is why drinking milk before bed became popular), this may help you sleep better.
Creatine is a naturally occurring organic acid that is used to supply cells with energy, while you can get Creatine naturally in the diet it would be very difficult to get enough of it naturally to reach optimal levels, particularly if you are a vegetarian. That’s because the main source of Creatine is red meat, and the amount of steaks you would need to eat to get enough of it would be financially ruinous.
Luckily Creatine Monohydrate can be made extremely cheaply in a lab (synthetically – meaning that it is suitable for vegetarians) so anyone can add this amazing supplement to their diet. Increasing your Creatine levels can lead to improved gym performances, and it can also improve cognitive function (i.e. improve brain power and short/long term memory).
What’s really cool is that studies have shown Creatine to work synergistically with whey protein. This means that the two supplements work better together than they would if taken separately. A study by Kerksick et al in 2007 found that Creatine and protein together produced greater muscle gain than protein on its own .
Obviously you can buy whey protein and creatine separately and mix the two together in a shaker, but the protein shake created by Body Fortress contains both whey protein and Creatine within its formula. This will save you a lot of time, will prevent you from forgetting to do it, and will prevent any bad tastes that can occur when you mix two separate supplements together.
One serving contains 30g of protein, 9g of carbohydrates, and 4g of fat, with 1.5g of Creatine Monohydrate. The company recommends two scoops which would create 60g of protein per serving, but this seems pretty unnecessary and would lead to a 400 calorie shake. So might be worth it if you are looking to put on a lot of mass.
The available flavour is strawberry and it has got some decent reviews to how nice it tastes, they have also added some BCAAs to each serving.
So far we have looked at some fantastic protein powders, but they have all come from a dairy source. Whilst the Hydrolyzed protein is Lactose free (meaning even people who are lactose intolerant can have it) that still leaves vegans with nothing to use. Luckily there are now a whole host of vegan friendly protein powders out there.
Naked Rice uses sprouted brown rice. This protein powder is completely soy free, has only one ingredient (the brown rice) and is independently tested by a third party for melamine and heavy metals (phew!). The protein content per serving is a very respectable 25g and only 4g of carbohydrates.
As there is only one ingredient and they refuse to put any additives or flavorings in their product the taste and smell of this protein shake is pretty neutral. A lot of the customer reviews mention mixing it with fruit or yogurt rather than drinking with water. So keep this in mind.
All things considered this rice protein powder is very reasonably priced, usually you’d find whey protein to be a lot cheaper but Naked Rice seem to have a fair deal going. Each 5lb tub provides 76 servings of protein.
If you are a vegan or want to have the closest thing to a natural protein powder then Naked Rice protein is the powder for you.