With the myriads of protein powder products on the market today, making a choice can be quite difficult. Besides the fact that you want to purchase a brand that meets your needs, you also want a product with the right ingredients.
So what do you look for? Simple ingredients excluding sweeteners and other forms of additives should be on the top of your list. With protein as your main drive, and whey protein as your number one protein powder type, you’ll be seeing results in little to no time.
Now that you have an idea of what goes into choosing a protein powder, let’s break it down a little further.
Why do You Need a Protein Powder?
Every fitness enthusiast looks to protein powders to build muscle, muscle size and gain, and burn fat where possible. Any day, the strongest factor for men who buy protein supplements is the body building need.
As a result, you need to begin by defining your reasons for wanting bigger muscles or a stronger body. Are you a weight lifter? Do you belong to the athletic population? Are you looking to lose body fat? Or do you need to achieve your daily protein intake in an easier and more effective fashion?
If it isn’t any of those, can it be that you simply enjoy hitting the gym? Whatever your reason – protein powders are perfect for achieving body building and weight loss goals. Aside from these, protein supplements are a faster alternative of protein supply for muscle tissue repair.
What do experts say about protein powders? Read on.
What Experts Say Using Protein Supplements and Exercise
According to researchers who conducted a study on the influence protein supplementation has on resistance endurance training, protein powders have been found to produce greater muscle protein synthesis. In fact, a consistent use of this powder improves a person’s ability to work out and recover from exercise-related accidents.
Now, it’s true that increased physical performance is the ultimate aim for many athletes, weight lifters, and physically active men. Yet, there’s no denying the fact that organic or fast foods do not provide a quick supply of nutrient compared with protein supplements, especially post-training or pre-competition.
Additionally, a similar study emphasizes the need for power athletes to consume a higher intake of protein to boost their physical performance. In recent times, scientists concluded that athletes should in no doubt consume greater protein than the general populace. Their body and activities require more than the regular commended intake.
Now, there is the question of which type of protein to use. Since high intensity training involves more stamina, core strength, and balance, it is only ideal that the muscles under exercise receive more amino acids.
To buttress this point, we take a look at this study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition Symposium. The study, after examining individuals who engaged in strength training, found that muscle gain and protein synthesis were major consequences of taking a higher intake or protein.
In essence, strength and endurance trainers need protein supplementation to stay active for a longer period. And deciding on the choice of whey, soy or casein protein would largely impact the benefits that you want.
The Best Type of Protein Powder
There are several types of protein powder. But what’s the best protein powder for you? For most men, whey or casein powder is great for muscle fat and fat loss. Whey protein is acknowledged as the safest and most effective type of protein powder.
What is whey protein?
Whey powder (also known as Bovine whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate) is a source of protein which is found in the watery part of milk left over during cheese preparation.
In addition, whey protein digests easily, boosts energy and goes a long way in reducing stress levels. Little wonder why many athletes turn to whey protein immediately after workout. The body exertion which comes with workout routine tends to leave an individual slightly stressed, and whey protein serves to restore the body to its default setting quicker than whole food can. As a matter of fact, many athletes depend on whey milk to build strength, lean body mass, muscle size, and running speed.
Next to whey protein are soy and casein protein, but they aren’t as common today. Soy protein reduces high cholesterol while increasing bone mass. Casein protein, however, is bioavailable and slowly absorbed.
Picking the perfect protein powder boils down to getting the hang of the different types of proteins that exist. Other types include:
- Milk Protein contains every essential amino acid and is perfect for building muscle mass post intense workout.
- Egg Protein comes in handy when you’re allergic to milk. It has a 100 percent biological value and is absorbed easily into the body.
- Pea Protein is a plant-based protein with nearly 100% digestion rate. Although it isn’t as common as the whey, soy, and casein proteins, it comes first on the list of non-dairy proteins.
How to Choose a Protein Powder
- For muscle building and maintenance, you need the right ratio of branched-chain-amino-acids (BCAA). Before you buy a protein powder product, check that you have a ratio of leucine-isoleucine-valine that looks like this: 1-1-1. If this ratio is not listed in the label, you should ignore that product.
- Again, look for a protein powder with carbs. According to Nancy Rodriguez, a nutritional-sciences professor at the University of Connecticut, carbs aid the absorption of amino acids and increase your insulin levels in addition to muscle growth stimulation. Hence don’t skimp on this.
- Be wary of sweetened protein powders. While artificial sweeteners such as xylitol may be good for reducing calories, they’re also responsible for destroying good bacteria in the gut. Thus, it’s safer to choose unsweetened protein supplements.
- Look for the NSF Seal. Products which have been tested by third parties generally come with the “Certified for Sport” seal by the National Sanitation Foundation. For one, some companies include random ingredients in their supplements without specifying them in the label. Hence, focus on purchasing a protein powder that has the seal or “Informed for Sport” label. These tags provide the guarantee that the product is free of banned substances.
- Keep protein in mind. Irrespective of how appealing and tempting a protein supplement looks, it shouldn’t be packed with too many ingredients. Your number one concern is protein, next to carbs and calories. Avoid anything that looks too excessive or too good to be true. Any brand that advertises more than two ingredients or makes superfluous health claims should get you asking questions.
How Much Protein Powder Should You Consume Daily?
It’s never enough to purchase the best protein powder. You also need to figure out how much of it you should take. While many brands indicate the per-sitting usage instructions on their packaging, it’s safer to tailor your protein powder use to your bodyweight.
For some, the recommendation is as follows: for every kilogram of bodyweight, take 0.3 – 0.4 grams of protein. Usually, men should take double the measure that women consume. So if a woman takes 15 grams, a man would take 30 grams.
For others, the daily consumption is 1.2 – 1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight for power athletes. Endurance athletes, on the other hand should reduce theirs to a maximum of 1.4 grams.
Nonetheless, if you don’t feel too sure about what works for you, consider speaking with a registered dietitian. Consulting can equally correct the popular erroneous belief that you should take in more protein for a quicker result. Taking more protein doesn’t necessarily translate to faster muscle protein synthesis.
So, what’s the trick? Follow instructions that fit your goal and be consistent.
To get the best of your protein powder, take it with milkshake before and after workout. And if you’d rather be creative, add some to your fruit juice.
Safety Tips on Using Protein Powder
Despite the huge benefits of protein powders, there are exceptions to using them.
- Consult a physician before you make nutritional changes or try a new protein powder.
- If you have dietary restrictions or you’re lactose-intolerant (allergic to milk), do not use whey protein.
- Compare products before you choose what you think will work for you.
- If you’re on any medications, find out if they could interfere with the protein powders.
- Vegans and vegetarians should choose non-dairy protein powders.
Some side effects associated with taking protein powders include hormonal issues, digestive problems relating to the gut, and inflammation concerns.
Choosing a protein powder shouldn’t be so much of a tough step. What you’ve read above emphasizes the need to understand your needs. When you know why you need a protein powder, you’ll know what type to choose.
Finally, pay attention to the short list of ingredients and the NSF seal. Choose whey protein (the best protein powder) if you aren’t on any dietary restrictions. And remember to follow the proper instructions without consuming too much per sitting.
For additional information on building muscle, weight loss and increasing strength, go through other fitness-related articles on our blog.