Choosing the Best Protein Supplement

The result depends on the quality of the sports supplement, so the choice should be made carefully after studying the reputation of the manufacturer and the storeThe result depends on the quality of the sports supplement, so the choice should be made carefully after studying the reputation of the manufacturer and the store

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Why Are There Different Kinds of Protein Powders?

It is common to meet young people walking by the sports supplement aisle at the store and asking a sales assistant the question such as: "What is the best protein powder you have? I want to build muscle with it and grow by leaps and bounds".

In such cases, most sellers just offer the supplements of the leading brands. In a general sense, they are doing the right thing: the leading companies produce high quality protein powder guaranteed to help accelerate the process of muscle building. However, in order to get the maximum benefit from the supplement, you should use it properly.

Whey protein is considered to be the best protein supplement. This is not entirely true. This product is perfectly absorbed and provides the body with all the essential nutrients needed for fast restoration of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels and acceleration of anabolism (the process of building muscle tissue). But in special cases (which are numerous in the athletes’ lives), other kinds of protein supplements, such as casein protein powders or protein blends, would be more beneficial.

To get the maximum benefit from protein shakes, an athlete should know some physiological aspects.

As a rule, the training cycle of an athlete consists of three phases: strength training (with the emphasis on the development of physical strength), "bulking" (gaining weight), and "cutting" (training for getting ripped). And the body of the athlete works differently at each of these periods.

For example, during the cutting phase the body can absorb large amounts of protein. During strength training, an athlete should consume more carbohydrates within 24 hours after training, and then eat high-protein foods for two days. Almost the same diet principle should be followed at the bulking phase.

That is, there are different kinds of protein powders for different needs. Therefore, it is almost impossible to recommend the best product. The main thing is that the product should be high quality. To make the right choice, you should just surf the Internet to find out the leading brands of sports supplements existing in the market today, and choose any of them.

Weider is one of the most popular sports nutrition brandsWeider is one of the most popular sports nutrition brands

First, any professional athlete chooses the manufacturer he trusts, and then – any of its products.

This is not surprising, because large supplement corporations spend a lot of money on advertising and maintaining their reputation.

Once an athlete has found a suitable manufacturer, he begins to use only its production.

Here is the list of the most popular manufacturers of protein supplements today:

Optimum Nutrition The American company founded in 1986 by two brothers with the purpose to increase the number of people keeping fit and healthy. Besides a wide range of products, the manufacturer also provides the customers with absolute quality. All suppliers of raw materials have certificates, and laboratory tests are carried out inside the company on a regular basis.
MuscleTech The American company which started operating by opening its own laboratory in 1995. Since then, the products of the company have proved to be the most innovative in the market of sports nutrition. Several tests and studies are performed prior to manufacturing of any product, and a large number of scientists in the field of medicine, nutrition, and sports are involved in working for the company.
BSN Since 2001, the company has managed to snatch a victory in more than 35 kinds of sports and spread its production to almost one hundred countries around the world. The whole range of sports nutrition is multifunctional, and everyone can select the product that fits their goals and needs.
Syntrax The company founded in the USA is rightly considered the most affordable for athletes. 1 serving of the product of this brand would be much easier on the wallet than those of the competitors. Though, the quality remains top-notch.
Gaspari Nutrition In 1998 the bodybuilder and the winner of many competitions, Rich Gaspari, decided to start producing a range of sports nutrition products. Since then, the company has become one of the leading manufacturers in this industry, has acquired its own laboratory for product testing and a team of experts in the field of sports nutrition.
Weider The company founded by the great athlete Joe Weider and operating since 1936 is rightly considered one of the best. The athlete has deserved the title of an expert in training and nutrition, and his range of sports nutrition products helps many people achieve their fitness goals.

Blended Protein Powders

A protein blend is a combination of different protein sources including slow- and fast-digesting proteins. The athletes inclined to corpulence should not use such product. The only exception is before bedtime, during the "cutting" phase. This is the period of low intensity training (compared to the "bulking" phase); therefore, the athlete’s muscles constantly need protein. At night, when the metabolic rate is increased, a serving of blended protein would be useful.

Ectomorph athletes (people who are lean by nature and gain muscle mass with great difficulty) should better give preference to blended protein powders, rather than whey protein. An ectomorph needs a serving of whey protein only after a workout and only with the purpose of getting ripped or building muscle mass by "pumping" (doing several sets of high reps with light weights). Such "athletic–aerobic" training exhausts the muscles. So, after exercise the muscles need fast-digesting protein.

After strength training workouts, such protein load will not be very beneficial, because the body exhausted by the hard work (training at average or low reps to failure is much harder than "pumping"), needs carbohydrates to replenish energy and maintain the functioning of all body organs.

There are some products that enjoy popularity among athletes and help them achieve the desired results.

Matrix 5.0 by Syntrax

This supplement is one of the most popular in the world. The blend includes whey protein, milk protein, and egg protein. Due to expensive sources of protein, the athletes can forget about those annoying clumps in protein shakes. Besides the indisputable advantages, Matrix 5.0 boasts a wide range of flavors – from banana and strawberry to milk chocolate and vanilla that are created by adding sweeteners, but not sugar.

Protein 80 Plus by Weider

The blend of whey, milk, egg, and casein proteins guarantees faster post-workout recovery and acceleration of muscle mass growth. The company releases the blend in 15 various flavor options, including chocolate, banana, and cappuccino.

Elite Fusion 7 by Dymatize

The protein supplement produced by Dymatize is a blend of 7 various protein sources. Such variety of proteins provides the body and muscles with nutrition in different periods of time – right after training and for the rest of the day.

Probolic-S by MHP

After 4 years of work on the protein product, the MHP Company releases the supplement produced by new technology. The Probolic-S protein not only feeds the muscles for 12 hours, but also provides the body access to BCAA amino acids and nitrogen that enrich protein.

MusclePharm Combat

A blend of 5 different types of protein feeds the muscles for 8–9 hours, and irreplaceable amino acids in its structure accelerate the growth and restoration of lean muscle mass. The company has not forgotten to complement the protein shake with enzymes to help the body fully absorb protein.

Let's sum up the results with the following table:

Protein powder

Release form

Price

Protein sources

Caloric content per serving

Daily dosage

Matrix 5

2290 g

$49.40

Whey Protein Concentrate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Undenatured Egg White

120 kcal, 30 g

23 g of protein

2 g of fats

3 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 300 ml of fluid 1–3 times a day

Protein 80 Plus

500 g

750 g

2000 g

$15.90

$28.25

$56.5

Casein, Whey Protein Concentrate and Isolate, Egg Protein

130 kcal, 32 g

22 g of protein

2 g of fats

6 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 300 ml of fluid 1–3 times a day

Elite Fusion 7

440 g

1320 g

2332 g

$8.82

$28.25

$44.12

Whey Protein Concentrate and Isolate, Milk Protein Concentrate and Isolate, Casein, Egg White, BCAA

190 kcal, 44 g

23 g of protein

6 g of fats

11 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 150–300 ml of fluid 1–4 times a day for men, 1–3 times a day for women

Probolic-SR

900 g

1800 g

$31.77

$49.42

Soy Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Concentrate, Casein

130 kcal, 33 g

20 g of protein

4 g of fats

1 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 250–450 ml of water 2–3 times a day

Combat

900 g

1800 g

4500 g

$42.36

$60.01

$174.7

Whey Protein Concentrate and Isolate, Casein, Egg White

140 kcal, 35 g

25 g of protein

2 g of fats

5 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 300 ml of fluid 2–3 times a day

Casein Protein Powders

This is 100% Casein Protein by the brand Optimum NutritionThis is 100% Casein Protein by the brand Optimum Nutrition

Unlike whey, casein protein is slow-digesting. There is no great need for this supplement. But it still should be included in the diet of any athlete trying to build phenomenal physique. It is known that during sleep the catabolic processes accelerate because of the increased metabolic rate.

The body deprived of enough protein, begins to use its own muscle tissue for energy. To prevent this process, casein protein should be consumed right before bedtime. Hardgainers (poorly genetically gifted) should also take it in the middle of the night.

Next, let’s emphasize popular products.

100% Casein Protein by Optimum Nutrition

The ON casein protein creates a sense of satiety and provides the muscles with the nutrients essential for their growth. The company has added glutamine to its product. The protein powder comes in six different flavors.

Lipotropic Protein by LG Sciences

The casein protein by LG Sciences is tested under laboratory conditions. The company uses only easily digestible protein. The manufacturers have enriched their product with irreplaceable amino acids and calcium.

100% Casein by Dymatize

This is an ideal option for feeding the muscles at night. The company has added digestive enzymes to the protein powder and ensured safety for the people with lactose intolerance.

Let's sum up the results with the following table:

Product

Release form

Price

Ingredients

Caloric content per serving

Daily dosage

100% Casein Protein by Optimum Nutrition

900 g

1800 g

$34.99

$59.99

Casein, Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Lecithin, Sucralose

110 kcal, 32 g

24 g of protein

0,5 g of fats

3 g of carbohydrates

Upon waking and when needed

100% Casein by Dymatize

920 g

1860 g

$42.36

$75.89

Casein, Gum, Potassium Chloride, Flavors, Lecithin

110 kcal, 32 g

24 g of protein

0,5 g of fats

3 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 300–400 ml of fluid in the morning and before sleep

Combat 100% Casein

900 g

1800 g

$51.18

$91.78

Casein, Flavors, Gum, Sucralose, Enzyme Blend

130 kcal, 34 g

28 g of protein

1 g of fats

2 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 300–400 ml of fluid when slow-digesting protein is required

Casein Pro

900 g

1800 g

$42.36

$82.95

Casein, Flavors, Lecithin, Sodium Chloride, Sucralose

114 kcal, 33 g

24 g of protein

1 g of fats

3 g of carbohydrates

1–3 servings a day

Whey Protein Powders

Whey protein is also known as fast protein, because this supplement is predominantly made up of whey protein isolate that is almost instantly absorbed by the body. Athletes should consume it each day. How much and how often – this is an individual matter.

It is worth buying brand name products, because the most sought-after brand is considered the best in the market of sports nutrition. There are three types of whey protein: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate. In our rating, we do not consider each type separately – the list is general and reflects the popularity of this or that product among athletes.

100% Whey Gold Standard (Optimum Nutrition)

The ON protein powder is 80% protein concentrate. It contains not only top quality and expensive source of protein, but also irreplaceable amino acids and enzymes that improve digestion. Due to the special production techniques, whey protein is easily dissolved in fluids.

Elite Whey Protein by Dymatize

The mixture contains two whey protein isolates produced in different ways. Large amounts of BCAAs in the product make the protein shake even more nutritious for the muscles, and enzymes help the body absorb all the substances of the product.

Zero Carb by VPX

The VPX is the first company in the market of sports nutrition to discover 100% milk protein serum. Due to the special technology of production, much attention is paid to specific particles that accelerate muscle growth and decrease muscle soreness during and after exercise.

ISO-100 by Dymatize

Fats and lactose have been completely removed from this protein blend during production, providing the best absorption of protein by the body.

Binasport Supreme Whey Protein

The amino acid profile of this protein powder is nearly identical to that of the human skeletal muscles. The whey protein is produced from natural milk according to a special European technology.

Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate

The little-known company Transparent Labs in California produces the "cleanest" protein powder. The mixture contains only pure protein and natural ingredients.

Let's sum up the results in the following table:

Product

Release form

Price

Ingredients

Caloric content per serving

порции

Daily dosage

100% Whey Gold Standard

900 g

2200 g

4500 g

$31.77

$67.07

$118.25

Whey Protein Isolate and Concentrate, Whey Peptides, Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors

120 kcal, 30 g

24 g of protein

1 g of fats

3 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per desired amount of fluid, depending on protein needs

Elite Whey Protein

900 g

4500 g

$35.30

$151.79

Whey Protein Isolate and Concentrate, Flavors, Whey Peptides

130 kcal, 35 g

25 g of protein

1,5 g of fats

3 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 140-180 ml of fluid 1-3 times a day

Zero Carb

900 g

2000 g

$65.30

$84.72

Whey Protein Isolate, Vitamin complex, Cellulose, Gum, Flavors, Sucralose

80 kcal, 23 g

20 g of protein

0 g of fats

0 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 280-300 ml of fluid 1-3 times a day, depending on protein needs

ISO-100

700 g

1300 g

2200 g

$22.94

$67.07

$100.60

Whey Protein Isolate, Cellulose, Potassium Chloride, Gum, Flavors, Sucralose

110 kcal, 29 g

25 g of protein

0 g of fats

0 g of carbohydrates

1 serving per 250–300 ml of water 1–3 times a day, depending on body weight

Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate

900 g

1800 g

2800 g

$51.18

$93.55

$121.78

Whey Protein Isolate, Cocoa, Natural Flavors, Stevia

112 kcal, 32 g

28 g of protein

0 g of fats

0 g of carbohydrates

1 serving 1-2 times a day

This is Syntha-6 Ultra-PremiumThis is Syntha-6 Ultra-Premium

General Tips

Any protein powder will yield maximum benefit if used properly. Even though sports supplements are easily absorbed, you should not abuse them anyway.

Overdose of protein, no matter the source – meat or sports supplements – may lead to functional disorders of kidneys, GIT, and liver.

You should not exceed the recommended daily protein intake in the "rest" days. Also, you should remember that the human body cannot absorb more than 40 grams of protein at a time.

Within 24 hours after strength training, the athlete should eat high complex carbohydrate foods (bread, whole grains, pasta, greens, vegetables and fruits).

Besides, the daily carbohydrate intake should be increased by 1\3. Protein should also be consumed during this period; the best option is whey protein. Also, this protein powder should be taken 24 hours after training. Afterwards, the athlete should eat high-protein food for two days. The daily protein intake during this period should be increased by 40%.

Conclusion

Nowadays, there is a wide range of sports nutrition products that may confuse anyone. You should select the protein powder taking into account the peculiarities of your body, type of training, and personal goals. There is no “bad” kind of protein, but there are bad manufacturers.

Moreover, different kinds of protein powders should be taken at different times. Remember that there is no sense to exceed the recommended daily protein intake, because it will not get absorbed and the excess amount will be just eliminated from the body.

Shesternenko Alexander
Fitness trainer, group instructor, dietitian
  • Counsels and educates on proper nutrition principles, body weight correction, and adjustment of individual diets and diets during pregnancy;
  • Develops meal plans that meet nutrition goals and dietary needs for obese and underweight people;
  • Specializes in modern functional testing techniques in sports, athletic recovery, sports supplementation, pharmacological support, and actual women's problems in sports;
  • On the website, provides analysis of different dietary schemes, reviews modern training techniques and effective exercises.

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