Whether you’re looking to bulk up, get ripped, or just get in shape, protein powders are an essential part of your nutritional requirements. They are great for building muscle, increasing your strength, melting fat, and transforming your body. When it comes to protein powders, there are many options to choose from, including the popular whey protein powders and vegan protein powders.
However, the ability of these supplements to successfully help individuals build and sculpt their bodies has led to a rapid proliferation of many protein powder brands. This is why choosing the best protein powder and supplement can be very difficult. The options are so many and can be quite confusing.
In this best protein powder review, we’ll be showing you only high-quality protein powders and supplements that are available. This way, you can choose from these proven protein powders instead of going through a trial and error process that will cost you a lot of time and money.
Let’s start, shall we?
2021 Best Protein Powders
In our rankings of these top protein powders for 2021, we looked into the analyzed contents of hundreds of these powders. At the end, we chose trusted protein powder brands with proven formulas and results.
We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you, and provided a clear list of proven protein powder supplements. Go through this list and choose one of the brands here. They work.
If you’re looking for a premium grass-fed whey protein isolate, GROW by XWERKS is a fantastic protein powder to try. Produced in New Zealand, this protein powder is one of the best in terms of product quality and ingredient profile. Also, it doesn’t skimp on the flavors –they are delicious and mix instantly.
GROW is great for muscle repair, improved digestion, increased lean muscle growth, and strength. This has no lactose in it, so it’s great for individuals who are lactose intolerant.
Every serving of this protein powder contains 30 servings of 25g of protein, 6g BCAAs, low fat, and low carb – a keto friendly option. For the quality of this protein powder, the $49 a bag price is a steal. Flavor options are chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and peanut butter.
Key Takeaway: This is our top pick and the best grass-fed whey protein isolate we have tested available.
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BioTrust Low Carb
This protein powder is manufactured by one other than the famed Joel Marion. This is a low carb protein powder that’s known for its super-effective results and high protein content. If you’re on a low carb diet or food regimen like the Paleo diet and keto diet, and need a protein powder that supports that lifestyle, BioTrust Low Carb is a great option.
It works by suppressing your appetite, increasing satiety, and improves your metabolism. So, not only will you eat less, your body will burn more fat, all while building lean muscles.
Each serving contains 24 grams of protein containing 4 protein types –including the famed micellar casein- has only 150 calories, 11g of amino acids, 4g of carbs, and 5g of BCAAs. It also has all the extra ingredients that work synergistically to provide optimum protein nutrition. Each bag of BioTrust Low Carb protein powder costs just $34.
Key Takeaway: This is arguably the best protein powder that you can buy right now.
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Working out by itself is a lot of hard work, but the soreness afterward can be overwhelming. This is why many people just flat out refuse to work out. However, with CrazyBulk’s Tri-Protein, your post-workout muscle soreness will be a thing of the past.
This quality protein powder is great for bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts looking to max their muscle gains, build incredible strength, and do so without the pains. It has 6 protein-types that go through three phases of release in the body. This way, the protein is gradually absorbed by the body over a longer period of time –think of its function as similar to a slow release drug.
This mechanism allows your body to actually extract the nutrients it needs and protects your kidneys and liver in the process as they do not have to work extra hard to metabolize the proteins. Plus, there’s less likelihood of waste.
Each scoop contains 30g of protein. Some of the ingredients include whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, micellar casein, DigeZyme and other quality ingredients. A 30-day supply costs just $56.
Key Takeaway: With six incredibly potent protein sources, this is perfect for lean muscle growth and fast post-workout recovery.
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BiOptimizers Protein Breakthrough
Many protein powders are not thoroughly or optimally absorbed in the body. As a result, only a percentage of these powders are actually absorbed and utilized by the body. The rest are eliminated by the liver. This is why you need a protein powder that’s fully absorbed by the body. Enter BiOptimizers Protein Breakthrough.
This vegan, plant-based protein powder is an excellent meal replacement option that increases satiety, tastes great, aids the development of lean muscle, and is optimally absorbed by the body. The high quality protein powder formula has been perfected over a span of 17 years, making it one of the top bioavailable protein powders in the market.
Ingredients include proteins from pumpkin seeds, hemp, and peas –these are three top plant-based protein sources. Each bottle costs $75. Compared to other protein powders, this might seem a bit pricey, but the company guarantees the value of the powder with their 365-day money back guarantee, which is about the longest in the industry. If you want high quality premium vegan protein powder, BiOptimizers Protein Breakthrough is a great choice.
Key Takeaway: This is a full meal replacement plant-based protein powder and might be best suited to vegans.
Learn more here
Transparent Labs Whey Protein
If you’re particular about the source of your protein powder and prefer whey protein from 100 percent grass-fed beef that weren’t fed with hormones, and zero artificial flavors, then Transparent Labs Whey Protein powder is an excellent choice.
This protein powder supplement provides 28g of whey isolate protein –one of the best forms of protein- per scoop. This translates to about 120 calories per serving, making it a great meal replacement option for people looking to lose weight, burn fat, gain muscle, and get super strong.
For its pretty impressive results and outcomes, this is a really affordable protein powder. And it costs just $59 per bottle.
Key Takeaway: This protein powder has the most protein-by-weight ratio in this list. Great for fitness enthusiasts looking to get a ton of bioavailable protein.
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Live Conscious Organic Protein
This is a high quality USDA organic certified protein powder. When it comes to protein powders, this is about the topmost quality that you can get in the market. This low calorie meal replacement protein powder contains only 80 calories per scoop. This makes it one of the best protein powders for weight loss and muscle gain.
As a solid vegan protein powder, people who are meat averse can use this in place of regular beef-based protein supplements. Some of the ingredients in this protein powder include sacha inchi, rice, pumpkin seeds, and peas. These are all rich plant-based protein sources that provide as much as 15g per serving of protein powder.
Live Conscious Organic Protein’s ingredients are grown, sourced, formulated, and produced here in the US. So, you’re sure that you’re getting a pesticide-free, non-toxic protein powder that’s excellent at providing the nutrition you need to build lean muscle, and burn fat. Each bag of Live Conscious Organic Protein costs $43 and comes with a 365-day money back guarantee.
Key Takeaway: Great for people who love clean flavored highly nutritional protein powders. Has an excellent vanilla dream flavor that makes it a pleasure to drink or mix with other foods.
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Like many protein powders, Fitera FitFreeze protein powder is designed to increase your satiety, suppress appetite, and melt fat. But unlike the other bland-tasting protein powders, this one has a chocolate flavor, and tastes amazing. The protein powder also has high fiber content which is why you’ll likely feel fuller for much longer.
Its unique selling point is that it can be eaten as a dessert. All you have to do is mix and freeze it, and voila, it’ll replace your ice cream dessert. Every serving contains just 150 calories, 7g of fiber, 15g of protein, and 6g of sugar. The only downside is that it costs a bit more than some protein powders –retails at $10 per 3 servings- but the company makes up for it by offering customers the chance to try it before buying.
Key Takeaway: Delicious and tasty protein powder that’s a total delight to drink.
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Amy Myers MD Paleo Protein
Formulated by the renowned Amy Myers MD, this protein powder is made from grass-fed whey. Each serving offers 21g of pure protein which is rich in amino acids. When you take a serving, you’re basically getting the equivalent of the protein you’ll get in a bone broth.
It also comes in many pleasant tasting flavors including salted caramel, cinnamon roll strawberries and cream, cookies and cream, double chocolate, and birthday cake. So, you can choose one or more of these awesome flavors when you buy a bag of the protein powder.
Each pack of Amy Myers MD Paleo Protein powder costs $70.
Key Takeaway: Medically formulated protein powder with tons of collagen-based amino acids and a super-clean and healthy nutritional profile.
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Vital Proteins Collagen Whey Protein
If you’re in the market for a whey protein powder that mixes well with other fluids and foods –including edibles, smoothies, and water, this collagen-rich protein powder from Vital Proteins might just be what you need.
Vital Proteins Collagen Whey Protein is nutrient dense and even contains hyaluronic acid which aids bone and joint support. Because this is made by a leading supplement manufacturer in the industry, you can trust it to help improve sporting performance, aid muscle recovery, melt fat, and build lean muscles.
Buyers can choose two different flavors including coconut water and vanilla flavors. Each bottle of Vital Proteins Collagen Whey Protein costs $44 for 30 servings.
Key Takeaway: This is arguably the best all-natural protein powder in the market with highly impressive ingredients including hyaluronic acid and collagen peptides.
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Onnit Protein Grass-Fed
Another high quality protein powder, Onnit offers excellent nutrition to aid muscle growth, aid recovery, and burn fat. Sourced from New Zealand cows, Onnit protein powder offers 20g of protein and a mere 110 calories in every serving.
It also has no added sugars and comes with tasty flavors such as Mexican chocolate or vanilla. Each bottle of Onnit Protein Grass-Fed powder costs $70.
Key Takeaway: Zero added sugars, whey protein from grass-fed New Zealand cows (some of the healthiest cows in the world), awesome flavors, and a solid nutritional profile.
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Green Regimen Elite Protein
If you’re in the market for another excellent plant-based protein powder, then Green Regimen Elite Protein Powder is a great choice. This protein powder contains high quality ingredients designed to keep you feeling full for longer, while providing your body and muscles with the protein that it requires for optimal growth. Every serving contains 25g of protein, 4g of fiber, organic hemp and pea proteins, some superfoods, and digestive enzymes. The absence of added sugar also means that the calorie content is pretty low.
The protein powder is available for sale at $35 per 14 servings –or $70 per 28 servings. This comes to roughly $2.50 per serving. While this vegan protein powder is not necessarily the cheapest option in the market, it more than makes up for it by the offering of high quality ingredients and great tasting flavors.
Key Takeaway: One of the very few USDA certified protein powders in the market with a powerful nutritional profile.
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Cellucor COR-Performance Powder
Formulated and produced by one of the leading fitness brands, Cellucor COR is a powerful protein powder designed to help you enhance your sporting performance, increase endurance, build strength, burn fat, and grow your muscles.
Each serving contains 24g of protein, 5.25g of BCAAs, and a mere 120 calories. It’s easy to mix, digests pretty quickly, and tastes amazing thanks to flavors like molten chocolate and whipped vanilla. This offers excellent bang for your buck.
Every jar of this protein powder supplement contains 70 servings –that’s a lot- and is sold for only $54. Cellucor COR Performance Protein is easily one of the best value protein powders in the market. With this, you no longer have any excuse for not taking your protein powder and getting in shape.
Key Takeaway: Highly rated protein powder (on Amazon), which means it’s pretty popular and well-liked by its buyers.
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Ladder Whey Protein
The best whey proteins are usually those formulated by well-known athletes and a solid research team. This is where Ladder Whey Protein outshines others. This whey protein is manufactured by an athlete-owned company –specifically, Lebron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
These two elite athletes endorse the use of this protein powder for fueling and priming your body’s optimal muscle gains. And it’s clear from the ingredients: Each serving contains 26g of protein, 14g of essential amino acids, 7g of BCAAs, high quality probiotics, and vanilla or chocolate flavors.
So, not only does it deliver a ton of high quality proteins for muscle building, but it also aids digestive health so your body can break down the proteins faster. And an extra icing on the cake is the NSF Certified for Sport certification –a certification that most protein powders lack.
This certification means that it doesn’t contain any banned ingredients and can be taken by professional athletes. Each bottle comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and is priced at $70 each.
Key Takeaway: Athlete-created protein powders with solid ingredients that caters to improved athletic performance, lean muscle growth and easy digestion.
Learn more here
Ladder Plant Protein
If you prefer a plant-based protein powder, Ladder has you covered through the company’s Ladder Plant Protein Powder. Made from plants, this excellent protein powder formulation provides athletes and fitness enthusiasts with all the goodness of plant proteins.
Every serving offers 21g of plant protein, 9g of essential amino acids, 4.5g of BCAAs, and lots of probiotics to aid with the digestion of the protein. It also comes in two flavors –vanilla and chocolate – and is priced reasonably at $60 per jar.
Key Takeaway: Arguably the best vegan protein powder in the market for vegans and people who prefer plant-based protein powders.
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NSP Nutrition Muscle Fuel
This protein powder offers a unique protein source that’s a super-filtered whey isolate. This provides an excellent source of high quality protein that will help you build muscle, burn fat, and maintain those lean muscles you’ve already built.
The protein powder contains highly effective digestive enzymes like papain and protease that aid the absorption of the protein in your body. This way, your body will get the protein source that it needs in optimal quantities.
Each serving contains 25g of protein. This, combined with its excellent nutrient profile makes NSP Nutrition Muscle Fuel protein powder a popular one among fitness enthusiasts and athletes.
Each bottle is priced at $41.
Key Takeaway: Fast absorbing super-filtered protein powder that’s great for lean muscle growth.
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NSP Nutrition Milk & Egg Protein
Another NSP offering, this protein powder is made from just milk and egg –based on old-school bodybuilding science. If you prefer animal-based protein powders that are specifically composed of those two ingredients, then this is for you.
NSP Nutrition Milk & Egg Protein powder contains 92 percent egg and milk. And it’s great for building muscle, losing weight, and staying lean. The company also boasts of their protein powder’s ability to maintain blood sugar and energy levels, improve muscle growth, and enhance your feeling of wellness and vitality.
NSP Nutrition Milk & Egg Protein is priced at $50 per bottle.
Key Takeaway: Highly unique protein powder with focus on old-school bodybuilding ingredients –preferred by old school bodybuilding enthusiasts and athletes.
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Bauer BRF (Battle Ready Fuel) Whey Protein
As one of the more popular protein powders in the market, Bauer Nutrition’s BRF Whey Protein delivers pure protein supplements that your body can easily digest. The protein powder has 90 percent isolate and contains only clean ingredients that the body needs to help it build muscle and lose fat.
While it’s new in the market –was produced in 2020- the protein powder has quickly become a popular one among fitness enthusiasts in the UK. The protein powder is well-liked because of its macro and micronutrient profiles, as well as its tasty flavors.
Customers take it as a meal replacement option, and use it to aid their post-workout recovery. Each jar costs $60.
Key Takeaway: Excellent pre-workout protein powder designed to help boost your energy and keep them elevated during workout sessions.
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Orgain Protein Powder
Orgain is a popular fitness supplement brand that provides a wide range of protein supplements. They have both whey protein powders and plant-based vegan protein powders. Their product line also includes meal replacement shakes, superfood protein powders, and many more.
Each serving of their plant-based and whey protein powders provides 21g of plant protein, 6g of fiber and probiotics, and contains no added sugars. As one of the few USDA certified organic protein powder manufacturers, the company only includes very clean ingredients in their protein powders and supplements.
Orgain also offers other protein powders like collagen protein powder and grass-fed whey protein powder. Their protein powders are well-liked because of their pleasant and tasty flavors. Some of these include peanut butter, iced coffee, chocolate coconut, and creamy chocolate fudge flavors. There’s also an unsweetened protein powder option if you prefer that. Each bottle of Orgain Protein Powder costs $32.
Key Takeaway: Superior plant-based protein powder with zero sugars and multiple flavors.
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IdealFit IdealLean Protein
For some reason, most people often assume that protein supplements are for men. Yet, there are many female fitness enthusiasts who work out as aggressively, if not more, than the men.
These are the people that IdealFit had in mind when they created their IdealLean Protein Powder. If you’re a female fitness enthusiast who is looking for a protein powder that’s specifically tailored to the female metabolism, then this is the protein powder to check out.
The protein powder is great for women who want to burn fat and tackle their food cravings. This clean meal replacement powder merely contains 100 calories, 20g of protein, 0g of fat, and 2g of sugar per serving. It has zero fillers or added ingredients. And because the protein is highly digestible, you never have to worry about feeling bloated. It’ll also keep you feeling very full for much longer.
Each bottle is priced at $30.
Key Takeaway: Top protein powder for women who want to burn fat and stay fit.
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Legion Whey Isolate Protein
Legion offers a 100 percent natural grass-fed whey isolate protein powder. Each serving contains 120 calories, 5.6g of BCAAs, 22g of protein, 0g of sugars, and 1.5g of fat.
They whey is made from very healthy milk raised from small dairy farms in Ireland that are certified by the Ireland’s Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS).
This means that all dairy from these certified farms adhere to a strict protocol that sees them producing some of the purest dairy in the world. Every bottle of Legion Whey Isolate Protein costs just $50. If you’re particular about the source of your whey protein powder, then this is definitely the option to consider.
Key Takeaway: Low calorie, super-clean, grass-fed whey protein powder from cows raised in Ireland in keeping with strict standards.
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Beast Sports Beast Protein
If you’re looking for affordable high quality protein powders that you can take for a long time –think 2 months minimum- then Beast Sports’ Beast protein powder is what you need. It comes in a pretty big 4lb tub that contains about 52 servings, so you won’t need to worry about protein powders for a long time –unless you work out intensely every day.
It contains high grade fast and slow digesting proteins, a healthy amount of BCAAs and great digestive enzymes to speed up the digestive process. Each serving provides 25g of protein among other ingredients and comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors.
People who use this protein powder have recorded a significant increase in muscle growth, fat loss, and an improved sense of well-being. If you’re in the market for a best value protein powder, then Beast Protein powder is the protein supplement to get. Each jar costs just $60.
Key Takeaway: Protein powder that’s both easily digested and released slowly into the bloodstream to maintain lean muscle building.
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Huge Supplements Huge Whey
Huge Whey Protein powder has all the ingredients of a super-effective protein powder. The parent company prides itself in formulating and producing only well tested and extensively proven protein powders and bodybuilding supplements.
As one of the leanest high protein powders –because of the low fat content, each serving contains a mere 120 calories, 23g of protein, and 5g of BCAAs. It comes in different flavors including chocolate peanut butter, and cookies & cream.
It is effective as a meal replacement, and helps you build lean muscle, as well as, burn fat. Each bottle costs just $40 and will last you an entire month if you take it every day.
Key Takeaway: Proven whey protein powder for sustained muscle gain and fat loss.
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ProMix Whey Isolate Protein Powder
As one of the more powerful protein powders in the market, ProMix Whey Isolate Protein Powder serves as a muscle building and fat loss supplement. It also promotes post-workout recovery, thus helping you stay committed to your fitness goals.
One serving contains 30g of micro-filtered protein –one of the best protein grades, 6.6g of BCAAs, and 14.2g of essential amino acids. This is one of the best protein powders with the biggest protein and amino acid content.
The protein powder has two flavors: chocolate flavored and unflavored, and comes in both 2lb and 5lb jars. Both tubs cost $45 and $90, and provide 28 servings and 69 servings respectively.
Key Takeaway: High quality easy-to-digest protein powder with a superb nutritional profile and high protein quantity per serving.
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MTN OPS Magnum
If you prefer high quality protein powders with amazing flavors, then you should definitely check out MTN OPS Magnum protein powder. Each serving contains 23g of protein and 1.5g of glutamine.
And it comes in multiple flavors including Berries & Cream, Mountain Mocha, Vanilla Milkshake, and Birthday Cake. This is great for muscle building, fat loss, doubles as a meal replacement, and boosts strength. Each bottle is priced at $45 and offers a 30-day money back guarantee.
Key Takeaway: Top whey protein powder with high BCAA levels. Great for building muscle, recovering fast, and losing fat.
Learn more here
How Did We Choose These Protein Powders?
We didn’t choose these protein powder supplements arbitrarily. These protein powders were chosen on the basis of certain criteria and factors. These include:
Quality –High quality protein powders provide great value for money and provide the necessary health benefits.
Protein bioavailability per serving –Protein powders with high protein and BCAA quantity per serving work better than those with less (ideal numbers should be between 15g and 25g per serving).
Serving and scoop –We considered scoop sizes and settled on those that can provide the required protein serving in one or two scoops max.
Source of the protein –Plant, natural, grass-fed, 100 percent clean… these are some of the metrics we considered and only included the best ones
Types of protein –Protein types vary in their effectiveness and results. For example, micellar casein protein is not the same as whey isolate.
Fitness goals and wellness intentions –We covered protein powders that can deliver a wide range of health benefits including weight loss, fat burn, lean muscle growth, and digestibility.
Medical formulation –Medically formulated protein powders are often scientifically crafted with real proven ingredients, and tend to adhere to strict research and regulatory standards (those were mentioned).
Relevant regulatory authority certifications –We included those with certifications from USDA and SDAS.
Macro and micro nutrient profiles and balance –We chose protein powders based on their calorie content or lack of it, presence or absence of added sugars, and much more. For example, we made sure that meal replacement powders had the necessary nutritional profile.
Taste and flavors –some people like unflavored protein shakes, others prefer to have some flavor. The one thing everyone agrees on is that protein powders should be moderately sweet, have pleasant flavors, and be easy to mix. All those on this list met these requirements.
Ability to mix with other foods and drinks –This is a small thing, but some folks prefer to mix their protein powders with their smoothie, food or water.
Ease of digestion –These were a major consideration. All products were checked for fast, slow and moderate digestibility, and so indicated.
Brand reputation –Products were chosen from known manufacturers with good track record, transparency, and positive industry reputation.
The use of natural ingredients and other complementary ingredients –The powders in this list have only natural ingredients and zero artificial flavors.
Price and affordability –Value, cost, and affordability played a role in the choice of these protein powders.
Money back guarantee –Reputable supplement companies allow buyers the opportunity to request a refund if they’re unsatisfied with their products. Most of the brands on this list offer a 30-day to 365-day money back guarantee.
Can Just Anyone Take Protein Powders?
That depends on what your nutritional needs are. While protein powders are typically taken by fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders, the reality is that anyone looking for meal replacement options and healthy protein sources can buy protein powders and drink or mix them with food.
Protein powder manufacturers have observed this and have therefore created protein powders for different purposes. For instance, there are protein powders for weight loss, building lean muscle, boosting immunity, improving digestive issues, and many more.
That being said, if you fall into one of the following categories, then you should definitely buy some protein powders and take it on a daily basis:
- Individuals looking to burn fat whilst retaining muscle
- People looking to build muscle and bulk up
- Fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilding pros looking to improve their muscle gains, attain new personal bests, and improve their strength
- People looking to improve their overall wellness and immunity
- People looking for meal replacement options that will suppress appetite and improve satiety
- Plant food enthusiasts who prefer plant-based protein options
- Busy folks who have little or no time to prepare healthy meals, but still want to eat healthy
- People suffering from diabetes who want to manage their blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings
- People who want to improve their heart health
- Individuals who want to enjoy an accelerated rate of recovery from their workouts
If you fall into one of more of the aforementioned categories, then, buy protein powders that specifically target your health goals.
Benefits of Protein Powders
There are individuals who believe that protein powders are ere placebos –that they don’t really do anything for you. Yet, tons of studies have been carried out testing the efficacy of protein powders. These studies have proven that protein powders have many benefits. Some of these benefits include:
Enhanced Lean Muscle Development
Research has shown that people who take whey protein powders while lifting weights or undergoing any resistance training tend to build more lean muscle than those who do not. And this applies to individuals across all age groups, including men in their 50, and 60s. So, if your goal is to build lean muscle mass faster, then you should add some protein powder to your workout supplement mix.
Increased Endurance and Strength
If your training is for the purpose of building strength, stamina, and endurance, protein supplements are a necessity. These will help unlock new levels of strength and endurance, thus causing you to bang out more reps and sets for longer. By adding protein supplements like whey isolate to your workout supplements, you’ll experience more growth and attain peak physical condition faster.
Weight Loss and Fat Burn
If you’re looking to lose weight and get in shape, protein powders will help you achieve that goal faster. They do this by helping you train longer and harder. They also help with increasing your metabolism and suppressing your appetite. This way, you’ll be in a calorie deficit on a daily basis, eventually leading to weight loss. People who take these powders are clearly at a better advantage when it comes to lowering overall body fat and increasing muscle mass.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
While cardiovascular health is a tricky thing, protein powders can help you do this indirectly. First, it provides an avenue for you to not only eat healthier, you’ll also be able to limit your consumption of junk foods. And because it encourages satiety, you’ll end up eating less food than you normally would.
Also, you’ll be able to exercise more and get your heart pumping at an optimal rate. Plus, these protein supplements can help lower your systemic inflammation, which often increases the risk of poor cardiovascular health. These combined, result in improved cardiovascular health.
Does the Type of Protein You Take Matter?
It appears so. While taking some form of protein powder is better for your health than not taking any at all, some protein powders seem to produce far better outcomes than others.
For example, when it comes to muscle building, whey protein is better than soy protein and casein protein by 32 and 132 percent respectively. This doesn’t mean that soy and casein protein are ineffective, it just means that whey protein outperforms them all.
This is because all protein types are digested at different speeds and tend to have varying amounts of leucine –an amino acid that accelerates protein digestion. Whey protein has higher amounts of leucine and other compounds, compared to the other two.
However, that doesn’t negate the effectiveness of other protein types or sources. For instance, fitness enthusiasts used to think that plant-based and vegan protein powders were somehow less effective than animal-based protein powders.
These days, that notion has been proven wrong as plant-based protein powders sourced from peas, hemp, and other plant sources, have been proven to be just as effective as whey protein when it comes to muscle building, appetite suppression, and strength gains.
Types of Protein Powders
It’s easy to assume that apart from the protein sources –animal and plant- protein powders are essentially the same. And you would be forgiven for that mistake if you assumed that.
However, the reality is that there are different types of protein powders, with varying potencies and which tackle multiple issues. It’s important to note these sources so that when next you want to go buy protein powders, you’ll be able to distinguish between the various types and buy the one that’s best for you.
This is the most popular protein type extracted from milk ad is well-known for its ability to increase muscle growth and improve post-workout recovery rate. This has three forms:
Whey Protein Concentrate –the most common form of whey protein. Has a 30-90 percent protein ratio, and contains small amounts of carb and fat.
Whey Protein Isolate –this is a “skinnier” whey protein in the sense that it goes through a processing stage where the lactose or fat are removed. This makes it a superior whey protein because it’s made up of almost pure protein (90 percent).
Whey Protein Hydrolysate –this is hydrolyzed whey protein that’s much easier and faster for the body to absorb.
This protein has longer absorption duration. It works in a slow release manner, thus allowing your body to make use of it slowly and over a period of time. This is best for individuals who want to give their bodies ample time to absorb the protein and get the maximum nutritional benefits.
This used to be the most popular source of protein powder in the heydays of bodybuilding. However, there’s a gradual rise in demand for the protein type these days. This is made by simply extracting egg white protein and transforming it into a powdered form.
This way, individuals can get access to all the nutritional benefits of egg-whites without the need to cook or eat them in their natural forms. If you’re allergic to dairy products like whey or lactose intolerant, egg protein sources can meet your protein needs.
Extracted from the hemp plant, these proteins offer plant-based protein options for vegans and non-animal consuming individuals. It’s a rich source of amino acids –has 7 and omega-3 fatty acids. It is very easy to digest, which means your body can enjoy the rewards of this protein pretty fast.
Because peas are readily available and affordable, this protein source is popular among vegans looking for an affordable plant-based protein powder. Protein powders that are made from peas tend to be rich in fiber content, which is why they’re great as plant-based meal replacement powders or supplements.
Although soy protein isn’t as popular as the others, it still works as a good source of protein. While it is a solid protein source, many people avoid it because of something called phytoestrogens –these supposedly reduce the production of testosterone. While these assertions haven’t been verified, they are still enough to deter the widespread adoption of this protein source.
Brown Rice Protein
This is a popular protein source for vegans and people who prefer plant-based protein powders. Popularly known as rice protein powder, this is very rich in amino acids. The only downside is that its leucine levels aren’t as high as they are in whey protein powders. These low leucine levels are why they’re often mixed with pea proteins.
Collagen protein powders are typically taken to slow down aging, build muscle, improve overall health, and supplement the natural collagen levels in the body. These are great if you’re looking for protein supplements that not only aid muscle building, but promote overall wellness.
Do Protein Powders Have Side Effects?
Most people take protein powders in the recommended quantities without any issues. However, there are individuals who are allergic to whey or lactose intolerant. These people will likely react adversely to whey protein powders.
Also, you need to stick to the recommended protein powder dosages –an average of 0.75g per pound of bodyweight. So, if you weigh 200lbs, you’ll require about 150g of protein powder per day.
If you are very active or trying to add more muscle mass, you may want to up your protein to at least 1g per pound of bodyweight for maximum results.
Protein Powder FAQs
In this section, we’ll address some of the common questions that people tend to ask about protein powders. This way, you can quickly look them up and see if they’ve already been answered. This will save you a lot of time.
Q: How Much Protein Do I Need to Take for Max Results?
A: There’s a wide range of optimal protein intake dosages, and they depend on the reason why you want to take them. For instance, people who want to build muscle and lose weight should take between 0.7g and 0.8g per pound of their weight. Those looking to improve their wellness require between 0.3g and 04g per pound of body weight, while those looking to maintain their muscle and bulk only need to take 0.5g per pound.
Q: What’s the Best Type of Protein Powder?
A: That’s a tricky question because there are different protein sources and powders for different health goals. However, medical professionals often prescribe proteins from natural foods. If you have to take protein powders, you can always choose from the many whey or vegan protein powders listed in this article.
Q: What’s the Best Way to Take Protein Powders?
A: You can take them as you please. Some people prefer mixing them with edibles or drinks, while others prefer taking them alone with water. If you’re choosing the latter, make sure you’re taking the pleasantly flavored and delicious protein powders; as the unflavored brands can be bland.
Q: What’s the Difference between Complete and Incomplete Proteins?
A: Complete proteins have the full range of amino acids –all 9 of them- and they’re effective for muscle building, recovery, and tissue repair. Incomplete proteins only have a few amino acids, and even though they’re great, they’re not as potent as the complete ones.
Q: When’s the Best Time to Take Protein Powders?
A: There’s really no set time of the day. Just take it whenever you feel like or according to the health goals you have. Many people recommend taking it before your workout, during or even after. Experiment with these time frames to see which works for you.
If your goal is to control food cravings and feel full throughout the day, you can take it in the mid-morning. If you’re looking to improve your muscle repair or post workout recovery, then you should take it post workout or at night before bed.
Q: Can Protein Powders Cause Kidney Damage?
A: Unless you have an underlying kidney issue, protein powder is totally safe to take. If you have any concerns about your kidneys and the possible impact of protein powders on them, consult your physician.
Q: Does Protein Help With Muscle Building?
A: Absolutely. Here’s a ton of research out there clearly stating and linking the benefits of protein powders to strength and resistance training outcomes.
If you’re looking to burn fat, improve your bodily composition, gain muscle, bulk up, or just improve your overall sense of wellness and vitality, protein powders can help you.
Combine this with a proper exercise regimen and you’ll get impressive results. The protein supplements in this article are some of the best protein powders in 2021. So, whether you’re in the market for the best whey protein powders or quality vegan plant-based protein powders, you’ll find everything you need in this guide.
Learn more about our top protein powder pick here
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