Whenever someone starts talking about fitness and muscles, you know that one topic will eventually come up: protein.
Protein and muscle recovery go hand in hand, so if you didn’t care much about your protein intake, well… that’s probably why your muscles still look like they are dying.
You can go for every kind of protein forms, but the most convenient one is protein powder. Unlike protein shakes or protein bars, you can decide for yourself how much you want to make – without letting the rest go to waste.
This guide will have everything you need to know about protein powder so that you can eventually become a fitness master.
Protein is one of the primary nutrients found in foods like meat, beans, dairy, and nuts – just to name a few. In its composition it has amino acids, the main ingredients that promote healthy skin, bones, hair, fingernails and – you guessed it – muscles.
Nutritionists would generally recommend that you take your protein intake from whole foods instead of protein powder. However, you may want to keep in mind that not every type of food or protein powder is created equal. The wrong kind of protein supplements may make you build up fat instead of muscle.
Therefore, if you want to bulk up or successfully replace your fat with muscle, then you may want to start investing in the best protein powder or at least some other superior forms of protein supplements.
Even the best protein supplement will have its pros and cons, so when you choose your protein powder, you may want to become acquainted with the types of protein you are going for.
If you think that “as long as it says protein, it doesn’t matter,” then you couldn’t be more wrong. When you take out the protein from the food source, and you remove the non-protein bits, then that protein powder will be “protein concentrate.
”With protein concentrate, you will have 70%-85% of the protein in the composition. The rest that remains will be fat and carbohydrates.
If you take the removal process further, you will get to “protein isolate.” A protein powder with protein isolate will be even more “isolated” from non-protein parts, making the pure protein percentage even bigger. The best isolate protein supplements will have at least 95% pure protein, with the rest being carbohydrates and fat.
Last but not least, we have protein powder with protein hydrolysates. This is obtained through further heating with the enzymes or acids, which will eventually break the bond between the essential amino acids. As a result, your body will be able to absorb them much quicker, allowing your muscle to grow faster.
Keep in mind that hydrolysates have a tendency of raising your insulin levels, which may be a problem if you have diabetes. While the sugar can enhance muscle growth, you must make sure that your health won’t have to suffer because you used the wrong kind of protein powder.
Sometimes, our body needs some acids that cannot be produced by themselves. Those acids are known as amino acids.
As you can probably guess from the name, a whole protein powder will have all of the essential amino acids that we need (a total of 9). On the other hand, an incomplete protein will have only some of those amino acids, but not all.
A cheap protein powder will generally have fewer essential amino acids and will be made from protein concentrate. It will be a tricky journey to find the best protein supplement that will have both isolate and complete protein while still being cheap.
Obviously, protein doesn’t come out of thin air or some fruit called “protein.” We take the protein out from various sources, vegetal or animal.
The best protein powder is different for every person, according to their diet choice. They may be vegetarian, or they may prefer to have some meat on the table. There are also cases of intolerance to certain products.
This is why each protein powder choice should be made based on what you are tolerant to. Here are the most common sources used in every non-organic and organic protein powder.
The most popular source for protein supplements is whey. This one is a by-product that resulted from the process of making cheese from milk.
Why it’s cool: Many medical studies show that out of all protein sources, whey is the best one to promote fat loss and muscle growth. That’s why you have all the chances to find it listed in the best protein powder for weight loss.
Whey is also is a great support for a healthy metabolism and a healthy cardiovascular system. It’s easily absorbed by the body, which is why fitness nuts love to use a whey-based protein powder after a hard workout.
Another plus that everyone loves in whey is that it’s pretty inexpensive – which is why every cheap protein powder is likely to be based on whey. Combined with other flavors like vanilla and chocolate, it can be a delicious delicacy and a source of nourishment as well.
The drawbacks: There are many people who are lactose intolerant (more exactly, to the sugar found in the milk), which is why such a protein powder may be the cause of indigestion.
As you guessed already, egg protein has its source in eggs. It’s a complete protein that you can get by separating the yolks and drying out the egg whites, making it one of the top protein powders.
Why it’s cool: Egg protein is very rich in simple protein. However, aside from that, egg protein is also rich in the vitamins and minerals that we need so badly in our life. A diet based on egg protein has all the chances of turning our bodies into a temple of health. This is why many people consider this to be the source of every best protein supplement.
The drawbacks: Just like in the case of whey, it’s not uncommon to have an allergy to eggs, especially if you are a child or a young adult. Plus, as opposed to whey protein powder, the one made from eggs is among the most expensive ones.
Like whey protein, this one is also a natural protein powder that has its source in milk. It is extracted from coagulated milk and concentrates/isolates the proteins from the carbs and fats.
Why it’s cool: Casein protein powder is similar in many aspects to whey protein powder. The only difference comes from the release process. Since casein takes a longer time to digest, it’ll take more time until you get that feeling of hunger. This is why experts believe that a protein shake made from casein protein powder is the perfect thing to drink before going to bed.
The drawbacks: The natural sugars in casein may lead to some nasty allergic reactions if you are intolerant to lactose. Plus, since it takes so long to break down, it’s not really recommended to consume it after a workout. You will need something that breaks down fast, such as whey protein powder.
Casein is also more expensive than whey, so obviously, your wallet may not be too happy about the purchase.
If protein coming from animal sources is not your cup of tea, then you might want to give soy protein powder a try. Soy is one of the very few plants that offer all the amino acids that we need, and not just a few of them.
Soy protein is usually found in most organic protein powder shakes and is considered by many the best protein supplement.
Why it’s cool: Protein that has been pulled out from the soybean is very great when it comes to promoting bone health and a proper immune function. Some researchers also say that soy-based protein can even help reduce the risk of some cancer forms and prevent cardiovascular disease. Plus, it’s also a relatively cheap protein powder, so yay for the health of your wallet as well!
The drawbacks: Protein powder made from soy is often low-cost and genetically modified. Unless it’s a high-quality soy protein, there’s a high chance that it might influence your hormone levels.
News flash! Natural protein powder made from rice is packed with protein. Even though many people believe that rice only contains carbohydrates, you’ll be surprised to find out that it has protein as well. Still, that only applies to brown rice and not its cousin, white rice.
Why it’s cool: Aside from the fact that brown rice has a very attractive amount of protein, it is also packed with fiber, vitamin B, and complex carbohydrates. It is also hypoallergenic and it’s a type of organic protein powder. This means that it will be digested fast and used entirely by the body.
The drawbacks: Unlike soy protein powder, rice doesn’t have the complete package of amino acids. This is why you will most likely have to mix it with other sources of protein to get everything that you need.
You didn’t believe you could take protein out of peas, did you? Well, news flash – you can! Pea protein is obtained from yellow split peas, and it is a very popular organic protein powder for vegans and vegetarians alike.
Why it’s cool: Just like with most plant-based proteins, a protein powder extracted from peas will be hypoallergenic. With the right additive, pea protein will be the only thing you need to get the full package of nutrients.
The drawbacks: Just like rice, pea protein powder doesn’t pack all the essential amino acids that your body needs. Because of this, you will have to complete it with other protein supplements to get the full selection.
You’re going to like this natural protein powder source. Hemp protein comes from the seeds of the plant called cannabis, and it has become very popular as a protein powder over the past few years.
Why it’s cool: Since it mixes a good amount of essential fatty acids, many people call hemp a “superfood.” Plus, since it’s from a plant source, it is hypoallergenic and vegan-friendly.
The drawbacks: Cannabis is illegal in many countries, which means that you can only harvest hemp in those countries where it has been legalized.
Choosing the best protein powder will pretty much depend on what your body can handle and whether or not you have an intolerance or allergy to certain foods. Your diet of choice will also be an issue when choosing the protein powder, so if you are a vegan, you may want to go for the best organic protein powder.
So you did your research and bought a whole bunch of the best protein supplement you could find. Now what? It can be difficult to figure out how and when to use these types of supplements, which is why we decided to help.
Overall, here are the most frequent uses of protein supplements. We will also tell you when you should use them.
Let’s say you woke up very late and you have 5 minutes to get out the door. The last thing you will have time for is to sit at the table and enjoy your breakfast.
So what do you do? This is when the best protein supplement will come in handy. You “cook up” a quick protein shake using that low carb protein powder you just bought and head out the door. Sure, it’s “on the run,” but such a breakfast is enough to fend off hunger for a while.
To get the best out of that protein shake, you may want to mix it with some fruits or vegetables as well. Just throw the protein powder along with the other ingredients in the blender, and it will be done in less than two minutes.
Here are some ideas of protein shakes you can enjoy in the morning. If it’s made right, the first one can be the best protein powder for men. You’ll need:
On the other hand, if you are looking for a good protein powder for women, then you may want to give this one a try:
Mix them in the blender until you get a smooth cream. This should keep you satiated enough until the next meal. The best protein supplement should keep you going for at least 3 hours.
There is this old belief that you should not eat anything after a workout. “I’ve worked this hard to burn these calories, why should I ruin it by taking more in?” Well, this is where you are wrong. There is a small window of opportunity after a workout when it is RECOMMENDED to get some protein supplements.
Here’s the thing: If you don’t give your muscles something to “chew” on, they will literally start screaming for help. Have you ever noticed how fresh you felt right after you finished working out and then half an hour later you were unable to hold yourself up your feet? Well, there you have it.
A protein shake made from a natural protein powder will help your muscles heal after a tough workout session. As a result, instead of feeling like you are dying, your muscles will actually be happy and growing – without making you fat.
We’ve mentioned above two recipes that were different for men and women respectively. This brings us to the next question: why should a protein powder be more useful for men than for women? Is it because of the ingredients list? Is anything in there actually unfit for the respective gender’s physique?
Well, not exactly. Look at it this way: the bigger you are, the more protein supplements you’ll need. And how many women have you seen to be of the same size as a man? Yep, we thought so too.
Due to their body structure, men will have different nutritional needs than women. While men need almost 40 grams of protein per day, women will do with just about half of that. That’s why, while men may require two scoops of protein powder, women won’t need more than one.
Many people believe that if a product says it’s for weight loss, then it will help you lose weight instantly. Of course, the same thing is believed about protein powder, which is why many people jumping into fitness won’t go to the gym without getting their dose of the best protein supplement.
Here’s the actual truth behind that myth. A protein powder for weight loss won’t cause you to lose weight. It will just help you make the process easier.
Here’s the thing: if your body is not nourished enough, it will enter starving mode, and it will cling to every piece of food you eat. Imagine what would happen if you did this for a longer time; instead of burning those calories, they will be stored and turned into fat. How’s that for weight loss?
As contradictory as it may seem, you do not need to starve yourself in order to lose weight. This is exactly why the best protein powder is supposed to have all the nourishments, vitamins and protein that you need for your body type. A low carb protein powder may also help you out in this aspect.
Technically speaking, protein powder for weight loss is something that will offer you all the macronutrients needed to sustain your daily activities and improve your digestion. It needs to be filling, yet with a low level of calories, sugars and dietary fat.
What you need to avoid, on the other hand, is a protein powder that is very high in calories, dietary fat and sugars. If you are looking for the best protein powder for women, you may also want to go for a low-carb one.
Search for products that have a good amount of fiber in them, since it will help with bowel movement. You may also want to look for a protein powder with the purest of protein content (isolate or hydrolysate).
So, go for a low carb protein powder that is high only in protein, and you are bound to lose weight.
As mentioned above, cutting down the carbs and using a low carb protein powder is probably the best way to keep you at the peak of your health and looks. No matter if you are looking for the best protein supplements for women or men, going low-carb will certainly have a few perks for you, some of them being the following:
.As you can see, a diet based on low carb protein powder will improve your quality of life, will decrease muscle pain, lift your spirit and help you burn fat much faster. It will take some time to find the best low carb protein powder, but once you do, you will be unstoppable.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you don’t want to find any chemical or animal sources in your protein powder. The best protein supplement should be as natural as possible.
And that’s for a good reason. Our bodies were not made to consume chemicals, yet every day we are exposed to them. Regardless if they are within the protein powder or the environment, our bodies will never truly accept chemical-treated products.
This is why we are overjoyed when we get our hands on an organic protein powder. Since they have not been treated with anything, your body will not have to process toxins along with the nutrients. As a result, if you go for an organic protein powder, it will act as a detox agent for your body. Therefore, it will help you lose weight much faster.
An organic protein powder has most chance to be protein isolated and has all the necessary amino acids. Since it wasn’t chemically treated or anything, the benefits will not be lost – so they will be there, ready for the reaping!
The highest quality organic protein powder is generally plant-based. Therefore, look for hemp, rice, or soy protein powder.
When it comes to buying the best protein powder, then you can definitely find something for you. Regardless if it is the best cheap protein powder, best protein powder for women or the top protein powders for men, you are bound to discover something suitable for your taste.
Keep in mind that when you buy protein supplements, you really get what you pay for. If you go for a cheap protein powder, you may find out that your body cannot properly digest it – since there’s a high chance that is has been pumped with chemicals. If you know that your stomach is sensitive, you may want to go for an organic protein powder or at least a natural protein powder.
Keep in mind the level of your activity and your gender as well. If the protein powder you purchased does not have the necessary nutrients, then the result will be close to pointless. The top protein powders will balance the proteins and essential amino acids that you need in order to reach your goal.