Once you do decide that you’re ready to invest in a protein powder, it’s important that you first get well informed of the differences between the various protein powder types out there (e.g. whey protein isolate vs whey protein concentrate) , as well as the things to look for and things to avoid when comparing different brands. This helps you get the best protein powder available. By the end of this video, you’ll know exactly how to pick the right protein powder type for you, and how to separate the good from the not-so-good options out there.
First, let’s cover what the best protein powder type may be for you. Now, research has made it clear that Whey protein comes out on top. This is because Whey protein is both higher in leucine, one of the most important amino acids for muscle growth, and more effectively absorbed and used by the body when compared to various other protein powders and other protein sources in general. But Whey protein can be further broken down into: Whey Concentrate, Whey Isolate, and Whey Hydrolysate.
When it comes to whey protein isolate vs whey protein concentrate, the main difference here is that Whey Concentrate can range anywhere from 35-80% protein and typically contain the highest amount of lactose, carbs, and fats. Whereas Whey Isolates, although typically a bit more costly, are required to be at least 90% protein by weight, and therefore have considerably less fat and carbs. Hydrolysates on the other hand are whey concentrates or isolates that have been “pre-digested” to help with its absorption but have not been shown to be any more effective at increasing size or strength, yet is typically the most expensive option. Meaning that for the best bang for your buck, for most people a good quality Whey isolate protein is your best bet.
Plant-based options can be good if you have intolerances or sensitivities to Whey. The problem with plant-based proteins though is that they tend to be deficient in certain Essential Amino Acids and are less effective at promoting protein synthesis than Whey is. But you can partially compensate for this by combining different plant-based sources (e.g. a blend of rice and pea protein). Soy protein, although subject to much controversy, is another good plant-based protein powder.
Now, after you’ve chosen the protein powder (of all the protein powder types available) that best suits your needs, the next step is learning how to separate the good brands from the not-so-good brands. The first thing to avoid is the use of something called proprietary blends. You can do so by looking at the amount of protein you’re actually getting relative to the total scoop size.
The next trap you want to avoid falling for is something called protein spiking. Some companies add cheap nitrogen containing compounds into their formula, such as BCAA’s or creatine. To avoid this, again, just take a closer look at the nutrition label. The last and final thing to look out for is contamination (heavy metals and plastic derivatives). To minimize your risk as a consumer, simply find out what their testing protocols are and specifically what they test for.
Here are the main points to keep in mind when it comes to how to pick the right protein powder:
1. Whey isolate protein is likely the best bang for your buck. If going for a plant-based option, opt for a mixed protein powder (e.g. rice/pea protein).
2. Avoid powders with proprietary blends by looking closely at the nutrition label. There should not be a ton of listed ingredients (e.g. “blends”) nor should there be a big gap between the actual protein you get per serving compared to the total serving size.
3. To potentially avoid harmful levels of contaminants, do some research on the quality-control practices and testing protocols of the manufacturer.
If you’re going to be investing in protein, it’s worth putting in the additional effort to ensure that what you’re getting is a high quality product aligned with your specific goals. And for a step-by-step program that applies this same level of science and detail to your workouts, nutrition, and supplementation so that you can truly transform your body in the most efficient way possible, then simply take the analysis quiz to discover which science-based program would be best for you and where your body is currently at below:
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0:00 – What is the best type of protein powder?
1:23 – The 3 types of Whey protein
2:59 – The best plant-based protein
4:13 – Proprietary blends (avoid these!)
6:47 – Protein spiking
9:39 – Contamination
10:43 – Summary & Application