What's the Best Protein Powder?
If your goal is to burn fat…
If your goal is to build muscle…
If your goal is to live a healthier and more active lifestyle…
Protein will play a crucial role.
Protein can help you burn more calories.
Protein feeds your muscle tissue so it can grow and recover.
Protein helps your skin, joints, cartilage, and all connective tissues become stronger.
Protein even helps promote a stronger immune system.
Safe to say that no matter your goal … Protein is important.
We see individuals under eating protein and falling short on the amounts they should be taking in every single day.
This will hold you back when it comes to burning fat, building muscle, and living the healthiest lifestyle possible.
Most of us are just too busy to eat 4-6 meals per day … which is generally what it takes to hit your daily protein goal.
Which should roughly be around your body weight in grams. For example, if you weigh around 185 pounds, you should be shooting for 185 grams of protein per day.
That can be hard to do … no denying that.
We will be the first to tell you ... you don't NEED a protein shake.
However, many of us fall short on hitting our protein goals.
When it comes to seeing the best possible results ... protein shakes are one of the most beneficial supplements you should be using.
“I probably need a protein shake … I understand that now, but which one should I use?"
Let’s talk about why all protein is not created equal.
Here are the three most important things to consider:
1. How are you looking to use the protein?
2. Should you be looking for Whey Protein, Vegan or Plant Based Protein, Soy Protein, etc? Which one is best?
3. How is the protein being manufactured? What type of processes does the company use? (The best and highest quality brands disclose this information on their labels!)
Let’s break this down a little more:
Are you looking for shakes to help supplement your daily protein intake ... or for a shake to help you recover after a workout? (Yes ... there's a difference!)
If you are looking for a shake to help you supplement your protein intake throughout the day or a shake that is more of a meal replacement … ideally you'd be looking for what is known as a Sustained Assimilation Protein.
Sustained Assimilating protein shakes will break down over a 2-3 hour time frame … just like whole foods.
These will bridge the gap between whole food meals, making sure you hit that important daily protein goal! These are by no means “needed” … but they can be a lifesaver when it comes to seeing the best possible results!
Remember, you want to be hitting your body weight in grams as consistently as possible. These shakes make that EASY to do.
If you're looking for more of a recovery shake, you'd want to be looking for what is known as a Hydrolyzed Isolate or Rapid Assimilation Protein.
Rapid Assimilating protein shakes break down quickly, flooding your muscle tissue with the necessary amino acids to rebuild and recover!
Remember, if you are not recovering correctly … you will be lacking results.
Whole foods do not break down as fast as these shakes can. These are pre-digested, which allows your body to do much less work and gets amino acids to your damaged muscle tissue quickly.
Post-workout is the only time where supplements beat whole foods!
Women should be getting about 20 grams of a whey protein isolate post workout, and men should be shooting for around 40 grams.
This will also factor towards your total amount for the day … helping you hit that protein target as well as build more muscle and burn more fat!
Should I use a Whey, Vegan or other form of protein shake?
Well … that depends.
I will say, the only time I would avoid whey protein is if you are following a vegan diet or have an allergy to whey protein (which is rare).
The reason for this being that whey protein has an extremely rich essential amino acid profile.
Think of whey protein as having all the necessary pieces needed to burn the fat and build muscle. Other forms of protein have less of the essential amino acids needed to recovery and build muscle. These other forms can work … they just aren't ideal.
In general, proteins from animal sources have a much stronger amino acid profile than plant-based protein sources.
How is this protein being manufactured?
How protein powders are made is the most important factor to consider when choosing an option. Protein is EXTREMELY sensitive to heat and chemicals.
Many brands choose to use high temperatures and chemical sources to break down protein and get it ready to be bottled and purchased.
Using high heat is cheaper, faster, and easier for companies during the manufacturing process.
To avoid this, you should be looking for two very important descriptions that will be directly on the protein label itself:
Low Temperature Processing – Meaning the company is NOT using high temperatures during the manufacturing process.
High heat denatures and hurts the protein, making it much harder to digest and efficiently absorb the protein within your body.
Cross Flow Microfiltration (CFM) – Meaning the company is NOT using a chemical based processing during the manufacturing process.
Chemicals will also damage the protein and make it harder for the body to take it in and use it for your goal! CFM is a natural filtering process that requires more time to manufacture … but CFM yields a better product in the end.
These two factors will DRASTICALLY effect the quality, taste, digestion ... and even how you feel right after you drink it!
If your shake tastes off, is clumpy when you mix it up and causes bloat and/or gas… that particular brand is most likely not following the above practices!
When they use the right manufacturing techniques … the shakes taste amazing and mix perfectly. They will also lead to you seeing much better results.
If the brand that makes your shake uses these processing techniques … they will disclose this on their labels.
If they're not disclosing this … there's a good chance they're not doing it.
This was quite a bit of information but very important information none the less ... so, here's a quick recap: 1.) Protein is critical when it comes to seeing health and fitness success. 2.) Use the right type of protein for the job you are trying to get done. 3.) Choose a high quality whey protein that is low temperature processed and Cross Flow Microfiltered.
If you need help picking out which protein shake is right for you, head into your closest Supplement Superstores
to talk to one of our Certified Sports Nutrition Specialists.
We'll help you find exactly what you need to hit your fitness goals.*This post was written by Andrew Lynn, who has a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. He is also a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.