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What is the best protein powder for you?

Posted on August 31, 2018

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There are so many protein powders on the market today, the choice can be daunting to say the least. The best protein powder for you will be the one that suits your goals and budget. For those that don’t know, proteins are the foundation of any nutrition plan, as they provide us with important nutrients called essential amino acids. Proteins are actually made from amino acids linked together by peptide bonds in a long chain. Though the chain should be visualised gathered up into a ball, in one big jumble, as this is how they appear under a microscope. Protein helps us recover and repair after training or sports, and also delivers many other benefits. Though protein is present in many foods like beef, chicken, eggs and fish, eating a lot of these foods can sometimes be difficult, which is where protein powders come into the equation. Most protein powders supplements contain more than enough protein to keep us on track, delivering great results for physical performance and health.

 

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Why have Protein Powders in Addition to food?

There are many advantages to using a protein powder, in addition to eating quality protein food. They are not designed to replace main meals, rather than supplement to low-protein meals or fill in the gaps of mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Here are a few for you of the benefits of protein powders:

 

  • Convenience

  • Quick absorption post training or sport

  • High proportion of nutrients digested, absorbed and delivered

  • Nutrients and Amino Acids delivered across the day

  • Superior Recovery and Repair


Now onto the main subject ... what is the best protein powder for you? There will be different pieces of information below, when combined, will give you a good idea of what type of protein powder is best suited to your needs.


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Weight Gain, Lean Muscle or Weight Management?

Generally, most protein powders sit in one or two of the above categories. Let’s start with the weight gain protein powders. These protein powders typically have protein as a base and also carbohydrates and sometimes even fats added, as well as other ingredients. So if you have difficulty gaining weight or just want to bulk up fast, these are ideal. Alternatively, if you are involved in a sport or training program that requires a lot of stamina, energy and endurance, weight gain protein powders would be a good choice for you to keep you glycogen loaded and full of energy.

 

With lean muscle gain you have to consider your protein intake and carbohydrate intake throughout the day. Not everyone is equal when it comes to knowing how much protein and carbohydrates you need to keep gaining lean muscle while keeping your body fat levels down. Most people looking at gaining good quality lean muscle stick with a straight protein powder with no carbs. These can come in either a single source protein or a protein blend. A single source protein powder uses usually a Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) or Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) only. Protein blends are the most abundant and also the most popular as well. Protein blends have two or more different protein sources and they usually contain fast and slow acting proteins. So if you are looking at boosting your protein intake throughout the day and keeping your carbohydrates to a minimal level a protein blend would be your choice.

 

The weight management protein powders usually fall into the high protein / low carbohydrate category, but most of them have either one protein source or a protein blend as their base. On top of this there are other ingredients added on top of the protein base to help you with weight management. These specialised protein powders can be used for weight (fat) loss programs as well as lean muscle gain, if that is your goal.

 

What Brand of Protein Powder?

There certainly are hundreds of protein powder brands in the market today. And at Sporty’s Health we have an absolute cracker of a range to choose from, at prices to suit every budget. So where do you start? If you are a complete beginner, you can start by dropping us a line or email  to ask which brand would be best for you. We have already put a lot of thought and consideration into picking the best protein brand to to suit the various needs of our customers. And you can also be sure that if it wasn’t a trusted, quality brand with positive reviews and feedback, we wouldn’t be stocking it. So that covers the beginners. Next are the Seasoned Pros, you more than likely would have a good idea of what works for you with regards to brands. But you can still ask if there are any new flavours or brands that have similar products if you are getting bored with your normal brand of protein powder. That covers picking the best protein brand for you.

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Natural Protein Powders   

Fortunately, we have the choice these days of pure and natural protein powders. These are a great natural alternative to the more mainstream protein powders. They are particularly good if you have allergies or specific dietary requirements, such as vegan or lactose free. These protein powders will have statements on them like the following:

No Artificial Flavours

No Artificial Colouring

No Artificial Sweetener

Organic Protein

Vegan Protein

Plant Protein

No Preservatives

No Added Sugar

Gluten Free

Nut Free

Great for Lactose Intolerant People

Alternative to Whey Protein

Great for Vegetarians

No Added Soy

 

So if your requirements fit into any of the above, make sure to read the labels and also ask us questions. We are here to help!

 

What type of Protein?

Last on this list to pick the best protein for you is picking the type of protein. There are many different types of protein used in protein powders these days and they can be pretty confusing too! There are the standard ones used in most protein supplements, such as Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate and Micellar Casein. Also you have all of the protein types that are used in the natural protein powders above, such as pea protein, rice protein and sacha inchi seed protein. And then you can have variations of the above, all mixed together in protein blends. So when it comes to picking the type of protein you need, it may come down to your goals and also cost. If you choose a straight Whey Protein Isolate protein powder this is a high level protein and the price is going to be higher. If you choose a blended protein powder, this may contain a blend of Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate and others in its formula. This blend will usually cost you a bit less than the straight Whey Protein Isolate.


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For vegans, obviously plant based protein powders, such as rice protein or pea protein, or vegan-based blends are going to be perfect. These days, there is quite the range of exotic flavours to choose from, such as salted caramel and white chocolate. They are a far cry (and you would cry) from the plant based powders of yesteryears that pretty much tasted like blended cardboard and sand. Gulp. If you are looking for a sustained-release protein that is going to be a little more filling,  then a casein or egg white based protein is perfect, or for vegans, a pea protein isolate is the best option, as rice protein is rapidly digested and absorbed, comparable to whey protein isolate. If you suffer with weak digestion, with symptoms such as bloating, gas and reflux, then you main priority in selecting a protein powder should be digestibility. This process is not to be underestimated in importance. Fortunately, there are a range of products these days to suit, such as hydrolysed whey protein isolate, which is a pre-digested product. Alternatively, for vegans, a rice protein may be the best option, though this still needs to be digested, or an essential amino acid blend derived from bacterial fermentation would also suit. So this is just another thing you have to consider when making the choice of which protein powder to use.

 

Where to from here?

So you have things to consider from above when picking the best protein for you. We talked about your goals, what brand of protein powder, natural proteins, the protein source in the powder you are choosing and even digestibility. All these factors and many more have to be considered before you make the right choice. Then you get to do the fun stuff like taking home the protein powder, scooping it into your shaker, shaking it up and drinking it down like liquid gold. If it does feel a bit daunting or you need to ask some questions, contact us here at Sporty’s Health. We are only happy to help and guide you in the right direction. It’s what we do every day.