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2018's 10 Best
Protein Powders

Protein powders are often used by athletes and gym goers to help their muscles recover faster and more effectively after a workout. Protein powders come with a wide range of benefits, from muscle growth and strength gains to weight loss. Protein plays a huge role in the body, helping to repair and build new body cells. It is fundamental in creating new cartilage, skin, blood, bones, and muscles.

While you work out, your muscles develop tiny micro tears when they are stressed by lifting or cardiovascular activity. After each workout, your body works hard to repair these muscle tears and rebuild them stronger and thicker than they were before. This makes it easier for them to withstand future stresses.

Protein powders are a staple supplement used by many people, and there are a variety of options available. Protein powders can use different ingredients and contain different amounts of protein in a serving. Here is an overview of protein powder’s benefits and some things to consider when looking for the right protein powder to purchase. Jump to Our 10 Best Protein Powders List


How Protein Powders Work


Protein powders are composed of a high percentage of protein, making them a great way to obtain this macronutrient while limiting your intake of fats and carbohydrates. Proteins are one of the most-used products in the human body, and they are critical for overall health. Protein powders come in a wide variety of forms. This helps everyone find the right product for them, regardless of dietary restrictions or health goals.

These powders often contain protein that is in readily digestible forms, allowing the body to access their nutrients quickly and easily. This is especially useful when these powders are taken as a post-workout supplement or meal replacement option. This allows the muscles to absorb the broken-down protein quickly and begin the healing process after a workout.


The Health Benefits of Protein Powders


Protein powders have a wide range of health benefits, including muscle growth, strength increases, and weight loss.

MUSCLE GROWTH & STRENGTH INCREASES

Muscle growth is one of the most common uses for protein powders. These products are commonly used as a post-workout supplement that can improve muscle growth after each workout. Protein is broken down in the body to form amino acids, which are the building blocks for creating new tissue, including muscle.

BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, make up the most important amino acids for muscle growth. The most important of these BCAAs is leucine, which has been shown in many studies to stimulate muscle growth. Many protein powders contain this amino acid. Protein powders can also stimulate various anabolic hormones that increase muscle growth.

As noted, protein powders are also usually in forms that are readily digestible, which allows the muscles to uptake them quickly after a workout and speed up the healing process. The effectiveness between various protein powders can vary significantly. One study compared protein synthesis in whey, soy, and casein protein powders. They found that whey protein was the most effective, beating out soy protein products by 31 percent and casein protein products by 132 percent.






WEIGHT LOSS

Another common use of protein powders is to help with weight loss. One of the most important aspects of weight loss is limiting the number of calories that you eat each day. Protein powders provide an energy-rich supplement option to obtain your daily protein requirements without consuming too many calories.

Protein powders can also help with your weight loss goals by reducing feelings of hunger. This makes you feel fuller for longer and reduces your desire to eat snacks during the day. Protein is very dense, meaning that it provides a large amount of energy and makes you feel satisfied. Whey protein has been shown to exhibit these effects more than either casein or soy proteins. These products can also boost your metabolism, helping your body burn more calories each day.

REDUCED CHOLESTEROL

Higher levels of cholesterol can have many negative effects on your health. This is especially true if you have high levels of LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, cholesterol. This type is known as “bad” cholesterol. It can block your blood vessels and increase your risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

One study looked at overweight individuals and tracked their LDL cholesterol levels. They gave some individuals a whey protein supplement and others a placebo. After six weeks, the people who took either whey or casein protein saw decreases in their blood pressure and total/LDL cholesterol levels.

REDUCED INFLAMMATION

Inflammation is a response that the body uses to heal damaged tissues. Inflammation can also occur after a workout while the muscle fibers attempt to heal. But chronic levels of inflammation can be very harmful and increase your risk for many diseases. One of the biggest indicators of your body’s inflammation levels is C-reactive protein, also known as CRP.

One review found that individuals who took whey protein supplements saw a significant decrease in the blood content of CRP. This was often seen in individuals who had high initial levels of these inflammatory markers.

TREATMENT FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that causes glucose levels in the blood to be too high. This occurs because the body is either unable to produce insulin or the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. These conditions prevent glucose from being removed from the blood and can cause very high blood sugar, which is dangerous.

Taking protein supplements, including protein powder, can help diabetics control their blood sugar levels. They can do this by both increasing total levels of insulin release and increasing insulin sensitivity. Egg protein exhibits these positive effects to a degree, but whey protein has been shown to be more effective in this regard. Some studies have shown whey protein to be almost as effective as certain diabetic drugs. The effects of protein powder have been shown to be extra potent when a protein supplement is taken before a meal. Jump to Our 10 Best Protein Powders List


What to Look for When Buying Protein Powders


Protein powder supplements come in three main forms: concentrates, isolates, and hydrolysates. This is especially true for whey protein products. Protein concentrates are generally formed by extracting protein from foods. It is often separated using acid, heat, and/or enzymes. Protein concentrate supplements often contain about 60 to 80 percent protein. The remaining percentage is composed of fat and carbohydrates.

The second most-common form of protein you can find in supplements is the isolate form. These products are purer and contain between 90 and 95 percent protein. These products contain much less fat and carbohydrates, making them a cleaner and healthier form of protein. Of course, that also means that these supplements are consequently more expensive.

The third form that is often found in supplements is protein hydrolysates. These products are similar to protein concentrates, but they use further amounts of enzymes or heat and acid treatments. This breaks down the protein further, making it easier for your body to digest and absorb. Hydrolysates are known to increase your body’s insulin levels more than the other forms, which can aid in increased muscle growth.

In addition to these three main forms, there are a variety of different protein sources. Here are a few of the most commonly manufactured proteins used in protein powders:

WHEY PROTEIN

Whey protein powder is derived from milk, and it is very high in protein. It also contains lactose though, which is a sugar commonly found in milk and is difficult to digest for some individuals. Whey protein is packed full of BCAAs, which play a large role in promoting muscle growth and muscle recovery. Whey protein is regarded as one of the most beneficial overall options.

CASEIN PROTEIN

Casein is also found in milk, but the body takes much more time to absorb it, when compared to whey. When casein is digested, it forms a gel in the stomach, which slows the pace of the stomach emptying and the resultant absorption of amino acids from protein. While slower absorption may seem like a bad thing, it has been shown to reduce the rate of muscle breakdown. Casein protein has been shown to increase muscle growth and strength, but it is not as effective as whey protein products.

SOY PROTEIN

Soy protein powder is made from the soybean, and it contains a number of isoflavones. One common isoflavone is genistein, which has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of cancer. Soy protein can play a role in blood sugar regulation, reducing body weight and lowering levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Soybeans also contain a large amount of fiber, iron, zinc, calcium, and B vitamins.

EGG PROTEIN

Egg protein, naturally, is produced with eggs. Specifically, it is made from egg whites. The protein found in eggs is easily digestible, and it leaves the body feeling full for a long period of time. But this benefit can be slightly reduced when the yolks are removed. Egg protein contains all essential amino acids that the body requires each day from food intake.

Egg protein also contains a high amount of BCAAs, which can be highly beneficial to muscle growth. While egg protein is not the most beneficial for post-workout benefits, it is a great option for individuals who are allergic to milk.

PEA PROTEIN

Pea protein is a relatively new product on the protein powder market. It provides an especially popular option for those who are vegetarian or vegan. Pea protein is also often used by individuals who are allergic to milk or eggs. This type of protein contains many of the necessary amino acids that are needed in the daily diet. While pea protein has been shown to be digested slower than whey protein, it is absorbed quicker than casein. Unfortunately, it can also taste pretty bad.





The Proper Dosage for Protein Powders


The proper dosage of protein powder generally depends on the specific protein supplement that you purchase. These products can vary widely in protein content, the number of calories per serving, and the amounts of fat and carbohydrates included. The average adult needs about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. If you are involved in recreational athletics, this amount increases to 0.5 to 0.6 grams. Competitive athletes require between 0.55 and 0.6 grams, and bodybuilders require approximately 0.7 to 0.9 grams. In addition to bodyweight, choosing the appropriate product and dosage is largely dependent on the benefits you wish to see.

If you are looking to lose weight, counting your calories is especially important. Protein powders may contain the same number of grams of protein, but the calories in each serving can vary from just over 100 to well over 500. Consuming a large number of calories in a protein shake is not beneficial for weight loss. On the other hand, if you are looking to add extra muscle mass, consuming excess calories is a critical piece of the puzzle, and having a macronutrient-packed drink can provide a great means to obtain this energy.


Possible Side Effects of Protein Powders


In general, protein powders are associated with very few side effects. The most common minor side effects include stomach discomfort (especially for casein protein), increased bowel movements, and bloating. Other potential side effects can include nausea, increased thirst, or headaches. Many of these can be due to lactose intolerance, and thus difficulty digesting the protein. Protein powders can cause allergic reactions. These reactions can result in hives, rashes, or body swelling. They could also result in anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening. To avoid this, don’t consume a protein powder that is derived from something you’re allergic to (e.g. milk, eggs, fish, etc).

Protein powders are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that they don’t require a high amount of testing before being placed on the market. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may want to consult with your doctor before taking a protein supplement.


Best Protein Powders


Our top 10 list of protein powders is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality protein powder. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.


References

  1. Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE The 7 Best Types of Protein Powder Healthline.com
  2. Clay McNight Soy Protein vs. Whey Protein LiveStrong.com
  3. Ryan Raman, MS, RD (NZ) Does Too Much Whey Protein Cause Side Effects? Healthline.com
  4. WebMD Whey Protein WebMD.com
  5. Kris Gunnars, BSc Whey Protein 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide Healthline.com
  6. Andrea Cespedes The Best Protein Powder for Gaining Muscle LiveStrong.com
  7. Atli Arnarson, PhD 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Whey Protein Healthline.com
  8. Gina Shaw Do You Need Protein Powders? WebMD.com

#1 - Myotein

Myotein quickly climbed to the top of the list as the best protein powder available, impressing us with both quality and price! With it's fast acting, high quality ingredients and potent effects. Myotein is premium protein powder that will give you the look you want! XPI delivers again with Myotein offering an experience you DON'T want to pass up! With this protein powder you will be fired up and ready to break records and take on the gym like never before.

Now available in 5 lbs! Keep Reading »
SPECIAL OFFER - 20% OFF! For A Limited Time - Get 20% Off XPI Myotein!View Offer »
SPECIAL OFFER - 20% OFF! For A Limited Time - Get 20% Off XPI Myotein!View Offer »
Myotein quickly climbed to the top of the list as the best protein powder available, impressing us with both quality and price! With it's fast acting, high quality ingredients and potent effects. Myotein is premium protein powder that will give you the look you want! XPI delivers again with Myotein offering an experience you DON'T want to pass up! With this protein powder you will be fired up and ready to break records and take on the gym like never before.

Now available in 5 lbs! Keep Reading »

#2 - Whey Isolate

Staunch Whey Isolate is 100% pure whey protein isolate, totaling 24 grams of protein per 100 calorie scoop. Each scoop contains 1 gram of Carbohydrate and 0 grams Fat, along with added digestive enzymes to help you break down the protein at a faster rate. Keep Reading »
Staunch Whey Isolate is 100% pure whey protein isolate, totaling 24 grams of protein per 100 calorie scoop. Each scoop contains 1 gram of Carbohydrate and 0 grams Fat, along with added digestive enzymes to help you break down the protein at a faster rate. Keep Reading »

#3 - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

Gold Standard 100% Whey is a protein powder from Optimum Nutrition has carved out its own niche and can help support better muscle recovery. This product uses the highest quality whey protein and is loaded with BCAAs. This great tasting product may be able to help you get results faster than ever before! Pure, powerful protein powder at your fingertips. Keep Reading »
SPECIAL OFFER - 75% OFF! Clearance Item - 75% Off 5 lbs. Mocha Cappuccino!View Offer »
SPECIAL OFFER - 75% OFF! Clearance Item - 75% Off 5 lbs. Mocha Cappuccino!View Offer »
Gold Standard 100% Whey is a protein powder from Optimum Nutrition has carved out its own niche and can help support better muscle recovery. This product uses the highest quality whey protein and is loaded with BCAAs. This great tasting product may be able to help you get results faster than ever before! Pure, powerful protein powder at your fingertips. Keep Reading »

#4 - Universal Nutrition Animal Whey

Universal Nutrition Animal Whey is specifically designed for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes who compete in strength competitions as well as those looking to increase their daily protein intake. Viewed as a foundational nutritional protein powder, Animal Whey offers 25 grams of protein in an Animal Whey Complex along with an Animal Whey Digestive Enzyme Blend. Keep Reading »
SPECIAL OFFER - 75% OFF! Clearance Item - 75% Off 10 lbs. [Cookies & Cream]View Offer »
SPECIAL OFFER - 75% OFF! Clearance Item - 75% Off 10 lbs. [Cookies & Cream]View Offer »
Universal Nutrition Animal Whey is specifically designed for bodybuilders, weightlifters, and athletes who compete in strength competitions as well as those looking to increase their daily protein intake. Viewed as a foundational nutritional protein powder, Animal Whey offers 25 grams of protein in an Animal Whey Complex along with an Animal Whey Digestive Enzyme Blend. Keep Reading »

#5 - GAT Essentials Whey Protein

GAT's Essentials Whey Protein is a Protein Isolate Blend comprised of both Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate, formulated to help build lean muscle. With 25 Grams Protein, 3 Grams Carbs, and 5 Grams BCAA's, Essentials Whey Protein is a well rounded protein supplement. If you're seeking a creamy, decadent, protein source that can help you reach your goals quicker, look no further. GAT strives to provide the highest quality products in order for every athlete to reach their optimal performance Keep Reading »
GAT's Essentials Whey Protein is a Protein Isolate Blend comprised of both Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate, formulated to help build lean muscle. With 25 Grams Protein, 3 Grams Carbs, and 5 Grams BCAA's, Essentials Whey Protein is a well rounded protein supplement. If you're seeking a creamy, decadent, protein source that can help you reach your goals quicker, look no further. GAT strives to provide the highest quality products in order for every athlete to reach their optimal performance Keep Reading »

#6 - BPI Sports ISO-HD

BPI Sports continues to make good on it's commitment to help you achieve your goals with sports nutrition products that offer high quality ingredients in effective formulas with its production of ISO-HD. Formulated with 25 grams of 100% whey protein isolate that is low in carbohydrates and lactose, ISO-HD contains all of the BCAAs that are needed to enhance protein synthesis and improve the growth of muscle as well as quicken the recovery of the body. Keep Reading »
BPI Sports continues to make good on it's commitment to help you achieve your goals with sports nutrition products that offer high quality ingredients in effective formulas with its production of ISO-HD. Formulated with 25 grams of 100% whey protein isolate that is low in carbohydrates and lactose, ISO-HD contains all of the BCAAs that are needed to enhance protein synthesis and improve the growth of muscle as well as quicken the recovery of the body. Keep Reading »

#7 - Dymatize ISO-100

Dymatize Nutrition maximizes the benefits of protein in ISO-100 through its use of hydrolyzed 100% whey protein isolate. Designed to increase the absorption of protein, this fast-acting protein provides the body with 25 grams of protein and 5.5 grams of BCAAs per serving with no gluten or lactose. With a formula that aids in the instantaneous delivery of the most effective and advanced proteins straight to the muscle, ISO-100 can help to repair and build muscle faster which can result in the ability to reach fitness goals sooner rather than later. Keep Reading »
Dymatize Nutrition maximizes the benefits of protein in ISO-100 through its use of hydrolyzed 100% whey protein isolate. Designed to increase the absorption of protein, this fast-acting protein provides the body with 25 grams of protein and 5.5 grams of BCAAs per serving with no gluten or lactose. With a formula that aids in the instantaneous delivery of the most effective and advanced proteins straight to the muscle, ISO-100 can help to repair and build muscle faster which can result in the ability to reach fitness goals sooner rather than later. Keep Reading »

#8 - CytoSport Muscle Milk

CytoSport Muscle Milk is a great tasting, low carb solution to increasing protein intake by CytoSport. Muscle Milk feeds your muscles with glycocyamine, A-B caseins, and growth peptides. This product pierces through your muscles delivering it the nutrients it needs! You will not want to miss out on this madness! Keep Reading »
CytoSport Muscle Milk is a great tasting, low carb solution to increasing protein intake by CytoSport. Muscle Milk feeds your muscles with glycocyamine, A-B caseins, and growth peptides. This product pierces through your muscles delivering it the nutrients it needs! You will not want to miss out on this madness! Keep Reading »

#9 - BSN SYNTHA-6

SYNTHA-6 is a quality product that contains 22 grams of blended proteins (whey, casein, and egg proteins). This makes it a great post-workout or night-time protein. The biggest pro is the taste. Just about every flavor is amazing. The primary con is the high calorie content.

If you're trying to bulk up, SYNTHA-6 is a great choice. But if you're trying to slim down, go with a lower calorie option. SYNTHA-6 is relatively high in fat (6g) and carbs (13g). Keep Reading »
SYNTHA-6 is a quality product that contains 22 grams of blended proteins (whey, casein, and egg proteins). This makes it a great post-workout or night-time protein. The biggest pro is the taste. Just about every flavor is amazing. The primary con is the high calorie content.

If you're trying to bulk up, SYNTHA-6 is a great choice. But if you're trying to slim down, go with a lower calorie option. SYNTHA-6 is relatively high in fat (6g) and carbs (13g). Keep Reading »

#10 - Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED

Transparent Labs' ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED consists of high quality ingredients and transparency, with only 112 calories. Each scoop offers 28 grams of Grass-fed Protein Isolate sourced from New Zealand, while being one of the industry’s highest protein-by-weight ratios at 88%. Build lean muscle with the cleanest protein made from naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey and clean of artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives. Keep Reading »
Transparent Labs' ProteinSeries 100% GRASS-FED consists of high quality ingredients and transparency, with only 112 calories. Each scoop offers 28 grams of Grass-fed Protein Isolate sourced from New Zealand, while being one of the industry’s highest protein-by-weight ratios at 88%. Build lean muscle with the cleanest protein made from naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey and clean of artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, and preservatives. Keep Reading »

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