There are so many things to consider when searching for the best whey protein powder that’s right for you, but here is a short list of the most important factors to help you make the best informed decision.
- Type of Protein – One of the most important things to consider in a whey protein is the type of protein to use. Read more about the types of whey protein below.
- Taste – This is definitely a make or break factor in my personal decision on a protein powder product. If it doesn’t taste good, you won’t drink it!
- Quality – This goes hand in hand with the type of protein to choose. You want to put the best ingredients in your body for the money you spend.
- Amount of protein per serving – Obviously, you want to get the most bang for your buck. The most protein per serving for the lowest cost.
Ultimate Whey Protein Comparison Guide
All whey protein products are comparatively similar in size.
Flavors differ in price.
If you are like me, you’ve probably spent more money than you would like to admit and tried almost every brand of protein powder out there. There are many questions to be asked when trying to choose the best whey protein powder. Questions like
- What do all those ingredients do?
- Where does the protein powder come from?
- Which type of protein should I choose? Isolate, Hydrolysate, Concentrate?
- What are the side effects of whey protein powders?
- What’s the difference between heat and cold processing and how does it affect the protein powder?
- How do I know it contains the best proteins I really need?
What is the Best Whey Protein?
How do you choose the best whey protein? Whether you’re looking to cut fat, build lean mass, or just supplement your diet, whey protein is a must have in anyone’s supplement regimen. It has been scientifically proven to improve and/or enhance performance, recovery, and is a major building block in building lean mass. With hundreds, even thousands, of whey protein products on the market, how do you know which products are the best for you? I’ve put together the ultimate guide to the best whey protein products out there.
Whey protein provides the highest quality protein among all other proteins. It contains all the essential amino acids the body needs. Your body loses its ability to produce amino acids as you get older. These amino acids are critical in the production of energy, building muscle, and immune functions. Increasing the amount of amino acid supplementation is even more important as you age, when recovering from injury or illness, and especially after strenuous exercise. Whey protein is beneficial to anyone living an active lifestyle.
Types of Whey Protein
Whey protein typically comes in three major forms: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate.
- Concentrates are high in lactose, fat, and cholesterol, compared to other forms of whey protein. Concentrates are more likely to cause some mild side effects such as gas, bloating, and some constipation due to the higher amounts of lactose.
- Isolates are more processed than concentrates to remove the fat, and lactose. Whey protein isolates are much easier to digest and therefore, are less likely to cause side effects associated with lactose.
- Hydrolysates are one of the best forms of whey protein, but comes with an increases cost as well. Despite the higher cost, hydrolysates have an added benefit of being less likely to cause adverse side effects some people may experience with concentrates and isolates.
- Combinations – Most major brands of whey protein supplements will offer combinations of the different types in order to get the full spectrum of benefits from each source. Be wary of those that feature, or have a high percentage of concentrates to avoid some of the side effects that are associated with concentrates.
- Casein ProteinCasein is the second most popular protein powder. What makes it different to whey protein is that it has a considerably slower digestion period. This allows for a slower release of amino acids (organic compounds that combine to form proteins). Although it may not be perfect for a post-workout (you need a fast absorbing protein), it is a good choice for building muscle and helping with muscle recovery. Most people agree casein protein is good before bed.
Advantages of Whey Protein Supplements
Lose Fat and Preserve Muscle
Shedding that stubborn belly fat while preserving your hard earned gains is a very delicate balance and almost impossible without the proper diet. Including whey in your diet has been proven to significantly increase muscle anabolism while reducing body fat at the same time!
Increase Size and Strength
If you are looking to gain lean muscle mass and increase strength, you should definitely include whey protein supplement regimen. Consuming creatine and whey protein before and after workouts has been shown in some studies to increase muscle mass and strength.
Foods that are high in protein like chicken, eggs, fish, and whey protein, take longer to digest and help you feel full longer. Eat foods high in protein at every meal to help curb hunger and thin your waistline.
Improved Immune System
Whey protein increases glutathione levels that impact gastro-intestinal function as well as, certain functions of the nervous system, and immune system. It also helps in maintaining normal levels of probiotics in the intestines. Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria in our intestines, and whey protein, like any dairy product, is one of the best ways to help maintain those levels.
Whey protein has been shown to inhibit cancer development, help reduce muscle wasting in the elderly, aid weight loss after gastric bypass surgery, reduce the risk of diabetes as well as many other astonishing medical benefits associated with including it in a healthy diet in addition to a regular exercise program.
Whey Protein Side Effects
Prolonged use in high doses can cause side effects such as intestinal cramps, slight bloating, water retention, increased/decreased bowel movements, and increased thirst. Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you may experience side effects like diarrhea and gas. Health professionals warn that taking too much whey protein can be dangerous and may lead to more serious side effects. (kidney stones, kidney failure, stress on the liver and ketosis). To avoid serious consequences, always use supplements in moderation and follow suggested serving suggestions.
(Milk allergy warning: If you are allergic to cow’s milk, avoid using whey protein.) Lactose intolerance is one of the most common whey protein side effects. If you are lactose intolerant, or think you might be, your best bet is to go with whey protein isolate because it contains only 1% of lactose, which is very low compared to the typical 5-6% or regular whey protein. Whey protein isolates and whey protein hydrolysates do not contain any lactose. Use these two types of whey protein to minimize any potential allergic reactions.
I love shakes and smoothies made with whey protein powder, especially after a tough workout. But, finding a protein powder that tastes good, has everything your body needs, with the right types of proteins that will give you the best results, all while not breaking the bank can be a real challenge. Using this guide can really help you cut down on the time of searching for the right best protein supplement for you.