Protein powders


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder

Protein powders are dietary supplements designed to provide a high concentration of protein, a vital nutrient for muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall health. They’re often derived from sources like whey, casein, soy, pea, or rice. These powders are a popular choice among athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts for muscle building and recovery. Additionally, they cater to those with dietary restrictions or higher protein needs, such as vegetarians, vegans, or people with certain medical conditions. Protein powders are also used in weight management programs as they can help in maintaining muscle mass while losing fat. They come in various flavors and can be mixed with liquids like water or milk, making them a convenient and versatile source of high-quality protein

The top 10 Protein powders

Product name Image Rating Pros Cons Best Price More information

TOP PICK

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
5 star review
  • It’s rich in protein, aiding muscle growth and recovery
  • Offers a wide range of flavors to suit different tastes
  • It mixes well with liquids, providing a smooth texture
  • Contains artificial sweeteners like sucralose
  • Some users report bloating or discomfort
  • It can be more expensive compared to some other brands
Coming Soon!

BUDGET PICK

Muscle Milk ZERO Protein Powder


Muscle Milk ZERO Protein Powder
  • Low in Calories and Sugar making it ideal for those managing calorie intake
  • Useful for muscle recovery and growth
  • Suitable for people with lactose intolerance
  • Reasonably priced for those looking to gain muscle on a budget
  • Some may find the flavor less appealing than other protein powders
  • Contains artificial sweeteners, which might not be preferred by everyone
  • The quality of protein may not be as high as some other premium brands
Coming Soon!

VEGAN PICK

PlantFusion Complete Vegan Protein Powder


PlantFusion Complete Vegan Protein Powder
  • Ideal for vegans and those with dairy intolerances
  • Often includes a variety of plant-based proteins and added nutrients
  • Contains enzymes to aid digestion and nutrient absorption
  • Some users might find the taste and texture less appealing than whey proteins
  • Contains less protein per serving compared to non-vegan options
  • Often more expensive than whey-based protein powders
Coming Soon!

BEST MASS GAINER

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer


Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer
  • Ideal for those looking to gain weight or mass
  • Provides additional nutrients beyond just protein
  • Available in several flavors to suit different preferences
  • Contains added sugars
  • The recommended serving size can be quite large, which may be inconvenient for some
  • Some users may experience bloating or digestive discomfort
Coming Soon!

Dymatize Protein Powder


Dymatize Protein Powder
  • Uses whey protein isolate, which is a high-quality protein for muscle building and recovery
  • Low in fat and carbohydrates, making it a good choice for those watching their macro intake
  • Good Mixability and Taste
  • Some flavors may contain artificial sweeteners and flavors
  • Can cause digestive discomfort in some individuals
  • Can be more expensive than some other brands
Coming Soon!

LEGION Whey+ Chocolate Isolate Protein Powder


LEGION Whey+ Chocolate Isolate Protein Powder
  • Uses whey isolate, providing high-quality protein
  • Suitable for those managing macros
  • Lactose-free, making it easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance
  • Some might find the chocolate flavor too mild
  • Not everyone prefers stevia as a sweetener
  • Can be more expensive compared to some other protein powders
Coming Soon!

NOW Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate


NOW Sports Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate
  • Offers a high level of protein per serving, beneficial for muscle building and recovery
  • Low Fat and Carb Content
  • Generally contains fewer additives compared to other protein powders
  • Some users may find the taste bland or the flavor options limited
  • Can sometimes be difficult to mix thoroughly without clumps
  • May cause digestive issues in some individuals, such as bloating or discomfort
Coming Soon!

PEScience Select Low Carb Protein Powder


PEScience Select Low Carb Protein Powder
  • Low in carbohydrates, suitable for various diet plans
  • Generally praised for its great taste and variety of flavors
  • Known for mixing well without leaving clumps
  • May contain sweeteners like sucralose which some users avoid
  • Some prefer pure whey isolate over blends
  • Can be more expensive compared to other protein powders
Coming Soon!

Puori Whey Protein Powder


Puori Whey Protein Powder
  • Often praised for using natural and clean ingredients
  • Ensures purity and quality through independent testing
  • Retains a higher nutrient profile due to less processing
  • Tends to be pricier due to its high-quality sourcing and manufacturing practices
  • Not as many flavor options as other brands
  • may not appeal to all users, particularly those looking for more mainstream or budget-friendly options
Coming Soon!

Jay Robb Whey Protein Powder


Jay Robb Whey Protein Powder
  • Known for its premium whey protein isolate
  • Suitable for low-carb and low-fat diets
  • Often free from artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners
  • Generally more expensive due to its high-quality ingredients
  • Fewer flavor options compared to other brands
  • Some users might find it less easy to mix smoothly
Coming Soon!

The History of Protein powders

In the inter-war period (1918-1939), bodybuilders and weightlifters began experimenting with dried milk powder as a source of protein. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1950s that protein powders started to gain commercial traction.

Irvin Johnson, a pivotal figure in the early development of protein supplements, published an article in 1950 promoting the use of food supplements for building bigger biceps. His product claims, centered on miraculous weight and strength gains from his protein powders, quickly caught the attention of the fitness community. By 1951, Johnson’s ‘Hi-Protein Food’ was advertised in Iron Man magazine, leading to a surge in its popularity.

Bob Hoffman and Joe Weider, two prominent figures in the bodybuilding world, soon followed suit. Hoffman introduced his ‘Hi-Protein’ soy protein powder, while Weider, inspired by Johnson’s success, launched a similar product. Rheo H. Blair (formerly Irvin Johnson) also made a significant contribution during this time with his milk-based protein powders, which he claimed had anabolic effects.

The 1960s saw a significant shift with the emergence of anabolic steroids, which some fitness entrepreneurs claimed were effects of their protein powders. This period marked the beginning of the “golden age” of bodybuilding and the widespread popularity of protein powders.

Advancements in the 1990s, particularly in whey protein processing, further transformed the landscape. This era introduced more palatable flavors and various nutritional offerings, such as weight gainers, meal replacements, and low-carb options.

In recent decades, protein powder has transcended its original niche in bodybuilding to become a staple in mainstream health and wellness. The industry has expanded to include a wide range of products, from plant-based proteins to specialized blends catering to various dietary preferences and health goals.

Ingredients of Protein powders

Protein powders, used as dietary supplements, typically come in various forms and can have a range of ingredients. The core ingredients are centered around the type of protein used. Common types include:

  • Whey Protein: Derived from milk, containing all essential amino acids. It’s quickly absorbed by the body, making it popular among athletes.
  • Casein Protein: Also milk-derived, but absorbed more slowly than whey. Often used for sustained protein release.
  • Soy Protein: A plant-based option with all essential amino acids. Popular among vegetarians and vegans.
  • Pea Protein: Another plant-based protein, made from yellow peas. It’s hypoallergenic and easy to digest.
  • Hemp Protein: Made from hemp seeds and includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but is lower in the essential amino acid lysine.
  • Rice Protein: A plant-based, gluten-free option, though it’s low in some essential amino acids.
  • Egg White Protein: A dairy-free option that’s high in quality protein, though not vegan-friendly.

In addition to the primary protein source, protein powders may contain various other ingredients:

  • Flavorings: Natural or artificial flavorings are added for taste. Common flavors include chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
  • Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners like sucralose or natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract are commonly used.
  • Thickeners and Emulsifiers: Ingredients like xanthan gum, cellulose gum, or lecithin are used to improve texture and mixability.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Some protein powders are fortified with vitamins and minerals to enhance their nutritional profile.
  • Amino Acids: Additional amino acids, such as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), may be added for extra muscle-building benefits.
  • Probiotics: Some formulations include probiotics to support gut health.
  • Herbs and Superfoods: Ingredients like matcha, turmeric, or spirulina might be included for added health benefits.
  • Enzymes: Digestive enzymes are sometimes added to improve protein digestion and absorption.

Who should use Protein powders

Protein powders can be a beneficial dietary supplement for various groups of people, depending on their health goals, dietary needs, and lifestyles:

  • Athletes and Bodybuilders: Those engaged in rigorous physical training may use protein powders to help repair and build muscle tissue, especially after workouts.
  • Vegetarians and Vegans: Individuals who do not consume animal products might find protein powders a useful supplement to meet their protein requirements, especially if they struggle to get enough protein from plant-based sources alone.
  • People with Increased Protein Needs: This includes individuals recovering from surgery or injury, older adults who need more protein to prevent muscle loss, and those with illnesses that increase protein needs.
  • Individuals Trying to Lose Weight: Protein powders can be used as part of a weight management program. Protein can increase satiety, which may help reduce overall calorie intake.
  • Busy Lifestyles: People who have little time to prepare high-protein meals may find protein powders a convenient alternative.
  • Those with Certain Health Conditions: People with conditions that affect appetite or nutrient absorption, such as certain gastrointestinal diseases, may use protein powders under medical guidance to ensure adequate protein intake.

Who should NOT use Protein powders

Protein powders aren’t suitable for everyone, and certain individuals should be cautious or avoid them entirely:

  • People with Kidney Disease: High protein intake can exacerbate kidney problems. Individuals with kidney disease need to carefully manage protein consumption, often under medical supervision.
  • Individuals with Allergies or Intolerances: Those allergic to dairy, soy, eggs, or other ingredients commonly found in protein powders should avoid these products or choose hypoallergenic alternatives.
  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women: While protein is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding, these individuals should consult healthcare providers before using protein supplements, as some ingredients might not be safe for the fetus or infant.
  • Children and Adolescents: Growing children and teenagers have different nutritional needs and should meet their protein requirements through a balanced diet rather than supplements, unless advised by a healthcare professional.
  • People with Certain Medical Conditions: Those with liver disease, certain metabolic disorders, or other health conditions that could be impacted by high protein intake should be cautious.
  • Individuals Taking Certain Medications: Protein supplements can interact with medications, including but not limited to, certain antibiotics and osteoporosis medications.
  • People Seeking Weight Loss Without Lifestyle Changes: Protein powders alone are not a magic solution for weight loss and should be part of a broader approach including diet and exercise.

Pros and Cons of Protein powders

Pros

  • Muscle Building and Recovery: Protein powders provide essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth, especially beneficial for athletes and bodybuilders .
  • Convenience: They offer a quick and convenient way to increase protein intake, especially for people with busy lifestyles .
  • Weight Management: High protein content can promote satiety and help in weight management as part of a balanced diet .
  • Dietary Inclusivity: Offers options for various dietary restrictions, including plant-based proteins for vegans and lactose-free options for lactose intolerant individuals .
  • Post-Exercise Recovery: Helps in faster recovery post-exercise by aiding in muscle repair and growth .
  • Variety of Flavors: Available in a variety of flavors, making it easier to incorporate into different diets and preferences .
  • Versatility in Use: Can be mixed into shakes, smoothies, and even food items like oatmeal and yogurt for an added protein boost .
  • Targeted Nutrition: Useful for athletes who have higher protein needs or people with specific nutritional goals .
  • Support for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Provides a reliable protein source for vegetarians and vegans who might find it challenging to meet protein needs through diet alone .
  • Bone Health: Adequate protein intake is important for bone health, and protein powders can contribute to meeting these needs .

Cons

  • Potential for Unwanted Ingredients: Some protein powders may contain added sugars, artificial flavors, thickeners, and preservatives that may not be desirable for everyone .
  • Digestive Issues: Some individuals may experience bloating, gas, or other digestive issues due to lactose (in whey protein) or other ingredients .
  • Possible Kidney Strain: Excessive protein intake, particularly in those with existing kidney issues, can exacerbate kidney problems .
  • Nutritional Imbalance: Relying heavily on protein powders at the expense of whole foods can lead to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies .
  • Interactions with Medications: Some components in protein powders might interact with certain medications .
  • Allergic Reactions: Potential allergens like soy, dairy, or gluten can be an issue for those with specific allergies.
  • Quality and Purity Concerns: The quality of protein powders can vary greatly; some may contain heavy metals or other contaminants .
  • Cost: Can be expensive over time, especially higher-quality or specialty products .
  • Overreliance Risk: May lead to an overreliance on supplements instead of consuming a varied and balanced diet .
  • Not Regulated by FDA: Dietary supplements, including protein powders, are not strictly regulated by the FDA, leading to potential quality and safety issues .

Studies regarding the benefits of Protein powders

Title: The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review

Summary: This review provides a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the literature that tested the hypothesis that protein supplements accelerate gains in muscle mass and strength resulting in improvements in aerobic and anaerobic power. Evidence statements were created based on an accepted strength of recommendation taxonomy.

 

Title: Effects of whey protein supplementation prior to, and following, resistance exercise on body composition and training responses: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study

Summary: This study investigates if taking a protein blend supplement before and after resistance exercise for 12 weeks improves muscle function. It considers factors like supplement composition, timing of consumption related to exercise, and protein quantity, noting that few studies have comprehensively examined these elements together in relation to enhancing muscle mass and function.

 

Title: Effects of Whey Protein Supplement on 4-Week Resistance Exercise-Induced Improvements in Muscle Mass and Isokinetic Muscular Function under Dietary Control

Summary: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of whey protein supplementation under dietary control on improvements in muscle mass and function following resistance exercise training.

 

Title: The effects of Whey Protein Supplementation on Performance and Hormonal Adaptations following resistance training in Men

Summary: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of whey protein supplementation on performance and hormonal changes during an 8-week resistance training program in novice weight
trained men

 

Title: A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults
Summary: Objective We performed a systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression to determine if dietary protein supplementation augments resistance exercise training (RET)-induced gains in muscle mass and strength.

 

Title: The effect of daily protein supplementation, with or without resistance training for 1 year, on muscle size, strength, and function in healthy older adults: A randomized controlled trial

Summary: To investigate the effect of protein supplementation alone or combined with light-intensity or heavy-load resistance exercise on muscle size, strength, and function in older adults.

 

Title: The Effects of Protein Supplements on Muscle Mass, Strength, and Aerobic and Anaerobic Power in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review

Summary: This review provides a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the literature that tested the hypothesis that protein supplements accelerate gains in muscle mass and strength resulting in improvements in aerobic and anaerobic power. Evidence statements were created based on an accepted strength of recommendation taxonomy.

 

Title: Whey protein supplementation and muscle mass: current perspectives

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Summary: Whey is one of the high-quality sources of protein with a higher proportion of indispensable amino acids compared to other sources. Its high leucine concentration makes whey an optimal protein source to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and to attenuate muscle protein breakdown at rest and following exercise. This review describes the main characteristics of the currently commercialized whey protein products and summarizes the available scientific evidence on the use of whey protein supplementation to maximize muscle mass gain in young adults without considering the impact on strength performance.

 

Title: THE EFFECTS OF PROTEIN AND AMINO ACID SUPPLEMENTATION ON PERFORMANCE AND TRAINING ADAPTATIONS DURING TEN WEEKS OF RESISTANCE TRAINING

Summary: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of whey protein supplementation on body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and anaerobic capacity during 10 weeks of resistance training. Thirty-six resistance-trained males (31.0 ± 8.0 years, 179.1 ± 8.0 cm, 84.0 ± 12.9 kg, 17.8 ± 6.6%) followed a 4 days-per-week split body part resistance training program for 10 weeks.

 

Title: Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation Associated With Resistance Training on Muscular Strength, Hypertrophy, and Muscle Quality in Preconditioned Older Women

Summary: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of whey protein (WP) supplementation on muscular strength, hypertrophy, and muscular quality in older women preconditioned to resistance training (RT). In a randomized, double-blind, and placebo (PLA)-controlled design, 31 older women (67.4 ± 4.0 years, 62.0 ± 6.9 kg, 155.9 ± 5.7 cm, and 25.5 ± 2.4 kg/m2) received either 35 g of WP (n = 15) or 35 g of PLA (n = 16) over a 12-week study period while performing an RT program three times a week.