When buying a protein powder it is usually worth spending a bit more. the cheaper protein powder typically use cheap fillers to increase the volume and weight of the powders, artificial additives, coloring, sweeteners and flavorings, cheaper sources of protein and are often high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Each review on this site will concentrate mainly on the quality of the ingredients as I believe it is the single most important aspect when looking to buy any protein powder (there are others as well, all of which will be shown below). After all you are training hard to improve your body, so why feed it with crap. The saying, “You are what you eat is so true”, after all you wouldn’t put cheap cooking oil into a Ferrari would you. Here is what I always look for before buying a protein powder:
This is the most important criteria by far and carries more weight in the overall score. Has the product used cheap filling ingredients to pad out the size of the container? Are there lots of artificial colorings, flavorings and additives? Are there large amounts of salt, sugar, trans fats and other nasties? We are looking for high quality proteins which are highly absorbable and rich in essential amino acids and also powerful workout enhancing BCAA’s. They are known to build muscle, enhance energy and help you to naturally improve your body’s ability to maintain and build muscles. You will significantly increase mass, strength, and endurance with the right high quality protein.
We are looking for a high percentage of protein per serving. It is no good if each serving provides you with 28g of protein if the serving size is 60g. A good size is around 25g per serving. A protein content of at least 60% per serving is what you should be looking for (check my comparison table which gives the protein content percentage per serving). The only exception is hemp protein and some of the plant based protein powders which do not have as a high a protein content as the whey, casein or egg based ones. High quality protein is rich in amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles, preventing muscle catabolism. And without them, protein means nothing.
As the saying goes you get what you pay, saying that don’t pay over the odds for some over hyped pseudo scientific based product that is all hot air. Look to pay between $0.50/oz to $0.80/oz, any less and they are probably using low quality protein, fillers and plenty of cheap preservatives. You don’t really want to pay much over $0.80/oz, although if it is a good quality product with a high quality of natural ingredients it is sometimes worth paying the extra. Look to pay between $40 & $60 per tub on average for a 5 pound tub, although some of the better quality ones will be more than that and conversely some of the poorer quality ones will be cheaper than that.
A somewhat subjective criteria. Although taste isn’t the most important criteria, you really don’t want to be taking a protein powder that you find hard to stomach. I’m looking for something that tastes like it supposed to, isn’t too sweet or artificial tasting and something that doesn’t leave a nasty after taste. Some mix better than others and most are find with just shaking, although some do need to put in a blender and I point this out when that is the case.
Customer reviews can be an important factor when buying products, including protein powders. When you read honest reviews from like minded people on sites such as Amazon or on other well respected Supplements sites it can be re-assuring. Most people have the same concerns when purchasing a protein powder such as: are the ingredients of a good quality, what extra stuff has been added, is it good value for money, does it cause bloating or other stomach complaints and of course how is it working for them. The customer review can be a deciding factor sometimes when you are choosing between similar products. I have a look on Amazon and other well known supplement sites and average the ratings I find.
Why Use a Protein Powder?
That’s a good question. There are in fact several reasons if you wish to build muscle size that you should be regularly taking a protein powder.
Firstly, convenience. After a workout when you need an intake of protein quickly, it is far easier and quicker to down a protein drink than eat a meal. Also many of us are always on the go, so to sit down and prepare a meal can be time consuming, this is where a protein powder can really be worth it’s weight in gold. Just mix, shake and you’re done.
Secondly, cost. A piece of a good quality chicken breast can cost $6+, fish can be even more expensive. Whereas, a good quality protein powder will cost between $50 & $60 and you’ll typically get 20 servings per tub, which comes in at around half that of chicken or fish.
Eating 5 or 6 meals a day can be hard both in terms of time and also actually physically eating that much food. A protein shake hardly takes any time to drink and it isn’t as filling as eating a full meal.
Good quality protein powders are also high in branched-chain amino acids which helps to increase protein synthesis, aid fat loss, regulate blood sugar levels and reduce fatigue during exercise.
Finally, with protein powders you can very accurately measure how much protein you are taking in as the label tells you how much protein there is per serving or per 100g.