When you want to start building muscle, remember two words: protein powder.
Today we’ll get into what makes a good protein powder supplement, what to do with whole food sources, and when to eat what. And of course, share our take on what is the best tasting protein powder by type and flavor.
Protein powder seems to do it all – fill you up, ward off hunger, and give you a healthy dose of protein for building muscle.
But there are a lot of different types of protein powder supplements. Some products promise to be the best protein powder for building muscle or the best tasting protein powder, or the best protein powder for losing weight.
In reality, the right whey protein powder should be all of the above.
This is a key ingredient in putting together the Perfect Post Workout Protein Shake.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, consider how you put your protein powder to use, and when. This will largely impact your success in either goal.
Taste matters too. If a protein powder is the healthiest thing on the planet, but you never drink it because it tastes terrible, well, then what’s the point?
So how are you supposed to know the different between what works and what doesn’t?
Without being fully educated on the ins and outs of protein powder, you might find yourself wasting your time and money.
Did you know that low quality protein powders can cause digestion problems? The Truth About Protein Supplements is that they are not all created equal.
The Best Protein Supplement Vs Whole Food Proteins
First things first – let’s take a look at protein in itself.
Basically, there are two main sources of protein. One of those is whole food protein and the other is protein powder.
You might have already guessed it but whole food protein is just that – protein that enters your body from natural food sources.
This can include things like:
Chicken, beef, fish, eggs, pork, beans and nuts.
When it comes to building muscle, you’ll want to stick to whole food proteins like turkey, chicken, lean red meats, eggs, dairy and fish.
What about the vegetarians you might ask? There are plenty of options for them as well. If you’re avoiding meat, you’ll want to stick with eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt (like Fage), low-fat cottage cheese, and then food items like tofu, tempeh, beans, rice, almonds and quinoa.
Some people believe that vegetarians struggle to find reliable sources of protein but there are plenty of non-meat options for to consider.
Vegetarian Protein Powder and Natural Sources
Even if you’re a meat eater, you should consider working in regular vegetarian meals on some days too. There are countless benefits to eating an all-veggie only meal once in a while.
On the subject of vegan and vegetarian diets, there are some other things to be taken into consideration when it comes to protein.
A lot of people claim that vegetarians need to plan their mix of proteins very carefully in order to make sure their bodies are getting “complete proteins” – or, in other words, to ensure they’re getting all the amino acids necessary in order to build tissue.
However, it turns out this theory isn’t correct at all.
Why? Well, ask the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who compiled some solid research and evidence to prove this theory wrong. Regardless, the theory still exists and most vegetarians have heard it once or twice.
Though it is correct that some sources of protein from vegetables are lower in specific amino acids, there is no type of evidence that proves they lack the amino acids completely.
Now, back to the topic.
Is the Best Protein Powder Better than Whole Food?
Protein supplements are either liquid or powdered food that has protein from a few different sources, including eggs, soy and whey. Whey is the liquid that’s left behind after milk has been curdled and then strained, like in the process of making cheese.
While these 3 aren’t the only sources when it comes to supplement protein, they are definitely the most common.
Did you know that whey is one of the cheapest, cleanest sources of protein money can buy?
We’ll say this now – you don’t HAVE to buy protein powder in order to see a big surge in your muscle growth. However, it isn’t really realistic to try and get all your daily protein necessary from whole foods, all day every day.
It will also cost you a LOT more money to make up your necessary protein intake for muscle growth.
Don’t forget about your wallet in your quest for growth or weight loss.
What is the Best Protein Powder for Building Muscle and How Many Grams Should I Eat?
Your best bet for building muscle is combining high protein whole food meals, with protein shakes in between. Varying your protein sources is a great way to make sure your body is getting a full panel of amino acids for tissue growth.
As far as the best protein powder for building muscle, Whey Protein Isolate seems to be the tried and true favorite among fitness minds.
Before you guzzle 50 grams of protein powder and eat a pound of chicken breasts after your next workout, consider a few things.
First of all, you should be aware of how much protein your body is capable of absorbing in one sitting.
There are tons of studies that have to do with this, but there isn’t exactly one clear answer here. All these researchers can agree on is that things like your lifestyle, genetics, the health of your digestive tract, and total amount of lean mass all come into play.
Don’t get discouraged just yet – here’s what we do know. We can help you eat and get the proper amount of protein in each meal.
Next question – how much protein per day and per meal is enough?
Most bodies can efficiently digest around 30 grams of protein at most in one sitting, so be smart and don’t waste food.
Spread it out to reach your optimum protein intake levels. This is where protein powder comes in handy. For muscle growth you aim to eat about 1 gram per pound of lean body weight.
This is harder than it sounds. And though some body builders will exceed this amount, at a certain point you risk damaging your liver by overdoing it on protein.
For most people, reaching the optimum protein levels for muscle growth looks like 3 meals and two shakes per day. If a high protein diet is your goal, protein powder is your friend.
No matter what your goals, spacing out your protein intake throughout the day is your best shot at efficient absorption.
With that being said, you aren’t going to reap the same benefits from gorging yourself with meat and protein powder all in one sitting. You really will just end up having a harder time digesting.
Not to mention, at a certain point, your body can’t make use of any more protein at that time and it may be stored as fat.
What About Digestion Speed of Different Protein Supplements vs Whole Food?
Something else you should know about protein is that, depending on the type of protein it is, it will digest at different speeds and will be used by the body in different ways.
Look at it this way. If you ingest beef protein, your body digests it quickly. Then, 70-80% of what you’ve eaten is being put to good use in your body. Now, this isn’t an exact percentage but it usually falls between that area.
Or, if you eat whey protein, it’s also digested pretty quickly. Then, its “net protein utilized (NPU).” In layman’s term, that means just about 90% of what you’ve eaten is being used by your body.
Egg proteins tend to digest a lot slower than proteins like whey and beef proteins.
When it comes to NPU and digestion speeds, you want to know about them because your body counts on proteins high in NPU in order to meet your body’s daily requirement for protein. Plus, you want a meal that your body can digest quickly for a post workout meal.
Right before you go to bed, you want a slower-digesting protein.
You might be wondering if soy protein is the best protein supplement because it’s vegan. Not in our opinion.
We’ll discuss this more later, but soy has some explaining to do. Also, the reason why soy isn’t a great choice is because it isn’t really that awesome of a source of protein to begin with. Not to mention, the vast majority of soy protein supplements tend to be genetically modified. In fact, if you ingest too much of it, you can mess with your body’s testosterone production. There is a plant estrogen actually found within the soybeans.
Is the Best Protein Powder for Men and Women the Same?
When it comes to building muscle, there are three types that are really the best protein powder for men or women.
These three at egg, casein, and whey. If you’re eating vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to stick with brown rice or a type of pea protein.
Whey protein is definitely among the most popular choices when it comes to a protein supplement. Not only does it taste good, but you get a good dose of protein for the price.
Whey is 100% protein and has tons of leucine, which is a critical amino acid when it comes to jumpstarting the protein synthesis.
For both men and women, you can take whey at any time during the day. However, if you’re looking for maximum results, you’ll want to take it as a source of protein following a workout.
Depending on the goals of a particular person, there are certain considerations to take into account when Choosing a Protein Powder for Women.
Because it digests so quickly, there will be a huge jump in amino acids in the blood, including – yep, you guessed it – leucine. And this is something you should care about because this process motivates muscle growth almost immediately.
Types of Protein Powder Reviews: Here Are the Options
Basically, whey is a good way to go for both men and women. In terms of flavor, we also think that whey is the easiest on the taste buds.
Why is whey the best tasting protein powder? Our best guess is the lactose tends to hold the flavors well, a good whey protein shake isn’t far from a milkshake in terms of taste. You can also add your favorite foods to any kind of shake to add some flavor. Don’t be afraid to get creative if it helps you get your protein on a daily basis.
Just be careful – even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, you may still be allergic to the physical proteins that are found within the cow’s milk.
However, if you find that whey and your stomach don’t do well together, try something else, like an egg protein or other vegan alternatives.
Casein protein is also a second favorite and a close runner-up to whey. Like whey, it’s another protein that can be found in milk. The difference between the two? Casein protein digests slower than whey, so there won’t be as big of a jump in the amino acids. However, there will be a more steady release of the amino acids for the next few hours.
Obviously, there’s a small war between whether whey or casein is better at building muscle. But most experts and researchers agree that around a 30 gram dose of whey is your best choice. Why? Because of its insanely fast digestion and supply of leucine.
On the flip side, casein is a great protein supplement because of its slower, yet continual release of amino acids. Though there isn’t any clear answer on whether it is better than whey for your after-workout supplement, there is a lot of evidence showing a slow-burning protein is the best choice when it comes to building muscle. It’s also a great choice before you head to bed, because it gives your muscles the recovery they need.
What About Egg Protein Supplements?
Now, we’ll get to the third runner-up – egg protein. A lot of people don’t even realize you can buy powdered egg protein but you can.
There are 3 pretty big benefits with Egg Protein:
- It has a higher “biological value.” What does this mean? Well, this is a measurement of how successfully your body will be able to utilize the different types and forms of protein. Without fail, egg protein is always at the top of the list when it comes to that.
- Egg protein is digested significantly slower than casein, so this means you may see a bigger development in muscle growth.
- Fun fact: Egg protein powders are made from egg whites only. This means you won’t be ingested fat and very small amounts of carbs.
Is Soy Protein Unhealthy?
We mentioned soy protein earlier. Though there is some research that shows soy protein can be a decent source of protein when it comes to building muscle, there’s still a lot of controversy that surrounds this protein. This holds especially true when it comes to men.
Our take? We stay away from soy protein. Of course, you’re free to make your own decision.
As we mentioned earlier, regular ingestion of soy foods can have some feminizing results on men because of the estrogen found in the soybeans. A study conducted by Harvard University showed that the semen of 99 men was affected by the subjects’ intake of soy and isoflavone (the estrogen in the soybeans).
That’s pretty scary if you ask us.
And the results were pretty staggering – on average, men who had the highest intake of soy foods had 41 million sperm/ml less than the subjects who didn’t eat soy at all.
Of course, there has been other research that has tried to prove this wrong. Basically, the jury is still out on this one. It might have something to do with the presence (or lack of) specific types of bacteria that can be found in the intestines. These types of bacteria, which can be found in about 30-50% of people, could alter the results.
So what about soy protein and women?
There’s a decent amount of data that proves it’s a lot less likely to affect a women’s hormones. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely approved.
While some studies state soy protein can cut a woman’s risk of certain things, like breast cancer and heart disease, other studies insist that it can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. There’s still tons of research being conducted on soy protein, so there isn’t really a clear answer to it just yet. However, we’ll repeat, we stay away.
What Is The Best Tasting Protein Powder?
At the end of the day, we can’t forget taste and flavor. So you might have guessed our favorite vanilla flavored protein is our own delicious Gym Junkies Build.
Who wins best tasting protein powder for best chocolate category?
Blue Bonnet is our current favorite chocolate option for a truly clean processed, lean whey protein.
If you’re a little more lenient on sugar, Muscle Milk remains a delicious option and one of our all time favorites as well but isn’t the best nutritionally.
What Is The Best Protein Supplement?
Our final answer? What’s best for you and your body is unique but there are some guidelines that can help you pick what’s best for your body.
If you want to try a fast-digesting protein, go for whey. If you want a slower-digesting protein, turn to casein or egg.
Make sure you have a serving 30 minutes before you go to bed to give your muscles the chance to relax and recover.
When you’re building muscle, one of the best things you can do to help reach your protein needs is find Ways to Make Protein Shakes Exciting.
Also, some protein supplements affect people differently. You might feel yourself become bloated or gassy, especially with whey. If this happens, try another brand or just switch to the egg protein powder. You might be surprised at the results and end up liking egg protein powder even better.
Or, if you want to stick with the whole foods approach instead, eat a serving of meat or eggs right after your work out to to keep you full of protein. Before you go to bed, have some low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. Your body will be replenished with everything it needs to start all over again the next day.
Regardless of your protein of choice, anything is better than nothing as you prepare for the longest period your body goes without food.
If your goal is an all-purpose protein, whey powder is a staple for post workout, mid day and bedtime.
Lastly, remember that no matter what the source, your body can efficiently digest a around 30 grams at a time of protein. Your best bet for maximum use by your body for muscle growth, is a variety of protein sources, both whole food and supplement. Key your protein type in to the length of digestion that fits your time of day and goals, and you’re well on your way. Spread out your intake throughout the day and use shakes between meals to get your protein levels optimal, and manage hunger signals.
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