Protein. What to Look For.
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
With the hundreds of supplement companies dumping thousands of protein powders, bars, and mixes into the market the decision to find your perfect match can be arduous. But don’t worry, there are plenty of fish (and whey) in the sea. If that were true there would be some super YOKED fish…
Anyway, here are the 4 things I look for when selecting a protein supplement.
Supplement companies derive the protein in what we consume from a number of sources. Whey and casein protein from dairy, egg protein, hemp protein, soy protein, pea protein, “raw” vegetable protein, beef blood protein (yes that’s a real thing). I personally go for whey protein for a number of reasons.
Animal sources of protein are what is considered a “complete” protein in that it contains all of the branched chained amino acids (BCAA) our body needs for muscle building and other cellular functions. Plant sources are considered “incomplete” and require a vast combination of several plant sources to form the same complete BCAA profile.
I personally think most whey proteins taste better.
Whey is a relatively fast digesting protein which is important in nutrient delivery and promoting protein synthesis in the muscles.
I know some people who have experienced some gut irritability from the dairy derivatives. For that reason, I urge them to try out a non-animal source.
Soy is the devil…maybe…
I like to see a short ingredient list on my protein supplement. Being that it is a supplement, there will likely be a bunch of stuff on most of these that you can’t pronounce and never heard of…but broken down here is ALL you should see.
Protein source (whey, casein, soy, pea, whatever). This will probably have some fancy name like “Super Pump Myocellular Whey Protein Matrix.” I will be reviewing the different types of whey proteins and pros/cons in a coming post. But for now just look for some protein.
Then some flavoring, natural preferably.
Occasionally some fortifying vitamins or minerals.
Other “stuff” that makes it mix better or digest more easily.
That’s really all you should see!
No reason to break the bank here. Protein powder really is not even a necessity, just a convenience. There are many days I go without because I am able to get the nutrition I need from food alone. As a guy who typically consumes between 180-200g of protein a day, this can sometimes be a challenge. That’s where my pro shake comes into play. Below are a few proteins and their cost/serving. Paying for what you get here whether that be organic, natural flavoring, great taste, a special BRAND NAME, whatever.
Animal Whey “Muscle Food” – $1.05/serving for 2lb container.
BioTest Low Carb Protein – $3.50/serving for 1 “bottle” containing 14 servings.
Progenex Recovery – $2.00/serving for regular size bag. Varies by flavor.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard – $1.07/serving for 2lb container.
These are just a few brands I looked at and have used in the past. I obviously look for a quality product that provides good value per serving. The cost/serving will go down for most of these when you purchase larger containers or order in bulk.
This is important. I’m looking at how many grams of protein and carbohydrate I am getting per serving. I want lots of pros, not so much carbs. Here are the P & C contents of the same brands I listed above.
Animal Whey “Muscle Food” – 25g Protein, 3g Carb, 1g Sugar
BioTest Low Carb Protein – 24g Protein, 8g Carb, 4g Fiber, 1g Sugar (4 net carbs)
Progenex Recovery – 22-23g Protein, 8-10g Carb, 5-6g Sugar
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard – 24g Protein, 3g Carb, 1g Sugar
So when I analyze this, looks like I get more protein and less carb per serving at nearly half the cost with Optimum Nutrition and Animal Whey which are my two usual go-to proteins. Both offer “natural” flavor options that sometimes are a little more expensive.
These are just a few of my personal recommendations regarding this highly used supplement. I have no stock in any of these companies, just some personal research and review.
But the bottom line is…
Don’t spend too much, read the label, know what to look for, break gains.