Find high-quality protein powders
Getting your protein intake right is always a big topic when you are interested in fitness. And therefore it is important to invest your money in the healthy most valuable protein powder. The marketing machinery is usually pretty good at selling even bad stuff.
Protein powders come in so many different flavors, prices and combinations that it can be hard to separate the good ones from the bad ones.
The packages and boxes might be shiny and the marketing text promises it is the best product on the market. But in order to not fall into this trap, here are 5 top tips on how to find a good protein powder:
5 tips on how to find the best protein powder
1. Look at the label
This one is obvious!
If you want to know what is in your protein powder you have to look at the label. Here you find the hard facts about the product and you will discover ingredients like milk protein, soy protein or whey protein.
Most important is the order in which the ingredients are listed. The ones which are listed first are the products with the highest amount. Is, for example, milk protein listed first that means it has the biggest part of all ingredients.
Milk protein is the cheapest protein and therefore you might find it in a lot of protein powders listed amongst the first ingredients.
2. A good protein powder is COLD PROCESSED
The temperature at which the protein powder is processed matters a lot. Most of the commercial products are processed with high heat what results in a loss of vital nutrients. Also, protein denaturates at 80 °C. The molecular structure changes and the protein gets hard to digest.
If there is nothing said about the processing method it´s probably high-heat-treated.
Manufacturers will label it if they used the gentle processing with cold temperature.
3. Hydrolyzed protein
If your protein of choice is hydrolyzed, that means it is “pre-digested”. It contains the same amino acids and the same microfracture structure but the protein is broken down into smaller components.
It is absorbed faster by the body and gives a faster recovery. The downside is the bitter taste of hydrolyzed protein.
The more is its hydrolyzed the worse the taste gets.
A healthy gut doesn´t need a pre-digested protein, it´s totally capable to do the proper work.
4. Casein is optional
Casein is an important component when it comes to the right protein consumption. But that doesn´t necessarily mean you have to buy a protein powder with a high casein amount.
Casein doesn´t stimulate your immune system and it´s heavy on the stomach. It also contains lactose, which can cause gas if you are sensitive to that.
Casein protein is water-insoluble, it coagulates in the gut and is slower digested than whey protein.
5. Pay attention to the right processing method
There are different ways possible for the production and one of it is the ion exchange method. This technique requires the use of CHEMICALS. Smaller molecules get lost which are important for the immune system and cell protection.
The other and better method is the crossflow microfiltration. Instead of chemicals, high tech ceramic filters are used.
Larger molecules like lactose and fat get caught in the filters and therefore the overall fat content of the protein powder is under 2%.
Protein powders can be extracted from different sources. This will result in different advantages and disadvantages for example in quality, ingredients, taste, digestibility or price.
1. Whey Protein
Whey protein comes from milk. Milk is made of two proteins: whey and casein. In cow´s milk, you will find them at a ratio of 20% whey protein and 80% casein protein (human milk has 60% whey and 40% casein).
During the cheese making process whey and casein are separated. The liquid part that results from this process is the whey protein.
Whey Protein is easy to digest and is rich in leucine. The high concentration of leucine sets it apart from other proteins. Leucine is said to be especially beneficial to muscle growth.
Since whey protein comes from cow milk it is an animal product and therefore it is a complete protein source. It provides all 9 essential amino acids (phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, histidine).
2. Casein Protein
Together with whey, casein is a major component of milk. That means it also provides all 9 essential amino acids.
In terms of digestion, casein is much slower digested than whey. The reason behind is, it forms a gel when it comes into contact with stomach acid. The gel then slows down the emptying of the stomach.
The slow digestion makes it a perfect protein to take before going to bed. The absorption of amino acids into the bloodstream expose over a longer time period. It leads to the assumption that it might help to prevent muscles from breaking down overnight. (However, there are not many studies that prove this assumption.)
3. Pea Protein
Pea protein powders are popular amongst vegetarians and vegans. It is also interesting for people with food allergies to dairy products.
Since it´s gluten-free and lactose-free the chances for bloating are minimized.
Pea protein is also digested slowly (but a bit faster than casein is), which makes it perfect for taking before going to bed.
The weak spot lies in the low amount of amino acid methionine. But you can easily compensate that by a balanced diet or a combination with other protein powders like rice protein for example.
4. Rice Protein
The plant-based protein powder is on a rise too since the growing awareness of plant-based diets.
It comes with an almost full set of essential amino acids if it wasn´t low in lysine. But you can level it out by mixing rice with pea protein for example.
It is hypoallergenic, fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free!
Which protein powder should I take for …
Building muscle mass: whey protein is a good option. It digests fast and is transported to your muscles in no time. So the muscles can start to grow.
Weight loss: take a protein powder with no added sugars.
Vegan: stay away from milk-based protein powders like whey. Instead get plant-based products like rice or pea products.
Kidney dysfunctions: If you suffer from kidney problems then your kidney can´t handle too much protein intake. It will have a hard time to eliminate all the waste products from the protein metabolism.