Who Makes The Best Whey Protein Powder?
Whey-based protein powders are one of the hottest selling nutritional supplements on the market today. The shelves of your local shop are filled with them. And they seem to fly into customer’s shopping carts faster than the clerks can keep them stocked. Why all the fuss?
Protein powders can be derived from several different sources. These include vegan versions made from soy, hemp, brown rice and yellow pea powders. With the exception of soy-based powders, these are incomplete proteins and must be combined to achieve a whole protein with all nine essential amino acids.
Whey and casein are derived from dairy products and are already complete proteins. Like meat, seafood and eggs, they contain all nine essential amino acids. Different powders have different strengths. They can also be combined to optimize their effects. When they are taken, how often, and how much is ingested will affect how well they work. These are important factors to consider when deciding to include them as part of your fitness regime.
All whey protein powders are considered to be “quick release” proteins. Once ingested, the protein becomes available immediately. They are often taken before and after a workout. Before exercise, they provide your system with an energy boost that improves muscle performance and burns more fat. Afterwards, they supply tired muscles with sufficient protein to ensure that any damage is quickly repaired. This may also help you avoid any soreness that follows a particularly strenuous session.
The best whey protein powders provide us with various health benefits. Whey is an affordable source of protein, and for most individuals, easily digested. Who makes the best protein powders? Some of the top brands include Nature’s Best, Muscle Tech, Now Foods and Jay Robbs Whey Protein Powder.
The Best Tasting Whey Protein Powders
Whey protein powders are available unflavored or flavored. The most popular flavors are chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. The powder is mixed with water or milk to make a drink. Everyone’s tastes are different. There are however, a few whey protein powders that get rave reviews when it comes to taste. Perhaps it is not surprising that some of the favorites are chocolate flavored. These include:
Muscle FX Hydrobolic FX.
The chocolate version gets consistently good reviews online, and sells well at local health food stores. It contains zero cholesterol and is relatively high in protein. Like most whey-based supplements it is formulated to assist in building muscle.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Iron Whey Protein Powder
There are many products that bear his name, and come with his seal of approval. This one is said to taste great. It’s also gluten-free and the protein powder of choice for many bodybuilders.
Protein powder smoothies are super tasty, and you get the added benefit of the nutrients from the fruit and other ingredients. Use a vanilla or strawberry whey powder to start, and then toss in a banana, whatever berries are in season, and some soy milk. A couple of minutes in the blender, and you’ve got a protein-packed shake that tastes terrific.
You can give your drink an added nutritional boost by adding flax seed oil and egg whites (or egg white powder). Impart a nutty flavour to vanilla protein powders by adding raw cashew or almond butter, blended with almond flavoured soy milk.
Experiment with whey protein powders when you’re in the kitchen as well. Chocolate protein powders can be incorporated into brownie recipes and even make cakes and cookies. You’ll need to hunt down recipes that were formulated for use with protein powders. And as different powders have different (or no) fat and sugar content, it’s best not to substitute a brand different from the one called for in the recipe.
Likewise, adding a scoop of protein powder to an ordinary cake or cookie recipe may not end well! That said, there are hundreds of recipes available on websites that will guide you through the process of learning to cook with protein powders.
There is even an online cookbook that can be purchased. The Whey Too Sweet e-Cookbook has over 30 recipes for cakes, bars and other treats that are low-sugar but high-protein and easy to prepare. White chocolate protein brownies? What’s not to love? Sign me up!
What are the Best Organic Whey Protein Powders?
Whey-based protein powders that are certified organic have some advantages over those that are not. Certified-organic whey protein powders are made from the milk produced by cows that are fed a diet free of growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids. Additionally, organic whey protein powders do not contain any GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They are gluten-free and thus an excellent option for those who cannot tolerate (or simply wish to avoid) gluten and wheat derivatives.
Predictably, you may end up paying a premium price for not having chemical nastiness included in your protein powder. Organic powders are usually unsweetened (they contain no sugar) but instead may include the natural stevia plant extract as a sweetener. It is highly debatable whether these products effectiveness is increased by being made from organic ingredients.
However, organic products are increasingly popular and to many people the added cost is worth knowing that they are avoiding some of the chemical, steroids and other additives that are so common in the food we consume today.
Two of the best-selling organic protein powders made from whey include the following:
Progressive Organics 100% Organic Whey Protein Powder
It’s high in protein (77%) and has no added sugar. You can buy it unflavored, or flavored with organic chocolate or vanilla. Natural sweeteners (stevia leaf) are used in the formula.
Raw Organic Whey Protein Powder
Comes in with an impressive 80% protein and low levels of sugar. This powder is sold unflavored. Whey is sourced from American small-scale family farms whenever possible.
What is the Best Natural Whey Protein Powder?
A company in New Zealand is creating some of the best natural whey-based protein powders available today. Kaizen Naturals sources its whey from grass-fed New Zealand cattle that do not receive any hormones, antibiotics or steroids. They graze in pastures that are pesticide-free and no GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are grown on the land where the cattle feed.
The whey that is produced from the milk of these cows is considered to be some of the healthiest and cleanest whey in the world. While it is still routine for North American cattle to receive injections of the growth hormone rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), the practice has been banned in New Zealand.
One of their most popular products is their vanilla bean flavoured natural whey concentrate. Low in fat and carbohydrates, it is gluten-free and easily digestible. One 30 gram serving contains 120 calories and 24 grams of protein. It’s also available unflavoured, or in strawberry-banana, orange and chocolate flavours.
Another natural whey protein powder that is made closer to home is the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Natural Whey. It is also gluten-free and mixes easily with water, soy milk or juice. It can be blended with your favourite fruits to make terrific smoothies. Easily digestible, it contains no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners.
Chocolate lovers that prefer naturally-sourced whey protein powders may recommend MRM 100% Natural Whey. The Dutch Chocolate version. With no chemical sweeteners and low carbs this may be the best way to kill a serious chocolate craving with a natural whey protein-filled powder.
What is the Best Whey Protein Powder for women?
The majority of women who use whey protein powders are looking to lose weight by combining them with regular workouts and a healthy diet. Women who are fit already or want a more toned look will also use whey-based powders. Men are usually more concerned with building muscles than losing weight. Not so with the ladies.
Whey-based powders can help transform body fat into lean muscle. We need to be aware that three commonly found forms of whey protein powders exist. WPC is a whey protein concentrate and has higher levels of bio active compounds. WPC is relatively low in fat and cholesterol. WPI stands for whey protein isolates. WPI contains even more protein and has virtually no fat or lactose. Women looking to lower their fat intake may prefer an isolate (WPI) or compound (WPC).
WPH are whey protein hydrolysates. These are the easiest to digest and are absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream. They are especially well-suited to those with sensitive stomachs or food allergies. While generally more expensive, WPH is far easier for the body to metabolize. It is often used in formulas for infants, and those recovering from illness or surgery. Women who have easily upset stomachs or gastrointestinal conditions may want to choose a hydrolysate whey protein powder.
One of the best low carb, high protein powders suitable for women is NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate. Each serving contains 25grams of protein and less than 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Whey protein powders may not be suitable for those women who are vegan or vegetarian. As whey is a derivative of the cheese making process, it usually contains trace amount of rennet. Rennet is an animal by-product used to produce cheese. Women who are lactose-intolerant should check the labels of whey protein powders carefully, or opt for a soy or brown rice protein powder.