9 Out of 10 Beefcakes Agree These 10 Companies Make The Best Protein Powders
We here at Protein Powder Reviews get asked all the time: which is the best protein powder? Of course, in a market so crowded with great competitors, it’s near impossible to crown a single best. To complicate matters, there are powders for muscling up and powders for losing weight, protein powders for men and protein powders for women, so to be fair to a person asking for the best, the answer really needs to speak to all these varying needs. Therefore, as with many of life’s more important questions, the answer is, it depends.
Several brands however, consistently rank in the top ten. Here’s an overview of who’s on top; and what consumers are saying about them. There are good protein powders and some that are better. Why settle for less when you can have the best? Let’s take a look at the companies that stand out above the others.
Optimum Nutrition Inc.
This is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of protein powders, vitamins, supplements and related products. “ON” was established in 1986 and was (and still is) a leader in the development of top-quality protein powders. Their Gold Standard 100% Whey is known to be the most popular protein powder in the world.
Founded by former professional football player Brad Pyatt, MusclePharm is another top producer of high quality protein powders and other nutritional supplements designed for professional athletes and sports enthusiasts. Their Combat Powder consistently ranks in the top 3 of every user poll we’ve held.
What’s the Best Protein Powder in 2014?
Here are a few of the top-rated protein powders available in 2014. We’ve included best-selling supplements that have gotten the most attention online, at the gym and in the shops. What is the best protein powder for you may not be one of these listed. Nonetheless these products have many devoted followers all over the world.
Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard
It should come as no surprise that Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard has once again found itself on top. Consistently a favorite with male and female professional athletes, body builders, and those who are hoping to shed a few pounds. There are 24 grams of protein in every serving, and a wide variety of flavors are available. It works well in smoothies and mixes easily in water, juice and other beverages.
Muscletech Phase 8
An ideal choice for those who workout often, and workout hard. Muscletech Phase 8 is intended to keep muscles supplied throughout an intense workout and beyond. It’s protein release mechanism is unique, and six different proteins go into the blend. At least eight hours of muscle support is provided by Phase 8, one of the reasons that it made many of the best protein powder lists this year. Each servings contains 26 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat.
Sipping a glass of Syntha-6 is like slurping up a protein-packed, creamy and smooth milkshake in the flavor of your choice. Try cookies and cream, chocolate mint or one of many others. Unlike some protein powders, BSN Syntha-6 is designed to be a slow releasing supplement that will provide you (and your muscles) with all the protein you need, all day. The addition of egg and milk improves the flavor, texture and nutritional benefits this protein powder delivers. 22 grams of protein go into every 44 gram scoop.
MusclePharm Combat Powder
MusclePharm Combat Powder combines a variety of different proteins to create a protein powder that ensures a steady and sustained flow of energy to your muscles. It has 24 grams of protein in every scoop, and is very affordable. It tastes terrific mixed with soy or almond milk, and blends well in smoothies.
Which Protein Powder Is Best For Weight Loss?
If you’re in the market for a protein powder to help you lose weight, there are a few key points to remember. The best protein powders for weight loss will be low in fat, carbs and sugar. Look for powders that are unsweetened or use natural sweeteners like stevia leaf. A typical serving of a protein powder should have less than 150 calories if weight loss is your primary objective.
Remember too, that protein shakes and smoothies are meant as supplements to a healthy diet. They are not designed to function as meal replacements. Should you need a pick me up in the afternoon, a protein powder shake or smoothie is a far better choice than a chocolate bar or a bag of chips. Carbs and sugars may give you a quick energy fix, but it’s one that won’t last. Protein releases more slowly into your system, meaning that your hunger will be satisfied for longer, on fewer calories.
NOW Foods Whey Protein Isolate
One of the best protein powders on the market designed for weight loss, NOW Foods’ unflavored 100% pure Whey Isolate is very low in carbs, fats and sugar. It’s made using a whey protein isolate, so it’s very high in protein. It’s easy to mix, easy to digest, and comes in at 110 calories per serving.
Nature’s Best ISOPURE
This is a 100% whey-based protein powder with an incredible 50 grams of protein in each serving. Most flavors are zero carb. Nature’s Best Whey Isolate is available in 9 different flavors, but Dutch Chocolate and Banana Cream get the most thumbs up. Lightly sweetened with cane sugar, no artificial preservatives, colors or other additives go into ISOPURE protein powder.
Isalean Protein Powders and Shakes
Isalean makes a line of protein powder shakes designed to reduce cravings and improve appetite control, while promoting the development of lean muscle mass. Each Isalean shake serving contains 24 grams of protein and no artificial colors or flavors are added. There is also a dairy-free version available for those who are lactose intolerant.
Pure Protein’s Natural Whey Protein
Pure Protein’s Whey Powder one comes in lower in calories than most, with just 100 calories per serving. A slightly lower protein count than similar products, but still contains more than 20 grams per scoop. Designed to maintain lean muscle development and help you burn more fat faster. High in fiber, and vanilla cream is a top-selling flavor. Plus it’s one of the cheapest protein powders on the market.
What’s the Best Protein Powder for Building Muscle?
It’s generally accepted that the best proteins to take if you want to build muscle are those made from whey and casein. Combining the two to coincide with periods of exertion and rest make them even more effective. Whey isolate protein powders are especially concentrated and may be your best choice. These proteins are derived from dairy sources and may not be suitable for vegans or strict vegetarians. Here are some of the best protein powders for building muscle as recommended by body builders, professional athletes and those who take their resistance training seriously.
Legion Whey +
A 100% whey isolate, Legion Whey + has no fat and 26 grams of top quality protein in every serving. Four grams of leucotomy also are part of the formula which helps to stimulate new muscle growth. Whey + is naturally sweetened with stevia and contains no chemical colors or artificial flavoring. It’s also made from the milk of cows who have not been exposed to growth hormones or antibiotics.
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Casein
Casein, like whey is also derived from dairy products. However it is slower to release into the system. It works well in combination with protein powders that are quick-release (such as whey) as muscles are ensured a continuous supply of protein, even while we sleep. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard 100% Casein contains additional amino acids including leucine, lysine and phenylalanine. One serving contains 24 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat and 120 calories.
Sunwarrior’s Raw Vegan Protein Powder
Using brown rice protein as a base, Sunwarrior’s Raw Vegan protein powder is perfect for those who want to build muscle while sticking to a vegan or vegetarian diet. For those who suffer from easily upset stomachs, this powder is very easy to digest as it is gluten-free and hypoallergenic. It has been formulated to include all nine essential amino acids making it a whole protein. It contain no soy products or GMOs. While relatively new on the protein powder scene, it is quickly gaining popularity with body builders and professional athletes alike.
Where Can I Buy the Best Protein Powder?
The streets of our cities and towns are filled with health food shops, drug stores and shops that stock a wide variety of protein powders and other supplements. If you have only just started incorporating protein powders into your fitness and diet regime, you may want to start at a store that specializes in these products. The staff are very often knowledgeable about the products they sell. They also tend to workout themselves and have experience and an interest in body building and weight loss strategies.
Some people prefer to buy directly from the manufacturer. Virtually all the companies making protein powders have online shopping available. Their rates are often competitive and you may have access to more product information than other sites. Often protein powder manufacturers make lines of products designed to work together. Buying direct may make it easier to resolve any disputes should their be a problem with the shipping or the products themselves.
Alternatively, a website that offers protein powders from various companies may offer more objectivity. It will be easier to compare similar products, pricing and so on. Consumer reviews are common on websites like bodybuilding.com and they also offer thousands of supplements for sale in their inline store. We find that Amazon is damn hard to beat on price, especially if you’re a Prime member and get the free shipping.
The major chain stores are now stocking many kinds of protein powders, shakes and bars. WalMart has aisles full of nutritional supplements, protein powders among them.
Once you find a product that find is particularly well-suited to your needs, buying by the case may get you a discount. Check Costco or other wholesale shops that often offer discounts for larger purchases.
Which Protein Powder Is Best For Women?
Women looking to stay fit or to lose weight may be wondering which protein powder is best-suited to their individual needs. Depending on the powder’s base ingredients and how they were formulated, protein powders can play a variety of roles in a woman’s fitness regime. Women on restricted diets, or those with food allergies and sensitivities will need to take these factors into consideration when selecting a protein powder.
Are you vegetarian? Don’t forget that whey and casein protein powders are derived from dairy products. Often rennet (an animal by-product) is used in the cheese-making process. Some strict vegetarians may not be comfortable with whey or casein protein powders. However soy, hemp, brown rice and yellow pea powders are vegan.
With the exception of soy protein powders, all the other plant-based powders are incomplete. They lack one or more of the nine essential amino acids our bodies need to stay fit. Of course, complete protein powders can be created by combining different products. Whey and casein are complete proteins that need not be mixed to provide the optimal fat-burning, muscle-building powers that you want.
How to Choose the Best Protein Powder for You
You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before you select the protein powder that is best for you. You may decide to optimize the effects that protein powders have by buying more than one kind. Taking different kinds of protein powders at different times of the day, and at different stages of your workout can give you better results. You’ll have to take into consideration your current exercise regime and workout schedule. What are your goals? How can a protein powder (or powders) help you achieve them?
Let’s face it. Very few women are 100% satisfied with their bodies. There’s always room for a little improvement. For some of us, a lot of improvement is what we would like to see! Some of us may have just given birth, and be yearning to squeeze back into last year’s jeans. An extended vacation may have have been just what we needed. But also added a few inches to our waistline. We can lose it by improving the effectiveness of our workouts with a whey protein powder. Whey gives our muscles a protein jump start, and more calories are consumed.
Women who have suffered an injury or recently had surgery can use a little extra protein to speed their recovery. Certain protein powders can help support immune system function and possibly reduce our risk of cancer. We can improve our cardiovascular health with the right combination of diet, exercise and the appropriate protein powder. Protein powders are available that are cholesterol-free.
Are you vegan or a vegetarian? Protein powders can make sure that you are getting enough protein and the right combination of amino acids. Soy protein powders are the only complete plant-based protein powder. However brown rice, yellow pea and hemp powders can be combined to give your body all the essential amino acids it needs. Whey and casein protein powders are made from dairy products and may contain animal by-products. The best protein powder for you will depend not just on your physical requirements, but also your personal beliefs.
Don’t be afraid to seek personalized advice. Many health food stores have well-trained staff that can help you find the perfect protein powder for you. Consult with a personal trainer if you have particular fitness goals, or upcoming competitions or marathons. A dietician or even your own doctor can give you some guidance if you cannot tolerate gluten or lactose in your diet.
Finally, protein powders come in unflavored and flavored varieties. Chocolate is a perennial best-seller, but strawberry and vanilla products are popular too. It may seem obvious, but if the taste doesn’t appeal to you, you are unlikely to continue using the protein powder. Find one that you really like, or incorporate other ingredients with the powder to make smoothies and shakes. There are even recipe books devoted exclusively to cooking low-sugar, high-protein sweet treats! Check out the Whey Too Sweet e-cookbook that has more than 30 recipes built around protein powders.
The Best Types of Protein Powder for Women
Protein in our diets does more than just help us lose weight, convert fat to muscle and repair tissues that are damaged. Protein plays a part in regulating countless metabolic processes. This includes our blood sugar levels which can affect our appetite. Food cravings and even binge eating are issues for many women. There are slow to release casein protein powders that can help us curb the cravings, stick to our diet plan and build better bodies.
Depending on the kind of powder, protein can be released into our system quickly, slowly, or at a moderate steady rate. Before a workout we’ll be looking for an added energy boost. Our muscles will want lots of protein ready as soon as we start to move. This helps us effectively draw out energy that is stored as fat, and then gets burned as calories. We are transforming fat into lean muscle mass.
A favored quick-release protein powder would be a whey-based product. We may also want to follow our workout with a shot of whey as well. Our muscles will be tired and need sufficient protein for them to recover and repair any damage they may have suffered during our workout. Before bed, a dose (or even a half dose) of casein powder will ensure our bodies have protein available all night.
Whey protein powders have other benefits for women as well. Protein not only helps build and maintain muscle, but other tissues as well. Healthier looking skin and hair can be a welcome side effect to including protein powders in our diet. Even our fingernails and gums can benefit!
Many women take protein powder based smoothies and shakes at any time of the day. While whey is released quickly into the body, other protein powders provide a steady supply of protein over time. Casein protein powder is an example of a slower release product. It can help us feel full longer and maintain a steady blood sugar level. This can cut our urge for cravings and make it easier for us to stick with our diet plan.
Protein Powder for Women’s Weight Loss
Protein powders can help us hit our target weight. If we’re lucky enough to already be fit, protein powders will help us maintain our condition. But it’s vital to remember that these supplements cannot create weight loss on their own! They can help us make our workouts and our bodies more efficient at burning calories, and turn fat into muscle. However, they must be combined with a sensible diet and regular exercise if we want to see significant results.
So many of us lead busy lives. We may not always have time to prepare the kind of meals we should be eating. Drive-thru dining may be an easy option, but also one that leaves us loaded up with carbs, fats and sodium. Protein powders can easily be made into shakes and smoothies that will satisfy our hunger and curb our desire for quick and (nutritionally!) dirty snacks. Try using a soy protein powder beverage. It releases itself at a moderate speed, so a lunchtime smoothie will keep you going all afternoon.
It is especially important for women who want to lose weight to check the ingredient list on any protein powder before they buy it. Many of them contain added sugar to improve the taste. If you’re a male bodybuilder gearing up for a big competition this is unlikely to be an issue. If you are a woman looking to lose weight, you’ll need the protein, but you certainly don’t want all the calories a teaspoon or two of sugar will bring to the party!
There are protein powders that are unsweetened and those that use artificial sweeteners. The Isofuel brand manufactures high quality powders with low sugar content. Isagenix also comes highly recommended, with little sugar and no artificial sweeteners. “The Organic Whey” is a premium whey-based protein powder with only 82 calories per 20g of powder and no fat, but it still manages a 75% protein punch.
Consider experimenting with protein powders in the kitchen as well. Brownies, cakes, cookies and energy bars can all be transformed into low-fat, high protein snacks using protein powders in the right recipe.
Protein Powder for Women’s General Health
There are protein powders that are suitable supplements for all women. Muscle Pharm Combat gets good reviews from women who have sampled various protein powders. It combines five different kinds of protein and the result is a balanced and steady release of protein all day. It may not be an appropriate choice for a before workout drink, but to maintain your blood sugar levels, and keep you fuelled up log term, it will do the trick.
Vegetarian women may want to avoid protein powders that contain whey and casein. As rennet (an animal product) is often used in making dairy products, these powders are not strictly vegetarian. The Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder is a perfect choice for vegetarians or those who are lactose intolerant. It is available unflavoured, or in strawberry or chocolate flavours. And it’s got zero carbs!
One of the best-selling all around protein powders is the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Blend. It’s not the cheapest protein powder out there, but it is one of the highest quality. A five-pound tub will set you back around $60. Finding a flavor that pleases your palate will not be an issue. Try mocha cappuccino, rocky road or tropical fruit punch.
Soy protein powders contain phytoestrogens, elements that mimic the female hormone estrogen in a woman’s body. Some younger women who use soy protein powders may be concerned that their bodies will get overloaded with estrogen. Some studies have shown that this may have detrimental effects. Alternatively, older women, especially those who are in or approaching menopause, may benefit from the phytoestrogens in soy protein powders. As their own bodies produce less estrogen, soy protein powders can make up for the shortage. Symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings may be eased.
Whichever protein powder you decide to go with, don’t forget it is only “one element of three”. You must combine regular exercise and a sensible diet (with healthy, real foods) to maximize the positive effects of a protein powder. Just do it!