Supplements have become extremely widespread nowadays and appear pretty much in everything related to fitness and bodybuilding. No other supplement has managed to become as popular as whey protein powders. Almost everyone I know that has ever gone to the gym has tried a protein shake at least once.
The problem arises when one is serious about training and wants to buy the best possible powder for his particular situation. You see, there are hundreds upon hundreds of different protein products out there and finding the right one can be quite the task especially if you aren’t informed.
In this article, I will give you a general rundown on these powders, along with how to pick the best one, their benefits, and why you should use them.
Type of Protein
The first thing I want to talk about is that not every powder provides protein through the same source. There are many different types of protein sources that companies make use of and you would be wise to learn about these, their quality, and which you should go for. Here are the most common protein types currently on the market:
This type of protein has been around for a very long time and was quite lacking in its early days, containing only (at most) 40% protein plus lots of fat, lactose, and undenatured proteins. Back then it was mostly used by baking companies as a concentrate or for similar purposes. In our current age however filtering techniques have improved dramatically and as such whey concentrates have become much better in terms of quality. They now contain as much as 80% protein with less fat and lactose; a win-win situation! Now many people think that this type of protein is inferior to others, such as whey isolate for example, and while it’s true that it contains less protein per gram it makes up for it by bringing a lot of other things to the table not found in isolates. These things include higher levels of:
• Various phospholipids
• Various bioactive lipids
A very dense form of protein, whey isolate contains as much as 96% protein with very little lactose and fat. It also absorbs faster than whey concentrate so keep that in mind. Many whey protein reviews give praise to this type of protein, and I tend to agree.
Whey Ion-Exchange Isolate
This type of protein undergoes a special process that greatly increases its protein count, making it the most protein dense isolate of them all, but along the way it also causes the protein to lose many of its most beneficial subfraction peptides. Although some companies still use this protein type and claim that it’s the best, I would avoid it for the reason mentioned previously.
Whey Micro-Filtered Isolates
Using advanced micro-filtering techniques, companies nowadays are able to create very high grade and unique proteins. Proteins of this nature are almost as protein-dense as ion-exchange ones but differ because they retain all of the protein’s subfractions. They are also extremely low in lactose, sodium, and fat, and contain almost no undenatured proteins while also bringing high amounts of calcium to the table.
Hydrolysed Whey Protein
This type of protein is considered by many to be the best in terms of quality, and it is also very fast digesting. Hydrolysed protein is actually pre-digested to some extent which is why your body absorbs it so fast. Expensive, as many whey protein reviews will tell you, but well worth the cost.
When buying a protein powder the first thing you should do is look at the label and see what exactly it contains; some use a single protein source while others use a blend of multiple ones.
Why Use Protein Powder?
The main reason why you should always keep a tub of protein powder at hand is because of how convenient it is. It’s not always possible to have real food at hand, which is where powdered protein comes in; simply mix it up, drink it, and off you go! Protein powders also have great anabolic effects, although don’t expect too much from them.
Finding The Right Protein For You
As I mentioned in the introduction there are many products from which you can choose from, but not all of them are good or suitable for your situation. To see if a product is good for your situation, look at its properties and see if they fit your usage criteria. For example, if you are going to drink your shake prior to bedtime, you would preferably get one that digests over an 8 hour period and also doesn’t contain any carbs. If on the other hand, you are going to take your shake pre or post workout it would be better if you got a product with added carbs and a fast digestion rate.
Once you decide which kind of protein you need, you then need to find a product that is actually good. The best way to check if a product is good is to read reviews on it. Whey protein reviews are widely available online nowadays, so you have no problem there; just make sure they are legit reviews!