The Hunt For The Best Protein Supplement
There’s an endless array of different brands, flavors and names for the protein supplements that line the shelves of your nearest supplement store – as a newcomer most guys either go for the brand that their favourite bodybuilding is sponsored by or they opt for the tub that’s the most visually appealing.
Without knowledge of what to look for when choosing the best protein supplement it’s hard.
Paralysis by analysis kicks in, there’s too much options and you’ve got a limited amount of knowledge on what to look for and why when choosing your protein powder.
Let’s go above and beyond all the bullshit associated with these supplements and get straight to what your needs are and what you should look at when examining those tubs of whey on the shelf…
Things To Take Into Account
I cringe every time I hear “it’s the best protein powder!”
The best protein powder for who?
A skinny guy that weighs 135lbs dripping wet is going to want and need a different type of protein supplement than the muay thai fighter that’s amidst their weight cut for an upcoming bout.
Once you’ve defined your requirements only then can you see what the best protein powder for you should contain.
It’s different for everybody, there’s no blanket recommendation.
Are You Bulking?
If you’re bulking you’re going to want a high protein, calorically dense powder.
The over the counter weight gainer supplements on offer are all quite overpriced and poor quality from my experience…
Instead of buying a powder that already contains whey protein as well as carbohydrates I recommend making your own mass gainer, you can read my guide on how to do exactly that right here.
Are You Cutting?
If you’re cutting you’ll be wanting to avoid protein powders that have any or many carbohydrates and fats apparent per scoop.
When cutting every calorie matters, especially when 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.
Some of the cheaper whey protein powders on the market contain around the 5 gram mark when it comes to fats, that’s 45 calories before even factoring in protein and carbs.
Are You Mixing Your Protein Powder With Other Ingredients?
If you intend on mixing oats, berries, spinach or any other ingredients with your protein for that matter you’ll want to keep the flavor you choose in mind.
Caramel, butterscotch, watermelon… they all sound good by themselves but when you’re making your own bulking shakes or superfood smoothies with your protein supplement it’s always best to get either unflavored or vanilla whey protein for mixability and taste.
Things To Remember When It Comes To Protein Powder…
Myths and marketing aside, here’s the pros, cons and hard truths on protein powder.
- Protein powder assists in hitting your macronutrient goals
- Protein powder is more cost effective than eating food containing protein
- Protein powder is convenient
- Protein powder does not replace proper food
- Protein powder does not contain nutrients
- Protein powder often contains artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners
What I Look At When Finding The Best Protein Supplement
There is no best protein powder, but here are the guidelines I can give you to follow when buying a protein powder:
Macronutrients Based On My Caloric Goal
How high is the protein content (in grams and percentage per scoop)
If a scoop is 40 grams and the side of the tub indicates there is only 20 grams of protein per scoop that indicates that this particular protein is only 50% protein and is more than likely topped up with filler ingredients, avoid these dodgy manufacturers.
When selecting a protein I personally ensure it is 90% or greater in its purity and that it contains no more than 2 grams of carbohydrates (and no fat!).
Disclosed Ingredients & Dosages
Don’t fall for the proprietary matrix ingredient scam. If the tub of protein does not indicate exactly what ingredients are in it I would not even consider buying it.
Excessive amounts of artificial colouring and flavouring ingredients is a turn off in terms of health – if this is of no concern to you feel free to use this protein (provided the ingredients are all listed and it does not contain a miniscule purity percentage).
A Fair Price
Here in Australia I pay roughly $25 per kilo of protein powder for the brand I buy.
I have seen protein blends (which contain less protein and more carbs than the whey protein concentrate I buy) sell for $55 per kilo.
Why spend more and get an inferior product? Educate yourself with this knowledge to ensure you don’t get ripped off.
No Excessive Advertising Or Hype
The guy you see on the poster at your local supplement shop promoting the latest wiz bang fast acting protein to hit the market does not actually use it and he knows it offers no tangible benefits. These individuals along with the companies producing these products don’t care about you – they’re happy to sell you a pipe dream and a supposed quick fix for your muscle building problems in exchange for a hefty wad of cash from your pocket… funny that.
Don’t believe in the hype or the advertising that is used to push these products – check the labels and do your research.
At the end of the day marketing campaigns won’t net you results, macronutrients will.