If you want to build muscle, improve your performance, and get the most out of your hard work in the gym, whey protein is the way to go.
Whey protein powders are made from skim milk and can be easily mass produced (a byproduct of cheese making), hence their abundance and dominance when it comes to protein ingredients.
No products found.
To help you find a good product, we have researched and compared the best whey protein supplements on the market right now.
10 Best Whey Protein Brands Compared
No products found.
It’s time to get to know about these products in detail.
The 10 Best Reviewed Protein Supplements for 2020
No products found.
Which Is Better: Whey, Casein, or Plant-Based Protein?
Whey protein is probably the most popular protein powder today. whey is one of two milk proteins — the other being casein.
Because whey protein is easily digested and absorbed by your body, it is often taken after a workout to build and regenerate muscle.
While many studies support the conventional uses of whey protein for building muscle, many others suggest that it can also help with weight loss.
A review of nine studies found that overweight or obese people who were supplemented with whey protein lost more weight and gained more muscle mass than those who did not.
The same review found that whey protein users also experienced significant improvements in blood pressure, glycemic control, and cholesterol levels.
These weight loss benefits are primarily based on whey protein’s ability to decrease your appetite so you can feel fuller throughout the day.
2. Casein protein
Casein, the other protein in milk, is digested much more slowly than whey, but it shares many of its weight loss properties.
Casein protein curdles when exposed to stomach acids. This means that it takes a long time for your body, usually 6 to 7 hours, to digest and absorb it.
However, the slow digestion rate of casein can help you eat less by decreasing your appetite.
In one study, 32 men consumed a carbohydrate or casein drink, whey, egg, or pea protein 30 minutes before a meal without restrictions. The researchers found that casein had the greatest impact on fullness and resulted in the least calorie intake.
However, not all studies agree.
In another study, people who ate whey protein from the buffet 90 minutes before dinner were less hungry and had fewer calories than those who ate casein.
These results suggest that casein can only be superior to whey protein when taken 30 minutes before a meal instead of 90 minutes. However, more research is needed to compare casein to whey and other protein powders.
Casein is also a great source of calcium.
For example, this Casein Protein Powder from Optimum Nutrition contains 60% of your Daily Value for calcium per scoop (34 grams).
Several observational studies have linked higher calcium intake with lower body weight, although this effect has not yet been seen in randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of scientific evidence.
3. Soy protein
Soy protein is one of the few proteins of plant origin that contains the nine essential amino acids necessary for human health.
As such, it is a high-quality protein source that will appeal to vegans or those who cannot tolerate milk proteins.
It has been shown to affect appetite.
In one study, men were given pizza one hour after consuming whey, soy or protein protein.
Although whey protein was associated with the greatest appetite reductions, soy was more effective than egg white protein in reducing appetite and reducing the number of calories consumed.
Soy protein has also been shown to benefit women.
In a randomized study, postmenopausal women consumed 20 grams of a soy protein or casein drink per day for three months.
This is the same amount of soy protein found in one scoop of EAS soy protein powder.
Those who consumed soy lost more abdominal fat than those who drank casein, although the differences were not significant.
Similarly, another study in men and women found that soy protein was comparable to other types of protein used for weight loss when used as part of a low-calorie meal replacement program.
4. Fiber-enriched protein
Plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains are the best sources of fiber.
Some of the benefits of getting enough fiber in your diet include normalizing bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and achieving a healthy weight.
As with protein, fiber has been shown to reduce food intake, and therefore body weight.
Unfortunately, making plant-based protein powder removes much, if not all, of the fiber.
However, some plant-based mixed protein powders are fortified with fiber. These products combine various protein sources such as peas, rice, chia seeds, and chickpeas.
Together, protein and fiber create a synergistic effect that supports weight loss more than the individual ingredients.
Look for mixed plant protein blends that contain more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.
For example, each 43-gram scoop of Garden of Life Fit Meal Replacement contains 28 grams of protein from various plant sources and 9 grams of fiber.
Similarly, this Orgain protein powder contains 21 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per two scoops (46 grams).
How Much Protein Powder Should You Eat to Lose Weight?
As you now know, you don’t need to eat protein powder to lose weight, but doing so can make the process easier. The next logical question, then, is how much protein powder is too much?
One thing to keep in mind when trying to lose weight is that whole foods are generally going to be more filling and nutrient dense than supplements, including protein powders and bars. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to get no more than about 30 to 40% of your total daily protein needs from protein powder and bars.
Using myself as an example again, if I’m aiming to eat around 175 grams of protein per day to lose weight, I’d want to get no more than about 50 to 70 grams of that from protein powder, or about two to four scoops per day.
There’s nothing unhealthy about eating more protein powder than this, per se, but if you need to get more than a quarter of your total protein needs from supplements every day, it’s a red flag you may need to put more effort into proper meal planning.
Summary: You can get anywhere from zero to 40% of your total daily protein intake from protein powder. Eating more than this isn’t necessarily unhealthy, but you’ll have an easier time losing weight if you get most of your protein from whole foods.
Matching a powder to your needs
Here are some general guidelines, based on the outcomes you’re looking for:
For muscle growth, choose a protein powder with a high biological value (a value that measures how well the body can absorb and utilize a protein). Whey protein and whey isolates are your best options.
For weight loss, choose shakes with no added sugars or dextrins/maltodextrins (sweeteners made from starch). Don’t choose those with added branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), as they help promote muscle growth and weight gain.
Stay vegetarian or vegan
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, don’t choose milk-based protein shakes (like whey, milk proteins); instead use 100% plant proteins-soy, pea, hemp.
Go low-sugar with diabetes
Patients who have diabetes should choose protein shakes without added sugar (don’t choose protein powders with sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients). It’s also best to look for a shake that’s low in carbohydrates ( 5-15 grams per serving).
Limit protein for kidney disease
People with kidney disease can’t tolerate a lot of protein at one time. Stick with powders that have a lower-range protein content (10 to 15 grams per serving).
Avoid gastrointestinal problems
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance should choose powders that don’t contain lactose sugars, artificial sweeteners or dextrins/maltodextrins. If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, don’t choose powders that contain gluten.
Stick to your budget
To save money, buy tubs of protein powder instead of ready-to-drink protein shakes, which are more expensive because they’re convenient.
Get the most from your protein powder
Here are a few things to consider:
To recover after exercise, an athlete or avid exerciser should consume protein within 60 minutes of a workout. That’s when your muscles are most responsive to the use of protein for the repair and growth process.
To control your weight, it’s best to consume a steady supply of protein at each meal and snack to help keep you full.
Although there’s no magic number for how much protein to consume at one time, it’s best to aim for at least 3 ounces or 20 grams of protein per meal.
Boost the taste of your shakes
“Each protein powder has a unique taste, depending on the ingredients and protein source,” says Patton. “A lot of companies use fillers or flavor enhancers designed by food scientists to create flavors beyond the standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.”
To improve the taste of the protein shakes you make, mix your protein powders with milk or a milk alternative (as opposed to water) to produce a creamier milkshake-like texture.
Create your own flavor enhancers by mixing in one serving of fruit or even a tablespoon of peanut butter.
The bottom line
Many people use protein powders to build muscle, but it can also benefit your weight loss goals.
Whey, casein, and egg proteins, as well as plant sources like soybeans and peas, are great options for people looking to lose weight.
Some of these protein powders are fortified with ingredients like caffeine and fiber that can also help you lose weight.
While these products can help you lose weight, you will get the best results when used in conjunction with a well-balanced, low-calorie diet and exercise routine.