Our Top Best Protein Powder Picks for 2019
Whether you’re an amateur fitness enthusiast or a seasoned professional, it’s highly likely that you’ve tried supplementing with protein powders at some point. If you are anything like me, you probably find that the number of choices of protein products on the market to be overwhelming and finding the best protein powder out of the bunch can be extremely difficult.
In theory, our needs are simple:
We want the best protein powder at a reasonable cost
Is that too much ask for?
Trust me, I’ve felt your pain so I set my team out on a mission:
Buy every prominent powder on the market (including samples) and research the web like crazy to find the best choices.
So we scoured the market to find the best protein powder brands that are available, referencing various resources and users’ opinions.
The following is the most comprehensive list to help you choose the best protein powder for you:
Myprotein Iso: Pro 97
Myprotein Iso: Pro 97 is the highest rated powder on our list.
It is intended for athletes who want to build muscle while maintaining a strict calorie intake.
Each serving of the Pro 97 consists of 22.6 grams of protein, of which 7.6 grams are Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).
The protein powder itself contains 90 calories per serving, but mixing it with the recommended eight ounces of skim milk brings up the calorie count to 180 calories total, which is still on the lower side.
Pro 97 is considered a premium offering in this category and supplies 90.4 grams of bound protein per 100 grams. Even though the label suggests that it provides more than 97 grams of protein, the daily results suggest otherwise.
The other ingredients include sucralose as a sweetener and sunflower lecithin as an emulsifier. The powder comes in 16 different flavors, including Banana Cream, Chocolate Caramel, Cookies & Cream, and others, which each contain their own flavoring ingredient.
We found that unlike many other protein powders on the market, the Myprotein Pro 97 did not cause any unnecessary bloating or digestive discomfort.
Pro 97’s overall quality, taste and mixing ability make it by far one of the best protein powder brands we’ve had the pleasure of reviewing.
The shake provides your shake with a thick, creamy consistency, and doesn’t leave behind any unsavory lumps when mixed with liquid.
This is a great supplement to enjoy any time of the day.
Serving Size: 25 grams
Cost per serving: $0.86
Protein per serving: 22.6 grams
Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate
Our next recommendation, Impact Whey Isolate, is also made by Myprotein.
It is very similar to Iso Pro 97 and is ideal for those looking for a powder that provides the best “bang for your buck.” The powder provides 21.9 grams of protein per serving, bringing the total concentration of bound protein to 87.6 grams per 100 grams of powder.
Similar to Pro 97, Impact Whey Isolate also contains a minimal ingredient list outside of pure protein, including its sweetener and flavoring agents. While it is creamy and delicious, it doesn’t form as thick of a consistency as that of Pro 97 when mixed with water or milk.
Myprotein powders are packaged in bags rather than tubs, which allows for easier storage. In addition, Impact Whey Isolate is one of the highest-rated powders in relation to the price per serving, as it costs just 60 cents per serving.
Serving Size: 25 grams
Cost per serving: $0.60
Protein per serving: 21.9 grams
Another quality product on our list is Legion Whey+ protein powder. It is by far the most highly rated powder on Amazon.com, with more than 1,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Legion Whey+ protein is made from the hormone-free cows of small dairy farms in Ireland, which are famous for their high-quality milk. It does not contain any type of fillers or additives, and its concentration of bound protein is 78.7 grams per 100 grams and 22.7 grams per serving.
The powder contains the all-natural sweetener, Stevia, which makes it extremely safe for people with Diabetes. Legion Whey+ also contains numerous other products that are scientifically proven to produce desirable results for muscle building and recovery support.
Serving Size: 28.9 grams
Cost per serving: $1.33
Protein per serving: 22.7 grams
Integrated Supplements Whey Isolate
Whey Isolate from Integrated Supplements is one of the most sought after powders today.
It does not contain any artificial sweeteners or cholesterol and undergoes a Cross-Flow Microfiltration (CFM) technique that rids the product of all forms of fat, sugar, and denatured proteins.
This process leaves behind only the best quality proteins for your consumption, making it one of the cleanest powders on the market. Whey Isolate’s Natural variety contains the most protein content per serving but is not the best-tasting flavor of its different options.
However, its neutral taste allows for versatility in the different products with which it can be mixed, including fruit or nut milk. A 100 gram serving of Whey Isolate Protein consists of 83.4 grams of protein, providing 19.2 grams of protein per 23-gram serving.
Serving Size: 23 grams
Cost per serving: $1.35
Protein per serving: 19.2 grams
Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Isolate from Now Foods was formerly sugar-free and CFM certified, but in 2013 they began adding Xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol used for sweetening and is not cross-flow microfiltered.
Despite these two factors, we still highly recommend this blend of powder and it is one of the top-rated powders on the market.
Compared to other brands, Whey Protein Isolate from Now Foods is low in fat and cholesterol, as it contains just 0.5 grams of fat and 5 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.
Aside from protein content, two factors that people tend to look at when choosing a powder include taste and mixability.
The Vanilla flavor is a favorite among users, which, along with its other flavors, mixes well with liquid.
Serving Size: 28 grams
Cost per serving: $2.03
Protein per serving: 22.1 grams
Jay Robb’s Whey Protein
Fitness Expert and Weight-Loss Trainer, Jay Robb, develops a number of popular products, including this delicious Whey Protein blend.
Jay Robb’s Whey Protein is made from grass-fed, non-rBGH (synthetic bovine growth hormone) cows and undergoes cold-processed cross-flow microfiltration.
The label describes the powder as “outrageously delicious” and we think it fits this description well.
The powder mixes easily with liquid in a shaker cup, but not as well as some of the other powders on this list.
A 100 gram serving of Jay Robb’s Whey Protein consists of 81 grams of protein, which means a serving of 30 grams contains 24.3 grams of protein.
The powder uses Stevia, which is a natural sugar substitute that makes this powder sugar free. Although Stevia is an acquired taste, the overall flavor profile of this powder makes it a great-tasting option.
Serving Size: 30 grams
Cost per serving: $1.93
Protein per serving: 24.3 grams
Garden of Life Raw Protein
Raw Protein Beyond Organic Protein Formula from Garden of Life is a vegan blend that is also one of the best in its class.
It doesn’t contain as much protein per serving as its non-vegan counterparts, but it makes up for it in other areas, as it is completely natural, gluten free and dairy free.
The blend is not flavored but is made from 13 different raw and organic sprouts.
Garden of Life does not contain any artificial sweeteners, preservatives or fillers, making it the closest product to nature that you will find.
While its label falls short of revealing its actual protein content, it is still highly recommended by fitness enthusiasts for the ease with which it is absorbed into the body and its quality of ingredients.
Serving Size: 23 grams
Cost per serving: $0.92
Protein per serving: 16.4 grams
SFH Pure Whey Protein
SFH, short for “Stronger Faster Healthier,” produces a Pure Whey Protein that is highly rated by its users.
It contains no artificial ingredients and is the ideal option for people of all ages, as it is high in calcium and low in lactose content and cholesterol.
SFH Pure Whey Protein contains 78.6 grams of bound protein per 100 grams, amounting to 23.6 grams of protein per serving.
It is sweetened with Stevia, which is a completely natural sugar alternative that is low in calories and net carbs.
While the powder on its own blends easily with liquid, we recommend mixing the vanilla flavor with additional ingredients for better taste. The chocolate flavor, however, tastes great on its own.
Serving Size: 30 grams
Cost per serving: $1.67
Protein per serving: 23.6 grams
Spiru-tein, made by Nature’s Plus, contains quality ingredients that are safe and provide high nutritional value.
With regards to its protein content, its label states that each serving contains only 14 grams of protein, but according to our test results, each scoop of Spiru-tein actually has about 21.8 grams of protein.
Given this analysis, we revealed that this protein powder contains 77.8 grams of bound protein concentration per 100 grams.
The consistency of shakes made with Spiru-tein protein are much smoother as compared to other varieties, and are easy to enjoy on a daily basis due to their delicious taste.
This is one of the most recommended powders for people who are trying to lose weight, as each serving of powder contains just 130 calories.
When combined with regular exercise, consuming Spiru-tein shakes made with 12 ounces of whole milk in place of regular meals for 14 days can help you lose up to 20 pounds.
Serving Size: 34 grams
Cost per serving: $1.05
Protein per serving: 21.8 grams
UMP by Beverly International
Another powder that ranks highly among Amazon.com users is Ultimate Muscle Protein (UMP) by Beverly International.
Nearly 90 percent of the proteins present in UMP is obtained from Grade-A skim milk, so it is not recommended for those with lactose sensitivities or intolerance.
Of all the reviews you read about UMP, it seems that its most striking quality is its exceptional taste.
It is also known to blend well with liquid, giving it a smooth, creamy texture.
UMP contains a unique blend of casein and whey proteins in an 80:20 ratio, providing a sustained-release of protein from the casein and a quicker absorption of protein from the whey.
Serving Size: 33 grams
Cost per serving: $1.58
Protein per serving: 20 grams
Protein World Whey Isolate
This vegetarian protein powder by Protein World contains moderate amounts of protein and has a highly appealing taste.
It is free of soy and produced with dairy products from cows that are grass-fed and hormone free.
Each 40 gram serving of Whey Protein Concentrate contains about 27.4 grams of protein and 91.3 grams of protein per 100-gram serving.
The complete ingredient list includes whey protein isolate, sunflower lecithin and sucralose (sweetener), as well as some natural flavoring agents in the flavored varieties.
Protein World’s website is one of the most appealing, user-friendly sites we’ve come across, as it provides a plethora of information on how to use its powder and its nutritional information.
Serving Size: 30 grams
Cost per serving: $1.07
Protein per serving: 20.5 grams
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Raw Vegan Protein
Sunwarrior is extremely popular for its natural protein products.
It’s Warrior Blend Raw Vegan Protein is a completely plant-based protein powder, so the concentration of bound protein is slightly less as compared to its whey counterparts.
The total concentration of bound protein is 71 grams per 100 grams.
Warrior Blend contains 17.8 grams of protein per serving, which is an adequate amount considering it is a vegan protein powder.
One of the most trusted and unique qualities of this Sunwarrior blend is that it uses pea, hemp and goji berries as its sources of protein.
Its taste is described as sweet and smooth but is improved with additions such as water, nut milk or fruit since it can be slightly chalky given it is a raw, unflavored vegan protein powder.
Serving Size: 25 grams
Cost per serving: $1.04
Protein per serving: 17.8 grams
Protein Factory’s Mega Whey
Mega Whey is a solid choice for cost efficient protein powder that doesn’t skimp on quality.
At 25 grams of protein for about $0.76 a serving, there is no doubt that protein factory offers tremendous value at an affordable cost.
Protein Factory’s CEO, Alex Rogers, is unabashedly against amino spiking and makes his feelings clear in the form of blog posts on his website calling out companies that have discrepancies between their label claims and lab results of their product’s actual component.
The company’s main goal is to product an effective product that is safe for the consumer.
They conduct the testing that the FDA requires to validate and guarantee the safety of a supplement product.
Mega is 3rd party inspected to ensure that what you see on the label is what you are getting inside the container. We love the fact that it is sweetened with Stevia and only contains essential ingredients.
Serving Size: 35 grams
Cost per serving: $0.76
Protein per serving: 25.0 grams
MRM 100% All Natural Whey
MRM’s 100% All Natural Whey is made using an advanced cross-flow micro-filtration and ion exchange process.
MRM recently updated its packaging to reflect its use of TreLEAFia, which is a sweetener blend of Stevia leaf extract, trehalose and monk fruit extract.
Although the powder still contains carrageenan, its new formula was well received by users.
All Natural Whey has a bound protein concentration of 73.2 grams per 100 grams, and its protein content per serving is 17.8 grams. This protein content is a bit low as compared to other whey protein powders.
Recommendations for consumption include mixing it with water, adding it to yogurt or coffee, or blending it into a shake.
Serving Size: 24.3 grams
Cost per serving: $0.69
Protein per serving: 17.8 grams
Allmax Nutrition IsoNatural Whey Protein Isolate
According to its label, IsoNatural Whey Protein Isolate provides 27 grams of protein per serving, which is higher than most others in its class.
However, actual test results show that each serving only contains 23.3 grams of protein, making the concentration of bound protein 77.5 grams per 100 grams.
Its protein isolate is derived from a micro-filtration process that is performed at a very low temperature.
Users reveal mixed opinions about its taste, so it all depends on how you use the powder.
Among its selections, the chocolate flavor tastes best and needs no added ingredients. The natural flavor, however, has a unique taste that may not be suited for everyone’s preference.
Serving Size: 30 grams
Cost per serving: $1.43
Protein per serving: 23.3 grams
Bulletproof Whey Protein is a great choice for people seeking a natural product with minimal additives and no artificial sweeteners; however, you may have to become accustomed to the taste and smell of the protein powder.
Its users have shared that the powder smells ‘a bit too natural’ and has a unique after-taste unlike any other whey protein powders.
The powder contains 60.8 grams of bound protein per 100 grams and contains 8.5 grams of protein per serving.
Its low amount of protein is due to the fact that its serving size is smaller as compared to most other protein powders on the market.
Overall, Bulletproof Whey is a completely natural product that smells, tastes and feels completely natural.
Serving Size: 14 grams
Cost per serving: $1.88
Protein per serving: 8.5 grams
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Natural 100% Whey
If you’ve supplemented with protein powders for some time, you’re likely familiar with Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Natural Whey.
With more than 1,100 reviews on Amazon.com and an average rating of four out of five stars, it is one of the highest-rated protein powders.
While it was once very affordable, its prices have gradually increased, causing a bit of a concern among many users.
Each serving of ON’s Gold Standard Whey provides 23.2 grams of protein and the total concentration of bound protein is 72.6 grams per 100 grams.
It does not contain any artificial or unhealthy ingredients, making it a safe and effective powder for protein supplementation. Its natural flavor is not as tasty as its flavored counterparts but contains slightly more protein content.
Serving Size: 32 grams
Cost per serving: $0.87
Protein per serving: 23.2 grams
Almost all fitness enthusiasts recommend Dymatize ISO-100 to their fellow mates, making it one of the most popular protein powders on the market today.
Before you buy this protein powder, however, there are a couple factors to consider:
First, the company promises 25 grams of protein per serving, but actual results show that it contains 21.6 grams of protein per serving.
In addition, Dymatize ISO-100 is made with the artificial sweetener, sucralose, which is found to cause harmful biological effects to the body. If these two considerations are not of concern to you, then we think you will be pleased with this protein powder option.
Made in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, banana, cookies & cream, birthday cake, and cinnamon bun, among several others, ISO-100’s gourmet vanilla and chocolate flavors rate highest among its users.
Serving Size: 28 grams
Cost per serving: $1.05
Protein per serving: 21.6 grams
Pure Protein 100% Natural Whey
Described as one of the tastiest vanilla flavored protein powders on the market, Pure Protein’s Natural Whey Protein lives up to its reputation.
Its label states that each serving contains 23 grams of protein, but according to lab tests, its actual protein content is 22.1 grams per serving, giving it 67.1 grams of bound protein per 100 grams of powder
Each serving of Pure Protein Natural Whey contains 5 grams of natural sugar and more than 5 grams of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).
The product does not contain any artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
Serving Size: 33 grams
Cost per serving: $0.72
Protein per serving: 22.1 grams
Quest Nutrition Whey
Quest Nutrition is not only immensely popular for its protein bars, but also for its variety of whey protein powders.
It’s protein powder consists of 69.5 grams of bound protein per 100 grams, which gives a total of 21.6 grams of protein per serving.
Quest protein powder comes in a variety of flavors, including chocolate milkshake, vanilla milkshake, strawberries & cream, and peanut butter, among others.
Its chocolate-flavored protein powder is rated highest among users, followed by its vanilla flavor. One important factor to consider when supplementing with Quest Nutrition protein powder is that the blend is made with sucralose as a sweetener.
While its label states that it contains no added sugar, sucralose is an artificial sweetener that comes with its own side effects and is not well tolerated by individuals with Diabetes.
Serving Size: 31 grams
Cost per serving: $1.31
Protein per serving: 21.6 grams
Shakeology is one of the priciest protein powders on our list, which is mainly due to the fact that it contains more than 70 healthy ingredients sourced from all over the world.
These ingredients include phytonutrients, super-proteins, nine different adaptogen herbs, and others. According to research, adaptogen herbs are completely natural products that help to reduce stress.
The protein content in Shakeology is a bit lower than the others on this list, as a single serving contains 11.7 grams of protein.
The concentration of bound protein per 100 grams is just 33.4 grams, which wouldn’t be as much of a concern if the price point were lower.
While there are many other protein powders that offer a similar ingredient list at one-third of the price, Shakeology remains popular among fitness enthusiasts, as it is backed by more than 100,000 Beachbody coaches.
Serving Size: 35 grams
Cost per serving: $4.33
Protein per serving: 11.7 grams
How Did We Make Our Choices? The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Protein Powder
Anyone who is serious about their personal fitness knows about the importance of adding protein to their diet in order to build muscle and burn fat.
While you don’t need to use protein supplements to obtain your recommended daily intake of the nutrient, it is highly recommended if your goal is to build lean muscle.
Unfortunately, there are some factors that make it challenging to regularly supplement with protein.
One hurdle to maintaining a consistent protein supplement regimen is that high-quality protein supplements are often expensive, depending on where you purchase your supplements and the type that you buy.
In addition, finding the right type of protein for your body’s needs may also pose a challenge, as there are many sources of protein on the market today. You may be overwhelmed by the varieties that exist, but choosing the right one is extremely important to ensure that you are fueling your body with the highest quality supplement to help you meet your health and fitness goals.
If you overlook these critical components, you will likely find yourself wasting valuable time and hard-earned money.
The five most popular forms of protein used in muscle-building and fat shredding diets include whey, casein, egg, soy, rice, pea, and hemp.
In this article, we will review each type and break down their advantages so you can confidently choose a protein that will help you reach your goals in the shortest amount of time possible.
Whey protein is by far the most widely used form of protein and is likely the most recognizable source on this list.
Whey is an extremely high-quality protein and an animal byproduct that is naturally found in the milk of cows and produced during the process of making cheese.
During the process in which cows are milked, an enzyme is added that helps to separate the milk into several parts. One of these parts, known as curd, is eventually turned into cheese while another part is whey which is then pasteurized and filtered into powder.
Whey is a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids for muscle synthesis and growth. There are three types of whey: concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate.
Let’s break down each type:
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) is the most common form of protein that is used in sports nutrition and supplement shakes.
While WPCs are typically comprised of 80 percent protein, this value can range from 25 percent to 89 percent, with the rest of the substance consisting of lactose, water, minerals, and fat.
Advantages of Using Whey Protein Concentrate
- Its price point is lower than the isolate form because it contains less protein per equal serving.
- It’s complete blend of amino acids is highly beneficial for post-workout muscle recovery.
Overall, WPC is a solid source of protein if you are looking for an effective option that won’t break the bank. At this price point, you cannot expect top-of-the-line quality, but you will still bring home a blend that will help you achieve your fitness goals.
Whey Protein Isolate
Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is an extremely pure substance that is comprised of roughly 90-95 percent protein.
Fortunately, WPI contains a considerably lower amount of fat and lactose due to its filtration process. In addition, its absorption rate is much higher than the concentrate, which makes it an ideal choice for individuals who wish to feed their muscles for recovery immediately after a workout.
It is also important to note that since this is the highest quality protein, the price of products that contain WPI will be significantly higher than any other form of whey.
Advantages of Using Whey Protein Isolate
- At 90-95 percent protein, this is the purest form of whey available.
- Its absorption rate is very high.
- It contains little to no lactose, which is especially important for individuals who are lactose intolerant.
WPI is hands-down the purest and most concentrated protein that you can consume in powdered form. Its absorption rate is high and it is quickly processed by the body to allow for faster post-workout recovery.
One drawback of WPI is that you cannot use this type of protein powder before bed since it’s fast assimilation into the body will contribute to increased energy. Additionally, its extremely high price point often deters users from making the leap from Whey Protein Concentrate.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate
Hydrolyzed Whey Protein is specially processed to create a form that has a high absorption rate when it enters the body, making it a bit more expensive than the other types. In addition, it is also known to have a bitter/acidic taste, depending on the type you purchase. Despite these factors, there is one major benefit to using Whey Protein Hydrolysate.
Advantage of Using Whey Protein Hydrolysate
- Whey Protein Hydrolysate is absorbed into the body at a faster rate than any of its competitors, making it the best option for pre-workout fuel or post-workout recovery.
In our opinion, Whey Protein Hydrolysate is a “glamor protein” since its stats make it look like the sweetheart of the ball, but unfortunately, they are mostly just glitz and glam.
As a lab-processed protein, it is the fastest absorbing of those listed above, but the protein quality is not as high as that of Whey Protein Isolate. If your goal is to find an ultra-fast absorbing protein to consume when you wrap up your workout, you won’t find anything more efficient than Whey Protein Hydrolysate.
Casein supplements are arguably the second most popular type of protein and probably one of the fastest growing trends within fitness circles.
Casein comes from cow’s milk and is responsible for its cloudy white appearance. Casein’s two primary forms, Calcium Caseinate and Micellar, make up about 80 percent of the proteins found in cow milk and roughly 20-45 percent of the protein found in human milk.
Unlike whey, which is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, casein protein powder absorbs at a much slower rate and releases quality proteins to the muscle cells over an extended period of time. This primarily occurs because caseins form “clots” when they are exposed to acid. When casein interacts with the acids in your stomach, the clots produce a slow release of amino acids into the plasma, which can last for several hours.
This slower absorption rate is the main reason why many people consider casein protein powder as the perfect protein supplement to take before bedtime.
Bodybuilders are especially fond of Casein because it has the ability to keep their bodies in an anabolic state while they are asleep.
Advantages of Using Casein Protein
- Casein protein’s slower absorption rate is the primary benefit.
- The price point for casein protein powder is lower than that of whey protein powder.
Casein provides your body with a quality protein that takes a long time to absorb, helping to feed your muscles over time and serving as the perfect nightcap to end your day.
If you are interested in adding muscle mass, consistently supplementing with casein prior to bedtime will help you achieve your goal.
Egg protein supplements are powdered, dried variants of egg whites with zero fat and little-to-no carbohydrates. Since egg protein powder is free of lactose, it is the ideal option for individuals who are lactose intolerant.
The quality of protein found in egg whites is often compared to whey protein, as it effectively synthesizes muscle growth in a similar fashion. Another benefit is that egg protein powder is digested even slower than casein, which makes it a great protein to consume if you want to keep your body in an anabolic state over an extended period of time.
Advantages of Using Egg Protein
- Extremely high-quality protein (comparable to whey).
- Ideal for individuals with sensitivities to lactose.
- Slow absorption rate for pre-bedtime use.
Egg protein is a high-quality protein that can be compared to whey in terms of quality.
This protein source is a good fit for individuals who are sensitive to foods containing lactose or those who are lactose intolerant. Egg protein absorbs even slower than casein, so it is the perfect blend to consume in the morning in order to reap lasting benefits throughout the day.
As the name suggests, soy protein originates from soybeans. It is de-fatted and de-hulled, so it can then be processed into a consumable form of protein. Soy protein powder is approximately 60-70 percent protein by weight and supplies the body with an adequate amount of amino acids.
It is shown to be effective in building muscle mass and is primarily used by vegetarians and vegans who are looking for an additional source of protein.
While soy protein is highly nutritious and beneficial for strength training support, it has caused some controversy among health and fitness professionals. The reason is that research has shown that taking products containing soy on a regular basis can produce feminizing effects in men. This is mostly due to soybeans’ content of isoflavones, which contain naturally occurring estrogen-like molecules.
Soy isoflavones reside in a class of compounds that are called phytoestrogens, which are similar in structure and function to the female sex hormone, estrogen. While they are shown to have medical purposes for women, they are not especially beneficial for men.
For this reason, it is recommended that soy protein supplementation is only exercised by women and that men stick to other sources, such as whey or casein.
Advantages of Using Soy Protein
- Soy protein is the ideal source for individuals who do not eat meat or animal products.
If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and need additional protein, soy protein powder is one of your best options for supplementation.
While this is not the optimal source for men, women may enjoy added benefits when adding soy protein to their diet.
Rice and Pea Protein
We combine rice and pea protein into the same category, as they share many similarities and are mostly used within the vegan community. They are both natural sources of protein that are not produced from animals.
Pea protein has a slightly sweet taste, is very light, and is known to be hypoallergenic and highly digestible.
Rice protein, on the other hand, tends to have a bitter and chalky taste, which is why it is often suggested to mix the two together to form a single blend.
The amino acid profile of a rice and pea protein blend is also very similar to that of whey.
Advantages of Using Rice or Pea Protein
- They are both ideal supplement sources for vegetarians and vegans who do not eat meat.
- They contain a strong amino acid profile.
- They are both free of lactose, which makes them good options for those who are sensitive or allergic to lactose.
- They are highly digestible and easily absorbed by the body.
Rice and Pea protein powders are perfect for those who abstain from consuming animal products, they are easily digested and they can be added to essentially any type of diet.
Hemp protein is a product formed from hemp seeds, which have a very balanced macronutrient profile.
Hemp protein powder is produced from seeds that are industrially processed to have their oil extracted. The seed meal that remains is then further processed to produce the hemp protein that is widely available as dietary supplements.
While most people associate hemp with marijuana, the hemp that is available on the market as a protein source does not produce any sensory-stimulating effects.
Hemp protein is only about 30-50 percent protein and is not considered a complete protein since it has relatively low levels of lysine and leucine. Therefore, it isn’t nearly as effective for muscle-building as whey, casein, soy, pea, or rice proteins.
Hemp protein is also a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as polyunsaturated fats, which are “good fats” that your body needs for fuel and recovery.
Advantages of Using Hemp Protein
- It is a great source of additional micronutrients such as omega-3s and omega-6s.
Hemp protein is a viable option if you are looking for additional protein supplementation; however, if you are a serious workout enthusiast, it will probably not provide you with enough high-quality protein for adequate long-term use.
While its added micronutrients are beneficial, hemp protein does not measure up to the other options in this list in terms of protein content and nutritional value.
Be sure to consider other options that may be more in line with your training goals if you are using hemp as a protein source.
Based on our review of the various protein sources available, you can see that there are a plethora of choices that each offer different benefits and consequences to the body.
If you’re maintaining a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods that contain natural sources of protein and amino acids, you are likely consuming an adequate amount of protein without needing extra supplementation.
However, we have found that most individuals who are leading a very active lifestyle often struggle with consuming the amount of protein that their bodies actually need. Thus, adding a protein shake to your daily regimen can serve a number of benefits.
The primary principle to keep in mind when choosing your protein powder is that regardless of what source from which your protein originates, you need to ensure that you are getting enough quality protein every day.
For individuals who are looking to maintain lean muscle, a good rule of thumb is consuming one gram of protein for every pound of body weight (I.e. if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for 150 grams of protein per day).
It is also important to take the right type of protein at the right time, as this will ensure that you are using the protein to its full potential, and not wasting your time or hard-earned money.
Since whey concentrate and egg protein is fast-absorbing, it is best to consume these sources in the morning; whereas whey isolate or hydrolysate is best consumed immediately following a workout and casein is ideally consumed before bedtime.
When you take protein supplements strategically and follow the science of how each one works, you will effectively fuel your body to produce desirable results.
If you’re still not sure which protein is the right choice for you, consult your physician and notify them of your health and fitness goals.
We hope you found this guide helpful, and that you now feel confident and empowered to choose the best protein powder that will suit your lifestyle and overall fitness goals!
(Click the image below to zoom in on the infographic: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Protein Powder)