The Ultimate Guide to Protein Supplements!

Whether you’re new to fitness or you have years of training and living the fitness lifestyle under your belt, one supplement that you will constantly find in the spotlight is protein. Protein supplements have been a craze since the 1980s scientists found out that whey, which is a left-over by-product of cheese production, has many positive health and muscle-building properties! Whey protein is also rich in the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine which are essential to the production of lean muscle mass. Whey protein has also become extremely popular because it is digested so quickly in the body. Soon after that, companies such as Optimum Nutrition, Universal Nutrition, Animal and BSN started creating the first mass-produced protein supplements for bodybuilders and the public. Fast forward to the modern day, and there are well over 100 major supplement companies worldwide that sell protein supplements in many forms.

Here are some of the many forms of protein supplements available on the market today: Protein supplements come in many forms and are typically created from animal sources. Whey being the most common, followed by egg, soy, beef and vegetarian/vegan sources. Protein supplements are commonly found in powdered form and can range from whey blends (60-75% protein) to whey isolates (75-95% protein), ready-to-drink liquids, mixed into nut butters and pancake mixes, like products available by P28, protein bars, cakes and other dessert and treat like options. Here is a description of all the different types of protein powders: Protein supplements made from egg whites will have all the necessary amino acids used by the body for developing lean muscle. The amount of protein found in egg whites is very high, the fat content is practically non-existent, and there they contain no cholesterol. Egg protein powder supplements are made from ingredients found only in eggs making this supplement an almost perfect and natural form of soluble protein.

Casein protein supplements are perfect for providing a steady release of protein into the body over several hours. Going to bed on an empty stomach may encourage the body to use its own muscles for energy during the night, which is known as the catabolic effect. Drinking casein protein powder before bed prevents this catabolic effect and satisfies hunger pangs until the next morning. In comparison, whey protein, (especially whey protein isolate and hydrolysate) digests and absorbs within 30-90 minutes and makes for a perfect supplement right before or after a workout. Casein protein requires six to eight hours to be properly digested, making it the perfect bed time protein supplement.

Soy protein powders aid in improving the amino acid levels of other foods, making them more nutritious and helping to lower cholesterol, but may not be as effective as other protein powder supplements. All the amino acids needed for growing and maintaining strong muscles tissue are available in soy protein. This type of protein powder, however, may not taste as good or mix as well as other supplements. Soy proteins are also known to contain various estrogenic mimicking substances which can promote water retention and raise estrogen levels in men.

There are also blends of all the above types of protein that provide the muscle-building power of whey protein with the anti-catabolic capabilities of casein protein. Before choosing a supplement, it may be best to establish some basic healthy nutritional goals, as food should come first, not a supplement. Here are some basic tips for choosing a protein powder based on your goals, personal tastes and budget.

1. Research the company who makes the product, as some companies can have a shady reputation and history for what they put in their products and misrepresenting what is on the label vs. what is in the product and how effective the product is. www.labdoor.com is a great website to check out to research various products and their value/effectiveness.

2. Analyze how much protein you need in total and how much you get from wholesome food sources. Example: If you need 150 grams of protein a day, you can get 100 grams from food sources and 50 grams from a supplement, which would work out to (2) 25-gram protein shakes.

3. See what you can afford, as protein powders have a varying price range, with whey blends being generally in a $40-70 price range for a 5-pound container, vs whey isolates or hydrolysates being $75-100 for a 5-pound container.

4. Choose products with ingredients that suit your personal beliefs. Some protein powders are made with many man-made artificial ingredients, such as sucralose, acesulfame potassium, carrageenan, and artificial colors such as brilliant blue no.1, tartrazine yellow no.5, and red no.40. While, these ingredients do not pose a massive, immediate risk to human health, they are shown to potentially cause health problems. Choosing protein supplements with ingredients such as: natural flavoring and natural coloring, plant-based food coloring, stevia and sunflower lecithin etc, is a healthier choice.

Here are some of the best protein powders on the market:
1. Allmax Nutrition Isoflex
2. Kaizen Whey Isolate
3. Mammoth Isolate
4. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
5. Nutrabolics Isobolic/Hydropure
6. Ultimate Nutrition Iso-Sensation 93
7. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein
8. BSN Syntha-6
9. Gaspari Nutrition Myofusion
10. GAT Sport Whey Isolate blend

In conclusion, a protein supplement is an excellent product to have in your arsenal to help you achieve your fitness goals! Stop by your local fitness center or supplement café and speak to a fitness advisor or a personal trainer about finding a protein supplement that exceeds your expectations and helps you reach your goals!

Medical Advice Disclaimer

This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health and related sub­jects.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 911 immediately.

The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are affiliated.