Which Protein Powder Is the Best? ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE “BEST” PROTEIN POWDER? NOT AT ALL!. Which protein powder is the best? Well, Men’s Health just published an article that listed what they considered to be the 15 greatest protein powders for “building muscle.”
Presumably, the two co-authors tried a wide range of protein powders before settling on the ones they believed were the healthiest and most successful in terms of muscle growth. That, or they just went to Amazon and ordered a number of protein powders based on whether the label descriptions and contents piqued their interest.
I’m guessing the latter. Anyway, I’m not sure if the editors of Men’s Health agree with their choices, but there’s a note above the article that says: ” “Your product recommendations have been editor-tested and expert-approved. We may receive a commission if you click on one of the links on our site.”
I have no objection to them receiving a commission from the links. That’s how the Internet market works most of the time. However, the “expert-approved” part of the disclaimer bothers me because their list is mostly horse pucky.
Maybe I’m being too severe. I’m sure they tried their hardest, but they prioritised the wrong things and had a few popular but incorrect preconceptions about protein powders in general.
Let’s dispel those myths so that you, the consumer, can choose the best protein powders for your needs, or at the very least avoid goods based on misinformation.
1. PROTEIN POWDER FROM GRASS-FEED COWS AND/OR OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS SUPPLEMENTED
This type of protein powder, I must confess, sounds fantastic. Sure, protein obtained from the milk of virginal cows who graze happily on orchard grass all day, drink rainwater collected in natural oak cisterns, and retire to the sound of crickets and loons at night sounds wonderful. It makes me want to be a cow as well, but appearances can be deceiving.
First and first, who the hell knows what “grass-fed” means? The FDA does not regulate it. It’s possible that some agro-farm stooge dropped a handful of lawn clippings into the mostly indigestible grain that makes up the majority of the cows’ diet.
But set that aside. The alleged attractiveness of purchasing protein powder from grass-fed cows stems from the fact that it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, a fat-burning and heart-health-promoting fatty acid. That is correct. The fatty-acid profile of milk from grass-fed cows is superior to milk from corn or grain-fed cows.
In comparison to the 19.8 mg of essential fatty acids contained in ordinary milk, a 100-gram sample of milk from grass-fed cows has roughly 32 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
The difference is only 12.2 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, which is insignificant. Dietitian Sean Casey also points out that when ordinary whey protein is processed, practically all of the fat is removed, leaving only about 2 grammes per serving. According to his calculations, a 25-gram portion of protein from grass-fed cows’ milk has around 8 mg more essential fatty acids than a similar amount of protein powder from conventional cows.
When you consider that a serving of high-quality, concentrated fish oil capsules contains nearly 3,000 mg. of essential fatty acids, an additional 8 mg. of important fatty acids is hardly cause for celebration.
Okay, but what about companies that add fatty acids to protein powder after it’s been processed? That’s fine, but consider it. Isn’t it true that fatty acid supplements are always packaged in airtight capsules, refrigerated, and stored in the dark? Fatty acids are delicate substances that are prone to oxidation and destruction, and if not handled with care, they will decay like Thanos’ victims.
Furthermore, the amino acid profile of protein derived from “grass-fed” cows would be identical to that of protein derived from agro farm animals, so what’s the sense in paying more for these products?
2. PLANTED PROTEIN POWDER
This concept, once again, sounds fantastic. You can love the Earth and build strength at the same time! The first, perhaps, but the second, perhaps not so much. If you’re vegan, allergic to dairy, or your father owns a legume farm and you get freebies, plant-derived protein makes sense; otherwise, there’s no compelling reason to convert from dairy proteins (whey and casein).
Plant proteins may appear to be more wholesome or nutritious than dairy proteins on the surface, but this is not the case. Plant proteins lack the majority of the vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and phytochemicals found in the complete plant, while soy protein, in particular, may have just enough isoflavones to create issues.
Of course, dairy-based protein powders aren’t exactly high in vitamins and minerals, but whey does include immunoglobulins, which can help to improve human health.
Plant proteins, on the other hand, don’t pack on muscle as well as dairy-based proteins when it comes to muscle protein synthesis. Their biological value (BV) is simply insufficient. The BV is a measurement of how well the body uses protein.
While the Incredible Hulk is pea-green, he didn’t get that way from pea protein, or any other plant protein for that matter. A new study on the anabolic benefits of wheat protein produced from the conversion of gluten into free amino acids appears to back this up.
The terrible reality is that wheat protein, like all other plant proteins, has lower biological value than animal proteins. Plant proteins are either indigestible or lack one or more essential amino acids, such as leucine, lysine, and/or methionine.
To achieve the same effects as proteins from dairy or meat, you’d have to eat a lot more of them.
3. EACH SERVING CONTAINS MORE PROTEIN!
The writers of the Men’s Health paper consumed a protein with 30 grammes of protein per serving. They wrote, “Go large with 30 g of protein, the highest figure on the list.” “This is a good option for advanced athletes.” Brother, I’m sorry.
What did the producers do, alter time and space to compress protein molecules in some way? Did they go all Dumbledore on it and make protein denser or more strong by magic?
This deception has been going on for as long as I can remember, thanks to unethical supplement producers. Simply said, they use a larger scoop in the pouch or container, one that can store 30, 40, or even 50 grammes of protein “per serving.”
Why not fill a Big Hoss sandbag with protein, which can carry 3,000 pounds of sand? Sure, give each bag a shovel and claim 800 grammes of protein per serving. Sheesh.
4. WHICH PROTEIN IS BEST FOR MUSCLE BUILDING?
“Whey is the consensus-MVP protein for developing muscle,” the scientists said, recommending “native” whey powder (the least processed version).
First, the positive. Native whey, whey concentrate, and even whey isolate (albeit to a lower extent than the previous two varieties of whey) are all fascinating because they include immunoglobulins that may help the human immune system.
Now for the awful news. Whey is not the “consensus-MVP protein for muscle growth.”
It’s a fast-acting protein that’s useful in pre- and post-workout formulae, and it’s certainly no slacker when it comes to actual muscle protein synthesis, but quality caseins are greater muscle builders, strength builders, and fat burners.
Casein causes more protein to be deposited than whey, which basically implies more muscle. Whey causes a rapid and significant boost in protein synthesis, however this effect is short-lived. Protein synthesis and oxidation have increased, but protein breakdown has remained same.
That final point is a major disadvantage of whey. Casein, on the other hand, stimulates protein synthesis while simultaneously inhibiting breakdown to a great extent, similar to whey.
One research of weight-trained volunteers found that as compared to the whey group, they gained twice as much lean mass and lost half as much fat. The casein group also improved their bench, shoulder press, and leg extension strength by 59 percent, but the whey group only improved their strength by 28 percent (Boire, 1997).
Another study found that 70-75 grammes of casein outperformed the same amount of whey in burn victims.
Despite having to contend with the tremendously high metabolism and accelerated protein oxidation caused by injuries, the casein group grew lean muscle twice as fast as the whey group (Demling, 1998).
Those two research are just a small sample of the many that have demonstrated the superiority of generic casein. There are, however, advanced caseins with muscle-building qualities that go well beyond the basic, garden-variety caseins, which I’ll discuss later.
BOUTIQUE PROTEINS IN MISCELLANEOUS FORMULAS
Other protein concoctions consumed by the Men’s Health authors included one made with organic spinach, alfalfa grass, broccoli, and other vegetables. The premise of this product, at least, appeals to me because I’m a big fan of veggies and polyphenols in general. Perhaps not so much in practise.
I’m concerned that combining dried plant matter with protein would benefit neither; the protein powder would likely cause the veggies to oxidise, and the vegetables would likely cause any lipids in the protein powder to peroxide. (I also wince at the thought of drinking a protein drink with broccoli flavouring, if that’s what it tastes like.) I’d prefer keep my protein powder and dehydrated or fresh vegetables separate until dinner.
Another they liked featured customised formulas for those aged 18 to 49, those aged 50 and above, as well as a pregnancy and post-partum formula. I’ll be honest, I had to spend a long time looking at the supplement labels of both goods before I could identify how they differed. I eventually noticed a difference – the amounts of choline (yes, choline) in the three formulations differed somewhat, but not significantly.
The pregnancy/post-partum formula has 100 mg extra calcium than the 18+ formula. The elderly person formula was nearly comparable to the other two, although it had 50 mg less choline than the pregnancies/postpartum formula.
Oh, and the oldster recipe had 50 milligrammes more calcium than the 18-plus formula, as well as a smidgeon of HMB, the drab leucine metabolite that’s meant to help you develop muscle.
Can you think of anything less important in terms of your health than a few more grammes of choline or a scattering of calcium? Or why would such insignificant variances make a protein powder age-specific or better suited to obstetric use? Oh, my God!
It’s the equivalent of me inventing a customised line of unisex underwear for various groups, but instead of producing something beneficial that will genuinely aid these communities, I make something useless.
Simply placing a stork on the crotch of the underwear for pregnant ladies, a jigsaw puzzle on the crotch of the underwear for the elderly, and a can of Bud Light on the underwear for the 18-plus group.
THEIR MOST EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EXTREMELY EX
I’ve been in the supplement industry for 30 years, and I’m well aware of how cutthroat it is; practically everyone is searching for a competitive advantage or, at the very least, a marketing tactic. Unfortunately, the majority of the protein powders discussed in this article are guilty of using marketing gimmicks.
This is when science comes into play. Micellar casein is the genuine “consensus-MVP for muscle growth.” Micellar casein is made up of soap-bubble-like molecules (micelles) that when ingested form a bolus in the stomach. As a result, they digest more slowly, guaranteeing a consistent and long-lasting supply of amino acids in the circulation — amino acids that muscles require to thrive.
Micellar casein protein powder is difficult to produce, which explains its scarcity and increased price. To keep the milk proteins substantially intact, you must process it carefully.
Micellar casein production is like to gathering snowflakes in Maine and transporting them intact to California via a truck driver who pauses outside a Mojave Desert bar for a few tequilas.
Micellar casein is the only protein that has been demonstrated to be anti-catabolic (Boire, 1997), which means that it not only increases protein synthesis but also helps prevent muscle breakdown during and after heavy exercise.
That’s why Biotest’s Metabolic Drive® Protein contains it as the major protein. (I feel horrible for stomping on this article from Men’s Health magazine, which dubbed it “greatest tasting protein” few years ago.)
Metabolic Drive® also contains a significant proportion of whey isolate, which is the best option among the three forms of whey protein for most applications (concentrate, hydrolysate, and isolate). While whey isolate is less costly than whey hydrolysate, it is just as fast-acting and retains some immunoglobulins.
Metabolic Driveonly ®’s “marketing trick” is that it’s a mix of two outstanding muscle-building proteins. There are no virgin cow proteins, no guava or other plant-based proteins, no protein-serving antics with large scoops, and no ostensibly specialised mixes for old scumbags or pregnant ladies.
Furthermore, any list of allegedly superior protein powders for muscle growth that does not contain micellar casein products is horribly incorrect.