Protein powder is the most widely used dietary supplement to hit the industry. It can be found in the cupboards of housewives, athlete’s lockers and nearly anywhere to help satisfy one’s protein macro nutrients for the day. Since protein is so widely accepted and supported in our society companies have capitalized on its success creating a variety of exciting flavors and many customized proteins to suit your individual needs.
But navigating the different types of protein powders such as whey, soy, casein and egg can be confusing, so I will shed some light on which is best for your needs and my top 5 picks of 2013.
Types of Protein
The most popular type protein on the market, there are several different types of whey protein: a concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate.
- Whey concentrate is the most widely used form of protein used to add or meet protein requirements for the day. Whey concentrate is also the lightest on the wallet and can be found at your nearest supermarket or on the shelves of your local supplement retailer such as GNC, Vitamin Shoppe or SuperSupplements. Whey concentrate can be used any time of the day/night. I typically recommend protein shakes to be utilized post workout but can also be used in-between meals or pre/post workout.
- Whey isolates are very quick absorbing proteins; this form of protein is more expensive then whey concentrates. Whey isolates work very well with a low carbohydrate diet, protein powder like ISOPure contain low or zero carb powders with no sugars. Isolates are best used pre/post workout because they are absorbed so quickly and supply the muscle with the fuel needed to help build/repair muscles.
- Hydrolysate protein is the highest quality protein available on the market; making is also the most expensive. What makes hydrolysate so good is it has the highest absorption rate of proteins available and “They provide highly absorbable peptides that can have a great anabolic effect”.
Soy protein is an alternative for those who are on a vegetarian diet and need to meet their proteins needs. However, we highly recommend that you do not use soy protein. It has been found to lower testosterone levels because it contains “phytoestrogens” (plant estrogens) that bind to our estrogen receptors, throwing off your entire system.
Processed soy is toxic garbage for your body. That said, if you don’t care about your sexual health, soy protein is rich in BCAA’s, glutamine and arginine. It has also been shown to boost your metabolism by increased thyroid hormone output. Soy protein can be used just as whey concentrate, but again, it is not a preferred protein for amateur or pro bodybuilders.
This is a very slow digesting protein that breaks down over the course of 4-8 hours (there isn’t an exact time frame, just depends). Casein is usually taken before bed to keep your body supplied with nutrients throughout the night, keep you anabolic.
Egg Albumin is rich in BCAA’s, low carb, and low fat/cholesterol. Egg protein powder is lactose free making it easier to digest, best consumed pre/post workout.
Colby’s Top 5 Protein Powders of 2013
Now that we have a basic understanding of the different type of protein powders and their unique functions I can give you my top 5 picks for 2013. They are listed in no particular order.
Cellucor, Cor-Performance Whey – Cellucor recently launched a new line of protein powder; this formula packs 25g of pure 100% whey protein (isolate, whey concentrate blend). This powder is low carb and low in fat, it also features added digestive enzymes, a perfect mixability and the best flavors on the market”. The cinnamon swirl is unbelievable — like drinking the milk at the end of your bowl of cinnamon toast crunch!
- MTS Nutrition Machine Whey– A powerful whey blend of whey concentrate, isolate. Machine whey contains NO maltodextrin, dextrose or other nasty fillers. Marc Lobliner personally backs this product which is produced in a NSF/GMP registered facility. This is a high quality blend and amazing value, 5lb tub (about 67 scoops) for around $44.99 a tub. Each scoop provides 25g of protein.
- AtLargeNutritions Nitrean+ – This is one of my favorite proteins on the market, I take 1 scoop blended with ice for breakfast (coffee flavor tastes just like a Starbucks). Nitrean+ incorporates a unique blend of whey (isolate, concentrate, and hydrolyzed), casein and egg protein! They claim this product promotes a more anabolic state via addressing both sides of the net protein equation and blunts catabolism. This advanced formula also includes an additional 5gs of the amino acid leucine. Each tub contains 70 scoops containing 23g protein, 5g leucine.
- Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey – 100% Whey Gold Standard is the most widely consumed protein powder on the market, being so it has to be included on my list. This powder is also a whey concentrate, with protein isolates being a main ingredient; each scoop contains 24g of protein, 4g of glutamine and more than 5g of BCAAs. Gold Standard Whey is competitively priced and available nearly everywhere. Since this products success they have included a “performance” line and a “platinum” line to meet the needs of competitive athletes.
- Amplified 100% Whey Protein – This is micronized whey, featuring hydrolysates and a large amount of amino acids (4.5g of leucine, 3.5g of glutamine). This protein absorbs very quickly into the blood stream promoting anabolism quickly post workout. I use this product immediately post workout when I am cutting.
Above are my personal favorite proteins of 2013, other products that should be mentioned are Dymatize Elite Gourmet protein, Muscle Tech Nitro Tech and Real Gains by Universal Nutrition. I have used each product and utilize them during different training cycles.
You’ll notice the above proteins (except the Real Gains) are all 100% whey protein powders, casein, egg proteins. I prefer to use those shakes and supplement my creatine, BCAA’s and other dietary needs by adding in those other supplements depending on my current goals.
When bulking, however, I did use “weight gainers” such as Real Gains and After Max by Optimum Nutrition which provide a carbohydrate blend, protein, creatine and other vitamins/minerals and BCAA’s. They each have their own intended uses depending on your goals.