Premium protein powders vs. blended protein powders
The protein powders sold on the market today are uneven and not all protein powders are created equal. Many protein powders are not only filled with additives, but often contain misleading labels that make it impossible to determine what is actually in each serving. In fact, a string of lawsuits abroad have found that many popular brands of protein powders actually contain less than half of the amount of protein listed on the label.
These lawsuits allege that many companies use a practice called “amino acid addition”, which means they use cheap filler amino acids such as glycine, leucine and taurine, which are then factored into the total protein content on the label. The problem is that these amino acids are incomplete proteins and do not at all achieve the same health benefits as the complete proteins found in organic protein powders.
So how can you jump through these hoops to make sure you’re buying a product that is truly a quality protein powder? Look carefully at ingredient labels and skip supplements that add extra amino acids or fillers such as maltodextrin or artificial sweeteners. Instead, choose a naturally sweetened protein powder with the fewest ingredients and recognise the brand name to ensure you are buying from a reputable retailer.
The best protein powders
1. Collagen powder (18g of protein in 20g)
As the most abundant form of protein in the body, collagen is found in muscles, skin, bones and blood vessels. However, as we age, collagen levels slowly begin to decline, leading to symptoms such as joint pain, wrinkles and hair loss.
Taking collagen supplements is an effective way to boost collagen levels and reverse the symptoms of ageing to improve health and quality of life. Collagen is generally obtained from chicken collagen, bovine collagen, fish collagen and eggshell collagen.
Reduces joint pain: Collagen can help increase cell synthesis in the extracellular matrix to reduce joint pain and improve the symptoms of arthritis.
Prevents leaky gut: Leaky gut is a condition caused by increased intestinal permeability, such as inflammation, decreased immunity and nutritional deficiencies. A study in the foreign journal Food and Function found that collagen can improve intestinal barrier function and protect against leaky gut syndrome.
Promotes hair and skin health: As an integral part of hair, skin and nails, some studies have shown that collagen supplementation can have a therapeutic effect on hair loss and skin-related disorders.
Improves liver function: Collagen is rich in an amino acid called glycine, which has been shown in some animal studies to protect liver function and prevent liver damage.
Collagen is a great choice to help fight the signs of ageing and enhance overall health. It is particularly beneficial for those suffering from autoimmune diseases or problems like arthritis, leaky gut syndrome or liver problems.
2. Pea protein powder
Pea protein is a relatively new form of protein powder that is rapidly gaining popularity. Derived from yellow peas, pea protein powder is high in almost all essential amino acids and has been studied and linked to many health benefits due to its excellent nutritional profile.
Promotes muscle growth: a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition abroad found that pea protein was as effective as whey protein in increasing muscle thickness when combined with resistance training.
Reduces hunger: Some studies have shown that pea protein can help to increase levels of specific satiety hormones, keeping you full and reducing hunger pangs.
Lower blood pressure: As well as increasing your protein intake, pea protein can also help keep your heart in tip-top shape by controlling your blood pressure. a 2011 study showed that pea protein supplementation significantly reduced systolic blood pressure levels after just three weeks.
Pea protein works well for those looking to increase muscle growth, while also suppressing hunger and reducing appetite, making it a contender for the best protein powder for weight loss. When paired with a healthy, well-rounded diet, it may also benefit other aspects of health, such as heart health.
3. Bone Broth Protein Powder (20g of protein in 22g)
Bone broth is made by simmering different parts of the animal, including bones and connective tissue, to create a nutrient-rich broth, which is then dehydrated and concentrated into a protein powder. Protein powder made from bone broth is not only highly nutritious, but also comes in a variety of flavours, which is why it is often touted as the best tasting protein powder for baked goods and recipes.
Rich in collagen: As the most abundant protein in your body, collagen plays a central role in the health of your hair, skin, joints and nails. As you start to age, getting enough protein is a key factor in ensuring good health.
Promote healthy skin: The amount of collagen in your body declines as you age, leading to symptoms such as sagging skin and the appearance of wrinkles. Studies have shown that supplementation with supplements containing collagen, such as protein powder made from bone broth, can improve skin elasticity and skin hydration in older people.
Boosts immune function: Some studies have shown that protein powders made from bone broth can reduce inflammation, give your immune system a strong boost and reduce the risk of conditions like leaky gut syndrome.
Relieves joint pain: Supplementing with collagen – one of the main ingredients in protein powders made from bone broth – has been shown to reduce activity-related joint pain in athletes.
Protein powders made from bone broth are ideal for those who wish to improve their health, optimise their immunity and combat the signs of ageing, while also increasing their daily protein intake.
4. Whey Protein Powder (20g of protein in 28g)
Whey is a protein found in milk. More specifically, it is the liquid that is separated from the curd during the cheese making process, resulting in a high protein content in the final product.
However, it may also contain lactose, a sugar found in milk, which may be difficult for some people to digest. If you are lactose intolerant, Isolated Whey Protein is the best whey protein option as the lactose content is greatly reduced during processing.
Supports muscle growth: whey protein is digested quickly, making it ideal as a post-workout drink to gain muscle mass quickly. In fact, several studies have shown that whey protein can help speed up muscle recovery and promote muscle growth.
High BCAA content: Whey protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help promote muscle recovery and support post-exercise muscle synthesis.
Controls appetite: Some studies have also shown that whey protein can reduce appetite and may help to lower levels of certain hunger hormones to a greater extent than other protein powders, including casein or soy protein.
Improved body composition: Whey protein may be a good choice for those looking to lose weight and promote fat burning. Studies have shown that whey protein supplementation can help reduce the amount of fat in overweight or obese people, with significant effects on reducing waist size and decreasing overall abdominal fat.
If you want to increase muscle mass and improve muscle recovery after intense exercise, whey protein may be the right choice for you. Whey protein is also sometimes considered a top protein powder for weight loss as it can help suppress hunger and improve body composition.
5. Hemp Protein Powder (30g contains 9g of protein)
HEMP is a variety of cannabis, a flowering plant native to Asia. Although it is best known for its association with cannabis, HEMP actually contains almost no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the cannabinoid that causes the psychoactive properties of cannabis. Instead, hemp is actually full of protein, and hemp protein is used to make one of the most popular plant-based protein powders on the market today.
Easy to digest: Hemp protein powder is an easily digestible form of protein, meaning your body is able to metabolise and utilise more of it, bringing you closer to your goals.
Contains heart healthy fats: Unlike other protein powders, hemp protein powder stands out as being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a heart healthy fat that has been linked to reduced inflammation, improved heart health and better brain function.
Plant-based: Hemp protein powder is often considered one of the best vegetarian protein powder options because it is completely plant-based and can be enjoyed in almost any diet.
Rich in fibre: Hemp seeds contain beneficial fibre, and each serving of hemp protein powder also contains a high amount of fibre. As well as supporting regularity, fibre can lower cholesterol levels, stabilise blood sugar and even enhance weight loss.
Hemp protein powder is ideal for those looking to boost their protein intake to increase muscle mass and strength, while still reaping the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds, including their high fibre and omega-3 fatty acid content.
6. Casein Protein Powder (26g of protein in 30g)
Casein is a protein found in milk. However, unlike whey protein, it is digested much more slowly in the body, helping to reduce muscle breakdown. Because it comes from milk, casein is also rich in several essential nutrients, including calcium.
Slows muscle breakdown: Casein has anti-catabolic properties, which means it slows down the breakdown of muscle tissue during resistance training and provides muscles with stable amino acids to promote muscle growth.
Strength building: Some studies have shown that casein may be more effective than other types of protein such as whey in stimulating muscle growth and building strength.
Improves body composition: A study comparing the effects of whey protein and casein found that casein supplementation led to a reduction in fat, an increase in muscle mass and a doubling of chest strength compared to whey protein.
Boosts metabolism: Casein has the potential to be the best protein powder for women to lose weight, as it has been shown to increase energy expenditure and keep your metabolism running.
Casein can help increase fat loss and build muscle for those who want to work out. It can also boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day and help with weight loss straight away.
7. Rice Protein Powder (25g of protein in 30g)
As the name suggests, rice protein powder is made from brown rice and contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. It is plant-based, high in fibre and contains additional micronutrients such as iron, calcium and vitamin C, all of which provide additional health benefits.
Helps with weight loss: Adding a scoop of rice protein powder to your drink can do double duty by increasing your protein intake and kick-starting weight loss. According to an animal model in China, rice protein includes specific peptides that have been shown to reduce weight gain in hamsters.
Promotes muscle building: A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that rice protein powder was as effective as whey protein powder in improving body composition and athletic performance.
Regulates blood sugar: Due to the high fibre content in rice nutrition, rice protein powder has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels in certain animal models.
Lowering cholesterol: High levels of cholesterol can build up in the blood, causing narrowing and thickening of the arteries and increasing the risk of heart disease. Some animal studies have found that rice protein can lower cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Rice protein powder is a great plant-based alternative to whey protein if you want to lose weight and improve your body composition. It comes with some additional health benefits for those who may want to improve their heart health and lower their blood sugar at the same time.
8. Seed-based protein powder (15g of protein in 27g)
The best plant-based protein powders can also come from seeds, such as those made from so-called ‘super seeds’, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin, flax and hemp. These contain no additives or sweeteners, making them easier to digest and less likely to cause side effects that some dairy proteins and pea proteins can stimulate, such as gas and indigestion. They are also free from allergens such as soya, pea protein Grains are the best choice for those with allergies to protein intake.
Little research has been done on pure seed-based plant protein powders, but they are thought to help promote healthy body composition and fat metabolism, while increasing muscle recovery.
Seed-based plant protein powders are a good choice if you want to lose weight and improve your body composition while avoiding common allergens and the side effects of many protein powders.
How to use protein powders?
The use of protein powder goes far beyond adding a scoop to your morning milk or drink. In fact, you can easily add protein powder to everything from baked goods to milkshake salads.
If you want to increase your calorie intake and use protein powder to gain weight, consume a serving immediately after your workout to maximise muscle gain, or enjoy it throughout the day in your favourite snack. For long-lasting proteins like casein, you can consume it before bedtime.
Risks and side effects of protein powders
Adding protein powder to your daily routine can improve the effectiveness of your workouts at the gym and make it easier to replenish your protein needs for the day. Some protein powder supplements may also provide other benefits such as improved heart health, improved immunity and reduced appetite.
However, protein powders should not be used as a substitute for protein from whole food sources. High protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and beans not only provide a high amount of protein in each serving, but also contain other important vitamins and minerals that your body needs to grow.
It is also important to remember that when it comes to protein powders, more does not mean better. Overuse can lead to side effects of protein powders such as weight gain, osteoporosis, kidney damage and liver problems.
Finally, remember to always buy from a reputable retailer and look for organic products with pure ingredients and minimal additives to ensure that your body is supplementing with the best protein powder possible.
Protein powder is a common supplement and each type of protein is very convenient in providing the amount of protein your body needs. It can be derived from both plant and animal sources including whey, bone broth, hemp, peas, casein, rice, seeds and collagen.
Each type of protein powder offers a unique set of nutrients and health benefits that can be used to cater for your specific diet and goals, so it is easy to find the best protein powder for you.
Protein powders can be added to many recipes, including drinks, baked goods or sweet treats.
A healthy diet and a disciplined lifestyle using just a few of these best protein powders can help you reach your fitness goals, increase your protein intake, control your weight and enhance your overall health.