Protein powder supplements are used for many reasons, some want that additional protein to add muscular strength, to improve athletic performance, to lose weight or for overall wellbeing.
This gives rise to the question, which protein powder is best to meet your goal?
So before you decide to buy a protein powder supplement, you should consider certain aspects and then only invest.
A) Type of protein:-
1) Milk derived proteins
Whey protein which comes in three forms whey protein concentrate, isolate and hydrolyse. The variation in protein % is because of the manufacturing process. Whey protein concentrate is manufactured anywhere between 70-80%, whereas whey protein isolate is a more dense form of protein with protein percentage being more than 90 % and hydrolyse has partially digested proteins including polypeptides and peptides. So, if a person is on a very restricted carbohydrate diet, then the individual may personally consider choosing isolate form as it has negligible carbohydrates and fat.
Whey proteins are fast-digesting proteins, making it an ideal choice to be taken post strenuous workout or sport. All the three forms are rich in BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) - Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, where the former one is the most desirable amino acid in optimising muscle building.
Casein is a slow-digesting form of protein and may take more than six hours to be fully digested and absorbed by the body. The preferred time to take it is night time, the presence of glutamine and BCAAs support muscle recovery and synthesis.
Or a blend of casein with BCAA, should be preferred and particularly leucine which prevents muscle breakdown.
2) Other plant-based sources
These are gluten-free and lactose-free sources, with variance in the bioavailability of protein to the body. Mostly, preferred by people who are Vegan, lactose intolerant. Each protein source varies in its nutritional content.
2) Know how much protein your body needs?
Protein requirements vary depending upon age, sex, physical activity level, diet and health status of an individual. A simple thumb rule is to have anywhere between 1 to 2 gms of protein /kg bodyweight if you are an athlete. Moreover, to know the accurate requirements, you may refer to a nutritionist.
3) What to look for in Nutrition Label?
a) BCAA and Leucine content - your one serve should have at least 2gms of leucine if your aim is purely to build muscles. One serve should provide at-least 20 gms. Aim to have anywhere between 20-30 gms of protein after a workout.
b) Flavours and Sweetness choice
If you are diabetic or have insulin resistance, then prefer having protein which has no sugar.
Prefer having unflavoured or mildly naturally flavoured protein powders which have taste coming from natural sources, eg cocoa powder.
Only allowed artificial sweeteners if added are safe for consumption. Do not buy powders which contain banned substances like aspartame.
c) Measure percentage of protein per serve.
Do not get caught up comparing the amount of protein, just do the simple math
Protein (g) per serving divided by serving size multiplied by 100, will give you the percentage of protein per serving.
d) Watch for fillers
The added ingredients should be sources of fibre, vitamins or minerals or special amino acids such as Taurine, inositol which help improve performance. Look out for unnecessary fillers such as artificial hormones like testosterone boosters, beta-blockers.
e) Check product certifications
Look for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and FSSAI certifications, which guarantee you product quality and safety assurance.
Protein powders are mostly available in big jars/ containers. There may be high chances of product duplicity and oxidation of contents once the jar is opened.
Prefer using brands available in one serve sachets, where there is no chance of duplicity, oxidation and convenient to carry as well.