We’ve said it many times before and we’ll always keep repeating it: Protein Powder is the absolute King of all sports nutrition supplements. Which is exactly why you should know how to choose your protein supplement properly.
That said, I’m sure you’re well aware of the fact that there are literally thousands of different protein powder products on the market. Which makes choosing the right one for you an extremely difficult task!
So what should you look for in a good product? What are the criteria you should follow if you want to get the best value for your money? How can you know if the product you see before you is a scam or the real deal that will boost your workouts to the next level?
Below, you’ll learn answers to these important questions and many more.
You’ll see exactly what you should look out for in a product if you want to get the best of the best. You’ll also know how to avoid bad ones so you don’t end up wasting your hard earned money and time.
So without much further ado, let’s get right into it!
The Main Things You Need To Know When Choosing A Protein Powder Supplement
To make things very simple to understand, here’s a list of the most important things you should look out for:
- The purity of the protein powder
- The source of the protein
- The safety of the supplement
- The price and value for money
All of these things are massively important when choosing a really good protein product. One that will make sure you get the best results from your training sessions. And one that won’t break your bank balance or won’t harm you and your body.
Protein powder purity is really important
So let’s start with one of the most important things when choosing a great protein supplement: Purity.
What this means is the amount of pure protein you get in one scoop. Which actually differs from the weight of the actual scoop.
For example, a really bad protein powder will have less than 40% purity. Where you’d get something like 10 grams of pure protein per 30 gram scoop. This means there’s tons of unnecessary filler inside the product. So the manufacturer can save money and skimp on the good stuff!
A decent product would have around 50-60% purity. A great product would have around 70-75%. But an incredibly good one would have even more!
For example, one of our favorite protein powders, which is Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey, has one of the best purity on the market. A whopping 28 grams of pure protein per 32 gram scoop, which is an incredible 87.5%
So always make sure you actually get as much of the main macronutrient as possible in every single scoop. Don’t settle for protein shakes that give you less than 70%. Because then you’re basically throwing money away for fillers and not the beneficial thing you want!
The source of the product makes it healthy or unhealthy
Now let’s talk about another important thing which can impact your health heavily.
We’re talking about where your protein comes from. This is massively important so make sure you read this part if nothing else!
Preferrably, you should be getting your product from sustainable sources. Like peas, hemp, rice, pumpkin seeds, chia, etc.
We don’t recommend soy protein at all because it contains a lot of estrogen. And other compounds which can negatively affect your body.
However, most of the plant-based protein powders don’t contain all of the important amino acids your body needs to build muscle. In that regard, hemp protein powder is the absolute best. But it’s really expensive when you compare it to whey, for example.
Which is why we highly recommend you choose a whey protein powder. Especially if you can’t afford spending hundreds of dollars per month on hemp protein.
That said, even whey protein has a problem: The way the cattle is raised!
This means getting protein powder from regular bovine sources. Versus grass-fed, free range cows.
You see, the way cows are raised affects the quality of the protein powder in a really big way.
Most mass-manufactured cows are raised on growth hormones, antibiotics, nutrient-deficient feed, grains, etc. Which transfers to the whey and then to your body when you ingest it.
Which is why we ALWAYS recommend getting grass-fed whey from cows that aren’t mass-raised in closed barns.
So what’s the big deal with grass-fed protein source anyway?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Grass-fed cows are in general far healthier than mass-produced grain-fed cattle who are raised in horrible conditions.
When you mass produce cattle in closed barns, they often get sick. Then they get fed antibiotics, which stay in their fat tissue and milk. When you ingest that milk or eat that meat, your body loses antibiotic resistance. Which harms you in the long run.
And that’s just one bad thing about such cattle who grow up in terrible conditions. The other bad thing are growth hormones.
That’s why you should look at the source of the protein powder. Which you’ll often find on the ingredient label.
Whey that comes from grass-fed cows contains no harmful residues. So you won’t feel any harmful effects on your body you’d otherwise get when consuming foods raised on antibiotics, steroids, and other medication mass producers of dairy use to save money.
Another huge thing is that grass-fed bovine products naturally contain more healthy and vital nutrients:
- Higher CLA content, which promotes Weight Loss
- More Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Antioxidants, and Beta-Carotene.
- Better Vitamin E and B Content
- More Omega 3 Fatty Acids (by up to 5 times more!)
This means that grass-fed whey is also the best protein powder for cutting. Because it helps you lose weight and build lean muscle mass.
The safety of the supplement
When we say safety, what we actually mean is that you should look out for any dangers in the ingredient label.
Too many products nowadays use various artificial sweeteners, colorings, filler ingredients. As well as unnecessary stuff that just detracts from the supplement’s purity and doesn’t really help you.
Why do some manufacturers do this? Simply to save money on manufacturing costs.
For example, adding some artificial sweeteners is significantly cheaper than adding something sweet that’s also healthy.
But not many people know that artificial sweeteners are harmful to the body.
Not only do they wreak havoc on your insulin levels and screw up your insulin sensitivity. Which causes a substantial risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. But they also leave toxic metabolites in the body when your liver processes them.
The most common artificial sweeteners most sports nutrition supplement manufacturers use are:
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue)
- Acesulfame potassium (ACE, ACE K, Sunette, Sweet One, Sweet ‘N Safe)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)
- Xylitol (Erythritol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol and other sugar alcohols that end in –itol)
All of these five are extremely bad for you if you consume them regularly!
For example, common side effects of Aspartame include headaches, migraines, mood disorders, dizziness and episodes of mania. You don’t want us to list the side effects of the other five, trust us!
Need we say more? So stay as far away from artificial sweeteners as possible!
The only healthy alternative is Stevia. Which is a naturally derived sweetener from the Stevia plant.
Even sugar is much healthier for you than using any of these sweeteners. And sugar is bad in its own right.
Don’t fall for proprietary blends
The next thing you should look out for if you care about your health are proprietary blends.
This is when a manufacturer deliberately hides certain ingredients from you. Or when they hide the amount of certain ingredients.
Manufacturers claim this is to protect their “super secret formula.” However, this is inherently anti-consumer behavior and you should be really weary of such products.
We believe that you should ALWAYS know exactly what you’re putting inside your body. And exactly how much of it.
It’s also unsafe for you if you have certain allergies. Because you run the risk of not knowing about a certain ingredient in the product you are allergic to. And then suffer the consequences of an allergic reaction.
So don’t go for any products that hide their ingredient label in any way! Your body will thank you for that!
How to choose the best value for your money protein supplement
Lastly, let’s talk about price and value for your money.
We just went over a little about proprietary blends. Some manufacturers use them to justify a high price for their product. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCHEME!
You should never, and we mean absolutely never, pay more for supplements that contain proprietary blends.
This tip alone will save you a lot of money and prevent you from overspending.
Do not trust the hype and the shady marketing ploys of manufacturers who try to trick you with proprietary blends. Saying their super special blend is superior and that’s why it costs a lot of money.
In truth, they’re deliberately trying to trick you into paying extra for nothing at all. Because protein powder is protein powder and there’s really nothing much they can add to improve it.
Simply make sure it’s as pure as it can be. As healthy and safe as is possible. And also, make sure the its source is acceptable to you.
Yes, grass-fed whey is a little bit more expensive than regular whey. But those few extra dollars are more than worth it. Because your health is the most important thing in the world.
Finally, always judge the price of the protein powder on its purity. Do not make the foolish mistake of paying more for a protein that’s less pure. Always find out its actual real protein content on the ingredient label. That way you’ll never overpay.
Last thoughts on choosing the best protein powder for you
Now you know the main things about picking the perfect protein shake to make your workouts as effective as they can be.
Remember, there are plenty of shady manufacturers out there. We hope our tips and insights will save you a lot of cash. And, most importantly, prevent you from getting unsafe products which can ruin your health.
We always make sure to provide the safest, healthiest and most effective options in all of our top lists.
And finally, don’t forget to eat right. Even if you begin taking more of the essential macronutrient for building muscle. Because having a proper diet is a must when it comes to exercising!
As Always, Train Hard and Get Awesome Results!