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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Protein Powders: Whey, Casein, Egg, Soy, and More…

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Protein Powders: Whey, Casein, Egg, Soy, and More…

Are there “best” protein powders for building muscle? Losing weight? Staying healthy? Read on to find out…

 

When it comes to picking a protein powder, the sheer amount of options can be confusing and overwhelming.

Not only do you have several types of protein powders to choose from–whey, casein, egg, soy, and others–but in many cases each type has sub-types, like whey concentrate, whey isolate, whey hydrolysate, and so forth, as well as protein blends of two or more types.

Then there are the “little” things to take into account like the additional amino acids and digestive enzymes often included and, in many cases, all kinds of chemicals including sweeteners, flavorings, and all kinds of polysyllabic ingredients that we can’t even pronounce let alone understand.

You can ask the sales guy for help, but chances are it’ll just turn into this…

best-protein-powder

In the end, many people just pick the cheapest or best-tasting of the lot and move on with their lives. And that’s understandable.

In this article, however, I want to help you better understand the various types of protein powders out there and help you find what will be best for you.

Let’s get to it.

Is Protein Powder Even Necessary?

To the average gymbro, this question is basically blasphemy. Is protein powder necessary? Is eating protein every 2 hours necessary? Is making gains necessaryDO YOU EVEN LIFT!?

Well, the reality is protein powder is not necessary for building muscle or losing fat and no specific type is. Eating enough protein every day is necessary, but there are plenty of high-quality food sources that will get the job done just as well as any protein powder, such as meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, legumes, and certain grains and seeds.

That said, protein powders do offer several advantages over food:

  • They’re convenient and perfect for on-the-go eating.
  • They’re nice for times when you would rather just drink a cup of tasty liquid instead of eating more food.
  • They’re great for hitting daily protein targets without having to stuff yourself full of food every day.
  • They can be very cost-efficient in terms of price per gram of protein and make eating healthy on a budget easier.
  • They can be very low in carbohydrate and fat, which is nice for meal planning.
  • They’re versatile for cooking purposes and can be incorporated into all kinds of dishes.

So, all things considered, while protein powders aren’t going to necessarily help you build muscle or lose fat faster, I think they’re worth buying and using.

What Are the Best Protein Powders?

The first thing to know is there really isn’t a single type of protein powder that is best for everyone. The key is finding what is best for you.

Some people do well with dairy derivatives and some don’t. Some want to stick with plant-based protein powders and others just want whatever will work best. Many want to limit their intake of artificial ingredients and aren’t sure what they should and shouldn’t avoid.

Well, let’s take an in-depth look at each of these things and more so you can narrow down your best choice for protein powder.

Whey Protein Powder

Whey protein is by far the most popular type of protein supplement out there. You get a lot of protein per dollar spent, it tastes good, and its amino acid profile is particularly suited to muscle building (more in that in a second).

What is it, though?

Whey is a semi-clear, liquid byproduct of cheese production. After curdling and straining milk, whey is left over.

It used to be thrown away as waste, but it was discovered that it’s a complete protein, and is abundant in an amino acid known as leucineLeucine is an essential amino acid that plays a key role in initiating protein synthesis.

When the world of sports nutrition caught onto this research, the whey protein supplement was born.

Whey protein can be taken anytime, but it’s particularly effective as a post-workout source of protein because it’s rapidly digested, which causes a dramatic spike in amino acids in the blood (especially in leucine). This, in turn, stimulates more immediate muscle growth than slower-burning proteins.

So, whey is definitely one of the best protein powders available, and here’s the whey protein I personally use and recommend (and that I created!):

Legion supplements whey isolate protein powder.

I should mention, however, that even if you’re not lactose intolerant, you can be allergic to the actual proteins found in cow’s milkThis is why some people don’t do well with highly refined forms of whey, such as isolate or hydrolysate, which have virtually all lactose removed.

If whey bothers your stomach, try a non-dairy alternative and you will be fine. My favorite non-diary protein is egg protein, but there are vegan options that work as well (we’ll get to them in a minute).

Casein Protein Powder

Casein protein is probably second in popularity behind whey, and it’s also a protein found in milk.The curds that form as milk coagulates are casein.

Casein protein is digested slower than whey, causing a smaller spike in amino acids in the blood, but a steadier release over the course of several hours.

There’s an ongoing debate about whether supplementing with whey is better than casein for building muscle or vice versa, but here’s what most reputable experts agree on:

  • Due to its rapid digestion and abundance of leucine, a 30-40 gram serving of whey is probably your best choice for post-workout protein.
  • Due to its slow release of amino acids, casein is a great all-around protein supplement.While it may or may not be as optimal as whey for post-workout protein (the jury is still out on this), there is a growing body of evidence indicating that, when supplementing with powders, a slow-burning protein is the best overall choice for building muscle.
  • Casein is a good protein to have before you go to bed, which can help with muscle recovery.

I’m mildly lactose intolerant so I use egg protein instead of casein for a slow-burning protein to use throughout the day to help hit my numbers, but if you do fine with dairy and want to try casein, here’s the product I’ve used, liked, and recommend:

OPTIMUM-NUTRITION-100-NATURAL-CASEIN-PROTEIN

Egg Protein Powder

Many people don’t even know that you can buy egg protein in a powder form. You can, and it’s a great source of protein.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has three primary benefits:

  • It has a high “biological value.” This is a measurement of how efficiently your body can actually utilize various forms of protein, and egg’s score varies based on the research, but is always at the top of the list. According to animal research, egg protein is similar to whey in its ability to stimulate muscle growth.
  • Egg protein is digested even slower than casein, which, as you know, means it results in a longer release of amino acids into the blood. This is conducive to overall muscle growth.
  • Because egg protein powders are made from the egg whites only, they have no fat, and very little carbohydrate.

The bottom line is egg protein is just a great all-around choice and it’s what I’ve used for a while now for all supplementation needs beyond pre- and post-workout (for which I use whey).

Here’s the product I like most:

healthy-n-fit-egg-protein

As a quick note, egg protein is currently absurdly expensive due to a shortage of egg albumin, but once the supply picks up again it will come back to its normal, affordable range.

Soy Protein Powder

Soy protein is a mixed bag.

While research has shown it’s an all-round effective source of protein for building muscle, soy protein is a source of ongoing controversy, and especially for men.

According to some research, regular intake of soy foods has feminizing effects in men due to estrogen-like molecules found in soybeans called isoflavones.

For instance, a study conducted by Harvard University analyzed the semen of 99 men, and compared it against their soy and isoflavone intake during the 3 previous months. What they found is that both isoflavone and soy intake were associated with a reduction in sperm count. Men in the highest intake category of soy foods had, on average, 41 million sperm/ml less than men who did not eat soy foods.

On the other hand, a study conducted by the University of Guelph had 32 men eat low or high levels of isoflavones from soy protein for 57 days, and found that it didn’t affect semen quality. Furthermore, literature reviews like those conducted by Loma Linda University and St. Catherine University suggest that neither soy food nor isoflavones alter male hormone levels.

What gives, then?

Well, further research has indicated that there isn’t a simple answer just yet.

For instance, the effects can vary depending on the presence or absence of certain intestinal bacteria. These bacteria, which are present in 30-50% of people, metabolize an isoflavone in soy called daidzein into an estrogen-like hormone called equol.

In a study conducted by Peking University and published in 2011, researchers found that when equol-producing men ate high amounts of soy food for 3 days, their testosterone levels dropped and estrogen levels rose. These effects were not seen in women, regardless of equol production or lack thereof.

Related to this is a study conducted by Sungkyunkwan University, which found that in a high-estrogen environment, isoflavones suppressed estrogen production, and in a low-estrogen environment, they increased estrogen production.

Now, in the case of women, research has shown that it is less likely to negatively affect your hormones. There are other things to consider, however.

Research has shown that soy protein contains substances that inhibit the digestion of protein molecules and the absorption of other nutrients (antinutrients), as well as several known allergens.

While there is research that indicates soy might have special benefits for women such as reducing the risk of heart disease and breast cancer, other research casts doubt on these findings. And to the contrary, studies have shown that soy can even stimulate the growth of cancer cells.

Another issue that we have to deal with when we eat soy is the fact that the vast majority of soybeans grown in the States are genetically modified (91% according to government data).

The subject of genetically modified foods is incredibly heated, and too complex to fully address in this article (I will in a future article), but the safest bet at the moment is to avoid GM foods as much as possible until more research is done on the potential long-term health effects in humans.

Don’t let this scare you into completely avoiding soy protein, though. While women with breast cancer probably shouldn’t eat soy, there is no reason to fear a few servings of soy per week.

If I were to use soy protein powder, here’s the product I would choose:

now-sports-soy-protein-powder

If you want to supplement with a protein powder several times per day, and would like to include soy, then I recommend you alternate with another source.

Beef Protein Powder

Beef is a fantastic source of protein, but beef powder? That has to be disgusting, right?

Well, I’ve tried a few and yes, they were fucking horrid. The mixtures were incredibly thick and sticky and the taste of each was downright awful.

When I need to, I can have the palate of a Rottweiler and choke down just about anything, but I actually couldn’t even finish a scoop of beef protein powder in water (my standard liquid for testing taste and palatability).

Furthermore, I seriously question the quality of beef used to make these powders, and it’s generally a good idea to limit your intake of low-quality red meat.

best-whey-protein-powder

Other Plant-Based Protein Powders

While soy is the most popular plant-based protein powder, there are others such as rice, hemp, and pea protein.

One of the common claims against these vegan protein powders is that they’re “incomplete” sources of protein. That is, some “experts” claim that such proteins are missing essential amino acids that your body needs, and thus must be combined in special ways to form “complete” proteins.

This myth and the faulty research that spawned it was thoroughly debunked by MIT years ago, but it still lingers. All protein found in vegetables is “complete.”

What is true, however, is that some forms of vegetable proteins are lower in certain amino acids than others, making certain sources better than others.

Three of the better, and more popular, types of vegan protein powders are rice, hemp, and pea protein. Here’s how they stack up:

It’s also worth noting that using a combination of rice and pea protein works especially well, as their combined amino acid profile is similar to whey protein’s. That’s why this combination is often called the “vegan’s whey protein.”

  • Hemp protein is the poorest choice of the three. While it has a great micronutrient profile, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, hemp is only about 30-50% protein by weight, whereas other options discussed in this article are 90-100%. Furthermore, the protein it does contain isn’t nearly as digestible as rice or pea protein, let alone animal products like whey, casein, or egg protein.

The reality is hemp should be viewed more as a whole food, and not a pure protein supplement.

Here’s my favorite plant-based protein powder:

SUNWARRIOR-RAW-VEGAN-PROTEIN-POWDER

 

“Weight Gainer” Supplements

While most people can maximize muscle growth by eating moderate amounts of food every day, there are the “hardgainer” types that have to eat surprisingly large amounts to build muscle and strength.

For example, I’ve worked with a lot of guys weighing in the 160s and 170s that had to eat upwards of 4,000+ calories per day just to gain 0.5 to 1 pound per week. That might sound like fun to you, but trust me, eating that much food every day becomes a downright chore.

What to do, then? Enter the weight gainer supplement, which is much more than a protein powder–it’s a meal replacement that can range from 500 to nearly 2,000 calories per serving (when mixed with milk).

While that sounds great to the guy that can’t stomach the idea of eating yet another plate of food to hit his daily macronutrient targets, I’m not a fan of weight gainers because they’re really damn expensive per serving and full of junk carbs (usually simple sugars like dextrose that have little nutritional value beyond supplying the body with carbohydrate).

I much prefer eating real food, and just stick to calorie-dense foods like…

  • Red meat
  • Grains like brown rice and quinoa
  • Oils like coconut oil and olive oil
  • Whole-fat dairy
  • Multi-grain pasta and bread
  • Almonds and almond butter
  • Low-fiber fruits like bananas, melons, avocado, grapes, and citrus fruits
  • White and sweet potatoes

If you’re having trouble eating enough every day, focus on these types of foods in your meal planning and you should have no trouble reaching your daily caloric needs without having to resort to weight gainers.

What About All the Artificial Junk in Many Protein Powders?

Before you buy a protein powder, it’s a good idea to check out the ingredients list because you’ll often find it contains a lot more than just protein.

While I’m not an “artificial alarmist,” here are my thoughts on the chemicals included in many protein powders.

Artificial Sweeteners

While artificial sweeteners may not be as dangerous as some people claim, studies suggest that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners may indeed be harmful to our health, and that more research is needed.

Personally I keep my intake of artificial sweeteners as low as possible and eat them very infrequently. I choose products that are naturally sweetened instead and use stevia as my go-to zero-calorie sweetener.

Now, in terms of protein powders and supplements, you have a handful of options for naturally sweetened protein powders but for the longest time were basically shit-out-of-luck with any other type of powdered supplement like pre-workout drinks, post-workout drinks, and the rest.

Well, I decided to do something about that and have created my own line of 100% naturally sweetened workout supplements. The name of the company is Legion, and my products aren’t just naturally sweetened…

  • There are no artificial food dyes or other potentially harmful chemicals.
  • There are no proprietary blends–you get to see exactly what you’re buying.
  • There are no unnecessary filler ingredients used to pad the labels and make you think you’re getting a lot for your money.
  • Every ingredient and backed by sound scientific research that you can review.
  • Every ingredient is included at clinically effective dosages, which means dosages pulled directly from scientific studies showing benefits.

In short, I’m just making the supplements I’ve always wanted: clean, honest, and effective. And fortunately, I’m not alone–Legion has taken off and can barely keep stuff in stock.

mfl-all-products-sidebar-banner-order-v3

Artificial Flavoring

Unlike artificial sweeteners, there is no scientific evidence that I know of that indicates that artificial flavoring may be harmful to our health.

I’ll take a naturally flavored product over an artificially flavored one, but I don’t take special measures to avoid artificial flavors like I do artificial sweeteners.

Other Chemicals Often Found in Protein Powders

As a general rule, limiting your intake of processed foods is a good idea, and I think the same goes for chemicals and other artificial ingredients. They’re not hard to avoid and we may be happy we did in a few decades when we better understand how they affect our bodies.

Well, check out the labels of many mainstream protein powders and you’ll see all kinds of junk like MSG (under one of its “pseudonyms“, preservatives, chemicals to improve taste and mouthfeel, among others.

I’ve always avoided these types of protein powders and generally like to see as short of an ingredients list as possible and like to know what each ingredient is and why it’s there.

How to Find the Best Protein Powder For You

As you can see, finding the best protein powder for you means trial and error. What I recommend is you try several of the options given in this article and see which your body does best with.

What works best for me is whey protein before and after my workouts and egg protein for all other supplementation needs. With a bit of experimentation, you can find what works best for you as well.

Oh and just to warn you…the scooper is never on top…

the-best-protein-powder

 

What are your thoughts on the best protein powder? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Ben

    That scoop meme is so true. Every time you open a new can of whey you spend 10 minutes digging for the freaking scoop….

    • Michael Matthews

      Seriously…

    • pspierce

      I always assumed it settled to the bottom in transit, but if companies are putting the scoop in first, then the powder… that is evil. I find myself an 8 year old once more fishing the prize out of the cereal box.

  • eep84

    Hey Mike, are you still working on the international shipping for your products? I’m in Australia and would love to buy them but the shipping costs stop me every time I look at them!

    • Michael Matthews

      Yessir! EU is first on the list, which I hope to have set up in Q1 of next year. Oz and Canada will follow.

      • Rajith

        YES!! EU FIRST PLZZZZ!!! 😀

        • Michael Matthews

          On it! 🙂

          • Gorm

            we will look forward to it here in little Denmark :))

          • Michael Matthews

            Haha 🙂

          • logan

            I hope by OZ you mean New Zealand too. We too are anxiously waiting for your product.

          • Michael Matthews

            Yes, you too! 🙂

          • Amin Abaee

            Any chance you could ship over to Iran?

          • Sure do! Select Iran from the list of countries when you Check Out your shopping cart.

  • Marco

    Hi Mike!

    1.

    There is a minor mistake in your article: “Here’s my favorite plant-based protein powder. It’s a rice/pea blend” It is actually just rice, as you state yourself at: http://www.muscleforlife.com/product/sunwarrior-raw-vegan-protein-powder/
    However, the same company also offers a pea/cranberry/hemp blend.

    I use both, though I prefer the taste of the rice protein powder.

    2.
    One thing that makes me cringe in discussions about protein powders is a statement like this: “Hemp protein (…) is only about 30-50% protein by weight,” So, protein is only 50% protein – huh?! Literally, this seems to make no sense. Well, I guess I already know the answer to this puzzle: The word protein is used to refer to a) the powder that the manufacturer has extracted from the source, in a best effort to isolate just protein, an b) to the actual protein. I guess that terminology is not uncommon, but I would still favor a clear distinction between these two concepts.

    3.
    *lol* @ Dr. Evil’s protein company 😀

    • Michael Matthews

      Hey!

      1. Oops, fixed.

      2. No it’s the actual amount of protein… Not sure I understand your question?

      • Marco

        I mean, how could protein contain only 30-50% protein?

  • Adel-Alexander

    I heard the cooking and cooling and then reheating rice will turn it to resistant starch, does it mean that we’re not getting the amount of carbohydrates from foods that turn into resistant starch than if they weren’t? Should people avoid resistant starch?

    • Michael Matthews

      I need to look into this as it’s been making the rounds with this pasta study but AFAIK the effect is negligible.

  • Josie

    Hi Mike,
    Do you have anything you can link me to that lists common artificial colours/preservatives, and other miscellaneous ingredients to avoid in not only protein powders, but supplements in general? Possibly something similar to this wallet reference provided for body care products: http://www.gilldeacon.ca/images/Deacon_LeadinyourLipstick_Wallet%20Card_web.pdf ?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Michael Matthews

      No I don’t but I like this. I should make my own!

  • Hello, Mike.

    Do you have more information on egg protein being digested more slowly than casein ? I read the study, but can’t anything corroborating with this statement.

    Thank you!

    • Michael Matthews

      If you read the full paper, and not just the abstract, you’ll see the data. It’s in there.

  • Serge

    Hi Mike, I was looking recently into protein powders (how it affects mens fertility) and its consumption, and found interesting claims from Dr. McDougall (https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2004nl/040100puproteinoverload.htm). He says that based on studies, men shouldn’t eat more than 35-70g of protein, because our body cannot process it and since excess of protein couldn’t be stored in the body, our liver and general health in trouble. Is it bluff? Because he claims that excess of protein also creates an acidic environment which is bad for the men’s sperm.

  • Sara

    “Well, I’ve tried a few and yes, they were fucking horrid.”

    This^^^ is hilarity. First time I’ve ever seen you curse, I think…

    • pspierce

      The mere thought of beef protein powder made me cuss. Powdered beef concentrate just sounds absolutely foul. I can’t imagine how horrid that must be.

      • Michael Matthews

        Hahah it was so bad that I was actually impressed a company was selling it.

    • Michael Matthews

      Lol I grew up on the Internet. I have a vulgar side that I keep in check to look “professional.” 😉

  • joe

    Mike, what are your thoughts on hydrolysate compared to other forms of whey? I hear it’s rapidly digested over everything else and best option for building muscle fast. Does it make a real difference?

    Also, what are your thoughts on the crossfit brand protein, ie: SHF, Progenex? They worth the money?

    Thanks!
    Joe

  • pspierce

    I did see a study regarding sucralose that showed it changed the contents of your gut flora. Can’t say whether that is good or bad as the microbiome is an emerging field of study, but that is why I know avoid it.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup that was shown in rats a year or so ago and now it’s verified in humans.

  • Bossau

    Hi Mike
    Found your comment on beef proteins a bit strange. Have you heard of Carnivore? Have you tasted it? Been using for about 2 years, works well and tastes great!

    • Michael Matthews

      I’m not sure which ones I tried as it was a year ago or so. I tried a couple and they were disgusting. To me at least.

      • Dean Mignola

        Hi Mike, I don’t tolerate dairy or Whey protein well at all (stuffy nose, sinus headaches, stomach discomfort) so I tried Carnivore by MuscleMeds. Both Chocolate and Caramel flavors tasted pretty good to me. The link you provided on low quality beef seemed to refer to beef in general rather than saying anything significant about the quality of the beef. I follow your guidance and would truly appreciate you looking into Carnivore as a protein option. I use egg protein for the last protein of the day (as you recommended).

        • Hey man yeah I’ve heard that tastes okay. PERSONALLY I wouldn’t be comfortable because I’d have to assume it’s low-quality meat. I’d just go with egg for everything.

  • DavidA

    Terrific read, really appreciate the more natural take – thanks Mike – a huge amount of info on a somewhat blurred topic, until now!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks David!

  • Adel-Alexander

    By Rice protein having an 80% high biological value like beef protein, does that mean it’s a fast digesting protein? Faster than egg?

    • Michael Matthews

      I believe it’s in the middle in terms of digestion speed. The BV relates to absorption/usability.

  • Marcus

    I have unflavored Brown Rice Protein ( over 1kg left lol ) and it tastes awful! The first time I tried it I’ve put an entire scoop in the shaker along with lemon ice-tea, thinking it would give it some flavor… worst drink ever. I also tried it with milk and cocoa powder (nesquik) but it was still barely drinkable. The only way I managed to eat them was by brownies, although having a lot of sugar in it it’s not really convenient. So even though it’s a good source of protein, don’t make my same mistake and buy 2 bags of it… take a sample if possible and then judge. The taste and feel they have are just really bad, and even though it doesn’t make me puke out it surely makes me stop drinking/eating them.

    • Michael Matthews

      Lol yeah unflavored anything is usually disgusting.

      It might be good in a smoothie. Try blending with some fruit and milk?

      • Marcus

        I already tried with banana, milk and cocoa but it was still bad. I’ll just try some flavored whey protein when I get the chance lol

        • Michael Matthews

          Hahah copy that.

  • John

    If I eat some of the slower release protein products that take longer to digest , can I eat them i greater quantities and benefit from not eating so often , which I struggle to do . I am often struggling to eat the amount recommended during the day. I weigh 98 KG and can manage 200 gms of fine oats in my shake to get my carbs up but could I also for instance , increase my protein in the same meal .
    Cheers Mike
    John UK

  • Diegocar24

    Hi Mike, as always, great article. I live in Venezuela, here whey protein is imported only, and therefore unaffordable. My only affordable options are egg and soy protein powders. I take egg protein pre and post-workout, but I now know that that coudn’t be helping much, thanks for that crappy news btw haha. Based on my options, what should I do in terms of pre and post-workout meals/shakes? What about start/mid of day and pre-bed? Or should I just stick to regular food instead?
    Sorry for the lengthy post. Keep up the great work bro!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks!

      Hmm I would just switch to food in your case. Any type of meat would work well. Thoughts?

      • Diegocar24

        Meat before and after workout.. That sounds hard to accomplish and terribly hard to stomach, but I’ll give it a try, thanks. I suppose I should still use the egg protein in my breakfast shake, right?

        • Michael Matthews

          Dairy and egg protein would be fine too.

          • Diegocar24

            Thanks.

          • Michael Matthews

            YW

  • Cam

    What about waxy maize instead of sweeteners post W/O to get the protein into the system? As I can’t get your protein (in Australia) what do you know/think of BioTRUST or is any Whey isolate and Egg protein good enough I have been using BioTRUST and products from https://professionalwhey.com.au??? Any advice would be real appreciated mate

    • Michael Matthews

      I’d rather eat food than drink carb powders. I’m not a fan of BT. They’re so shady in their marketing.

      • Cam

        Thanks for the reply mate. Will take that on board. Now looking forward to getting your 1 day diet soon and I’ll be off and running (well lifting actually) Been back lifting for 5 weeks now and haven’t lost a kg which is awesome as I have lost a heap of fat!! I don’t want to get lighter I want to get leaner. Very happy

        • Michael Matthews

          YW.

          Awesome man we’ll take good care of you and great on the recomp! That’s always fun. 🙂

  • Cass

    I use the Sun Warrior in chocolate. Yummoooo!! (Even though I’m not vegan I like the idea that it’s raw and hasn’t really got the nasties other products have.)

    • Michael Matthews

      Nice! Glad you’re liking it.

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  • Raudi

    Hi Mike,
    Was wondering if you ship internationally, and if so, how expensive that is? To Europe for example.

    P.s. Big fan.

    /R

    • Yes we do! It’s fairly economical if you buy a few things at a time. You can see at the checkout page.

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  • Jensen

    Hey mike I’m a vegan and just start taking the NITRO FUSION plant base supplement I would your takes on it or what u would recommend I would like to build some lean muscel thanks.

  • Super

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the great info!

    Quick question: I am a vegetarian so I most definitely require protein supplements. I really like the amino acid profile of a hemp based protein powder I’m using and am not able to find a whey isolate powder that has such a loaded amino acid profile, but you mention that for building muscle and especially for a post workout supplement whey’s the way to go. So my question was…is it ok if I alternate between the two…for instance a serving of hemp based protein during the day and then a whey protein shake post workout?

    Just wasn’t sure if alternating between hemp and whey simultaneously during the day would have an adverse health effect.

    Keep up the great work and thanks again!

  • Adel-Alexander

    Is beef protein really THAT bad? I actually like it compared to Egg protein. 😛

  • Aikas

    Hi Mike,
    is it true that when you add a protein powder to a liquid, you should drink it within 5 minutes or otherwise it’s loosing its quality? And what about when you cook with it, does it taka damage?
    PP: I always aim to drink my protein shakes as fast as possible but the last time I choked 😀

  • James

    I’m one of the 170 pounds guys you were talking about that struggle to gain. I’m currently taking mass tech, working out pretty much every day, and it’s been working pretty well, I’m seeing good results. Is there a mass gainer that you would recommend?

    • I hear you James! Glad you’re getting good results!

      Nah, as I said in the article, instead of weight gainers which are expensive and filled with junk carbs, I recommend just sticking to calorie-dense foods.

  • I weigh 175 lbs and eat a 1:1 ratio of protein, with 70g of protein already coming from whey which I eat before and after workouts. Now I bought casein protein powder as well for before I go to bed. What do you suggest is the best way to split it up so I don’t get too much protein from supplements? Or doesn’t it matter at all? Thanks.

  • I weigh 175 lbs and I take a protein ratio of 1:1. I already use 70g of whey in total before and after my workouts. Now I bought casein powder so I have something to take before bed. How do you suggest I spilt it up so I don’t take too much of my protein from powders? Or doesn’t it matter at all? Thanks.

    • I’d say 80ish grams per day from powders should be totally fine.

      • I’m probably splitting hairs now but would it be better to sacrifice one scoop of whey post workout or is it better to just leave the casein serving before bed? Otherwise I’m gonna be taking like 100g from powders.

  • Markus Neubauer

    Great podcast on protein supplementation – are you familiar with a rice/pea blend called Orgain / know of a source who may have tested it? Great taste, decent macros, decent price with Costco or Amazon, just want to make sure the 21g protein is really in that ballpark.

  • Amy

    Note: readers looking for Mike’s recommended pea protein, he referenced this one in another article (had to search) 🙂 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DB4MFO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001DB4MFO&linkCode=as2&tag=mflweb-20

  • Marco Diaz

    Whey Based Proteins and muscle aches??
    Hi Mike. Great Article. I’m wondering if you or any of your readers have every had any problems with whey based proteins causing myalgias (muscle aches)? Unfortunately I’ve found this with various brands and have thus resorted to vegan based brands which work fine but are not as tasty and often lack the protein content. I’m a physician and have not be able to find any literature regarding this. Your thoughts and recs would be greatly appreciated.

  • JR

    I was wondering – is pure whey really the best choice for pre and post workout shakes? Or would a whey | casein mix (2:1, 3:1 or similar) be slightly better? I take 2 shakes per day (both for training and rest days) and follow the BLS recommendations for nutrition. I my case there are only 3 hours between the 2 shakes (on training days).

  • Steve Jakobs

    There is no need for a longer acting protein, if you are eating or drinking protein every 2-3 hours. The only time you ever need or should want egg or casein is at night, when you are going many hours without any protein.

    • There’s evidence that a slow-digesting protein MAY be generally better for muscle growth over time. It’s inconclusive right now but we may know more at a later time.

      What we DO know, though, is you most definitely don’t need to eat protein every 2 to 3 hours unless you just like to.

  • Becky Ramsay
    • I’m not familiar with the NutriSport vegan protein, but the Bulk Powders seems alright. I just don’t like the use of artificial sweeteners.

  • Tyler

    Hey mike
    Have you heard of larabars? I like them because they only contain a few ingredients. I was looking at the ingredients list and noticed some of the bars were made with pea protein. At first I thought it was similar to soy protein and its negative effects but a little research with this article proved otherwise. Thoughts on the bars and pea protein? Thanks!

    • Hey Tyler! Yep, I have.

      I am a fan of pea protein, and the Lara bars are fine. The macros aren’t great, but I’m fine with the product.

      Welcome! LMK if you have any other questions.

  • Jeremy LaHaie

    Any thoughts of th upper limit of protein powder? Obviously it’s better to consume real food but some days supplement works is easier to plan. Is there a recommended/maximum # of scoops/g’s of protein supplements you should take?

    • You just want to get the majority of your protein from whole food sources.

  • CarlStevenson

    Hey Mike,

    Great Article! I am on the Bigger Leaner Stronger workout program and bulking at the minute. I have seen more gains in the past three months on your program than ever before so just wanted to say thanks! In regards to protein powders, I am taking Iso Pro 97 from MyProtein.com. Just wondering what you thoughts are on it?

    http://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/iso-pro-97/10860373.html

    Also I am taking 30g of protein before and after my workouts along with 70g organic oats, 5g creatine and 250ml almond milk. Is this too much or it OK as long as I keep within my daily macros?

    Cheers

    Carl

    • Hey hey! Thanks! Glad you’re rolling on the BLS program and bulking!

      Happy to hear on the gains. My pleasure!

      Ehh. I’m not really a fan. I like that they use WPI, but I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners and flavors.

      Nope, those are totally fine as long as you stay within your totals for the day. And no need for creatine pre-workout. Just post-workout is fine.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • CarlStevenson

        Thanks Mike!

        I agree, wasn’t sure about the artificial sweeteners. Will try Legion Whey next.

        Cheers

  • Dustin

    Hey Mike,

    I can’t find any articles on protein powder vs “real food.” For me, sometimes i’m just way too busy to make meals, and i’ll end up getting around 100-125 out of 210 grams from protein powder. Is this just way too much to get from powder, or is it more important to “hit the number?” What’s your opinion in the importance of real food vs powder?

    • With real food comes the vitamins and minerals along with it. Protein powder won’t have this nutrition and should be treated as a supplement to a good diet. I can relate to a hectic schedule. Do your best to prepare meals and protein snacks in advance!

      • Dustin

        Hi,

        Follow up question to this. While I understand that getting most of your protein from powder may mean you’re missing out on other nutrients. Assuming you get a powder with lots of vitamins, and also supplement with additional food and multis, you can still get these nutrients.

        My questions is mainly, is real food/protein actually more/less effective in building muscle? Like, besides other nutrients, does it actually build the muscle better or worse?

  • Josh

    Hey Mike,

    I just switched over to vegasport protein from whey because of issues with my stomach becoming upset after use. I was just wondering how these plant based proteins compare to whey in absorption speed and NPU.

  • Amin Abaee

    Gelatin powder is another valid option, although the amino acid profile is incomplete.

    • Yeah, though it contains aminos, it’s not exactly “valid” in the sense that you’re way better off with the ones in the article.

  • Aniket Jain

    Hey mike,
    I live in india and i want to order your brand’s whey protein powder
    unfortunately the shipping is way more than i can afford so do you have any alternatives for whey other than legion?

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