Before we delve into what constitutes a good protein powder, let’s first talk about the difference between protein and meal replacement powders. Many people, even some nutritionists tend to confuse the two. It is important that you know the difference so that you can find the right product.
While a meal replacement powder is meant to replace a meal or two, a protein powder is for supplementing your protein intake and assisting you with stimulating your muscles, but you must maintain your daily diet in addition to their use. Meal replacement powders’ calories range between 250 to 400 per serving with about 10 grams of protein per serving and other nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, and fiber. You can have such shakes without having to eat anything else. Protein powders, on the other hand, have low calorie counts of about 100 to 120 but are rich in proteins with about 25 grams per serving.
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. This is a meal replacement powder that gives your just enough calories to get you through the day unlike a full meal which can pump your body with calories. However, there are those meal replacement powders that replace your daily calories intake entirely. These are appropriate when you are on the move and don’t have time to sit down for a decent meal.
Protein powders fall into two categories; pre-workout and post-workout drinks
. When you are feeling tired or stressed and don’t feel like working out, several sips of the best pre-workout drinks
can give you the much-needed energy to hit the gym or go for that evening run. Also, following a strenuous and tough workout, your body needs to replenish the calories and nutrients consumed in order to maintain a healthy balance. Since it’s not recommended to consume a meal immediately after such a workout, you may want to have a post-workout drink to get back some energy while repairing your muscles for growth.
When it comes to your health, it would be better to put your body needs first and consider your budget later. Examine the quality of the product in relation to your requirements before setting on one. Protein powders are relatively cheap ranging from $15 to anywhere above $90. If you are just buying once, it is very cheap, but seeing as you may want to make it a lifestyle, it can a bit expensive, hence the reasoning to find cheap yet quality options.
The key differentiating factors in the price of these products are amount per package, protein quality and quantity, brand and nutritional value, among other aspects. The larger packages of similar brands cost more and you should also expect popular brands to retail at a higher price irrespective of size. Those with better quality protein, such as that from grass fed cows without the addition of GMO will cost you more than those with other, lesser forms of protein. The same can be expected with the protein quantity. Expect those with more protein to be a bit costlier. While you shouldn’t go for the excessively cheap protein powder due to their low quality, you can still find quality products without having to push your budget to the limit.
Let’s check a few important factors you may want to put into consideration before checking out our top 5 pics.
Anyone can use protein powders to supplement their protein intake since getting enough from our daily diet can be a bit of a challenge for many of us. If especially you want to gain some muscle mass, you may want to include one of these powders based on your diet plan to pump up your muscle growth.
Here are some vital factors you might want to check before settling for one.
- Type -Protein powders come in two broad forms; plant and animal proteins. In these categories, you will find non-GMO proteins, Gluten free, growth hormone free and those with growth hormones, and soy free proteins. There is a product for everyone, even if you have special dietary needs or preferences
- Flavor -Proteins are either flavored or non-flavored. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and mixed berry, among others
- Calories -Different protein powders have varying calorie content. Check the one that is appropriate for your dietary needs
- Protein -These powders come with different amounts of protein per serving. Consider the protein quotient in your powder based on your needs
- Solubility -The powders have different solubility levels in different liquids. You may want to check this if you like using liquids other than water
Construction and Design
Protein powders come in powder form, but with different solubility levels. There are those that are very fine with dust-like particles and those with large particles. Consider going for the finer powder since they dissolve easily in to liquids such as water, milk, or juice. Solubility determines the texture of the solution you will get. Those with large particles may not dissolve completely leaving a rougher consistency to your solution.
You may want to check the ingredients that come with the various powders. If they are powders from milk, check if there are any GMO components, presence or absence of gluten, soy, and the overall protein content. Most people prefer powders that are soy, GMO and gluten free, chemical free, and without artificial flavors.
If you are a body builder or someone that works out heavily, you would want to go for a powder with a higher protein content for building mass, otherwise just take one with moderate protein content to simply supplement your daily protein intake. There are also plant protein powders suitable for vegans.
Performance and Ease of Use
Since you will be mixing these powders with your favorite beverage, they should be easy to dissolve, have your desired taste, and perform the purpose for which you intend them. If you like your drinks without powder sediments, go for the very fine powder that dissolves easily into various liquids.
Some powders come in various flavors and tastes like strawberry, vanilla, or mixed fruit, while some come unflavored to allow you to use your own flavor or water if you prefer a more tasteless option.
Check the protein and calorie quotient per serving. If you want to gain mass, you may want to go for a powder with a higher protein and calorie content per serving. If instead you want to lose weight, or to simply maintain your normal weight, go for powders with a low calorie and protein content per serving. You will get your daily quotient without having to add on unnecessary calories.
Most of us have become rather health conscious, hence the surge in supplements for nutrients. Seeing as we are prone to avoiding products with chemicals and artificial sweeteners, and most nutritionists recommend products free from these ingredients, as well, you may want to check if your preferred powder is chemical free, without sweeteners, GMO free, soy free, gluten free, and growth hormone free.
While protein powder supplements are good for meeting your daily quotient based on your activities, it is advisable to consult your physician or nutritionists to understand the amount your body needs. You may not want to go for any powder since they have different nutritional values that give different results. The best protein powder is one that meets your health and nutritional objectives, and is within your budget.
Having gone through our top pics, we’re confident you’ve been able to make the right decision based on your needs. We still have more options if you’re yet to settle on the best protein powder based on your goals. Feel free to check our other reviews and we’re sure you will find one or two sooner than later!