The best protein powder

Athletes and bodybuilders have been proponents of supplements for quite some time; and occasionally their efforts have produced good results. The question abounds though as to which is the best protein powder. We're talking about a multi-billion dollar industry with supplement companies touting their products as best in the field. Obviously they can’t all be the best, so after meat, eggs, poultry, fish and milk, where do you supplement your protein intake?
The choices for protein powders are endless. Should you choose whey, casein or soy? Your decision depends on your goals and how your body's digestive system works, there isn't a magic formula that works for everyone.
Whey proteins are one of two major milk proteins. Whey is the liquid that remains after milk has been curdled and strained. You have to keep in mind that there are different types of each protein. For example, whey has three different concentrations of protein (as does soy). You can use whey powder (11-15% protein), whey concentrate, (25% to 89% protein) or whey isolate (90% protein and lactose free). Whey powder is commonly used as a protein additive in many food products. Whey concentrate and isolate are commonly used in dietary supplements. Whey is absorbed rapidly into the blood stream and may be a good supplement to aid in muscle recovery immediately following a workout.
Casein protein is the protein that gives milk its white color and accounts for 70% to 80% of milk’s protein. Casein provides a slow release of protein into the bloodstream that can last for hours. Soy, although a plant, can also be a good form of protein. Soy is the only plant that contains all nine essential amino acids. Athletes and bodybuilders with food allergies sometimes choose soy to be easier on their bodies.
proteinpowder.jpgWhich is the best protein powder?
Besides the type of protein to ingest during a high protein diet there are certainly other factors to think about like the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol involved in each form of protein. If you have any preexisting health problems like kidney or heart disease or cholesterol problems maybe protein supplementation could be risky. Check with your physician to find out if a high protein diet or protein supplementation would be a good idea.
I advise my clients to obtain their protein from whole foods rather than supplements. Personally, I think this is the safer way to go. As I have said in previous posts, the supplement industry is not regulated by the Food and Drug Association. Unless you are trained in nutrition, you really have no idea what is in the gigantic canister of protein you just purchased. Last Thursday’s New York Times featured an article about the thousands of dollars a young college student spent in the process of trial and error in trying to find a protein supplement that worked. To name a few horror stories of trial and error supplementing: athletes have wound up in comas after trying supplements, some have wound up with digestion problems and others have unknowingly failed drug tests because steroids have been added to the protein powder. Of, course the supplement company forgot to mention that banned substances were present in their powder.
This is not to say that protein supplementation doesn't yield results. I suggest ingesting protein within an hour of a vigorous workout. There are plenty of individual success stories and some studies show that combining whey and casein can produce the greatest muscular strength and hypertrophy improvements during a resistance-training program. If I am given the opportunity to suggest supplementation to an endurance athlete or body builder, I do suggest supplementing with companies that are well known researched companies. For example EAS is owned by a reputable pharmaceutical company and has partnerships with the NSCA and other organizations that help educate athletes on the prevention of steroid use.
Are you supplementing? If so, I would love to hear what works for you. Please put your favorite protein powder or supplements in the comments section.