Protein is key to building muscle however most of us can’t get all our needs from food. That’s what leads many to ask what is the best protein powder for muscle gain?
In this post I’ll tell you what to look for in a protein powder, top brands and break down the different types of protein powders.
Let’s dive in.
What to look for in a protein powder
The most important thing to look at when purchasing a protein powder is ingredients.
You want to make sure you’re getting the most amount of protein per serving scoop.
You do this by checking the ingredients list and looking at the first couple of ingredients.
The good proteins will have the protein source as the first ingredient.
For example Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey lists a protein blend as the first ingredient. This means the most active ingredient is protein, a good sign.
Another example would be Muscle Milk’s Collegiate Chocolate which has maltodextrin as the first ingredient followed by a protein blend.
This wouldn’t be a good choice because as you can see the most active ingredient is not protein but actually sugar.
What’s the point of taking protein if it makes you vomit?
When choosing a protein powder I recommend you buy one that tastes good otherwise you’ll have a hard time taking it.
I like to stick to normal flavors like vanilla and chocolate.
Other flavors tend to taste weird to me, key lime pie comes to mind.
I would hate to spend $25+ on a powder that’s nasty.
If you want to try a new flavor I recommend buying the smaller trial sizes.
These sizes are usually less than $10 and will give you enough to try for a few days.
This way if you don’t like it you’re not stuck with a month’s worth.
Yield Per Serving
Finally lets look at the yield per serving and how we can use it to determine what powder to buy.
The yield % will tell us exactly how much protein is in a specific powder.
Here’s how it’s calculated:
(Grams Protein Per Serving x 100) / Serving Size In Grams
Lets look @ our previous example, Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey:
(22 Grams Protein Per Serving X 100) / 29.4 Grams Serving Size = 74.8%
So 75% of what we get is protein, not bad at all.
Let’s compare that to Muscle Milk’s Collegiate Chocolate:
(20 Grams Protein Per Serving X 100) / 75 Grams Serving Size = 26.6%
A huge difference as you can see.
Types of protein powders
Whey protein is the most common type of protein out there and it comes in 3 versions.
Concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate.
The concentrate is your base model and is the cheapest to produce. Because of this it’ll have some carbs and fats in it as well.
Isolate is higher up in terms of value around 90% protein. They’re more expensive than concentrate as well.
Hydrolysate is the most expensive and comes with a few added benefits:
- Improved solubility and digestibility
- Easily absorbed by the body
- Free of allergenic substances
Whey protein is absorbed quickly by the body and this makes it the perfect pre and post workout meal.
Casein is another form of protein and has it’s own advantages.
For one, it’s absorbed by the body at a slower rate.
This makes it the perfect snack in between meals and before bed.
And drinking a casein shake has also been shown to increase muscle when combined with whey protein.
Studies show that eating a slow digesting protein like casein 30 minutes before going to sleep helps muscle recovery.
Egg protein powders exist and I bet many of you haven’t heard of them.
Despite being low key this type of protein powder has lots of benefits, here are a couple:
- Slow digesting meaning more amino acids in the bloodstream
- Used well by the body has perfect score on PDCAA
According to animal studies egg protein has been just as effective as whey for building muscle.
It’s also good to use while cutting because it contains no fat and little to no carbohydrates.
What’s the best for building muscle?
To increase muscle mass using protein do the following:
- Calculate your daily protein needs
- Use whey protein in your pre and post workouts
- Use casein or egg protein between meals and before bed
Using protein powder to reach your muscle building goals is a great idea.
When deciding on which powder to purchase look at the ingredients and calculate the yield percentage to see how much protein you’re actually getting.
Whey, casein and egg protein powders are some of the best powders and for good reason but some might require a dairy free option.
Combined with a proper nutrition and workout regimen they are excellent choices for building muscle.
I hope I’ve answered What is the Best Protein Powder for Muscle Gain.