Why should you bother with whey protein if you already get protein from your regular diet?
And with so many options to choose from, what is the best whey protein powder anyway?
These are reasonable questions. In this piece you'll find the answers to these issues and lots more besides.
To answer the first question, most of us do get enough protein in our daily diet. If anything, we consume too much of the stuff. The problem is we don't always make the best protein choices.
Before we look at whey protein, it's important to understand what protein is, where it comes from, and why we need it. You don't need to worry—this isn't a biology lesson or a complicated read on nutrition.
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The Layman's Guide to Protein
I've written everything on this page in a way that makes it easy to follow yet informative. Protein in the body is more important than many people realize as the list below shows.
Proteins—the building blocks of life:
- Every single cell in your body contains protein
- Protein helps to build new and repair old and damaged tissue
- Most hair and nails are made of protein
- Protein helps to make hormones, enzymes, and various other bodily chemicals
- Protein is an essential building block for muscles, bones, skin, cartilage, and blood
As you can see, without protein in the body we'd cease to exist, that's how important it is.
Where Protein Comes From
We get protein from diet. Meats and fish contain more of it than plants, but it's evident in most of what we eat. Not all protein sources are equal in quality though.
This is why a lot of bodybuilders and athletes take high-quality whey protein powder as part of their regular diet. They don't take it instead of quality protein-rich foods, but in addition to.
Here's a quick list of high quality protein foods:
- Grass-fed beef (not grain-fed)
- Pastured chicken (not frozen)
- Wild salmon (not farmed)
- Tuna (not fish sticks)
- Pastured eggs (not regular eggs)
- Real Greek yogurt (not low-fat or sweetened)
- Whey protein isolate (contains more protein than whey concentrate and plant based protein powder)
There are more choices, but you get the general idea. The foods in parenthesis are okay, they're just not the best protein sources or as healthy—that's all.
If health and fitness is important to you, then avoid—or at least restrict—all heavily processed foods. This includes the usual culprits like bacon, sausages, and hot dogs, etc.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The recommendations differ between genders, age groups, and lifestyles. For example, the body of a middle-aged lumberjack will need more protein than say a 20 year old librarian.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has some guidelines on this. They suggest that both men and women should get a minimum of 10% of their daily calories from protein foods, but not exceeding 35%.
I recommend getting 1.2 grams x body weight when cutting and 1 gram x body weight when bulking.
Who Needs Most Protein?
People who exercise and lift weights need higher levels of protein than those who don't. But to get around 35% of daily calories from protein food alone is no easy feat, at least not on a regular basis.
This is where a quality whey protein comes to the rescue, and whey protein isolate (WPI) is your best option. It has higher protein content than whey protein concentrate, but that's not all. Remember, WPI is also lower in lactose, fat, and carbohydrates.
Not all manufacturers make their whey protein powders the same way. I suggest you choose a reputable brand (see below) so that you don't waste your money on an inferior product (like BCAA's).
Keep in mind the quantity of whey protein you take on a regular basis depends on your goals. If in doubt, find an expert online or at the local gym to help you work out your requirements:
We’ll no look at four types of whey protein for more targeted, personalized uses:
- The famished man
- Low carb whey protein
- The lactose intolerant whey protein
- The serious muscle builder
If you're someone looking to burn some fat, click here to check out some fat loss powders.
#1 MuscleTech PHASE8 | Curbs Post-Workout Hunger
MuscleTech PHASE8: This is a 97% blended whey protein isolate. It includes slow-digesting casein which works wonders for suppressing post-workout hunger pangs. It has a unique blend of quick-acting whey protein that fuels muscle growth and aids recovery. It's a perfect choice for hungry guys.
#2 Low Carb Whey Protein
Jay Robb Whey Protein: This is different to most other protein powders in that it's void of maltodextrin (an artificial sugar). This makes it a low-carb variety of whey protein. That means you have room for extra carb foods on your plate, which in turn means more nutrients in your diet overall.
#3 BiPro Whey Isolate | Lactose Intolerant
BiPro Whey Isolate: This plain, purer form of whey protein powder is the perfect choice if you're lactose intolerant. It's a great product for anyone who has any allergy to dairy. BiPro has removed almost all—around 99.9%—of lactose from the product making it safe yet effective.
#4 Platinum Hydrobuilder | For Serious Muscles
Platinum HydroBuilder: Some describe this as the ultimate in creatine protein powder, known as an all-in-one muscle building formula.
Its unique blend helps to reduce muscle fatigue with heavy weight lifting. Needless to say this results in additional muscle gains from intense strength training workouts.
So there you have it. By now you know exactly why we need protein. You also know how and what kinds of whey protein powders work best for you and your bodybuilding needs.
Hope that answered "what is the best whey protein powder for strength training?"