9 Best Protein Supplements

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

For anyone who has ever wanted to bulk up or boost their energy, searching for the best protein supplements is part of the effort. Depending on your workout goals, dietary choices, and lifestyle, you may want to choose a different type of protein supplement to achieve desired results.

What are Protein Powders?

Protein powders are a supplemental form of protein for your diet, providing an energy source for your body in a concentrated form. While most of your recommended protein can be gained through a balanced diet, some people want to boost their protein levels for certain fitness goals. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of every tissue, cell and muscle fiber in the body. When enough protein is in the body, growth, repair, and replacement processes can happen more rapidly and efficiently. [1]

For example, if you are pursuing an intensive workout regimen and want to build muscle fast, you will require a high level of protein in your diet, and if you don’t want to eat lentils and chicken breasts in 2 out of 3 meals per day, a protein supplement is an ideal choice.

The best protein supplements are designed to speed up weight loss, increase calorie burning, optimize the metabolism, suppress hunger and increase lean muscle mass growth. While those general benefits cover a lot of general fitness goals, your choice of protein powder depends on where the product comes from, and what effects it will have on your body.

A salmon fillet, protein powder, legumes, meat loaf, and two eggs kept on a round wooden tray

Depending on your workout goals, your choice of protein intake may differ from others. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Which Protein Powders are the Best?

This is a subjective question, as every person’s fitness goals are different.  Some of the best protein supplements are better at certain aspects of wellness than others. One of the major points of contention is whether to use animal-based proteins or plant-based proteins. The protein supplements from animal sources aren’t as slimming as those from plant sources, but the actual proteins can aid in lean muscle mass growth.

There are also quite a few additives in some protein supplement products, which can have a variety of unexpected side effects on your body, so be mindful of what else is included in the supplement besides pure protein. The best animal protein powders are those that are tested for heavy metals and come from hormone-free and grass-fed animals. There should also be no artificial flavors or additives in an animal-based protein supplement. [2]

Plant-based protein powders won’t cause bloating, which is common in animal-based powders, but they also don’t have as many amino acids. Therefore, the best protein supplements from plant sources should be a blend of different plant proteins, which will guarantee that you get all the body’s required amino acids in a single serving. [3]

Protein Powders for Weight Loss

Some of the best protein powders for weight loss include the following choices:

MusclePharm Combat Powder – With 25 grams of blended protein in every 35-gram serving, this gluten-free option is low in calories but high in fiber, calcium, and potassium.

Dymatize ISO100 – Known as concentrated muscle-building fuel, this product offers 25 grams of protein per serving, and rapid muscle growth, which leads to a heightened metabolism.

Nature’s Best Zero-Carb Isopure – With 0 carbs and no sugar, this is an excellent supplement for weight loss, as it won’t affect your calorie deficiency, but it will significantly speed up the metabolism.

Protein Powders for Vegans

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you will want to seek out some of the following options:

Hammer Vanilla Soy Protein Powder – With 23 grams of protein in a 28-gram serving, this is a complete soy-based protein powder that is known for stimulating rapid muscle growth. [4]

Growing Naturals Brown Rice Protein Powder – Despite not being a complete protein, this gluten-free option is rich in vitamin B and fiber.

Vega Sport Mixed Protein Powder – Combining the protein from millet, lentils, buckwheat, sprouts, and quinoa, among others, this is a complete protein option for vegetarians.

Best Whey Protein Powders

Whey protein is a concentrated protein source derived directly from the whey of milk, once the fatty elements of milk condense into curd. Some of the most effective whey protein powders are listed below: [5]

ProSource NitroWhey – Considered the best whey protein on the market, it uses high-quality whey isolate and concentrates for excellent results.

BPI Sports Iso-HD – Using only the most powerful parts of whey protein, this provides muscle growth, better digestion, and improved muscle function.

MyProtein Impact Whey – A 100% pure whey protein with low levels of carbs and no additives or other protein sources.

Benefits of Protein Powders

The positive benefits of protein powders include their ability to stimulate weight loss, develop muscles, increase energy, speed up repair processes, and boost cognition.

Muscle Growth

The most common reason for using a protein supplement is to support or increase your muscle development. Proteins are necessary to build muscles, so an excess of protein will help speed this process if you are trying to bulk up quickly. [6]

Weight Loss

Adding some of these protein supplements to your diet will help you feel full, which can reduce your caloric intake over the course of the day, resulting in a calorie deficiency. Furthermore, having more muscle mass means that your metabolism works harder to provide energy, meaning that more calories are burned on a daily basis, even when you’re not exercising. [7]

Energy Boost

Protein can provide extended periods of energy, unlike when you consume carbohydrates, which often leave you with a sugar crash after a few hours, once those simple sugars have been metabolized and used up by the body. Finding the best protein supplements can help you push through your whole day, as well as a strenuous workout. [8]

Repair Process

Proteins are required not only for growth and development but also for repair processes in the body. In fact, after you work out, tiny micro-tears appear in your muscles, which require protein to heal, strengthen and grow in size. By increasing protein levels, damage throughout the body can be fixed. [9]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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