How to Choose and Use the Best Protein Powder

How to Choose and Use the Best Protein Powder

August 9, 2019 4 By William Morgan


Hi I’m Dr. Tod Cooperman, President and
Founder of ConsumerLab.com which has
been testing vitamins and other types of
supplements since 1999, and been
publishing these on our site, ConsumerLab.com. Today I’m going to talk to you,
not surprisingly, about protein powders and
shakes and drinks because these are very
popular and they can actually help you
gain muscle and maintain muscle whether
you’re young or old, I’m going to talk a
little bit about the types of protein
powders, what we found in testing these
products. All the information and more,
and all the details and our Top Picks
and all that are all on our site at
ConsumerLab.com. So basically, who needs
protein powder? Anyone who’s trying to
maintain or build muscle can can benefit from getting extra
protein in your diet, you can certainly
get it from foods — both meat-based foods
and plant-based foods — but more
conveniently, you can also get it from
protein powders and drinks and shakes.
And what the benefit there is, is it’s
convenient and you’re also avoiding the
extra fat or cholesterol or sodium that
you might be getting if you’re getting
it from a from a food directly. We tested
and reported on about 22 different
products. Actually 20% of these products
that we selected didn’t pass our tests; and it wasn’t
because of the protein. Interestingly,
it’s because they had more carbohydrates
or sugars or fats or sodium or cholesterol than
they listed on their labels, and you’ll
see that information in our report, including
we found and which ones passed and we’re
approved by us. How do these products
differ in terms of the types of protein?
Well, first of all, you’ve got whey
protein which is really the most popular
and casein which is also pretty popular —
both from milk — and those are complete
proteins — they have all the amino acids
that you need to build muscle. In fact,
just about every protein out there, even
the plant-based, have all these amino
acids, but the ratios are different. But
the ratio in whey is really
ideal for building muscle, making it very
popular. It also tastes kind of like just
powdered milk if you just have it plain —
pretty mild taste.
The other types of proteins
that are out there
are plant-based proteins such as
hemp or soy, where you’re actually typically
getting some extra carbs or fiber with
that, which can be beneficial if that’s
what you’re looking for. In fact, in this
hemp protein product, only half of the
powder is protein the other half (and
this is just naturally from ground hemp
seeds) is mostly fiber. There’s egg
protein powder out there now as well — a
little more salty tasting, little eggy
tasting; there’s pea protein powder, which
is kind of a mild vegetable taste, and,
again, they can all help you build and
maintain muscle. So when should you use
protein powders? It’s really best to use
them
in conjunction with resistance exercise,
such as weightlifting, etc., which you should be
doing at least three times a week and
that’ll help young people
trying to build muscle and older people
who have sarcopenia — basically they’re
losing muscle mass because they’re not
getting enough protein and they’re not
doing enough resistance exercise and
it’s really critical as you get older
that you do those things and you get
that protein. You’ll need about 20, 30,
40, up to 50 extra grams of protein
depending on on how serious you’re
trying to build up muscle. And you can
get, say from a scoop of these
products here that we’ve tested —
each scoop is about 30 grams, of which
about 20 grams is typically protein, the
rest being carbohydrates or other things
that have been added. And
you should watch out for things that
have been added
if your stomach’s upset by, you know,
certain types of sweeteners — the things
ending in “ol” or “ose” that you
have to watch out for, although most of these
don’t contain those. Most actually are
sweetened with either a sugar or with
stevia, now which is very popular.
I personally don’t love stevia — it
has a nice sweet taste but then
it kind of has a hollow aftertaste, I
find. But many of these are sweetened
with that. If you don’t like it, watch out
for that. The whey-based proteins and casein,
they will have some lactose in them, so
if your lactose
intolerant be aware of that. However, if
you want to avoid that, you can get an
isolate where they isolate out the
protein from the rest of the
whey (and you get isolates of these
others as well)
just focusing more on the protein and
getting rid of the lactose and other
things like that. And there are some good isolates in here.
You can also get an hydrolysate where they actually go a step
further and actually break down the
protein — basically
digesting it for you — probably not
necessary for most people though; and the
hydrolysates tend to taste a little bit
bitter. The best time to take these is
after you workout because
metabolically it’s a better setup for
you and it’ll help you control your
blood glucose levels — especially
of concern if you’re
diabetic or pre-diabetic. It may also help a
little bit more with weight loss if you
take it after working out, although if
you take it any time of day, again, that
protein is going to help you build and
maintain muscle if you’re doing
resistance exercise.
Let’s see … Any kind of cautions? You
should make sure you’re getting enough
fluid when
you’re getting protein, but, generally,
protein powders are are safe. I’m
just looking if there’s anything else I
want to mention to you. The cost can vary
considerably. We found that to get 20
grams of protein varied across these
products from just about 37 cents up to
over $5 — so you can really save. Protein powder can be expensive — you
could spend easily a buck, two
bucks, three bucks, you know, per serving,
but you can get that price down
if you look at our results and price shop and compare
prices. So you can get a very good
protein and you can get it fairly
inexpensively, but you need to shop
around. I certainly recommend that you
look at our report on protein powders,
which also includes some shakes and and
drinks — liquids that have protein in them
as well.
It’s all on ConsumerLab.com and if you
are a member you can access that and all our
reports on everything else — every type of
vitamin and supplement that’s popular
out there — and again, this is Dr. Tod
Cooperman. Thanks for your time