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Schoenfeld BJ, Aragon AA. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building Implications for daily protein distribution. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(10). doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1
No added sugar and 16 grams of protein make this milk-based shake a moderate carb (15g) option for diabetic-friendly snacks and post-workout recovery. It is also fortified with ample doses of vitamins D, C, B12 as well as calcium and magnesium.
Muscle Milk is an old school shake for athletes that has stood the test of time. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry Muscle Milk contain 32 grams of protein per serving which is the most bang for your buck on ready-to-drink shakes, which often come at a higher price.
Ripple was the first brand to introduce pea milk to the market and they make another stellar plant-based protein shake made from pea protein, cane sugar and flavorings. Twenty grams of protein, plus carbs, sodium and potassium make this shake a great option to replenish losses from exercise.
Low carbohydrate diets have become increasingly popular, and many protein shake companies have gotten on board with this trend. Because of this, we found it difficult to find good protein shake options that contain adequate carbohydrates for those who need them.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, adults should consume around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily (0.36 g/lb). We advise having whole food meals in addition to protein shakes to ensure you are getting adequate protein and are not missing out on other important nutrients.
Weight loss happens when you consume fewer calories than your body utilizes for energy. Protein shakes do not themselves help you lose weight, but eating enough protein, some of which can come from protein shakes, can help you feel full and satisfied. This may help you eat in a way that better supports your body, which may or may not lead to weight loss. We recommend focusing on eating in a way that makes you feel good and maintains your energy levels rather than focusing on the number on the scale. We do not advise replacing meals with protein shakes on a regular basis as you may miss out on other key nutrients.
You can drink a protein shake at any time of day to help meet your protein needs. You might consider using one before or after a strength training session, but consuming adequate protein throughout the day is more important than precise timing.
Try this homemade chocolate berry protein shake: 1 scoop of chocolate Vega protein powder, 1 cup non-dairy milk, cup frozen blueberries, cup frozen raspberries, 1 cup fresh spinach, 1 Tbsp almond butter, 1 small banana, 1 cup ice.
Protein shakes can help you build muscle when paired with resistance exercise. Protein however can also be obtained through whole food sources. Consuming protein drinks without exercise will not result in increases in muscle.
Babault N, Paizis C, Deley G, Guerin-Deremaux L, Saniez MH, Lefranc-Millot C, Allaert FA. Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. whey protein. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2015;12(3). doi:10.1186/s12970-014-0064-5
Morton RW, Murphy KT, McKellar SR, Schoenfeld BJ, Henselmans M, Helms E, Aragon AA et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med. 2018;52(6):376-384. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097608
Protein, a macronutrient in every cell in your body, is essential for your health. If you're an athlete, casual gym-goer, or just want to lose a few pounds, protein also helps you build and retain muscle. Taking whey protein is an effective and inexpensive way to add more of the macronutrient to your diet.
But there's more to picking out whey protein than just grabbing whatever you find at the store. While some are formulated with different additives, others pack more protein per serving or are designed to keep more of the protein's natural nutrients.
To help you find a whey protein fit for your lifestyle, our team took to the task of testing and researching more than a dozen current options from brands like GNC, Naked, and Cellucor. Below are our eight favorites, perfect for a variety of users, diets, and dietary restrictions.
Many of Naked Nutrition's products live up to the brand's namesake of being literally naked, though perhaps none do it quite as well as its flagship protein powder, Naked Whey. Comprised of a single ingredient (whey protein from grass-fed cows), Naked Whey is a clean, additive-free product that has no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors, and no artificial flavors.
From a protein standpoint, one serving of Naked Whey (2 scoops of powder which is roughly 30 grams) delivers 25 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, 120 calories, and just 2 grams of sugar. Each serving also has 5.9 grams of a combination of the BCAAs isoleucine, leucine, and valine. BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) may help build protein in muscles and aid in recovery.
A few drawbacks (or, rather, nitpicks) would be the Naked Whey isn't the easiest to mix, and requires quite the shake in a shaker bottle to create a smooth, drinkable combination, though you're likely to still encounter a few clumps. The taste of this is also very plain and almost dairy-like (which makes sense, of course), but Naked does offer the protein in Chocolate, as well as Vanilla and Strawberry in its Less Naked Whey, which has a few more additives.
If an additive-free protein powder is what you seek, Naked Nutrition's Naked Whey, with just the single ingredient of whey protein, is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. -- Rick Stella, health and fitness editor
The Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder not only tastes good and has 24 grams of protein per serving, but it's also the most affordable option in our guide at 71.4 cents per serving and 3 cents per gram of protein. Each serving also only has 1.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 120 calories.
A single serving of Optimum Nutrition's Platinum Hydrowhey yields 140 calories, 30 grams of protein, one gram of fat, 3 grams of carbs, and no sugar. It's made of hydrolyzed whey protein, which breaks down the protein into smaller pieces for better absorption and easier digestion.
Pros: The custom is able to serve a wider range of users, doesn't just rely on whey protein but pea, brown rice, and organic oat, as well, has a team of registered dietitians formulating the blends
One of the more unique protein powder options is Gainful, a brand that formulates personalized blends based on your specific needs. This could include weight and fitness goals, the amount you're active each week, or if you have any dietary restrictions. It even lets you choose options dedicated to getting better sleep or improving gut health.
It's an interesting approach that succeeds in making the protein you order seem one-of-one. That is, not only does Gainful say it's formulating a specific blend of protein for you, but when you get it and see what exactly is in it (especially compared to other protein powders), it feels exclusive.
Gainful takes its customization even further by offering flavor packets that mix with the powder to create different taste profiles. My sample came with packets of rich cocoa and cafe mocha, but the brand offers a variety of others like chocolate peanut butter, strawberry cream, and matcha green tea. You could consume the standard protein on its own, but it's a very bland flavor when you do (it doesn't necessarily taste bad, it's just not very exciting).
The nitpick I'd have with Gainful is that it doesn't feel like you're getting much protein for how much you spend. I tend to consume protein most days of the week, and I was able to work through the $45 bag in a little under three weeks. You can opt to get more per shipment (and Gainful can set up a recurring monthly delivery), though the price could feasibly double.
The GNC name is synonymous with workout supplements, and its own branded protein are among its most popular items, specifically its GNC AMP Wheybolic powder. The brand supplied a tub of the powder in the Thin Mints flavor, which is sure to catch the attention of anyone who's a fan of Girl Scout Cookies (it also offers Girl Scout Coconut Carmel aka Samoas and Girl Scout S'mores).
Each two-scoop serving of the powder offers 40 grams of protein, 6.2 grams of leucine, 210 calories, 7 grams of net carbohydrates, and 2 grams of total sugar. The powder mixes well in water (after about 20 seconds or so of shaking) and never felt chunky or like there were leftover bits that hadn't fully mixed.
I used this protein primarily as a post-workout drink, though did also test it post-workout and on non-workout days. The Thin Mints flavor is heavy on the chocolate and mint, so if you like sweeter protein powders, this is exactly what that is. I'm not a huge sweet protein powder drinker myself, so would often choose to use this in moderation.
Labdoor independently tests dozens of whey protein powders, and the site recommended the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate because it scored high in Labdoor's ingredient safety, nutritional value, and product purity tests. The testers found there were 21.9 grams of protein in every 25-gram serving.
Each serving has 25 grams of protein, less than a gram of fat, 120 calories, and 2 grams of carbs, including less than 1 gram of sugar. There are 13 flavors to choose from, including cinnamon bun, fudge brownie, and gourmet chocolate.
Labdoor recommends the Dymatize ISO 100 as one of the best whey protein powders. In its tests, the powder had high scores for nutritional value and product purity, including less than one part per million of six harmful substances. Around 91% of the calories in this powder come from its protein content. 59ce067264