How Do You Decide Which Protein Powder To Use?

This answer isn’t going to tell you which brand to buy, just how you may want to go about choosing one that might be the best option for you. Like getting at the right answer for almost any question concerning training and nutrition…it depends.

Borderline level protein intake for anyone other than a desk jockey is about 1g. protein/kg. bodyweight. Drop below this level, you are very unlikely to ever get optimal results from your fitness and training endeavours. The closer you are to this line, the more important protein supplement quality becomes. If you have a reasonable varied and balanced diet, not on some weird restrictive diet, the quality (i.e. “completeness” of essential amino acids available from the protein used) is of less importance. Your body is quite happy to chop and change what it needs from the quantity of peptides supplied to it.

We need to consider the fact that we are living in the real world and are obliged to consider the way things actually are, rather than what we see or hear on TV:

  • Is it likely that you might be suffering from a protein deficiency and experiencing, in danger of experiencing kwashiorkor-like symptoms? No, not very unlikely, as long as you live in a 1st World Country.
  • Is more better? Yes, to a point.
  • Are you assured of getting a better, higher quality protein powder by paying more for it? Not necessarily.

How do you decide which to buy? That’s a hard question. Let’s first answer an easier one:

How you should not decide which protein powder to buy.

Sellers of protein powders will throw jargon at you to convince you to buy their stuff:

  • Nice packaging. Yes it is nice, appreciate the pretty colours as you’ll be paying for them.
  • Terms like BV (biological value, basically digestibility);  PDAA (digestibility quotient plus amino acid relevancy) and most lately DIAAS . These are mostly ways to measure things in vitro (in the test tube) or rather ex-vivo, i.e. not in the real world. In real world situations these measurements, as far as you-the-bodybuilder is concerned, are not really relevant to the way things are;
  • Big Guy endorsements. Yeah, I like The Rock and Scarlett Johansson, too. But they’re actors and while probably not as pretty, I am going to prefer a Food Scientist to advise me on this particular job.

So the milk protein concentrate looks pretty good here. It looks even better when it comes to cost, as it is also not the most expensive. The problem is that protein concentrate has a high lactose content. And you all know what that means: farts.

Especially, if you are like most of us, lactose intolerant.

Ok, considering protein powders and which is best now seems less trivial than we thought. We still require an answer to our question about which is the best type of protein powder to buy.

Read the label:

  • A mixed protein “matrix” source is best. Choose a product with many protein sources rather than just a single protein source;
  • A Low lactose or delactosed product is best. You don’t want to pay for things that cause digestive problems and make you fart;
  • Get one that tastes good. Don’t be macho and say that you don’t care. This is untrue, you actually do care and if your intent is to use your supplement regularly, taste will certainly become a factor as time goes on.

For starters, that’s the way to look at it.

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