Some of our favorite protein powders are discounted in the Amazon Prime Day sale

The 10 Best Protein Powders of 2023: Whey, Casein, Vegan & More

That’s why we enlisted the help of a professional sports nutritionist to uncover all the essential information you need when shopping for protein powders for muscle growth And recovery.

If you are looking for whey protein, vegan protein, casein proteinbeef protein, hemp protein (the list goes on), we’ve compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions about protein powders, before listing a handful of our top recommended products that have been rigorously tested from the < em>Team Men’s Health Lab.

Amazon Prime Day Protein Powder Deals

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</p><h2 class=»body-h2″>What is Protein Powder and What Does It Do?</h2><p>Protein powder is essentially powdered and concentrated food. Typically derived from either dairy or plant protein, the main benefit of powdered protein is that its seen as a more convenient means of increasing the amount of the essential <a href=»» target=»_blank»>muscle-building macronutrient</a> present in your diet.</p><p>The three <a href=»» target=»_blank»>types of protein powder</a> youll most commonly find are whey protein, the liquid by-product of milk that is separated from curd during cheese production, soy protein, a concentrated form of plant-based protein originating from soybeans, and casein protein, a slow-digesting dairy protein that like whey protein is also derived from milk. Other types of powdered protein supplements include beef, rice, hemp, egg and pea.</p><p>So, what does protein actually do to your body? As <a href=»» target=»_blank» rel=»nofollow»>Yiannis Fleming</a>, a sports performance coach and qualified nutritionist, puts it: The protein we consume helps augment recovery and new muscle tissue from our resistance training. As we train and put the muscles under stress, micro-tears occur and it’s the protein that helps to repair and develop new tissue.</p><p>Science backs this. According to a <a href=»» target=»_blank» rel=»nofollow»>study published in the journal Nutrients</a>, ‘protein intake was shown to promote additional gains in lean body mass beyond those observed with resistance exercise alone’.</p><h2 class=»body-h2″>What to Consider When Buying Protein Powder</h2><p>As the name suggests, protein supplements should <em>supplement</em> your diet. They’re a tool for quickly and conveniently topping up your daily protein intake and should support a full and balanced diet as opposed to replacing it. If you can hit your daily protein targets in your day-to-day diet, then great. However, if you find that you’re extreme eating or just struggling to hit your goals, then a protein powder could be worthwhile.</p><p><strong>Related: <a href=»» target=»_blank»>11 of the Most Common Protein Shake Mistakes</a></strong></p><p>As Fleming puts it: Many people are able to consume enough protein from their overall diet that a specific powder may not be required. If you’re familiar with tracking on apps like <a href=»» target=»_blank» rel=»nofollow»>MyFitnessPal</a> and can see that you’re consuming within the range of 1.5-2g of protein per kg of bodyweight each day so for example, if you weigh 80kg then this would be 120-160g then it may not be essential to add a protein supplement to your routine.</p><h4 class=»body-h4″>Dietary Requirements</h4><p>Its also worth considering your dietary requirements. Are you lactose intolerant or experiencing discomfort from taking protein powders like whey or casein? asks Fleming. If so, opting for a dairy-free or plant-based alternative is best. Options like pea, soy and hemp are great for those with lactose intolerance and will reduce the likelihood of cramps, pains or IBS symptoms.</p><h4 class=»body-h4″>Calories</h4><p>Consider also whether or not you need a protein powder to provide your diet with more calories, or if you solely need it for protein content. Some powders are higher in calories and more suitable for hard gainers or individuals with a higher energy expenditure, says Fleming. For example, if you’re a lean individual who burns a lot of calories but insists on building muscle, then a higher-calorie powder is likely the one for you.</p><p>Likewise, if you’re just trying to top up your protein or are going for body recomposition (reduce fat & increase muscle simultaneously), then just a standard protein powder will be fine as you will want to eat the majority of your calories from your diet, since this will assist in keeping you satiated.</p><h2 class=»body-h2″>What are The Best Types of Protein Powder?</h2><p>According to Fleming, protein powder should be broken down into the following four categories:</p><h4 class=»body-h4″><strong>High-calorie Dairy Protein Powder</strong></h4><p class=»body-text»><strong></strong>Also known as mass gainers or muscle gainers, these powders are comprised of protein with added carbs and fats to increase your calories’, says Fleming. ‘If you struggle to consume enough calories each day then a powder like this will assist in increasing your bodyweight and muscle stores.'</p><h4 class=»body-h4″><strong>Low-calorie Dairy Protein Powder</strong></h4><p class=»body-text»><strong></strong>Examples of these powders are whey, casein and those labelled as diet» options,’ he continues. ‘They are mostly comprised of protein with very little added carbs or fats, meaning you can consume around 30g of protein for under 150 calories, which is very low when compared to higher-calorie shakes which can be around 600 calories. Keep in mind that whey is best taken after training as it elicits muscle protein synthesis and will support muscle repairs. Casein, on the other hand, is a slower-absorbing powder and best taken pre-bed to help reduce total body protein breakdown, which occurs when we go long periods without eating, e.g. sleeping.'</p><h4 class=»body-h4″><strong>High-calorie Dairy-free Protein Powder</strong></h4><p class=»body-text»><strong></strong>These are similar to the muscle gainers mentioned before. ‘These powders contain additional calories from carbs and fats to help you consume more energy,’ says Fleming. ‘The only main difference is that these shakes do not contain dairy and thus will have a slightly lower leucine content. For eliciting muscle protein synthesis, a dairy-based powder will likely be the best, but if you can’t have dairy, then a shake from this section will be more than fine.'</p><h4 class=»body-h4″><strong>Low-calorie Dairy-free Protein Powder</strong></h4><p>If you’re shopping in this category, look for pea, soy, hemp and those labelled as ‘dairy-free’ options, says Fleming. ‘They are mostly comprised of protein, but as they originate from plants they will have slightly less protein and a little bit more carbohydrates,’ he says. ‘These shakes are not thought to be as effective in eliciting muscle protein synthetic because of their lower leucine content, but they are more advantageous if you are avoiding dairy. You could always combine this shake with a lactose-free milk to further increase the protein content.</p><ol></ol><h2 class=»body-h2″>What to Look for and Avoid in Protein Powder</h2><p>Once youve settled on a type of protein powder, its important to head to a trustworthy retailer. For the majority of people, a cost-effective protein powder from a reliable distributor like <a href=»» target=»_blank» rel=»nofollow»>MyProtein</a> or <a href=»» target=»_blank» rel=»nofollow»>The Protein Works </a>will be more than sufficient, says Fleming. These sites offer a wide range and will cover the four main groups I mentioned before. Remember to opt for a dairy-free or plant-based alternative if you are avoiding dairy.</p><p>If youre an athlete who competes professionally, Fleming says to opt for supplements with a <a href=»» target=»_blank» rel=»nofollow»>Informed Sport</a> label. These are batch tested to ensure the ingredient list is accurate and to cover you if you’re being tested for performance-enhancing drugs, he says.</p><h2 class=»body-h2″>Men’s Health Lab Approved</h2><p>As part of our <a href=»» target=»_blank»>Sports Nutrition Awards</a>, we recruited a panel of over 200 fitness enthusiasts and industry experts and asked them to put a variety of protein powders to the test for four weeks. They provided in-depth feedback on each products nutritional value, impact on exercise performance, ease of use, texture and, importantly, flavour.</p><p>Our winning protein powders have the Sports Nutrition Awards badge displayed proudly above their picture below. Those with the MH Lab Approved badge have also passed our rigorous tests. The remaining entries on our list have been carefully chosen by our editors.</p><p><strong><a href=»» target=»_blank»>Best Whey Protein Powder</a> | <a href=»» target=»_blank»>Best Vegan Protein Powder</a> | <a href=»» target=»_blank»>Best Casein Protein Powder</a> | <a href=»» target=»_blank»>Best Protein Bars</a> | <a href=»» target=»_blank»>Best Pre-workout</a> | <a href=»» target=»_blank»>Best Mass Gainers</a></strong></p><h2 class=»body-h2″>10 Best Protein Powders to Buy in 2023</h2>» />

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