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Top 5 Protein Powders 2014

Updated on February 6, 2014
Food is the most natural source of protein. But it is not always the most practical.
Food is the most natural source of protein. But it is not always the most practical.

Protein powders can sometimes become a vital element of the muscle building program. The three steps of the the bodyboilding routine are "lift", "eat", and "sleep". By "eat" the reference is to eating protein. Indeed, supplying your body with the right amount of protein is at least as important as the workout itself. Protein is the building block with which your body will not only repair the muscle fibers worn out by heavy exercise but also produce new muscle tissue in reaction to the workout.

For sure, the most healthy way to get protein is to eat natural food. Yet, this is not always possible with today's busy lifestyle, which hardly gives people enough time to prepare and consume high protein food regularly. In addition, to gain fat-free lean muscle tissue can be even greater a challenge because of all the fat and carbohydrates you will get with the regular food. Endless hours of cardio is needed to burn the extra calories while receiving the protein for muscle growth, something that could only be possible if you could devote your entire day to exercise. That is why using protein powders can be the only way to achieve the results you want.

There are several brands and types of protein powder. The top 5 protein powders included in this review are the ones most popular among people interested in building some muscle. I have tried to show their advantages and disadvatages in an impartial manner to help you choose the best protein powder suitible for your bodybuilding efforts.

Top Protein Powders

The question is what you take into consideration when choosing the protein powder that will give you the best results. There are a number of factors:

1-) Protein content per scoop: Protein supplement powders usually come with their own scoop you will use to measure your portions. The size of the scoop changes from product to product. You are taking this powder for protein and nothing else so the more protein it has in each scoop the better it will serve its purpose.

2-) Calories per scoop: The reason for consuming a supplement instead of real food is that the supplement will give you the protein without loading you with all the unwanted carbs and fat that will take forever to burn. You should go for a protein powder that has the least possible calories per scoop.

3-) Additives: Some protein powders contain artificial sweeteners that sometimes irk people. They are not necessarily evil but I would advise you prefer the protein source with the least additives.

4-) Protein source: The best protein powders are the ones made of whey. They are healthy and include all the aminoacids your body needs. The products reviewed here are mostly whey protein powders.

5-)Taste: Some people care a lot about the taste of the protein but in my opinion it is a minor issue. If you are going to be a tough guy that can lift barbells, you should be able to live without enjoying chocolate flavor in everything you eat.

6-) Mixability: The good protein powder takes little time to mix in water, milk or whatever so that you can easily consume it after workout and go about your business.

One Scoop
30.4 g
Protein
24 g
Calories
120
Fat
1 g
Carbs
3 g

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard is the most popular protein powder in the market. One scoop of this powder will provide you with 24 g of protein with 120 calories. This is a very good protein content with low calories, which means this product should satisfy the needs of most bodybuilders.

Gold Standard's source for protein is whey. It contains a protein blend made up of Whey Protein Isolate mostly but also including Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Peptides. Whey isolate is what is found in most protein powders and is almost pure protein. The protein concentrate on the other hand has some fat and carbs in it that is the source of a few grams of carbohydrate you will find in this product. Peptides are semi-digested proteins that your body will absorb more easily.

Whey Gold Standard powder comes with a number of additives. Aminogen and Lactase found in this protein powder are digestive enzymes that should make it easier for your body to absorb the protein. They are regarded to be safe. Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey has Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium in it as sugar substitute. Both of these chemicals are identified as safe by FDA. Yet, you should remember that you are going to take these chemicals on a daily basis and for a long time.

Considering mixability, Optimum Nutrition Whey is generally accepted to be the easiest to mix. It dissolves perfectly in water, milk or juice with no clumping and no granules that stick to the sides of the shaker.

In short, Optimum Nutrition's protein powder seems to be a great supplement at a reasonable price. No wonder that it is the best seller of protein powder market. The only reason I personally do not prefer this specific protein powder is that there is an identical Optimum Nutrition product reviewed below with no artificial additives in it. If you are repelled by chemical additives I suggest you take a look at the next protein powder.

One Scoop
32 g
Protein
24 g
Calories
130
Fat
1 g
Carbs
5 g

Optimum Nutrition Natural 100% Whey Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition Natural 100% Whey Gold Standard is a version of the above protein powder with no artificial sugar substitutes. Although this item sells less when compared to the regular Optimum Nutrition whey protein, it still sells well and I recommend this one because of its more natural content. Exclusion of the sugar substituting chemicals from ingredients has made this whey powder, a natural, affordable and high-quality protein supplement.

Natural 100% Whey Gold Standard has the same protein content as the above powder that is 24 g per scoop. It has 130 calories in a scoop, which is a bit higher than the regular Gold Standard product. This is because of the natural sweeteners it contains.

As sweeteners, Optimum Nutrition Natural Whey contains Evaporated Cane Juice Powder and Rebaudioside A. Rebaudioside A is a completely natural substance extracted from the leaves of stevia plant. It has zero calories and causes no glycemic response. This additive has no hazard for your body. Cane juice powder on the other hand is basically not much different from white sugar. Although it is pure calories, it is only in a very small amount and not a menace to your health. Some customers complain about the taste, stating this protein powder is not sweet enough and there is an aftertaste. Personally, I do not take taste as a major issue when comparing protein powders. Your health is much more important and Natural 100% Whey seems to contain nothing that will have strange effects on your body.

To conclude, when compared to its regular, non-natural sister, Optimum Nutrition Natural 100% Whey Gold Standard has a few more calories, which is a small disadvantage. But, it comes with no artificial sweeteners, which is absolutely great! Everything else, including the mixability, ingredients and price are similar. If you decide to go for the Optimum Nutrition brand, I definitely advise you try the Natural Whey variety.

One Scoop
47.2 g
Protein
22 g
Calories
200
Fat
6 g
Carbs
14 g

BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder

BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder is a supplement that features quite different ingredients from other best selling powders on this review. For instance, in addition to whey, Syntha-6 contains protein from milk powder, egg white and is further enhanced by casein and glutamine. The variety of ingredients gives this powder a different nutritional composition.

One scoop of BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder is 47.2 g, which is a really large scoop. It contains only 22 g of protein and 200 calories, which is huge! In any case, Syntha-6 will introduce much carbohydrate and fat into your body in addition to protein. This has advantages as the extra stuff will also help with muscle development, making BSN powder a more likely substitute for a real meal. The disadvantage is that it will downgrade its effectiveness as a non-belly-fat-promoting protein source, which is what people look for when they buy protein powder. Then, it is reasonable to say that BSN Syntha-6 is more suitable for people in the bulking stage and who do not have the time to stuff their body with all the nutrients.

Surprisingly, there is also fiber in Syntha-6, which is something you would not be expecting from a protein powder. The source of fiber in Syntha-6 is Polydextrose, which is an artificial chemical used as a sort of fiber additive. It is really hard to say whether including Polydextrose makes this powder a better product or not.

Syntha-6 also contains Calcium Caseinate. It is a protein produced from skimmed milk and unlike whey protein it takes some time to get digested, supplying your body with protein over a longer period. This makes BSN a supplement that will be effective throughout the day unlike the regular whey isolates, which are better taken right after workout.

There are a number of other additives in Syntha-6, including sunflower oil, corn syrup, lecithine and artificial sweeteners. Corn syrup is an industrial product containing highly concentrated sugar that may repulse some people interested in healthy nutrition. The same is the case for Acesulfame Potassium and Sucralose, which are artificial sweeteners. The mix also includes digestive enzymes Papain and Aminogen that are intented to help your stomach. Aminogen is considered safe but Papain is a contraversial substance.

As for mixability, the powder is said to take some time and effort to dissolve in a shake.

In short, BSN Syntha-6 Protein Powder is more than a simple protein powder and could be expected to better help with muscle development although it is packed with a bunch of chemicals. It is surely the least natural product on this list. In addition, it has too many calories in it, which might be good only if you want to gain a lot of weight. Yet, it is also the best tasting protein powder as the customers report. Given these points, it is up to you to choose this one or give a try to others.

One Scoop
42 g
Protein
30g
Calories
150
Fat
2.5 g
Carbs
6 g

Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein

This is the cheapest protein powder in this review. It sells well and its popularity is a result of the fact that it is one of the high-quality and edible protein powders that is offered at a lower price than the other top supplements.

One scoop of Body Fortress whey powder contains 30 g of protein. However, concerning the scoop is 42g, which is a fairly large amount, this is not actually the most protein-rich powder you can find. One serving has 150 calories or 5 calories per 1g of protein, which is all right but not the best. Body Fortress Super Advanced whey powder also contains some additives.

One of the ingredients of Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein is called the Super Recovery Blend. This is really a mixture of certain amino acids plus creatine and taurine. Creatine is an amino acid derivative produced naturally in your body and gained from food in small amounts. It enhances muscle performance by helping ATP sythesis and is actually used as a supplement by athletes. It is nice to get it in your whey powder instead of buying it separately if you have any interest in using creatine supplements. As for taurine, it is the main ingredient of ordinary energy drinks. It will help your workout but I personally do not like energy drinks so I say it is a minus.

There are also some complaints about the taste of Body Fortress protein. People claim it is too sweet. Again, I believe taste is a minor issue but there are also reports that Body Fortress Powder causes bloating and gas in some people. Everybody has a different body so there is no way to tell if the same thing is going to happen in you but if you have an irritable stomach, be cautious.

To summarize, Body Fortress is an economic protein powder but concerning its efficiency as a protein source, it is not necessarily the most cost effective product on this list. Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein is a good choice for people who need to boost the protein content of their diet and are running on a low budget.


One Scoop
28 g
Protein
25 g
calories
110
fat
0.5 g
carbs
1 g

Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate

If your intention in buying protein powder is to get protein, Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate is the choice for you. As the name suggests it is nothing other than whey protein isolate and has the most instense protein content of all products in this review.

One scoop of Now Foods whey protein is 28 g in weight and it contains 25 g of protein, 0.5 g of fat and 1 g of carbohydrate. It has only 110 calories per serving, which makes much less than 5 calories per 1g of protein. This is the best calorie to protein ratio in all the protein powders reviewed on this page so Now Foods wins first place concerning the ingredients. It should also be remembered that Now Foods powder has no sweeteners or any other additives with the exception of less than one percent soy lecithin. It is pure whey!

As for the taste, don't expect much from this one. It is unflavored, in other words it is tasteless. I do not see this as a problem because it will take the taste of whatever you mix it with and you are taking this for muscle not for relish. It is said to take some time to mix and to form clumps when put in hot liquids, which is a minor issue that will not eclipse its great value as a protein source.

All in all, Now Foods Whey Isolate is an awesome product for those prioritizing protein intake, calorie restriction and avoiding of additives. It can also be called economical because it will give you the highest amount of protein for the same cost. Now Foods whey powder is exactly what protein powder is supposed to be and is highly recommended for people involved in workout activity and need some nutritional boost.

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