If you think that protein shakes are something that only bodybuilders use to gain muscles, then you better think again. Although protein can help strengthen bones and build muscles, it also helps to keep our body fit and our tummy full.
According to some health experts, getting enough protein in your meals can lead to several benefits – it increases satiety, controls your appetite, maintains muscle mass, and manages weight while reducing body fats. Studies also show that eating a good amount of protein every day can help to prevent the secretion of a hunger hormone known as ghrelin. Furthermore, it also helps to stimulate the secretion of some satiety hormones. These hormones are basically responsible for sending signals to your brain that your stomach is full.
If you want to improve your metabolism, consuming top-notch protein powder can greatly help. Once consumed, the protein powder will sneak in some macronutrients in your meal. You can sprinkle a scoop of protein powder in your coffee, dairy-free milk, smoothies, oats, and pretty much any food you want. Protein is also highly beneficial for vegans and vegetarians who are not getting enough protein in their daily diet because of their meat-less meals.
The protein powder can also fill in the gaps between the amount of protein our bodies need and the amount of protein that we can only eat. A lot of women, especially those who are often busy on most days, have trouble getting the amount of protein that their body needs every day. Moreover, they are also not getting enough protein post-workout, which is very important for muscle repair. Consuming a good quality protein after your workout or during a meal can provide you with sufficient amount of protein that your body needs.
When you’re trying to lose some weight, whey protein is highly recommended. This is a milk-derived protein that has been proven to help women build some muscles while breaking down body fats. Moreover, whey protein also acts as antiviral, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antibacterial agent.
Given the different types of protein powders that are being displayed at various stores these days, it might seem confusing to decide which of them would be the right choice for you.
So to help you with this, here’s a list of the best protein powders for women.
Manufactured by Optimum, this protein powder is made from 100% whey protein. It’s a dairy-based protein that supports lean muscles by providing additional protein to recovering muscles, which also helps improve fat loss.
A scoop of Optimum Nutrition Whey has 24 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of BCAAs, as well as 4 grams of Glutamic Acid and Glutamine. The BCAAs work by helping you with muscle recovery while the Glutamic Acid and Glutamine will help you improve your protein metabolism and decrease muscle breakdown.
Taste is one of the best things about whey protein. In fact, this is one of the reasons why many people choose the Optimum Nutrition for their protein powder. The Extreme Milk Chocolate flavor is delicious, and some other flavors as well.
The Optimum Nutrition also mixes great and doesn’t come with any residues. Moreover, it has very little foaming when prepared. In fact, the presence of foaming will fade after about a minute or so. Some people would use water for their protein shakes since it’s easily accessible but using milk can make your protein shake taste even better.
The Optimum Nutrition protein powder is incredibly effective. Those who have tried using the product have noticed that they were able to recover faster from their workouts. DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness will not be a factor if you’re taking this protein powder. A lot of times, people would pay for a brand that comes with supplements, such as protein. But, you can simply opt for Optimum Nutrition to get your daily amount of protein. The brand is well trusted and highly reputable. In fact, they are known for putting out a lot of great products.
- Extreme milk chocolate taste
- Good muscle recovery
- Good value for money
- Great taste
- Helps build muscles
- Lasts long enough
- Great taste
- Powder mixes well
The Power Crunch Proto Whey is another whey protein powder that’s gaining popularity in the market. Manufactured by BioNutritional, this dairy-based protein supports lean muscles gained by supplementing additional protein to recovering muscles, thereby, helping with fat loss.
The main highlight of this product is the trademarked ProtoWhey. It’s hydrolyzed whey done in a higher degree of hydrolysis. This process requires breaking down protein to up to 40% di and tri-peptides, which results in fast absorption. Most of the fat content in the protein powder comes from MCT oil and after the flavoring and maltodextrin, the SoftPsil, which is a micronized psyllium fiber, makes up 3 grams of carbs as fiber.
It comes in different flavors too, although the French Vanilla Crème is pretty fancy. The taste resembles that of sour vanilla caramel. Despite the filler volume, people who have tried the Power Crunch claim to have had a light stomach just like with any hydrolyzed whey that’s being sold in the market.
The whey protein in Powder Crunch seems like it has been broken down into almost half peptides, making it very thin on its own. But at least they did what they could to make it taste decent by mixing and flavoring the whey protein.
- Effectively builds muscles.
- Made from high-quality peptide protein
- No bloated feeling
- Added fibers
- Protein ratio
The Orgain sport-certified grass-fed whey is a protein powder manufactured by the Garden of Life. This product is made from a dairy-based protein, which is known to support lean muscles gained by supplying additional protein to the recovering muscles that can help with fat loss.
Sourced from cows that are grass-fed in Ireland, this protein powder is certified organic and doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. It doesn’t have soy, though it contains probiotics, and is often whey isolate. This protein powder has everything that you ever need for a whey protein powder. Its nutritional profile consists of 120 calories for every scoop, 120 mg sodium, 6 grams of carbs, 100 mg potassium, 24 grams of protein and only 5 mg of cholesterol. 85% of the protein in this product is whey isolate while 15% is milk protein, although according to some experts, milk protein is not a great source of protein as compared to whey.
The Orgain sport-certified grass-fed whey protein powder is available in different flavors, although we love the taste of vanilla a lot. As for the taste, it was okay. Its light flavor is not that bad, and as stated on the label, the product makes use of Stevia as a sweetener. We didn’t have any bitter aftertaste, unlike with the other protein powders we have tried. We would say it’s one of the best-tasting protein powders we have ever tried. This product is usually mixed with 12 ounces of water, and this probably explains the light flavor. I usually add more water than I need on my protein shake to ensure that I’m getting enough liquids for the day.
I would drink the protein powder post-workout during the entire month of December, and so far, the experience is good. I never have to suffer from upset stomach, unlike other protein shakes I’ve tried. The isolate is indeed a great post-workout shake since it’s much easier to break down and it can feed your muscles well. Its ingredient profile is very clean, and it doesn’t have any fats. Furthermore, it only has 2 grams of net carbs, so this protein powder is very easy to include in your macros.
- Added probiotics
- Made mostly from whey isolate
- A bit pricey
- Each packaging is only equivalent to 20 servings
Manufactured in the United States, the BiPro Whey Protein powder is a dairy-based protein powder that supports lean muscles by supplying additional protein to your recovering muscles, and as a result, helps you lose fat.
To start with, the BiPro is made from whey isolate. It makes use of the Ion-exchange whey, although there may be some issues regarding this process since it defeats the whey. But we will not mark this product down because of this since this issue requires further research. Also, BiPro claims that they practice a much better and gentler way to produce whey isolate.
For every 30 grams of the BiPro protein powder, 27 grams is protein. Thus, almost 90% of the powder is protein. It’s a clean protein, having only one carb and zero fat for every serving. Looking at this profile, you will know that the BiPro doesn’t have any fillers, which is great to know.
As mentioned, we love the taste of Vanilla a lot, so we choose this flavor when buying the BiPro protein powder, and we must say that the flavor is thoroughly enjoyable. Its taste resembles that of vanilla pudding. It’s very tasty, and we are happy with the shake. The only thing that bothers me is that the powder has a distinct smell, something like the smell of a cardboard, which is strange. Yet, this protein powder mixes very well. Unlike other protein powders, it will not produce clumps or bubbles. Its lack of carbs and fats certainly makes this a great product to try. You’ll notice that the consistency of the shake is a bit frothy, but it will not in any way ruin the taste.
When using the BiPro, you will not notice much of the protein powder. Nevertheless, there are still other ways to judge a protein powder’s effectiveness, and one of them is to see how well it digests. Since it is a whey-isolate, digestion is easy. You are not going to notice much of the protein from other brands either. Despite all its great claims and with many types of research behind it, you’re not going to get more from this protein powder compared to other isolate proteins in the market.
- Added Velositol
- Clean profile
- Great taste
- High protein
- A bit pricey
- Not easily available
The fuel micellar casein is a whey protein powder that’s made by Ascent. It’s a dairy-based protein that supports lean muscle gain by supplementing additional protein to the recovering muscles. This process can help improve the body’s ability to lose weight.
Compared to other protein powders, this protein powder has much higher calories. Thus, we wouldn’t recommend this product to anyone who is trying to cut down some calories off their diet. There are several other brands of protein powders out there that contain about 90 to 120 calories, which is more acceptable. Having an extra 30 to 50 extra calories on your protein powder would not hurt, but still, it matters. Nevertheless, 20 grams of protein in every serving is enough for everyone. There are several other protein powders out there that contain less fat when compared to Ascent’s protein powder. If you are not very picky about your protein powders, then this should not be a big issue for you.
Unfortunately, this is the worst tasting protein powder I have ever tasted in my life. I’ve tried drinking all sorts of protein powders out there, but this stuff is just the worst tasting of all. I have chosen my favorite vanilla flavor again, yet it’s nothing like the great tasting vanilla protein powder that I have tried in the past. I find this protein powder to be very bitter and I don’t understand how a protein can be this bitter. In fact, I ended up checking the expiration date because I thought the product had expired or something, but it wasn’t the case since the product is good until 2019.
Despite the bad taste, however, the protein powder is as effective as the other protein powders in this list. I would prepare one scoop of this protein powder every day, 20 minutes right after my workout ends. I’ve noticed I have gained muscles while on this product. I wish the calories were a bit lower. But since the rest of my diet was in check, I still feel like I’m able to gain a substantial amount of lean mass while using this protein powder for two months. It has helped me to build muscles, so I’m still happy with it despite the bad taste.
- Effectively helps build muscles
- Bad taste
- High calories
The Naked Nutrition Egg White Protein is a dairy-based protein powder that helps with muscle building by providing additional protein to the recovering muscles.
One of the main ingredients of this protein powder is the tri-blend of different whey that was mixed appropriately to produce an awesome protein that you can consume every day. You will get 25 grams of protein for every serving of this powder. This is a pretty good amount especially because it doesn’t contain any taurine, creatine, and other extras, which make the protein content seem higher.
Each serving of the protein powder is only about 120 calories, which makes it a great choice for all users, whether you are leaning or bulking. Also, you will also receive 5 grams of BCAA for every serving, which is around the same amount in most of the BCAA supplements. It only has 2 grams of carb.
The taste of this protein powder is a bit creamy, yet it’s sweeter than what I expected, although its sweet taste is not like it has artificial sweetener, which I loved a lot. I got the vanilla ice cream flavor, and I find it to be awesome. It mixes well with water and milk. In fact, I’ve tried it with orange juice too. It didn’t produce any weird grainy texture or clumping, unlike the other protein powders I have tried.
Digestion wise, I love that this protein breaks down efficiently and doesn’t lead to a feeling of bloating or that gassy feeling, which I hate. Recovery wise, this product worked quite nicely unlike the other protein powders in the market, which I believe is due to the ingredients that they have added to help to break down the nutrients.
- Builds muscle fast
- Clean profile
- Good value for money
- Great with milk or water
- Mixes well
- Great recovery
- Great taste
VegaOne is a plant-based protein powder made by Vegas Sport. It’s often used as a vegan alternative to animal-based protein powders and dairy. The product supports muscle building by supplementing the amount of protein needed by the recovering muscles, while also enhancing the body’s ability to lose fat.
The product contains unique protein sources, and each scoop contains about 110 calories, 11.5 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of fats and 16 grams of protein. The blend of the protein consists of hemp protein, pea protein, sacha inchi protein and chia protein. All these protein sources are organic and are familiar to me, except the sacha inchi. This protein is obtained from a plant in Peru, which produces seeds like nuts. The good thing about sacha inchi is that it’s a complete protein.
As for the effectiveness, I feel like this protein powder is truly effective in many areas. First is indigestion. I was able to digest this protein powder easily unlike the whey protein blends. I’ve got no issues with whey isolates, but I have instances where I have felt bloated in the past. Being a vegan protein blend, I have no GI issues with this product at all. In fact, I took it more regularly than when I took whey protein, whether it’s whey isolate or blend. This has something to do with the increased amount of fiber that this product has.
- Builds muscle fast
- Fantastic taste
- Not available widely
- A bit expensive
The Raw Organic Protein is a plant-based protein powder that can also be used as a vegan alternative to animal-based protein and dairy. It works by supplying protein to the recovering muscles, which also encourages weight loss.
The manufacturers of the product suggest that you consume it up to three times a day. Unfortunately, I cannot manage to consume this protein powder more than once in a day. For me, it tastes so terrible. In fact, I’m glad that I’m already over it and I cannot even manage to describe the taste because I want to forget it.
I guess the reason behind the horrible taste is because the product doesn’t contain a sweetener. I’m not exactly sure as to why they did not add Stevia to this product. There are so many things they could have done to improve the taste of this organic powder. But it’s maybe because I am not vegan and I just couldn’t appreciate the taste of vegan protein powder like this one.
The Raw Organic Protein powder is just like any other protein powders in the market, except it has a different taste. It did make me feel fuller compared to some other whey proteins I’ve tried in the past, but it must be because after I finished consuming it, I didn’t feel the need to consume anything else!
- It doesn’t contain soy
- Made from organic ingredients
- A bit too expensive
- Bad taste
- Clumps everywhere
- Difficult to mix
- Doesn’t digest well enough
The Organic Vegan protein powder by SoTru is another dairy-based protein powder that supports the lean muscles gained by supplying them with additional protein, which can greatly help with fat loss.
As compared to the other protein shakes I’ve tried, the vegan protein powder nailed the ingredients. Immediately after tasting, you’ll notice that you are getting the amount of protein it advertises, which is 30 grams of protein in every scoop. This consists of 180 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 8 grams of carbs. This is a very reasonable amount along with a good amount of protein. I’m consuming the shakes immediately after my strength training, and I am looking for more of a cut instead of bulk, and thus, the low fat and carb content works great for me.
I am very satisfied with the results that I’m getting from SoTru. Since I’ve been doing a lot of cardio exercises along with strength training, I’m happy that I didn’t end up gaining any weight while using this product. Moreover, this protein drink is very filling, which is great.
- Clear label
- Very filling
- Effectively builds muscle
- A little too expensive
- Not the best protein supplement in bulk with
Produced by Navitas, the Organics Essential Blend is a whey protein powder that’s dairy based and supplies additional protein to recovering muscles, helping you lose fat faster.
Each scoop consists of 39 grams, and in it, there’s 30 grams of whey protein isolate as well as hydrolyzed whey protein isolate, on top of added micronized BCAA. The hydrolyzed isolates are pre-digested protein molecules, and although this sounds bad, it’s not the same with denaturation. These smaller blocks bond more readily to your body’s enzymes, which is important for digesting protein. Thus, the absorption of this protein powder is much faster than the typical protein isolate or concentrate.
I will start my review with a major complaint. Although the Velocity Vanilla flavor has a sweet taste that wasn’t too bad, it’s the aftertaste that I don’t like about this product. I’m not exactly sure what the culprit is, however, since most of the proteins use Sucralose and Ace K as sweeteners, it’s probably safe to blame micronized BCAA. To give you an idea of the aftertaste, it’s quite bitter and is far from what real vanilla should taste like. What’s even worse is that the taste tends to pierce through anything that I mix it with, whether it’s milk, water, or juice. There’s just nothing you can do to hide the aftertaste.
I’ve bought a 1.76-pound container of this protein powder, which is equivalent to 20 servings and I was able to finish it within a month. I’m also taking other whey proteins that are mostly concentrated and consume this post-workout, instead of merely a daily protein supplement. It seems like it did a great job to absorb at a faster rate. I never experienced any stomach discomfort, such as bloating. Any of those downsides that one would expect from a cheap protein supplement are non-existent in this product.
- Great muscle recovery
- Smooth texture
- A bit expensive
- Funky taste
What Are Protein Powders?
Protein powders are available in different forms, but the three most common types are soy, whey, and casein protein. Of the three, whey is the most commonly used since it’s a water-soluble type of milk protein. Moreover, whey is also a complete protein, which means that it has all of the advantages that one can get from protein. In case you didn’t know, a complete protein has all the nine essential amino acids for human dietary needs. On the other hand, vegans prefer soy protein, which often has an unpleasant taste and doesn’t dissolve well in water. The price of protein powders greatly varies. For a casual athlete who doesn’t need a protein powder at a certain time during the training, the cost is not that important.
In some cases, protein powders might be very useful. These products are a convenient and easy source of complete and high-quality protein. But you should know that everyone, including athletes, could also get their protein by eating lean proteins like fish, chicken, meat, and several other dairy products.
So when should you use the protein powders? There are some cases when you may need to add more protein to your diet.
Here are some of them:
- During your growth stage – A teenager requires more protein to fuel his workout sessions since his body is still in the growth stage, which requires more protein.
- When starting a workout program – If joining a workout program is new to you, and you are trying to build muscles, you will need a lot of protein.
- Rev up your workouts – If you were used to working out for half an hour a few times a week and you have now decided to rev-up your workouts because you are training for a marathon, your body will require more protein.
- Recovering from an injury – Athletes who have suffered from sports injuries need more protein to help them recover faster.
- If you plan to go vegan – Those who are trying to go vegan and need to eliminate some protein sources, such as meat from their diet, will need to use protein powders for their protein needs.
So how do you know if you’re already getting the right amount of protein that your body needs? Simply do the math.
Below are the daily recommendations of protein from health experts:
- An average adult must consume 0.8 g protein for every kg of body weight every day.
- Athletes who are involved in recreational sports need between 1.1 and 1.4g protein per kg of body weight.
- Competitive athletes will need between 1.2 and 1.4 grams, while those who are joining ultra-endurance sports should consume 2.0 grams of protein for every kilogram of their body weight.
- Athletes who are trying to build muscle mass will need between 1.5 to 2.0 grams of protein every single day.
So if you are an adult athlete and you want to build some muscle mass and currently your weight is 75 kilograms, the most protein that you should consume every day is 150 grams. This may sound like a lot. However, a 4-oz hamburger contains 30 grams of protein, while 6 oz. of tuna contains 40 grams of protein.
How to Use Protein Powders
If after you have calculated your daily protein requirement, you realized that you are not getting the right amount of protein for your body, then it’s time to use protein powders. Moreover, there are certain signs and symptoms that indicate that your body lacks protein and among these are feeling fatigued and weak, especially when doing lifting and other physical activities.
So what’s the best way to use protein powder to help improve your performance?
First, you should forget about the conventional wisdom that requires you to consume protein powders after a workout immediately. Remember that before, during, and after your workout, your body needs carbs. These are what your body needs for fuel and energy. While protein is also essential for muscle recovery after a workout, research shows that at this time, the body will need fuel with carbs to protein ratio of 4:1 or 5:1. Since most of the protein powder contains at least 20 grams of protein in every scoop, you will need as much as 80 grams of carbs to go with this scoop of protein powder for you to get the appropriate nutrients.
For an even better recovery drink after a workout, experts recommend drinking a fruit smoothie that contains milk or yogurt, and even chocolate milk! One glass of chocolate milk is, in fact, one of the best drinks for muscle recovery.
So when’s the best time to take protein powders? You can take them all throughout the day, either as a meal replacement or snack, but not during that immediate period after your workout.
You should also know that protein powders are not necessary if you’re living a healthy diet where you get to consume a good amount of lean protein.
The Benefits of Protein Shakes for Women
Most women think that protein shakes are only for muscle builders. While it’s true that protein shakes can greatly help with the development of lean muscle mass, it’s also true that these shakes can significantly help with fat loss, while increasing satiety and delivering essential nutrients to the body. Furthermore, the shakes also play a significant role in delivering the essential nutrients all throughout the body, which helps to improve one’s metabolic activity.
- Muscle Gain
Health experts recommend regular strength training for women and upping their daily intake of protein to 0.4 grams for every pound of their body weight. This is especially necessary if your main goal is to gain lean muscles. Maintaining muscle mass while getting an adequate amount of protein is also necessary for women as they get older where risks of joint problems and osteoporosis are higher. If you’re someone who is into strength training and you eat proteins daily, you may not need to drink protein shakes to maintain and gain muscles. However, if you are not eating enough proteins, drinking protein shakes occasionally can help you get the necessary amount of protein that your body needs.
- Fat Loss
Using protein occasionally shakes for meal replacement can help you lose fats, which is essential for losing weight. According to experts, high-quality proteins are more satiating, unlike fats or carbohydrates. Furthermore, proteins also help to improve one’s metabolism and can greatly help with weight loss. In one study published at the journal “Nutrition & Metabolism,” it’s been found that obese men and women lost more fats when they consumed protein shakes as a meal replacement every day and adhered to a low-calorie diet. On the other hand, those who are on the low-calorie diet but didn’t consume shakes lost less body fat.
- Nutritional Benefits
Homemade shakes including those commercially-sold protein shake made with fresh fruits, and natural proteins can provide your body with the essential nutrients. Protein shakes are therefore essential since they perform the necessary tasks for our body’s day-to-day functioning.
Protein shakes may be a healthy addition to a woman’s daily diet, but they are not for everyone. If you are getting enough protein from the food you eat every day, then there’s no longer a need to supplement your body with protein shakes. It’s also important to know that getting more than your body’s recommended protein needs is dangerous. It could increase your risk of developing kidney and heart problems and may also lead to nutrient deficiencies. Adding protein shakes to your diet could also mean more calories, which could lead to weight gain in the long run. Therefore, before you decide to consume any protein shakes, it may be best to talk to your doctor.
Protein Powder Safety Issues
Protein powder manufacturers advertise their products as a convenient way to get access to extra protein, which boosts fitness levels. These supplements are being sold to everyone, from bodybuilders, working ladies, and even mothers. However, recent clinical researches have raised some questions regarding the safety of adding extra protein to your diet with these supplements. Adding extra protein could lead to some possible adverse side effects. Moreover, just like with other food supplements, the FDA doesn’t monitor these protein powders.
Your body requires protein to be able to function well, however, too much protein may not be good for your body. So to avoid any adverse effects, make sure you stay within the recommended maximum intake range when taking these protein powders.
Of all the protein powders listed above, the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is the best choice so far. There are many reasons why a lot of people love this protein powder. Aside from being very effective, it doesn’t cost a lot. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest protein powders being sold in the market right now. The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard is also made from high-quality ingredients that are somewhat familiar, unlike the other brands, which often have a long list of ingredients that you may have never heard before.
I also love the excellent taste of the Optimum Nutrition Gold. Of all the protein powders I have tasted, this product is the most delicious and this applies to all its flavors. If you take a look at the list of pros and cons of the Optimum Nutrition Gold, you will understand even more why this product is the best protein powder for everyone, including women who are trying to lose some weight.