What is the best protein powder? This is one of the most asked questions that we receive in our online community and from our coaching clients.
In this NutriWiki article we are going to cover two major questions: 1) do you need to take a protein supplement, and 2) what protein powder should you choose.
To answer the first question, you do not have to take a protein supplement. As long as your daily protein intake is met, there is no need to take protein via a supplement powder. However, in modern society where life can be hectic and planning your daily nutrition can be difficult, a protein powder can help you reach your protein targets.
If you are going to supplement, there are a few things to consider. First, whey protein is considered the “gold standard” for high quality protein or the best type of protein powder for almost all people. This protein has the highest rate of muscle protein synthesis and is often the most easily digestible (hydrolyzed whey protein is the most digestible, but it can have a weird, slightly bitter taste). After whey protein, casein is also very effective, but digests a bit slower and may cause some stomach discomfort for some people.
Plant based proteins are slightly less effective for stimulating muscle growth, but they are effective. If you are looking for a plant based protein, soy protein powders can be of very high quality, as well as some hemp, pea, brown rice, and other plant based proteins. It may be beneficial to find blends of plant based proteins or rotate them out each time you buy one.
However, if you do not enjoy the taste of your protein, the best type of protein powder is one you enjoy.
See Protein Quality for a detailed answer with sources.