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In order to find the best whey protein for your needs, you’ll need to assess your goals and choose a powder with the appropriate nutritional profile, as well as making sure you get the right size delivered to your door. Here are our top tips to get you started.
There are three main types of whey protein: whey concentrate, isolate and diet whey. We'll explain the options available so you can pick the one that enables you to conquer your goals.
Whey isolate is a more processed form of milk protein, that has literally been isolated from the other components it contains, namely the fats and sugars. This purer form will usually be more expensive, however those looking to lose fat and lean out may find it appealing as it is by default lower in fats, carbs, and calories.
Isolate is also lower in lactose, the enzyme found in dairy products that some people are intolerant or sensitive to. Therefore, whey isolate may be a good choice for those who want maximum digestibility, although some standard whey proteins do feature added enzymes that aid in digestion.
On the other hand, some fitness buffs believe sticking to a purer protein with ingredients you can recognise and eating a wholesome diet is the best and healthiest way to lose weight, but it’s up to you to decide which camp you fall in when it comes to these additives.
A bodybuilder wanting to gain sizeable muscle mass won’t have the same nutritional needs as someone wanting to tone up or supplement protein as part of a busy lifestyle, so it’s important you find out what's inside your whey protein before you buy.
Otherwise, the average gym-goer or active type who requires whey for building and repairing muscle and staying on top of their protein intake will find a 20-30g content sufficient. Isolate is usually higher in protein than standard whey, but only by a few grams.
If you prefer a plant-based protein product, consider vegan protein powders.
Even if you’re not looking to shed the pounds, a healthy whey should contain at most 3g of carbs with 2 of those from sugars, and only 1 or 2 grams of fat. Some will contain real sugar, but usually artificial or natural sweeteners to keep the calories down.
A calorie content of 150Kcal per 25g of protein (which is also approximately a serving size) is considered a good ratio for supplementing the growth and repair of muscle after exercise whilst dropping fat, so check the label for a figure around this size. You may want to go lower if weight loss is your main priority, though.
So, it’s safe to say that a whey protein with a good amount of these BCAA’s is going to benefit not only our wellbeing, but our performance too. Make sure the protein mentions BCAA’s on the label, and look for around 5 grams.
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The Protein Works
Diet Whey Isolate 90
Diet Whey For Everyone, Minus the Additives
Gold Standard 100% Whey
Gold Standard in Name and Nature!
Impact Whey Protein
Unrivalled Flavour Selection to Satisfy Dessert Cravings
Natural Whey Protein Powder
Natural Whey and Isolate Blend With Digestive Enzymes
The Protein Works
Whey Protein 80
Basic Whey in Tasty Flavours for Any Time of Day
Serious Mass Whey Protein
High Calorie and Protein for Weight Gain
Whey Protein Powder
Brilliant Value and Great Tasting Whey
Whey Protein Isolate Powder
Clean and Digestion-Friendly Unflavoured Whey
One Stop Xtreme Serious Mass Protein Powder
Extreme Protein for Extreme Gains
Nutrition Diet Whey Protein Powder
Low Calorie Whey With Added Nutrition
TPW prove that diet whey doesn’t have to mean a chalky protein powder full of rubbish additives and fillers. It’s one of the lowest on our list in terms of calories and carbs and is very natural, with the 90 from the name denoting the protein percentage of the isolate.
Bringing to the table 24g of pure whey protein that has been thoughtfully instantised for zero chance of lumps, ON’s Gold Standard definitely lives up to its namesake.
From blueberry cheesecake to tiramisu and cinnamon danish, if you’ve got a sweet tooth that needs a healthy fix, MyProtein are your saving grace. They’re extremely popular for a reason, and have simple but effective ingredients that will help to build lean muscle mass.
An excellent pick for those who weight train whether light or heavy, active types or those who want a clump-free whey based on natural ingredients. A digestive enzyme complex is also added that makes it simple to digest, even for sensitive tums.
Whilst the protein content is on the lower end of the recommendation, this does mean it’s a sound option for drinking throughout the day if you’re upping your intake or need a helping hand with weight loss. The specs are good too, and each shake is only 100 calories.
Whether it’s bulking season, you train intensely or you’re trying to gain some weight, ON’s coveted mass gainer delivers the results with added carbohydrate powder, a high calorie formula and 50 grams of protein.
Perhaps one of the most value for money whey proteins available, this standard whey would be a great starter protein with the 1kg option too. Each serving provides 23g of protein, and it’s highly rated for its great taste whether you opt for strawberry, chocolate or vanilla.
If you’re after the cleanest and most natural whey for baking or boosting your intake, look no further. You have to be willing to pay for it, but this whey isolate is 92% of pure, grass-fed, hormone-free protein with absolutely no sugars or sweeteners.
Definitely one for the mass gainers, popular brand Reflex’s One Stop Xtreme lives up to the name, supplying your muscles with an impressive 55g of protein and 10g of BCAA’s per daily serving. The carbs and cals are high, but that’s what’s going to give you those gains!
At only 91 calories per serving and with low carbs and fat, this diet shake will help your body refuel and stay lean. The protein is low, but you may take a double serving after weight training.
Whey protein is generally well tolerated, so it’s perfectly fine for you to consume it every day. That said, most of us tend to get all the protein we need from our regular diets. Nevertheless, it is a quicker and somewhat cheaper alternative if needs be but it should be paired with a healthy diet.
This is largely down to personal preference, but if you are seeking the benefits alongside a workout regime, then taking the protein before or a little after exercising seems to harbour the most benefits. Whey protein is also great if you’re short on time for breakfast, or need a snack during the day too.
Yes, you may drink whey protein without exercising because regardless of whether your protein source is from a supplement or actual food, it will have the same effect on your body. However, you should always keep in mind that this must be balanced out with a healthy diet of other macronutrients.
Author: Natasha Dziubajlo
No. 1: The Protein Works｜Diet Whey Isolate 90
No. 2: Optimum Nutrition｜Gold Standard 100% Whey
No. 3: MyProtein｜Impact Whey Protein
No. 4: Reflex Nutrition｜Natural Whey Protein Powder
No. 5: The Protein Works｜Whey Protein 80
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