Home Fitness & Health Supplement Guide: Part II – Protein Powder

Supplement Guide: Part II – Protein Powder

by nick

Protein Powder – the first supplement that men turn to when they decide they want to improve the way their body looks and build muscle. As with any other supplement, before you decide to use protein powder, you may have a few questions that you need answering. For example:

  • What does protein powder do?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What’s the difference between whey and casein? Which one’s best?
  • How much should I take?
  • How often should I take it?
  • When should I take it?
  • Are there any possible side effects?
  • What brand is best?

Let’s answer all these questions below…

What Is Protein Powder?

To put it simply, protein powder is just protein in a powdered form. Chicken, beef, fish are foods that are all high in protein. Protein powder is a much quicker and more convenient version of those types of foods. All you need to do is mix protein powder with a liquid such as water or milk and you have yourself a drinkable high protein meal.

What Does Protein Powder Do And What Are The Benefits?

In theory protein powder doesn’t do anything apart from provide you with a quick and easy way of consuming protein. And it’s protein that provides the benefits. Protein powder just provides that protein in a high quality, tasty, low calorie, quick and easy form.

So why is protein so important?

  • Protein plays a vital role in the growth, repair and function of muscle.
  • The human body needs an adequate amount of protein on a daily basis to build and maintain muscle.
  • Consuming protein each day will ensure that the weight you lose is fat and not muscle.
  • Protein has been proven to be the most filling compared to carbs or fat, which means it, plays a crucial role in controlling your hunger and controlling your appetite.
  • Protein also requires more calories to be burned during digestion, compared to carbs and fat.

So in summary, a sufficient daily protein intake is essential for overall health, building and maintaining muscle, losing fat, keeping your appetite under control whilst naturally burning more calories each day.

Protein powder itself just provides a quick and convenient way of making sure that you consume your ideal amount of protein per day, which is fundamental to achieving the benefits listed above.

All you need to do is take a scoop of protein powder, pour it into a liquid, mix it for a few seconds and drink. There’s no need prepare or cook any food. In less than a minute you’ll have a low calorie, muscle building serving of protein with minimal effort.  As well as this, there are certain times when protein powder can have some advantage over a normal high protein meal – Pre and Post workout meals.

Does Protein Powder Work?

Protein works for a number of reasons, and protein powder supplies it. So in short, protein powder definitely works. However, it won’t do any more than what has been explained. It won’t provide the kind of outrageous benefits or amazing effects like many supplement companies like to claim. Protein powder won’t cause lean muscle growth or huge fat loss or anything similar. All it will do is provide a quick and convenient source of protein.

Is Protein Powder Safe And Are There Any Side Effects?

For the normal healthy male, it’s entirely safe!

Protein powder is probably one of the safest supplements there is. As long as you don’t seriously exceed your ideal amount of protein per day, and you have no pre-existing health problems, then you don’t really have anything to worry about.

What Type Of Protein Powder Is Best?

There are a few different types of protein powder supplements available, but in relation to popularity and usage, the two major protein powders are:

  • Whey
  • Casein

While both come from milk, there are some differences between them that you should know about…

Whey Protein

Whey protein is definitely the more popular out of the two and is known as fast protein. This is because it is the fastest digesting protein there is.  So, at times of the day when it would be ideal for protein to be digested and absorbed by your body, then whey protein would be your best choice. And there are times when your body will benefit from fast protein, such as:

  • Immediately before your workout – if consuming this meal less than 30 minutes before your workout.
  • During your workout – only needed under certain circumstances.
  • Immediately after your workout

Whey protein is a must for any man that wants to build muscle and improve their appearance, especially the post workout meal. Whether or not whey is actually better than a normal high protein food in your post workout meal is difficult to say. Either way, whey protein is definitely the protein source that is often recommended for this meal, and it’s what I personally use after each workout.

Casein Protein

Opposite to whey, casein is known as the slow protein. This is because it is the slowest digesting protein there is. This is why it’s not recommended for meals around your workout as you want fast and easy digestion.  However, casein protein is useful when you don’t care about the speed of digestion or when you want protein to be digested slowly – an ideal choice for when you need a non-workout related protein source.

It’s often been said that it is beneficial to have some protein in your system while you’re sleeping and your body is doing most of its recovery and repairing. Hence, casein protein is the ideal choice for the last meal before bed. As you spend roughly 8 hours in a fasted state, it’s often recommended to consume a slow digesting source of protein in your last meal of the day.

When and How Should Protein Be Taken?

Protein powder can be taken any time of the day as and when needed to reach your ideal daily protein intake. But, to be more precise:

  • Whey protein powder is best for your post workout meal. Immediately before and/or during your workout is best as well if needed or desired.
  • Casein protein is best for your last meal before bed.
  • Whey protein combined with other foods, casein by itself or a whey/casein blend is a good protein source for any of your regular meals at any time of the day.

How to take it is easy…

Take the required amount of scoops of protein powder and put it into a glass, cup or bottle. Then add as much liquid (water or milk) as you want to give the best possible taste. If you want to, add any other ingredients. Mix for a few seconds by either stirring it with a spoon, using an electric blender, or a shaker bottle. You’re now ready to drink your high protein shake.

What is the Best Protein Powder Brand?

When it comes to the best protein powder brand, it all comes down to quality, taste and price.

I’ve tried quite a few different protein powders over the last few years, so I have a good idea of the differences in taste. I’ve also got a good idea of the differences in price. Not only between different brands, but also different stores – some sell the same brands but at a big difference in cost.

My Protein Powder Recommendations

Whey Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition is one of the best supplement companies out there, and their whey protein  is always the bestselling of any of its competitors  on practically every website and store that sells supplements. Why? Because of its high quality, easy to mix, and most importantly it’s the best tasting protein there is. They have lots of different flavours and I’ve liked every single once that I’ve tried so far.

Casein Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Casein Protein

Again, another one from Optimum Nutrition, which shouldn’t be a surprise cause they simply are the best. This is the only casein protein powder that I’ve tried, but it’s done everything that I’ve wanted it to do so far, so why change? It’s equally high quality and it comes in a variety of tasty flavours.

Where Can You Buy It?

As for where you can buy them, each link above will take you to Amazon’s website, which is where I’ve always ordered all of my supplements from for years. There prices and services are the best I’ve found and I highly recommend getting your stuff there too.

Protein Powder Accessories

I thought I’d mention one extremely useful accessory you should get if you’re planning on buying protein powder. It’s called a shaker bottle.

A shaker bottle is just plastic type cup with a lid that contains a blending piece inside. You just put your protein powder in it, add water and then shake it for about 10 seconds. Hey presto! You have a fully mixed, shake.

It’s very cheap, very easy, very quick and very convenient to use. I use it for all my protein shakes at home as well as take it with me to the gym and to work. If you’re wondering which one to get, I recommend the Blender Bottle.

What to Look Forward to in Part III

Now that you know all the main facts about protein powder; it’s time to discuss the next supplement that might be useful for you. In Part III we’ll discuss fish oil supplements.

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