With all the protein powders on the market how do you pick the best one, taking into account the above qualities? Number one, learn to read and understand labels. To check for protein Purity look in the per 100gm column on the label.
Whey Protein Concentrate WPC (medium release protein powder) it should read around 75-77 grams in flavored proteins. This is then a purity of 75-77 %.
Whey Protein Isolate WPI ( Fast release protein powder) usually reads between 88 and 90 grams per 100 gm in flavored proteins, and is therefore 88% to 90% pure.
Casienate (slow release Protein) about 85 grams per 100gm when flavoured or 82% pure.
Products showing much lower percentages than these obviously do not contain just the ingredient they claim but have fillers such as skim milk powder or carbs. (Carbs cost less than one tenth the price of protein and skim milk powder about one fifth)
Many imported proteins do not comply with Australian labeling regulations and don't have a per 100gm column on their label. No problem, just divide 100 by the serving size in grams, and multiply by the protein per serve in grams, and your answer will be the protein % of the product.
One of the most talked about but also one of the most abused protein powders is the mixtures of Isolate and Concentrate called Whey proteins or 100% whey. These were once believed to be 50/50 mixes but that would mean per 100 gm percentage of around 82% flavored, whereas most are in the late seventies. Conclusion, not much Isolate!
There are many proteins on the market claiming to be combinations of the three proteins above, called multi, or three way release proteins, and they come in various percentages. We usually assume that they are about a third of each, to allow for a constant release of protein over a longer period. To check this, we add up the three percentages above, Say 76+89+85 = 250 divide by 3 = 83%, therefore the percentage of protein in a good multi release product should be around 83%. Products that are not in the eighties are obviously light on whey protein Isolate the most pure, fastest uptake, and most expensive (nearly double the cost of concentrate and casienate) of the proteins, and will not give the fast release protein you need after training.
The above information goes a long way to helping you decide the value of your protein powder, basically, the higher the price the higher the protein percentage should be. Conversely with protein Carb mixes the higher the carbohydrate content the lower the price should be. Especially those with three times the carbs to protein ratio, they should be half the price of pure protein. Any products with higher ratios of carbohydrates than this are basically energy drinks not protein powders.
To obtain effective use from your protein powder you first have to choose the one which best suits your training and goals. Here are some examples:
If your main goal is to lean down then the WPI protein powder is the one you should look at as it has the least fats and carbs. Take it immediately after training and mid way between meals for a snack on water for the leanest results.
For muscle growth the best proteins are the high percentage multi release protein powders. These proteins provide an immediate and constant supply of protein and the necessary amino acids to your muscles for both recovery and growth and when taken with water will still keep you lean as you grow. Take this multi release protein powder immediately after training, midway between meals and before bed.
To gain body mass If you are a hard gainer or need to bulk up for sport you need a mass gainer protein powder, and the best of these are the protein/carbohydrate mixes that contain the multi release proteins with around a 50/50 mix of carbohydrates.Take this mass gain protein powder immediately after training, midway between meals and before bed. It can be taken on water or milk to add more calories.
SPECIALIST POST TRAINING PROTEIN DRINKS.
For the ultimate formula in post training drinks you need fast acting Isolate Protein for muscle recovery, combined with fast uptake Simple Carbs to replace Glycogen energy in your muscles, as well as electrolytes to restore PH balance, Glutamine and Branch Chain Aminos for accellerated muscle recovery and growth. These post training protein drinks are normally taken at the end of training sessions, but for long endurance events, they can be used to top up energy and recovery every few hours.