How to Choose the Right Protein Supplement?
Monday, March 25, 2019
Supplementing your daily fitness regime with suitable supplements like protein is an awesome way to boost performance, increase muscle growth and encourage weight loss. With multiple choices available in the market plus a new brand being launched every other day, it can often be difficult to find a protein supplement that is best for you. Just one wrong choice can actually damage your performance results or worse damage physical health and ultimately stop you from reaching your full potential. So here is the handy guide for you.
Buy only from reputable companies that are committed to quality and transparency. How do you know if a company is reputable or not? One way is legacy or age of the company. If a company present in the industry for over 20 years and well recognized in their respective field, there is a good chance that they are not cutting corners when it comes to product quality. However, this may not always be the scenario. Some large and well-established companies have been found using inferior protein sources to reduce their costs and increase profit margin. Look out for certifications and transparent labeling.
Read the label carefully
✔ Protein Source
- Check from where the primary protein source is coming from.
- Choose whey protein over any other protein as it has the highest biological value, fastest absorbing protein as well as has all 22 amino acids including the highest amount of BCAA for muscle growth.
- Whey Isolate and Whey Peptides/Hydrolyzed is always a superior choice among all proteins. Try to avoid Whey protein concentrates, Milk protein and plant-based proteins like pea protein or soy protein.
✔ Ingredient List
- The ingredient list should be short and crisp.
- If a product does not disclose the necessary information and provides information that sounds incomplete then that makes it in a no-buy list!
- Some common fillers (cheap substitutes) in protein supplements are whey Protein Concentrates (WPC), Skim Milk Powders, Milk Solids, Soy Protein, Pea protein, Gluten, Dextrin, Maltodextrins Vegetable oils and fats, gums, coconut flour or psyllium etc.
- Raw material (Whey Protein) sourced from the U.S/E.U is considered to be best among all. Therefore, look for a product containing U.S/E.U sourced whey to ensure a high-quality and safe product.
✔ Protein Content
Select a protein with minimal “fillers” such as carbs, lactose, Fat, the higher the % of protein the better the supplement. Look at the serving size and protein per serving and calculate protein %.
Let’s do the math: For example – a protein supplement serving size is 31 gm and you get 25 gm protein per serving. Then,
Protein % = Serving Size (gm)
Protein % = 31gm = 81%
The higher Protein %, the higher protein amount per serving and fewer fillers. A protein %, more than 80% considered as best and is considered among the highest quality!
Quality Assurance Certification
1. Third Party Lab Tested certification
Nutritional Supplements including protein supplements are not regulated and evaluated by the ‘’Food and Drug Administration’’ (FDA) or the ‘’Food Safety and Standard Authority of India’’ (FSSAI). Because of this the manufacturer can come up with a lot of misleading information, marketing hype and false claim. Third Party Lab Testing is a way of being transparent so that you know that you can count on supplements when you need them most.
Therefore, always look for a supplement that is certified and verified by third-party. Third Party Lab tested certification means an independent organization (NABL Accredited) has reviewed and evaluated the product and has independently determined that the final product contains the ingredients advertised on the label as well as do not contain toxic substances such as arsenic, bacteria, pesticides residues, or lead. After all protein supplements are not just palatable, it should also safe for your body.
❝ Third Party Lab tested certification means an independent organization (NABL Accredited) has reviewed and evaluated the product and has independently determined that the final product contains the ingredients advertised on the label as well as do not contain toxic substances such as arsenic, bacteria, pesticides residues, or lead. ❞
Internationally Recognized Certification: Informed Choice and Informed Sports
No one wants to buy a supplement that contains illegal stimulants, steroids or banned substances but since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it is very much possible. Unintentionally consuming a supplement with banned substances could be a career-ending mistake and should not take any chances.
Therefore, athletes who are in competitive bodybuilding and those concerned with banned substances and contaminants should look for products that are certified with informed sports and informed choice. These are two of the most respected independent testing organizations around.
Informed Sports Certification - A quality assurance test that certifies every batch of product ingredient has tested and cleared for banned substances in the sports by WADA which is the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Informed Choice Certification - - A quality assurance test that the certifies that supplement has been ‘skip-lot’ tested (at least once a month tested) for banned substances by world-class sports anti-doping Agency.
By using these strict certifications, supplement companies make sure that every product they are selling is unquestionably legal.
2. Mandatory Quality Assurance Certification in India:
• FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) certification- facilitate food safety and regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food.
3.Other Quality Assurance Certifications are:
• HACCP certified – It is an International standard defining the requirements for effective control of food safety.
• cGMP Compliant – Its certification means the product making process is reviewed and complies with specific standards for Food safety and quality.
• ISO 22000:2005 Quality Assurance – sets out the requirements for a food safety management system. Also, ensure that food is safe at the time of human consumption.
• Gluten Free certification – certifies product has been tested by a third party and contain less than a limited quantity of gluten.
Buying certified supplement is one way to ensure the quality of the product as well as to avoid fake and cheap quality products available in the market.
Mixability, Taste and Sweetness
With advances in flavor and texture, manufacturing companies have started making delicious protein supplements in a wide variety of flavors with smoother texture and consistencies than never before. With wide options ranging from vanilla, chocolate, strawberry to swiss milk chocolate, Mango lassi, Mocha cappuccino….and so on. They taste more like real milkshakes even without added milk. Find one that you will drink and enjoy on a regular basis.
❝ Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from a plant leaves and 200 times sweeter than sugar but has no calories. It is absolutely safe for human consumption.❞
If possible, go for supplement sweetened with natural sweeteners like stevia leaf extract and have no harmful color and flavor. Artificial sugars and colorings should be avoided. Since they are not adding anything positive, plus they might have possibly some harmful side effects including headaches, migraines, gastric distress, bloating and acid reflux.
Cost may be the most important factor for tight budget buyers, but I recommend you choose supplement by checking above factors and comparing ingredients, protein source, nutritional profile, and additional authentication certification; not by how cheap it is.
Superior quality proteins are often coming expensive. On the other hand, Inferior quality proteins are mostly less expensive. Buying a very cheap low-quality protein powder may save your money, but you might sacrifice your health and performance.
Sometimes very expensive, heavily branded supplements made with the old formulation and cheap raw ingredients. In this case, it would make no sense to buy the expensive option because you would just be paying for the brand name. Instead, it’s worth trying brand with the new, innovative formulation and superior raw ingredients.
It is very important you choose the right protein powder that fit into your nutritional needs, support your health and performance in every way. Ignore all the marketing hype on the front of the package and go straight to the ingredients list and nutrition label. Look for high-quality protein source. If you are buying protein, IT SHOULD BE PROTEIN! And it should be of the HIGHEST QUALITY! Avoid products with plant-based protein, lots of fillers and added sugar. Fewer ingredients = better. Select a protein supplement that are made from high-quality ingredients, safe, and must be third-party verified. Look for a supplement without added any unnecessary artificial color, flavor and sweeteners. And, of course, they should taste great.
At the end of the day, do some market research, check and compare supplements and take your time when it comes to choosing the protein powder that is RIGHT for YOU.