Last updated on February 1st, 2020
Protein powders can be helpful if you want to gain muscle and lose fat. This is because protein powders can help you with your nutrition and balancing your diet. Let’s face it, most people who are into fitness are slamming protein shakes on a daily basis. That’s why we wanted to test a bunch of them for ourselves. We wanted to find out what were the best protein powders for muscle gain that had the best overall quality.
Ultimately, we also created this list based on other factors as well. Our top 5 picks are based on popularity, effectiveness, taste, and lastly, we wanted to make sure none of them had a “gritty” consistency.
What Is Protein Powder?
In modern terms, protein powder is considered to be a dietary supplement that is commonly used in bodybuilding. In addition, it’s also commonly used by people who regularly frequent the gym, martial artists, and athletes as well.
The main purpose of protein powder is to facilitate an increase in lean body mass. When you take protein powder, your main reason for taking it is to increase muscle, body weight, and improve athletic performance and sometimes decrease body fat as well.
If you want more of a detailed explanation of what protein powder is, you can learn more about it here.
What Is Protein Powder Used For?
Protein powder has many different uses and most people buy different types of protein powder to reach their desired outcome. Below are just a couple of the more common uses of protein powder.
Increase Muscle Mass – Bodybuilders and frequent weightlifters use protein powder on a regular basis to supplement their daily protein intake. In addition to what they’re already getting from regular foods, they add protein powder in an effort to boost the amount of overall protein that their body takes in. This not only helps with muscle recovery but it also helps your muscles grow larger in the long-term as well.
Lose Body Fat – Some protein powders contain specific types of protein that can help your body lose it’s body fat percentage when coupled with regular workouts. Typically you’d want a casein protein powder when trying to lose body fat. Casein protein will help you stay “fuller” for a longer period of time.
Protein powder can also be used for individuals who struggle to meet the necessary needs of their daily protein intake as well. Generally, people who are vegetarians will need more than the average person when it comes to protein since they aren’t getting the normal amount of protein that a meat-eater would get.
Different Types Of Protein Powder
Protein powder comes in many different types considering protein can be found in many different types of plants and meats. Below are some of the most common types of protein powders that are available on the market.
This type of protein powder is generally what you will see people taking on a regular basis. Most people use whey protein. Whey protein comes from milk. It is generally the liquid that separates from the curds during the cheese-making process. It is very high in protein but also has high amounts of lactose which is a milk sugar that many people have a difficult time digesting.
Whey protein also has a good amount of branched-chain amino acids or “BCAA’s”. One of the BCAA’s in whey protein plays a major role in promoting muscle growth and recovery after resistance training. When these amino acids are digested into your bloodstream, they become available for muscle protein synthesis, which is the creation of new muscle!
Overall, whey protein helps to build and maintain muscle mass. It also assists athletes with recovery from heavy weightlifting or exercise and increases muscle strength as well.
Casein protein is found in milk, just like whey protein. However, casein protein acts more slowly than whey protein as it is digested and absorbed much more slowly.
When the casein protein interacts with your stomach acid, it creates a gel. This gel slows down the process of emptying your stomach contents and delays your bloodstream’s absorption of amino acids. This ultimately results in a gradual more steady exposure of your muscles to amino acids, which reduces the rate of muscle protein breakdown.
Eggs are and always have been a very good and high source of protein. Eggs are some of the best foods for decreasing your appetite and helping you stay full for a longer period of time.
Egg protein powders are generally made from egg whites rather than the whole egg itself. Although the protein quality is phenomenal, you may experience less fullness considering the high-fat yolks have been removed.
Just like all animal-based products, eggs are considered a complete source of protein. This means that they provide all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make by itself. Overall, egg white protein is a good source of protein for people who have allergies to dairy products or people who prefer animal-based proteins.
This one is for the vegetarians. Pea protein is great for vegetarians and vegans, or people with allergies to dairy or egg products. This protein is made from the yellow split pea which is high in fiber and has all but one of the essential amino acids. Pea protein is very rich in BCAA’s.
However, studies on pea protein have been limited and although pea protein shows much promise, more high-quality research is needed to confirm it’s results.
Brown Rice Protein
Protein powder made from brown rice has been around for quite some time, but they are generally considered to be inferior to whey protein for building muscle. Rice protein also contains all the essential amino acids, but it is very low in lysine to be considered a complete protein.
Top 5 Best Protein Powders For Muscle Gain
Now that you know a little more about the different types of protein powders, below you will find our top 5 best picks. Remember though, if you’re trying to lose weight, you will want either an egg-based protein or a casein protein. If you’re trying to gain muscle mass, you’ll want whey protein. Lastly, if you’re a vegetarian, you’re going to want a plant-based protein powder.
1. Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey (Best Tasting)
OPTIMUM NUTRITION’S GOLD STANDARD 100% Whey uses pure Whey Protein Isolates as the primary ingredient. Combined with ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate, each serving provides 24 grams of all-whey protein and 5.5 grams of naturally occurring Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) which are prized by athletes for their muscle building qualities.
With more than 20 tempting flavors to choose from, Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey gives you plenty of ways to keep workout recovery interesting.
Whey Protein Isolates (WPI) are the purest form of whey protein that currently exists. WPIs are costly to use, but they rate among the best proteins that money can buy. That’s why they’re the first ingredient you read on the Gold Standard 100% Whey label. By using WPI as the primary ingredient along with premium ultra-filtered whey protein concentrate (WPC), this protein powder packs 24 grams of protein into every serving to support your muscle-building needs after training.
- 24 grams of blended protein consisting of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides to support lean muscle mass, they don’t call it the GOLD STANDARD of quality for nothing.
- Over 5 grams of BCAAs help to build lean and strong muscles with naturally occurring BCAAs.
- 3-4 grams of carbs, 1-3 grams of sugar, 1.5 grams of fat, Gluten-Free.
- Enjoy this protein powder in a tasty shake without clumps.
- Highest quality control measures so you feel comfortable and safe consuming the product.
- 1, 2, 5, and 10-pound options available.
- Over 20 great flavors to choose from.
- Great before or after exercise, between meals, with a meal, or any time of day where you need extra protein in your nutrition.
2. MuscleTech NitroTech Protein
NitroTech is a scientifically engineered whey protein powder designed for anyone looking to build more muscle, improve their strength and enhance overall performance.
NitroTech contains pure whey protein peptides and isolates as the primary source. Every scoop provides 30 grams of ultra-pure whey protein and 6.8 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) along with a strength-enhancing 3-gram dose of creatine.
Truly a great protein powder, and definitely one of the best protein powders for muscle gain.
- MuscleTech NitroTech Pure Whey Protein delivers 30 grams of Whey Protein, sourced primarily from whey peptides and whey isolate two of the cleanest and purest protein sources available.
- It contains a research-proven 3-gram dose of creatine monohydrate, which combined with whey protein helps to build more strength than regular whey protein.
- It only contains 4 grams of carbs, depending on the flavor, and no more than 2.5 grams of fat.
- MuscleTech doesn’t use heat, harsh acids or salt, their whey protein has been filtered. They use multi-phase filtration technology for less fat, lactose, and impurities.
- To ensure a high standard of quality and purity, each batch undergoes strict quality control. Each batch is also lab tested and verified to ensure purity, quality, and consistency.
3. BSN Syntha-6 Edge
SYNTHA-6 EDGE is a synthesis of premium proteins designed to give your muscles the protein they need to support recovery without the excess carbs and fat you may not want. This protein-packed shake delivers a milkshake-like experience that will have you convinced it’s your cheat day. Give your recovery the performance edge. Fuel your muscles and reward your taste buds with SYNTHA-6 EDGE.
- Give your recovery the performance edge to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
- It provides the texture of a real milkshake without the excess carbs and fat you would associate with a powder this delicious.
- Consisting of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein, calcium caseinate, micellar casein, milk protein concentrate to give your muscles the protein they need to support recovery.
- Helps support muscle recovery following intense bouts of exercise.
- Use any time of day including post-workout, between meals, as a snack, or as a treat, it doesn’t matter, BSN Syntha-6 Edge was formulated to be your any time of day protein powder.
4. MuscleTech Phase8 Protein
Phase8 is a premium blended protein formula that feeds your muscles for 8 hours. The main protein component in Phase8 has the unique ability to release amino acids in your bloodstream for 8 hours! Because of these sustained-release properties, this protein powder is perfect for taking before bed and between meals!
Phase8 can be used by anyone (men or women) looking to build more muscle. Phase8 is by far one of the best protein powders for muscle gain.
- The primary protein in Phase8 has the unique ability to release amino acids in your bloodstream for 8 hours after consumption.
- Phase8 contains protein sources designed to digest at different rates, putting your body in the perfect state for repair and recovery.
- It contains high-quality milk-derived protein and has half the fat of the leading competitor.
- Phase8 protein powder was flavored in one of the world’s top flavoring houses by protein flavoring experts in order to taste better than any other protein on the market.
- Lastly, this protein powder contains a unique blend of proteins that allows you to take it whenever you need it. Multiple different protein sources supply quick-release, medium-release, and slow-digesting proteins.
5. MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey
Combat 100% Whey is an ultra-premium blend containing 100% whey protein. This protein mix is mainly for athletes looking to maintain lean muscle and replenish nutrients after workouts.
Every scoop of Combat 100% Whey is packed with 25g of protein. It has whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate that both digest quickly to help satisfy your daily protein needs. In addition, Combat 100% Whey is low in fats and free of artificial dyes, fillers, gluten, and other undesirable ingredients. Take any time of day, before or after a workout.
- Combat 100% Whey is a muscle-building protein powder comprised of high-quality ingredients. The ingredients will help build muscle mass and assist in recovery.
- Combat whey protein mix is easy to mix with milk, almond milk, water, fruit, and vegetables. It tastes great whether simply mixed into a beverage or blended in a smoothie or shake.
- This muscle-building protein powder is packed with 25 grams of protein. It features whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. It’s also gluten-free.
- Combat Protein Powder has added BCAAs, glutamine, and digestive enzymes and has been certified by Informed-Choice. It has undergone rigorous checks and testing.
Tips For Buying Protein Powder
How do you choose which protein powders you should but? There are so many choices on the market to choose from, it can be quite a daunting task. Below are some general guidelines that might help you decide which type of protein powder you want to look for.
Your Desired Outcome + Types Of Protein For Each
- Muscle Building – These protein powders are for trying to build muscle, obviously. You’ll typically want to look for whey protein or whey isolates. These will be your best options for building muscle. Our recommendation is Optimum Nutrition Whey Gold Standard.
- Losing Weight – When you’re trying to lose weight, you want to choose protein powders that don’t have any added sugars. You also don’t want any that have any added BCAA’s either. BCAA’s generally promote muscle growth and you’ll likely gain weight. We recommend Orgain Organic Protein if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Staying Green (Vegans) – There are protein powders for the herbivores too! If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, choose a protein powder that doesn’t contain milk or whey. Look for protein powders that contain 100% plant-based proteins or egg-based proteins. Our recommendation is Orgain Organic Protein.
When you’re in the market for the best protein powders for muscle gain, you want to make sure you’re getting something that is going to help you reach your desired outcome. It’s important to research before you buy any kind of supplement. Some supplements can hurt your body in the long-run. To avoid that possibility, you will need to make sure you’re buying a good quality product.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below. However, if you would rather get in touch with us directly, feel free to use our contact form on our contact page and we will be in touch with you in a timely manner.
Which protein powders have you used in the past? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!