Recommendation for the Optimal Protein Supplement.
There are many protein supplements in the marketplace…too many for that matter! The average consumer becomes overwhelmed with all the hype and misinformation that is out there concerning protein supplements!!!!
No matter what your needs for a protein supplement are, there are still good protein supplements as well as bad ones, regardless of why you are taking them.
Basically, a good protein supplement [for you] is one that meets your individual needs and requirements for what you are using it to achieve.
As a Nutritional Biochemist/Pharmacologist, as well as a protein/lipid chemist, when analyzing the quality of a protein or protein supplement, the high road of “objectivity” is probably the best path to take. Because I have also been an athlete all my life, (i.e., played major college football, ran track (as a sprinter) and have participated in over 30 triathlons), I also truly understand the “physical end” of utilizing the right protein supplement.
Just because a container, box or packet looks “awesome” or “sexy“, does not make the contents inside good…and…just because a “Hollywood Celebrity” endorses and/or acts as a spokesman for the product, also does not make it good! Many of these folks will endorse anything for money!!!!
The first thing a protein supplement must have, regardless of its intrinsic qualities, is a taste that is [at the least] not completely horrific…it doesn’t have to taste like Godiva chocolate, but it should be somewhat consumable for the user. If you have to choke it down in either water, juice or milk, the compliance factor for this product is bad no matter how good the protein supplement may be for you…the company did not do adequate research on it…and your relationship with this product will never last…you will eventually stop taking it…so why even start!
The second factor of importance is actually bifold; the “Biological value” or “BV” and “Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score” or “PDCAAS“. The “BV” is the measure of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the body, and the “PDCAAS” is the method of protein evaluation which is based on both amino acid requirements [of humans] and the ability to digest it. If you do your research, you will find that the highest scores for both BV and PDCAAS usually come from Whey Protein Isolates. Thus, in my scientific opinion, you always want to use a good-tasting whey protein isolate as your optimal protein supplement source.
Now that the best and most biologically available source of protein, (i.e., whey protein isolate), has been established, we need to look at other important factors so as to narrow the choices down. A third factor which must be considered is the amount (i.e., breakdown) of Protein, carbohydrate and Fat , (i.e., the contents presented in grams), of the protein powder or drink.
Most protein supplements have an ample amount of protein, but many also have a lot of carbohydrate, (sugar…for taste), or fat, (for taste, but also for adding calories, as many are marketed as “weight gainers”). Now this is fine if you are looking to put on “bulk”. If you are looking for just a quality protein supplement, as the majority of folks are wanting a “lean-physique-type” of supplement, a ratio that is high in protein and low in sugar and fat would always be your best choice.
In my opinion, the best protein supplement would be one with a high quality, absorbable whey protein, (usually between 20-30 grams per serving), which has little to no sugar or fat; remember…you are not looking for a meal replacement here…you want a PROTEIN supplement!
A fourth important factor when deciding on a protein supplement is the contents of “Branched-Chain Amino Acids” (“BCAA”) in the supplement. There are three (3) BCAAs; Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
Human beings will not survive for long unless these 3 essential amino acids are present in the diet, and the combination of these  make up about one third of our skeletal muscle.
BCAAs promote protein synthesis, suppress protein (muscle/lean body tissue) catabolism (breakdown), serve as substrates for gluconeogenesis, and act as fuel sources for skeletal muscle during periods of metabolic stress, (such as when the body is going through physical healing and/or severe weight training, etc.)….thus, having high levels of BCAAs in a protein supplement would be another favorable attribute of a high quality protein.
For additional information on the importance of BCAAs, [see; "Malabsorption and it's Devastating Effects", by Dr. Robert Berger, in Nutricula Magazine, June 2011 Issue, page 17 (under the subheading: "Protein Requirements and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)-please go to "Archives" on landing page].
Then there are other factors that are important to consider when choosing a protein supplement. These are total calories, (around 100 kcal is best), if the procedure for isolating the protein isolate is cold-pressed and micro-filtered, what sweeteners are in the mix, (if there is no sugar), and if the sweetener is natural, if the manufacturer can insure that there are no growth hormones (rBST), whether the protein supplement is safe for diabetics, and is there a variation of flavors…not everyone likes chocolate or vanilla only!
My recommendation for the optimal protein: “about time” by SDC Nutrition. Why?… because it meets all the above criteria!!!!
-Whether in water, milk or juice it tastes great and has no aftertaste like so many protein supplements do
-Mixes well with all of the above
-Its “BV” and “PDCAAS” values are the highest
-It has a very high BCAA content…optimal for recovery and repair and defining lean body tissue
-Serving size provides only about 100 kcal…is “Nutrient-dense”
-It is cold-pressed/micro-filtered…thus, no chance of protein damage and/or denaturization
-It contains absolutely no added sugar and is diabetic-friendly
-It contains no artificial sweeteners nor any growth hormones… is completely natural
-It is supplied in a variation of flavors
Thus…everyone can benefit from supplementing with “about time”!!!!
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